Bloomin’ Shamrock!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Shamrocks also bloom! Brought these home from Trader Joe’s.

I’ll try to find a shady place to plant them. Our California cousins, Pat & Mike, grow them in their yard in Orange County, but the ones they gave us years ago sadly died out. Not sure how happy they’ll be about this drought. We’re only allowed to water twice a week.

Bloom Boom



I love the happy sun-faces of these gazanias.  There were more of these in our yard when we first moved here than almost anything else.


Peach bud. The warm weather has inspired everything to bloom. It’s awfully early, and there will probably be a freeze between now and fruiting time.


Apricot blossoms. I did not enhance the colors in this, I promise you.


Surprised at how big these African daisies are.  I thought this plant had about worn itself out.


Vinca. Not a lot of blossoms yet, but they make a nice groundcover on one of our slopes.


Looking down at the tops of lavender blossoms. Only one of the three lavenders I planted our first year survives.


Psych!  Fake flowers and fake rooster.

Our rosemary shrubs are just covered in blossoms and the bees are audibly happy about it. I would love to taste rosemary honey!


Backdoor Birding


Gorgeous blue jay on Kitty’s back deck.  We get scrub jays in our Acton, CA back yard. They don’t have that lovely crest.


The clever nuthatch. These are so fun to watch. They have no issue with skittering around the bark of the ash tree, going upside down at will.  This one took a couple of seeds onto the branch and opened it there.


The wily titmouse! Very hard to get a shot of these as they stay on the move.

Kitty’s back deck is set up perfectly for bird watching, though. A rocking chair in front of sliding glass doors, no less!


My little buddy. I bonded pretty heavily with this guy while in Indiana. It was hard to say goodbye when the time came to go home.


Having a Quail of a Time


Baby quail on our back patio with its mom.  Dad hung out on the roof of the garage to keep a look out, and these two poked around for about twenty minutes.  Surprising to see only one young ‘un trailing along behind.  This is the smallest we’ve ever seen in our yard.


Resting for a moment in the sun.  See the little tuft on her/his forehead where the top knot will develop?   This one is learning to scratch the ground.  S/he  accidentally scooted backward a couple of times instead of scratching.



Mom  got a couple of feet away while s/he wasn’t looking.  “Hey, Mom!”

Hydra scattered some seeds around the back of the shed so they don’t have to be quite so exposed.  Sure love seeing these critters.



5 x 5 : Day Five – Going with the Flow


Finally, the ink is flowing again! I had a frustrating couple of weeks wondering why my pens were all choking on me.

It has been confirmed that the problem with all of my fountain pens was that the ink had dried up a bit. The little cardboard insert in the top of the LAMY ink bottle kept coming off every time I opened it, so maybe no matter how well I thought I tightened it, it wasn’t working. Bought a bottle of Parker ink for the first time and it’s working great. Such a relief! Because I do like to start most days writing by hand at least a little bit.

Hydra fixed the door so we could switch to a nice brushed nickel handle that matches the rest of the hardware in the guest bathroom.  Why didn’t this occur to me before?  Some stuff you just don’t see in your house until you do. Door is now painted a fresh Quail Egg white which matches the main rooms of the house.  Still need to put some artwork in there and figure out a pattern to paint the mirror frame.

So many times we in the States decorate like we’re going to sell the house next week, with no color at all. We watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel again last night and I was so jealous of all the color in the houses!


I applied the final coat of Mod Podge to the cover of my next writing notebook. I have used these amazing sturdy notebooks off and on for close to twenty years, I suppose. The past few years I’ve been using nice journals from bookstores, or most lately some spiral bound sketch books. I like the lack of lines, but I carry them around too much and the spirals start getting bent. This one is heavy, but I”m actually excited about getting back into it. Perfect paper.


Yes, I am playing this instrument!  It’s on loan from Janice and Andy, but reportedly LDub picked up a washboard for me at the hardware store in Fillmore last week. 😀

Spent some time practicing The Harmonistas’ mash up of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More and Hedy West’s Cotton Mill Girls this afternoon. As LDub pointed out, I come from a jazz vocals point of view, but I’ve learned to yodel and play the washboard for The Harmonistas.  We’ve all stretched as we’ve played and arranged together.

Think good thoughts for us as we compete at The Topanga Banjo/Fiddle Contest on Sunday!



Time to start harvesting the apricots!  I picked what I could and then shook the tree so that those up high fell to the ground. Some of them cracked open upon landing, so I cut them up and had them with supper. Most of them aren’t quite ripe enough to eat, but leaving them on the tree too long sometimes means the birds and squirrels get most of them.  The rabbits eat the ones that fall to the ground.



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.


Playdate at LDub’s



The Harmonistas had another afternoon and overnight rehearsal over the weekend, this time at LDub’s. She and I share an affection for the texture of worn things. It’s called wabi sabi by some.  I love the creamy color of this enameled can, and the feeling that it was once part of someone’s daily life.


Wonderful old kettle.



New thing: a solar powered globe, with basil.


Let it be. Broken pot.

DSC_5196Backlit ferns.  What a glorious morning


That’s not a white stripe of paint. That’s sunlight.


LDub was proud of this spider egg sac, which produced a kind of spider she likes to have around.


Industrious web building.


Found an avocado in the grass as I was creeping around. It’s like an Easter egg hunt in LDub’s back yard.  Yum!

The Birds and the Bees


Out in the back yard reading a draft of my friend Shari’s novel and watching the birds.  Finches on a date.


House finch in the apricot tree.


This hummer was totally flirting with me, popping up from behind the hedge, buzzing around in the shadows.  But I did get this!


Bees!  So many that I could hear them buzzing together as they enjoyed the early blooms. Yay, bees!


It is so hard to get a shot of the shy junco. He blends right in with the seeds!


Quoth the raven, “Wrah wrah wrah wrah wrah!”


Taking off.


And, no, being a raven is not all elegance all the time.


p.s. How do you like this super spy shot?  The neighbor set up a target on the fire road behind his house, about 30 feet as the crow flies from where I was sitting. Some sort of annoying air gun. Wiffft- thunk!

I just barely refrained from running over there and whacking him over the head with a copy of the community Covenants Conditions and Restrictions. I am pretty sure that target practice in the neighborhood is out, let alone on community property.

Okay, deep breath. Back to the birds and the bees, and the six bunnies I saw in the yard earlier today…two of whom had relations right outside the library window.

Walls & Walks – Street Art


I wonder if anyone is keeping track of these amazing terrazzo inlays in downtown L.A.  This is outside the Starbucks on 6th & Spring.  There are a number of these that seem to sprout from abused doorways.  They always make me wonder what the shops behind them were like when they were installed. It would be great if L.A. cleaned its sidewalks like Paris does.

OneL and I visited Clifton’s Cafeteria in 2009 and I took some shots of the detailed terrazzo images in front of it, that you can see here if you want. I hope they reopen soon and haven’t changed it too much.


Some more street art from last week’s trip to downtown Los Angeles.  Red banana-suit person.  I think this was on Broadway.


Also on Broadway…or Spring?  The paint is starting to shred and peel, which gives this a 3-dimensional quality when seen from up close.


This woman is looking back at the man in the previous photo.  At first I thought the sunlight would ruin the shot, but now I kind of like the effect.

P1000274Some one made this little arrangement of fallen camillia blossoms in the verge between the sidewalk and the road. This is in Toluca Lake, not downtown L.A., but I thought it was very friendly.


And this one.  There was also just one blossom against the base of the next tree.

Thanks, person.  That was nice.