Man, how do you people who garden on the regular do it? We embarked on a long-overdue project this weekend — replacing the landscaping in front of the house. This involved tearing out the ancient arborvitae, holly and yew bushes — can’t forget the pachysandra — then tilling the beds and adding 14 bags of enriched soil, so as to provide a soft bed for what comes next. Which is largely TBD, although it includes a hydrangea and this bush that is sorta lilac-y, but not.

I haven’t done hard labor like this in years. Can I just say this? They call those fuckers Chinese yews because the minute they’re planted, they start sending their taproot to Beijing. It’s a long way to China, so it works on adding girth as well as length. The arborvitae and holly bushes came out fairly easily, but Alan had to use a Sawzall on the yews, down in the hole he dug out around them.

And that’s the way the last two days went — lots of digging, sweating, chugging water and Sawzall-ing the fucking yews.

Oh, and all the pachysandra in the world can kiss my ass. But it’s all stuffed in one of eight separate leaf bags at the curb. I got to use the Sawzall on the arborvitae, because it is super-boring and should all be killed. It felt good to rend one limb from limb and put it on the curb.

That was part of the weekend. I’d hoped to get to at least some Movement events — Movement being the techno fest — but no dice. So many of them are held at 2 a.m., 4 a.m. or 6 a.m., and after a day of yanking yews, I decided I was better off sleeping. Crazy, I know.

I need to include some links, but as you might imagine, I was only on the internet long enough o bathe in Jared Kushner’s tears. Started reading Jeffrey Toobin’s great On the Nightstand book, and more later on that. For now — bed.

Posted at 9:57 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

46 responses to “Dirty.”

  1. Sherri said on May 29, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I took advantage of a weekend of sunny and 80s to scrub the algae of the deck. Between all the rain this past winter and the deck being on the north side of the house (and shaded by a huge evergreen), the deck doesn’t get a lot of sun, so there was a lot of algae.

    Still need to get the moss off the driveway, but I’ll have to hire someone to get the moss off the roof. As for the moss taking over the grass in the backyard, eh, it’s green.

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  2. basset said on May 29, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    We tore the boxwoods around the house out a few weeks ago and hired a guy recommended by a contractor who lives across the street to till and level the plots. He came to the door, told Mrs. B he was all done and she paid him, of course he wasn’t… by the time I ran him down he was in jail in a nearby rural county, failure to appear on an aggravated assault charge so his bondsman told him to rot there and the court laid a sizable and unreachable bail on him for the FTA. Probably still there, haven’t checked in several weeks.

    Anyway, Jr and I got out in the yard and had it looking halfway decent, we now have 27 tomato plants around the front and side of the house and stakes sticking up all over. If we had a HOA they could kiss my butt.

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  3. LAMary said on May 30, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Although it was a rainy winter I’m not counting on that being a regular thing here. This week the older son is doing all the fire abatement stuff on the yard and then we’re putting in more Spanish lavender, rosemary and assorting succulents. We’ve got some tomatoes and peppers going but I need to fill in some places with things that spread and survive heat so weeds don’t have any room to invade. We get weird weeds here like castor bean plants and wild cucumber.

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  4. susan said on May 30, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Arbor vitae? Yes, that shit should all be killed. And that horrid ground-cover, spreading juniper. Set choke and yard it out of there.

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  5. Linda said on May 30, 2017 at 6:14 am

    I had a professional kill all the yews in front of my house years ago, and for the next couple of years, I was still plucking out sprouts.

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  6. coozledad said on May 30, 2017 at 7:02 am

    When you go to talk to your Republican congressman about the healthcare he’s taking away from you, it would be wise to carry a T-ball bat.

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  7. alex said on May 30, 2017 at 7:02 am

    The trick to killing pachysandra? You don’t. You should treasure it. A leafy ground cover that stays green year-round and you want to be rid of it? Are you out of your mind?

