Outside In

ElDub stayed the night at our place after The Harmonistas played an assisted living home in Apple Valley. It broke up her looooong drive from Camarillo, and gave me an excuse to bring some of the flowers in from the yard.

The roses mostly came from our miniature pink rose in the front. There are also sprigs of rosemary, lavender flowers, sage flowers, and privet blooms.  Fun going around the yard snipping!



Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

DSC_5432 Vinca peeking through a shrub.

To our place!  When we arrived here, there were so many weeds on the slope and so many of them were prickery, that I thought of it as Thistlehaven Gardens.  That has slowly changed over the 13 1/2 years we’ve been here.

There is so much going on in our yard right now, I thought I’d take pictures of everything that’s blooming right now.  As I type this up, I realize that I am missing photos of the thyme, which has tiny white blossoms, and our big euonymus shrub, which has wonderful smelling flowers that you don’t really notice because they’re the same color as the variegated leaves. We’ll see if I’m enough of a completionist to go take the photos and update this later.

If you know the names of any of the plants I haven’t named or if you see anything labeled wrong, I’d  love to hear it!

If you click on the first photo in the gallery below, you’ll see a bigger image and hopefully be able to use the arrow to move through the gallery.


Hoosier Sunday – Sunday 6/21/2009

Mom holds a nest I found while trimming one of the shrubs yesterday. Isn’t it beautiful?

Cool mural in an alley in Churubusco, IN.

Mom, Pegerty and I ditch our shoes on the way into the maze of plantings that is Joy’s Flowers.

They look like blossoms, don’t they?

Interesting little platforms leading up to a tiny window. Hmm.

Worked up an appetite, so we stopped at the Magic Wand in ‘Busco. Great sign. Inside the diner: grilled tenderloin. Wish I’d seen the huge, decorated (presumably empty) hornet’s nest hanging over the booth next to ours before we walked out. An interesting addition to the clown motif inside.

Turtle Days just ended last night. They used to think there was a giant (Loch Ness style) turtle living in a lake near Churubusco. The rumor was still going when I was in school. Here’s the story as it’s told by the Chamber of Commerce.

Ended up in Columbia City again, where Pegerty and I walked downtown and spent a little time chatting in the gazebo on the courthouse lawn and watching the sunlight drain from the sky. Stopped by Beans’ place on the way home.


Hydra Hits the Trail! – Thursday 5/28/2009

Look at that intrepid explorer! Just 10 days after surgery to repair that meniscus tear (Ooh! Look, ma! No spellchecker!), he’s on the trail again. They write songs about stuff like this!

Admittedly, the going was about half of our usual pace, but really really good for a guy who had a camera and a knife in his knee joint so recently! Beautiful day for it.

Around the far side of the neighborhood… Is that fire road looking a little long to anyone else?

As I was taking photos of these cactus flowers, bees kept diving into them and burying their faces in the middle. Can you see the one that took a header into this bloom?

Oleanders down by the mailboxes.

The neighbor’s coreopsis. The neighborhood is lit up with flowers these days!

We arrived home to discover ground squirrels nibbling on the tender cucumber sprouts I planted. And this container has herbs in it that I started from seed. Herb soup. Sigh. Hopefully I saved some of them.

Found about six ounces of beef in the freezer and used up the carrots, celery and some of the red potatoes making this soup. Also called in the help of Better Than Boullion to flesh out the soup, so to speak. Used fresh thyme and mint for seasoning.

Hint: When using fresh herbs that have stems in soups and stews, don’t bother nipping off all the leaves. Just put the whole sprig in the soup. The leaves will cook off and you can easily pull out the stems before serving.

Sundry Drive – Sunday 5/3/2009

We decided to drive out to the Rock Inn in Lake Hughes for lunch on Sunday.

There’s a better photo of the whole place at their website. Apparently, they’ve stopped calling it Harley’s Rock Inn, and are playing up the historic aspect of this 80+ year old hotel and restaurant. I wish I had taken a shot of all the gleaming Harley’s and Harley-wanna-be bikes out front of the restaurant.

It’s pretty loud on a Sunday afternoon. Wonder how much sleep one’s likely to get in the hotel on a Saturday night. There is really not much else to this little town, except Papa’s Market across the street.

Love the backs on these bar stools. It’s quite a crowd. Lots of middle-aged weekend bikers mixed with real mildly alarming bikers.

