Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wrong Punctuation

Larry has tried for two days to show me a robin's nest in an oak tree in front of the house. I don't see the nest. Finally he said he would climb up and put a couple of wrong punctuation marks up there and I would see it immediately.
One time he was trying to tell me something and said he would write it down so I could read it and would then believe it. I did tell him I don't believe everything I read, either.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

End of May Flowers

 The double purple clematis bloomed earlier, but this magenta clematis is just beginning.
The daisies and daylilies are just starting. I'm letting the columbine seeds dry out. The delphiniums are almost finished.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Hummingbirds Feeding

At dusk, the hummingbirds are all around the feeders as well as perching on nearby plants waiting their turns. This picture was taken without the telephoto lens. 
This picture was taken with the telephoto lens so it appears to be much darker. The birds are clearer, but the picture isn't.

Long List

Today I had a long list of things to do. I tried to do the outside things first because we had rain in our forecast. It didn't actually rain, so I had a good start and finished everything on my list except one thing.
A bird made a nest on one of the motion sensor lights. It was made of asparagus greenery the bird had somehow clipped off. It was a fluffy, bright green mess. We got it down before it was finished so we didn't destroy the eggs. 
I didn't know birds could clip off the asparagus greenery. I've seen them get moss, twigs, mud, etc., but this was a first for me.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ann Coulter's Hug Refusal

When I was growing up, I learned that shaking hands had rules. Between a man and woman, the woman offered a hand if she wanted to. Between two men, they both shook hands. Between two women, the older woman could initiate the handshake.
Nobody suggested it was good manners to hug total strangers.
As a teacher, little kids hugged me. Sometimes their parents, grandparents, and aunts hugged me.
Still, there was some kind of relationship, not total strangers asking for hugs.
Hugs are for family members and really good friends I haven't seen in a while...a year or so.
A hug has no meaning if it is given to a stranger. Nobody should demand a hug from a stranger, much less to put somebody on the spot.
The poor manners exhibited were not from Ann Coulter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Not Very Full

I'm so impressed with this Little Gem Magnolia. More of the blooms are open now. The tree itself isn't very full, but the numerous blooms remind me of a decorated Christmas tree.
The knockout roses are finished with their first blooming cycle. I've bought 6-12-12 fertilizer, lime, and epsom salts to use on them. I've put everything except the lime out already. I will try to put the lime out tomorrow.

Butterfly Bush

A friend gave me a butterfly bush. It is covered with buds. The tag shows the color, but I'm anxious to see it for real. Sometimes the tags aren't correct. We had a butterfly bush in one place we lived. The directions I read said to leave the dead blooms on because they are gorgeous in a winter frost or snow...and they were.
I haven't decided where to put it, so it will have to stay on the porch for a bit until I decide where it will look best to me.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Good Timing

All the roses had bloomed and were ready for fertilizer and Epsom salts. Rain was predicted for today so I put the fertilizer and Epsom salts out yesterday. Usually I have to put the stuff out and then spend the rest of the day watering it in.
I saw a hummingbird perched and scratching itself today. I'd never seen a bird scratch itself. It was like a dog scratching, but really, really fast. I wonder what makes a hummingbird itch.

Great Cucumber!

I urged Larry to come see my vigorously growing cucumber plant with a huge bloom and lots of buds. He agreed it was wonderful, but not a cucumber. It was a gourd. I don't know how it got there because I didn't put gourd seeds in my tire towers. I didn't put gourd seeds there, either. But he was right; it was a gourd with a little gourd already on it. I pulled it up and put it in the compost bin.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Little Gem Magnolia Is Blooming:)

There are a lot of buds, but I wanted to show both the open blooms and an idea of the height of the tree. It has only been there since 2011.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Replanted Flower Bed

This year I decided to put nasturtiums in this flower bed. I started the seeds in the greenhouse and planted them today. Then I put the mulch out. This is the flower bed that had two snakes in it yesterday. I saw one of them again today.
I took the picture from the porch so some of my porch flowers show up in the foreground. The flower bed itself looks like a sand trap with mulch instead of sand.

Little Gem Magnolia

This magnolia isn't more than about four feet, so far. There are four blooms about to open just in this view. The first Little Gem we planted three years ago is about twelve feet tall and has at least thirty buds just from one angle. I didn't walk around to the other side.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Starbucks Coffee Break

I adore Latte Breve at Starbucks...and it's on my diet:)
So I have a cappuccino machine and coffee grinder. I have half and half. I bought the coffee beans from Starbucks and made my very own wonderful latte breve, not to mention a pretty good mess with the coffee grounds. Totally worth it!