    As for yews, there are a couple of tricks that don’t require a Sawzall. 1) You can build a lever and pop them out of the ground. Simply screw a 2″ x 4″ into the base and prop it up on top of some cement blocks or something big that’s not gonna give and bear down on it. You’d be surprised how easy this is. 2) You can also wrap a chain around a yew, hook it to a pickup truck and pull the fucker out that way.

    What I’d give for a giant bag of pachysandra. And I curse the friend who gave me bishop’s weed — an environmentalist no less! That shit is overtaking everything and it’s impossible to control.

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  8. coozledad said on May 30, 2017 at 7:37 am

    The Russians have the piss tapes.


    One day, we may get to see preznit Hooveround getting a plate job.

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  9. coozledad said on May 30, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Remember this when you see some fatass cop wearing a fashy cut: Authoritarian cultists can depend upon the police for logistics and on site legal cover, and the police can use militias to carry out targeted assassinations. It’s the Greensboro playbook.


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  10. nancy said on May 30, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Alex, friends of ours are in the midst of an epic battle with bishops weed, so I feel your pain. But we still have lots of pachysandra in the yard. We were overpachysandra’d, and losing two beds of it is not a crime.

    Do I even want to know what a plate job is?

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  11. coozledad said on May 30, 2017 at 8:07 am

    A plate job involves a glass coffee table, a highly specialized hooker, and one sickass John.

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  12. nancy said on May 30, 2017 at 8:12 am

    I know what that is! AKA the Danny Thomas.

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  13. ROGirl said on May 30, 2017 at 8:23 am

    They told the Danny Thomas hookers on the glass table joke on Veep. I had no idea. There was also a running gag about Eileen Fisher clothes that I kept laughing about in various department store women’s clothing departments.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on May 30, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Do NOT try to pull out yews with a truck unless you want to lose the truck’s bumper. Which is fascinating, if somewhat horrifying, to watch.

    bassett, where our kids live they have a whole movement to plant gardens in front yards. They are looking at it as a solution to food deserts. If you don’t want to do the work there’s a group that who will plant, weed, and harvest. The homeowner gets to retain some, and the rest is sold and donated. We hope to have our yard converted too, after a two year period of no lawn chemicals being used.

    Between travel and bad weather, we’ve done nothing outside this year and this weekend we were gone again for our niece’s wedding reception. It was a lovely, relaxing time with lots of family from all over. But if you are ever thinking of staying at the Four Winds on Lake Monroe in Bloomington, think again. It’s a budget hotel charging resort prices. No bueno.

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  15. Pam said on May 30, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I have to wash clothes twice as often during the summer due to dirty work in the yard. We’ve done most of what you just described several times. So here’s some advice. Plant trees that are Landscape varieties. Nothing worse than having a GIANT inappropriate tree in your yard that is messy and invades your drain tiles or sidewalk. Pachy is a good ground cover and avoids having to mulch, but yeah, I can see having too much. It’s a slow grower so it must have been there since day one. Personally, I prefer sedum because it flowers. We also use Spotted Dead Nettle or Lamium for ground cover, it flowers nicely and stays low. Also, we use Lady’s Mantle. And cooze is right, we also removed some yews by roping them to my truck and driving away! It was interesting. I expected the roots went under the garage or the neighbors driveway and was afraid of the heave. But it was OK. Also, even landscapers now will seldom remove stumps. So few of them can afford a stump grinder now, unless you go with the expensive tree services. Uprooting is a good solution if they’re not too big.

    Whatever you do, look on the ‘net first and research all your plantings to root out anything that is invasive or grows too fast. No Bradford Pear trees, no Autumn Glory Clematis and Crabapples are very pretty, especially in Spring, but the dead fruit on the ground isn’t. And don’t over plant, everything grows bigger.

    But you really don’t need much advice with Alan around. I trust him to plan before doing. BTW, we decided to stop planting the standard pair of trees out front and went with large containers that you can change every season. Finding ones that don’t crack during the winter is a major challenge but they have “Frost Resistant” containers now. Cast iron is good, but quite unaffordable and hard to move because they weigh a ton. Best to do something before the weather gets all hot and muggy or wait until Fall.