Hydra walks into a biker bar wearing the Detroit Redwings hat his cousin brought him from Michigan. There’s a hockey game on the tube in the corner. Yep, you got it: Detroit Redwings v. Anaheim Ducks in Stanley Cup playoffs!

There’s a heavily tattooed, drunk, serious biker dude behind us yelling nearly incoherantly from time to time, but apparently in synchronization with what’s going on in the hockey game. It takes us a while to figure out he’s rooting for the Redwings. Whew.

I like this elderly lady sitting by the window reading a book and drinking coffee. I expect to be that woman when I am her age.

On the way back, we stop to look at the new electricity transmission lines going in. I think these are going to help get the energy being created by the wind farms in Tehachapi down to the folks in Santa Clarita and beyond. The pieces look like giant tinker toys.

Hydra admits that he has seen pieces of these things being airlifted in by helicopter from his commute up Bouquet Canyon and Vasquez Canyon roads. Harumph! Why was I not alerted sooner!?

The idyllic Pitchfork llama ranch.

This llama, not wanting to be sold and carted away from paradise, heads for the brush.

Back at home after running errands, I return to the scene of the yard work. Tore out or moved old straggling African Daisies and planted new ones.

Added new soil and rearranged the rocks. These will fill in nicely through the summer.

Added a pot of Gerbera daisies and some geraniums to the front porch. A little color in amongst the succulents. Also started cucumber and herb seeds in one of those peat-pot starter terrariums.

Okay, now a plea for help. Has anyone ever had a pair of this style of grass shears that actually works? I’ve bought probably 3 pairs in the past 8 years and none of them have done much more than crimp the grass. Do you know of a brand that works?

NaPoWriMo : No Fooling! – Tuesday 4/1/2009

I am pretty sure that I take a photo of the gazanias in the midst of the ice plant every year. Just such a lovely beginning to spring. Both of these plants were in the yard when we bought the house.

The apricot tree was also here. See the little apricots? They’re about the size of green olives right now.

Dodger and I went out to the table on the deck to write. We spent a lot of time listening to all the birds visiting in the yard, and even spotted a (fairly unusual) bright orange Oriole in the willow!

I’m participating in NaPoWriMo with some of my online friends. What, you ask?

It’s National Poetry Writing Month! If you want to join in and would like some inspiration, go to Read Write Poem, where the bloggers offer daily poetry exercises for the month of April. There’s still time to catch up! (Post a poem here, if you like!)

Believe me, writing a poem a day for 30 days is way saner than writing a novel in the same amount of time. For long-form writers like me, it’s a nice way to focus on brevity and have a little fun. No pressure for me to write good ones, either. I’m not a poet.

I’m not going to put up all my poems, but since you’re here, here’s the first one.

April 1:

Bird Song

Within the unbudded honeysuckle,
sparrow peeps pleas to his best girl.
Finch thrums passion
beak to beak in the apricot tree.
Fragrant rosemary dark
harbors dove’s croon and coddle.
Oriole dances saucily on the willow branch
tail left, tail right, step step.
Quail whistles wittily from the juniper.
Raven glides close upon his love’s glossy crown,
folds wing over wing as they rise over the greening hill.
Me? I hum Beatles tunes
beneath your berry pie kitchen window.

Poppies Popping – Saturday 3/14/2009

The poppies are starting up a little early this year, thanks to all the rain. Most of them are up on inaccessible hills in our area.

According to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve’s website, the poppies aren’t in full bloom yet.

We have a few in our yard. Most of the flowers on the hills near us are smaller yellow and purple flowers.

These were taken on Soledad Canyon Road.

Thanksgiving – Thursday 11/27/2008

While we had Thanksgiving dinner, a bird of a different feather watched us from Cuz-M and Cuz-P’s back yard.

I wandered around taking photos of the paving stones Cuz-P makes, and the flowers in their yard.

I love the way their white washed fence sets off the roses!

The person who gave them the cutting that these shamrocks grew from says he brought it over from Ireland himself. I didn’t realize that it had blossoms.

One of many blooms on this shrub.


After a long day of making us feel at home, Le Roi is bushed. Fuzzy photo because I didn’t want to use the flash.

Hydra naps. As it turns out he was at the beginning of a weekend long illness. Let’s just say he didn’t keep his Thanksgiving dinner very long.