Monday, May 18, 2015


I've had various files attached to my desktop and screensaver over the years. Today I decided to attach flowers, butterflies, and birds. The picture looks about like a rear view mirror, but it's my monitor.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Messy Flowers

 One of the problems with flowers is the mess they make when they are finished blooming. The picture above shows what peonies in full bloom look like after getting pelted with a little over three inches of rain.
 These irises were lovely, but now they need to be deadheaded and it's too wet to do very much.
I trimmed the flattened flowers for a little while today between showers. It's hard to totally clean one area because I keep wandering off to do something putting sevin dust on the strawberries, planting more pepper plants, weeding a section so I can plant stuff.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


We went from this May being the second driest on record yesterday to flash flood warnings.

Friday, May 15, 2015

No Rain...Still

The weather report will offer promise of rain, but nothing. It has been several weeks since we've had rain here. Seeds in the ground just sit there in the dust. I get really tired of watering plants, but I'm not overjoyed when they die of thirst, either.
So far today we've gotten a lot of wind and thunder...and not enough rain to settle the dust.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


A guy at the hospital grows his hair really long and then donates it to Locks of Love to give to children with permanent hair loss from certain kinds of cancer or treatment. I thought I might be interested in that but when I read about it, I found they didn't want gray hair. Well, that makes sense. Why would a kid want gray hair. So I read more and found that there are places that make wigs for female cancer patients who suffer hair loss. Well, they don't want gray hair either. It takes about eight donations to have enough hair for a wig so they dye the hair. Gray hair doesn't take dye the same as regular hair and the dye fades faster. I guess I'll keep my hair for a while longer. The guy who donates hair is way grayer than I am. The Locks of Love people say if the hair donation isn't suitable for making their wigs, they sell it to cover the cost of making the wigs. I would be all right with that, but the cancer victims who qualify are in a narrow range. I didn't finish reading determined to cut my hair really short and mail the pony tail to anybody.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Planting Stuff

Today when I got home from volunteering, I rested a bit, drank coffee, and then planted pepper seedlings in the garden, irises that a neighbor swapped for some of my irises, and sultanas. I still have a lot of plants to get off the porch.
We have evidence of an armadillo in our yard. They eat ants and termites among other things.
We've seen locust shells. One year they were awful. Larry said some guy on the radio who is retired from the agriculture department said this is one of their cycle years. He said which one but the cycles sound erratic

Monday, May 11, 2015

Praying Mantis Egg Case

Larry found a praying mantis egg case with tiny, almost transparent praying mantis crawling out. He put it in the pint jar and then put it in some ground cover.
After seeing it, I looked and found one on a blueberry bush. I didn't keep it though because it had a tiny hole in it and an ant crawled out.
I told Larry about it. He said the one he found had a tiny hole and an ant crawled out, but it had praying mantis, too. I went back and looked for the one I'd dropped, but it was dusk and I didn't see it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Compost Mistake

I had put five tires down at the east end of one of my rose strips, not the one parallel to the road. I put the tires there to prevent my neighbor from running over my roses with his four-wheeler. Then I decided to dump compost in the bottom, then potting soil when I was ready to plant.
Some animal dug down to the compost. I don't guess I should have put the compost directly into something I was going to plant. I should have mulched it first. I didn't think it would matter, but animals are not great respecters of plants.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Leftovers for Breakfast

Onions chipped up and already in the refrigerator added to the scrambled eggs, and sliced roast beef warmed up in the same skillet made a filling breakfast that was low carb although a little unusual.


It took three days to save up enough strawberries from my little garden for both of us to have a serving. Sometimes strawberries bought in a store are delicious, but sometimes they are just pretty. Ours were delicious:) Mostly they aren't very big. Maybe more soil amendments and water would be helpful.

Refrigerator Food

I like to keep something in the refrigerator that can serve as a side dish or snack for several days. Sometimes it's stuffed (or deviled) eggs, but mostly it's slaw. I add a can of red beans to my slaw.
I eat it as a side dish, but Larry eats it as a snack.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dark Red Iris

Some of the irises have finished, but others are just starting.

Pink Peonies

Today a couple of the pink peonies started to open. They have a lovely fragrance.

Knockout Roses

I have nineteen of these. They aren't all this tall, but several of them are. All of them are covered with blooms that have just started to open. They went from one or two blooms to dozens overnight. They are really easy to care for. They don't have to be deadheaded because the new growth covers the old.
If they had a rose scent, they would be perfect.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

White Peony

The white peony is in full bloom. It smells wonderful. The pink ones aren't open yet, but they are covered with fat buds.