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  16. coozledad said on May 30, 2017 at 8:56 am


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  17. Danny said on May 30, 2017 at 8:57 am

    We caught the first period of the Stanley Cup and man, after that offsides call negated the Predators’ goal, things devolved quickly to a bit of a bore.

    Tonight I am going to a baseball game with a guy we just hired into one of my design groups. Interestingly enough, he used to be a major league pitcher who followed his dream for a few years before he got hurt. Then he went back to Cal Poly for his engineering degree. Should be cool to get his commentary during the game. I am not much of a baseball fan and usually don’t hang out with work friends (especially direct reports), but I could not pass up this opportunity.

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  18. Danny said on May 30, 2017 at 8:59 am

    We caught the first period of the Stanley Cup and man, after that offsides call negated the Predators’ goal, things devolved quickly to a bit of a bore.

    Tonight I am going to a baseball game with a guy we just hired into one of my design groups. Interestingly enough, he used to be a major league pitcher who followed his dream for a few years before he got hurt. Then he went back to Cal Poly for his engineering degree. Should be cool to get his commentary during the game. I am not much of a baseball fan and usually don’t hang out with work friends (especially direct reports), but I could not pass up this opportunity.

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  19. Peter said on May 30, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Cooz at #8 – I thought it was the piss tapes as well, but word is that it’s what some people have been saying for only about two years – Trumpolini is up to his eyeballs in Russian money laundering.

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  20. Judybusy said on May 30, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Nancy, what a lot of work! But so satisfying….I did lighter gardening all three days, and as usual, grew too many seedlings of annual flowers to tuck in among the perennials. I have just a 6-pack of tagetes marigold left, and I will get them into pots. My yellow peony began to bloom. It’s in its second year, so just 4 blossoms this year. So looking forward to the day it’s 3 feet tall and about as wide with tons of blooms.

    Mary, I planted a sedum, ‘John Creech’ this year in a bed that’s pretty sandy, with poor soil. There are a lot of cool sedum out there, as you no doubt know!

    Years ago, we had a guy with a pick-up take out privet and other bushes that had been badly pruned through the years. It was a wonderful improvement.

    FB pals know this, but the cat update: the friendly Hadley is doing great, comes out when called, getting up to places he shouldn’t. He had his first meeting with the dog. Hadley was very unimpressed and the dog was disappointed she was kept on a leash. Cadfael lives under the bed. We had to take him into an animal ER Saturday night because he’d had a cold, and was panting. Both cats are on prophylactic antibiotics in case a bacterial infection takes hold. Poor guy went back to square one where he is NOT leaving the safety of under the bed!

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  21. coozledad said on May 30, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Piss wouldn’t phase the Republicans anyway. Ryan and McConnell have gargled about as much as Trump has, and they both rely on it for a slick epidermis.

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  22. coozledad said on May 30, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Faze, sorry.

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  23. Sherri said on May 30, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Boring is not how I’d describe that hockey game last night. The last five minutes of the 1st period were pretty exciting, and the third period was a nerve-wracking, crazy time with control of the game constantly shifting.

    It may be rooting for laundry to cheer for a sports team, but that doesn’t mean it’s not passionate or you don’t feel a connection. My husband and I are Pens fans because we had season tickets for the Pens when we lived in Pittsburgh, coinciding with the arrival of Mario Lemieux. My daughter has become a Pens fan despite never having attended a game in person.

    We had season tickets for the Pirates, too, but eventually, the Giants replaced the Pirates in our affections.

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  24. Suzanne said on May 30, 2017 at 9:55 am

    We had several knockout roses and a regular rose bush that got some sort of virus a few years ago and we had to take them all out. The regular rose bush had been there for years and was a beast to get out. I removed the knockouts myself, but had to have my husband help with the other. We dug and dug and sawed and sawed and finally had to put a chain around it and both of us pull, pull, pull. It was not fun. Not fun at all.

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  25. Dorothy said on May 30, 2017 at 10:02 am

    It’s so interesting to hear opinions about ground cover. Our current home had what we thought was a too invasive growth of what we thought was vinca, only to find out it wasn’t – but it resembled it. It’s not periwinkle either, but is similar to that or vinca. We paid a landscape company to rip out what they could about 3 years ago. It’s not gone and never will be. I yank it out when I see it. What you’re calling bishop’s weed is aegopodium, Snow on the Mountain or goutweed, and we LOVE it. It’s nickname in our family is Edinboro Ivy. That’s because Mike’s parents had a cottage in Edinboro PA when he was a little boy and it grew all around there. He had fond memories of that place, so now we plant it when we can. I love the softness of it, the two-colored aspect of it, and it looks so nice around the perennial flowers I like to plant. If you pull up the tall offshoots in early spring it helps keep down the spread. But honestly we don’t mind – I like that it fills in around open spaces in our gardens.

    This weekend we weeded our front garden that I’m trying to mold into an English cottage garden. In that garden we currently have three rose bushes, some clematis on a trellis, a pussy willow bush (new last year), two dogwood trees, coneflowers, irises, and a couple more I can’t recall at the moment. On Saturday we put down some mallow and baby’s breath seeds – the seeds were like grains of sand so we just tried scattering them instead of actually planting them. We put in four kinds of sunflowers, including mammoth, Autumn beauties, red Mexican ones, and ‘teddy bear’ sunflowers. Mike got the last two varieties from Baker Creek seeds in Mansfield, MO (location of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s last home). We filled four tall leaf bags with the weeds, and then I started weeding in the back yard near his bee hives yesterday before we went to the Dayton Dragons game. We have ferns and hostas in the back yard along with climbing hydrangeas, foxglove, dianthus, cleome and others.

    We went to a wedding Sunday that was lovely. Very hip and young vibe. And it was my first Jewish wedding – it was wonderful. The groom is my son’s best friend. The bride’s sister was going to be matron of honor but she was due late last week with her first baby so no travel from Chicago to Cincinnati for this pregnant lady. The best man (groom’s brother) carried a cardboard cut out of her – it was a riot! Everyone thought it was hilarious. She was scheduled to have a C-section tomorrow, but lo and behold her water broke early Monday morning and the baby girl came yesterday! SO – the bride and groom had already planned to return to Chicago yesterday with their wedding gifts and to pack for their honeymoon (departing from Chicago). Now they get the bonus of seeing their new niece before they leave town. All in all a fun outcome to a very nice wedding event!

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  26. Jolene said on May 30, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I am fascinated, in a horrible way, by how those stabbings in Portland could have happened. Within seconds, three people we’re stabbed seriously enough that two of them died almost immediately. Given the kinds of injuries that humans can survive, that is quite an accomplishment, especially as the assailant does not seem to have been operating with great skill or focus.

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  27. Judybusy said on May 30, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Dorothy, the yard sounds lovely! We grow many of the same flowers.

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  28. alex said on May 30, 2017 at 10:46 am

    But if you are ever thinking of staying at the Four Winds on Lake Monroe in Bloomington, think again. It’s a budget hotel charging resort prices.

    Attended a wedding there once and I thought it was pretty mediocre. Memorable time, though. Father of the groom got arrested and hauled away during the reception after groping a cocktail waitress.

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  29. basset said on May 30, 2017 at 10:46 am


    Joe, you asked how excited Nashvilke’s getting about the hockey… I drove past that mosque Sat. and didn’t think to mention it.