Different Mulching

Larry weeds around what he wants to mulch, waters, mulches, and waters again.
I put newspaper down where I don't want grass or weeds. I don't water it. Then I pile mulch over the paper. I've used up all the newspaper I'd saved up so today I broke down cardboard boxes in the recycling bins at the hospital and used them as the base of the paths I want around my plants. Then I piled mulch over that. I was happy I thought about the cardboard boxes since they are free and should work even better than the newspaper. Weeds that start in the mulch pull up very easily and places where I've dug through to plant have moist soil and earthworms. I'm still not very happy about how heavy the buckets of mulch are, but I guess I could just half fill the buckets. That's tomorrow's plan.
Twice as many trips, but the gator makes that easy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Crocheted Necklaces

Today at the gift shop I sold the last of the necklaces I'd taken. I think people might have been buying them for Mother's Day. So I went to the lady that makes them and got some more. She pointed out that Mother's Day is Sunday. I told her I'm trying to get the people accustomed to the idea that they can buy handmade gifts for birthdays, cool things for themselves at reasonable prices, etc.
So she said she will make more and bring them to me:)


Putting out mulch isn't easy or fast, even with a gator. I'm willing to work on it a little at a time. It looks good when it's out there. It's good for the plants, holding moisture and keeping the soil cooler. But it's still tiring to put it out. 
I have a lot to do, still.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Moon Over Soho

This is the second book in Ben Aaronovitch's River series. The guy is of mixed race and objects to evil magicians being called black magicians.

Swapping Plants

Today I brought home three cucumber plants, two rose cuttings and two Rose of Sharon cuttings. I took columbine seeds and counted off how many angel wing begonias would go in a planter. I'll take those next Tuesday:)

Will You Help Me for a Minute?

I always answer yes. Today I said, "Yes. What do you want me to do?"
I had already said yes, but he rolled his eyes.
I will help you, but I want to know if I need my garden gloves, garden shoes, etc.
It is annoying to find out that I'm dressed for sitting on the porch but am in the garden getting dirt in my sandals! 
Give me a hint!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Nice Day

The weather was pleasant, the flowers are blooming, I picked five strawberries, the birds were flitting about...perfect day. Well, and a new audio series to listen to as I weeded and watered one of the flower beds helped add shine to the day.

New Series

I listened to Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch today. I like the Monsters Inc series and the Harry Dresden series, but for some reason, I was reluctant to try the River Series by Ben Aaronovitch. I'm glad I tried it. Also, "hose pipe" was used in it. Hose pipe is what we called a garden hose when I was growing up. My husband made fun of it until we were in Wales and the proprietor of the bed and breakfast where we stayed referred to his hose pipe as he was watering his garden:)

Tire Garden 5-15

I love how my garden grows.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

First Peony of the Year

I have seven peony plants loaded with buds. This is the first bloom. It has a lovely fragrance.

Grape Arbor

Larry built this arbor. They are putting on small clusters of muscadines.

Asparagus Replenishment

 We are letting the asparagus replenish the crowns.

Some of the stalks are head-high.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Foreign Quotations

I'm just about finished with the Dorothy Dunnett series...again. This time it is an audio format. Most of the quotations are French or Latin. I took Latin in high school a long time ago and French in college almost as long ago.
I like trying to figure out what they are saying based on the little I remember. I think what I come up with is similar to the Toyota commercial where the young man encounters a snake. The native he talks to says it isn't poisonous. All he gets out of that is poisonous. Then he deduces that he is immune to venom. My spotty translations of the foreign quotations are probably about that close.

Are You Paying?

The next time you ask me if I'm paying, we'd better be sitting outside Pizza Hut!

Another Iris

I don't have a big clump of these, but I'm hopeful for the future. It's beautiful.
A friend gave me a start of perennial carnations. I didn't know what color it was going to be until it bloomed. It has a number of buds, but this one is open, finally, and my curiosity is satisfied.

Japanese Maple

I wanted to show the size of this Japanese Maple. It is a draping maple, not one with an upright habit. It is only three years old. When the irises are finished blooming, I'm going to put the salmon-colored irises in front so the two colors will set off each other.  The small lavender plant is surviving.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Delphiniums are tall. I didn't want them to fall over so I bought tomato cages and watered the ground thoroughly so I could dig the holes and press the prongs of the tomato cages into the ground.
My first thought was a peony support but they are expensive and I needed six, three for the delphiniums and three for the lupines. The tomato cages were about $2.50 each.
If I ever get through planting, I'll mulch and it will look nicer.

Yellow and Purple Iris

 This iris is truly striking.
The knockout roses are beginning to open.