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  30. Sherri said on May 30, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Jolene, when I was practicing karate, we would work on knife techniques, and we would sometimes spar against someone with a chalked-up (dull) knife, so that the “cuts” would leave a mark on your go and you’d see where you were hit. What I learned was (a) you will get cut in a knife fight, and (b) it doesn’t take any skill on the part of the attacker to do serious damage. The skill required is on the part of the defender to deflect and direct the attacks away from the worst areas.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on May 30, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    The proverbial paper thin walls and kids running up and down the halls at all hours. When they sneezed in the next room I felt obligated to say Bless You. Toilet seat wobbled all over, not fixed despite complaints. Crappy “buffet” cost $30. Message light on phone started blinking wildly in the middle of the night, we were told the only fix was to unplug the phone. Cell coverage non-existent. Hubby picked up a tick on the walkway. Two-night minimum stay. Etc. Never again.

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  32. brian stouder said on May 30, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Pam & I are looking at re-doing our plants and so on, in front of the house.

    Our approach will be ssssslllllloooooww and easy; and we shall see how things progress.

    This summer’s goal – pulling out the things we don’t want…and then we shall see where we are, and where we wish to go…

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  33. brian stouder said on May 30, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Many years ago, we had a company outing at Lake Monroe, and spent the night.

    The lake is quite beautiful, as was the drive down (I’m a sucker for the un-glaciated portion of Indiana, being a flat-lander up here)….but the tv set in all the hotel rooms included porno-channels – which didn’t bother me (per se) but it was kind of strange.

    (if we’d have stumbled upon a ‘plate job’ I think we’d have done the Poltergeist thing, and put the TV outside of the room!)

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  34. Jakash said on May 30, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    To each one’s own, Sherri @ 23, and there are certainly plenty who agree with you, but season tickets sound more like a curse to me than a treat. Pro sports are just not something in which I’d choose to invest either that much time nor money. The only sport I could even imagine that for would be football, because there are so few games, comparatively. I surely understand your connection to the Penguins, though, and wish y’all well. To the extremely limited extent that I care, I’m rooting for them, I suppose. (That use of “rooting” will be the extent of my participation in today’s post topic, too…)

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  35. Heather said on May 30, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I have always wanted a house (I have a condo) so I could have a yard to garden in, but after reading all the descriptions of physical labor, maybe container gardening isn’t so bad, especially for someone with a bad back. I would really love to have a garden with native plants though. I planted some milkweed and coneflower in one of our big pots, but as it’s a concrete patio, I doubt it will attract many butterflies. But our neighbor has a nice garden, so you never know what might show up.

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  36. Deborah said on May 30, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    All of the descriptions here of gardening physical labor are making my post surgery back ache. I’m jealous too because I’ve come to really enjoy that and I know it will be a while before I can indulge in it.

    We’re in the car on the road trip back to Chicago from Uncle J’s lake compound in northern WI. The compound was something else to behold, 4 full blown houses, one where the full time care taker lives. The houses all have multiple bedrooms and baths, all walls lined with knotty pine and every room stuffed with lake gee gaws (like duck decoys, fish prints etc). Then there are two large garages and three barns overflowing with things like ATVs, hydro bikes, antique cars and tractors, pontoon boats, canoes, kayaks etc. Each house had a basement rec room with ping pong tables, every kind of inflatable float imaginable. A paradise for active people. But not really my cup of tea, except for the hydro bikes those were fun but I couldn’t indulge because of my damn back. It was restful and peaceful most of the time so that was good. It was our first time up there, it never worked out for us to go up there before because we mostly go to NM, since we’ve been helping to take care of Uncle J during his family crisis it seemed a natural thing to do because he loves it so much. He can drive around on his toys there, which is delightful for him because he can’t drive anywhere else anymore.

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  37. brian stouder said on May 30, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    One of the better (more informative) things I’ve read, recently


    an excerpt:

    “Allowing a special counsel to happen was idiocy,” says one ally, who may be channeling the President’s thinking. “Special counsels never end well.” Never mind that Trump’s own firing of FBI Director James Comey — and his repeated attempts to get administration appointees to end the matter — began the chain of events that led to the Mueller appointment. If anyone wanted to stop the President, it didn’t happen. Maybe they agreed with Trump that the Democrats would support the move?

    “These guys don’t play chess,” sighs a friend. “They play checkers.”

    After the President moved to fire the FBI director, one outside adviser says he told Trump flat-out that the timing was crazy. “If you had fired him on Day One, it would be a whole different atmosphere,” he told the President. “Doing it five months in made no sense.”

    It Made No Sense.


    How many catastrophic human events can be summed up precisely in those words?

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  38. Jeff Borden said on May 30, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    My wife has enjoyed gardening, but I have always detested yard and garden work. When my dad would ask me to mow the lawn, I’d make a counter offer to wash his car, which usually was not accepted. Our house sits on a typical North Side Chicago lot –25 feet wide and 150 feet long– so there’s not much yard to speak of and we paved over some of the backyard with bricks and a seating wall, eliminating even more earth. Even so, at our age we’d rather pay someone to do the scut work. I envy those who enjoy working in the dirt, but it’s just something that never spoke to me. We keep our yard up because we want to be good neighbors, not for the thrill of the grow.

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  39. coozledad said on May 30, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Just got back from Mark Walkers reservation-only town hall in Graham. He harped on the failure of government a fuck of a lot for a douche who had four highway patrolmen, a sheriff, three deputies and two fashy wearing aides, in addition to four body men that we’re paying for.

    Republicans are gutter cowards. Brad Miller faced down the snake flag dreck alone.

    Walker is also a blitheringly stupid liar, who said “There’s nothing in the Constitution about separation of church and state.”

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who yelled “ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE. READ IT!”

    The questions were apportioned by lottery, except for the Walker surrogates I saw leaving with his fascist haircutted aides.

    Lying son of a fucking bitch.

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  40. annie said on May 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Reason n
    umber 308 of why I don’t like gardening: clearing some old, tangled bushes away from our house in the winter when no leaves were showing resulted in a case of poison ivy so bad I had to go to the doctor for a cortisone shot.

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  41. Icarus said on May 30, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I can only really identify less than 1% of plant life out there. I have no interest in learning to identify the other 99% either. I will mow the lawn but the garden care is my wife’s domain. Here’s how we typically tackle the spring planting:

    1) Wife goes to big box store and buys everything she thinks we need
    2) wife puts everything she bought in the portion of the garage i just cleaned (next to my work bench)
    3) 3-6 weeks later, wife finally gets around to dealing with the garden*

    * in all fairness these days we need the perfect storm of somehow being able to keep Moose & Squirrel occupied while Nightingale works on the garden.

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  42. Pam said on May 30, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Dorothy @ 25, be sure to plant some Siberian Iris. We have them in dark purple and light yellow (called Butter Cream) and they are astonishingly beautiful. Have to be separated every 3-5, but well worth it.

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  43. beb said on May 30, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    We’ve got some kind of ground ivy that grows all over place, up the side of the house and everywhere. Anyone have an idea on how to kill it? Also is there anything that will grown under a red maple?

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  44. Deborah said on May 30, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Coozledad, Did this happen today? I see that the article was posted today but hard to tell when it happened. http://m.dailykos.com/story/2017/5/30/1667383/-North-Carolina-arrests-Rev-William-Barber-and-dozens-of-activists-in-healthcare-protest?detail=facebook

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  45. Deborah said on May 30, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Ok, upon rereading it, it says Tuesday, so I guess that’s today.

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  46. Colleen said on May 30, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    We just moved to a condo, so no yardwork for us any more. Which I supposed is ok. I have some annuals in pots on our front porch, to cheer the place up a bit, and I may try some herbs in pots out back.
    I picked up the kindle version of the Patty Hearst book on your recommendation. Haven’t made it too far in, but what a manly man her fiance was, huh? He saw his chance and ran away…..never mind that his fiancee was being dragged from the house in her bathrobe and fuzzy slippers….

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