Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tragedies and Triumphs

My favorite cactus, Melocactus matanzanus, potted in my favortie clay pot, has turned to mush! I take full resposibilty for its demise. Overwatering is the reason this happened, and its clearly my fault! I am so ashamed! I was preparing it for a blue ribbon for next year's Cactus and Succulent Society Show. Well, at least the pot can be reused.

While walking throught the neighborhood, I spotted this Saguaro in bloom, and life became bearable once again. You can see the hole where the woodpeckers did their thing, and where cactus wrens take up residence for incubating eggs. It doesn't hurt the cactus at all.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tropical Fruit--Someday Maybe

My Pineapple Guava bloomed today. This evergreen plant is a favorite in the garden. It takes full Arizona sun, is slow growing and the petals are edible! I tasted some this morning and I like the hint of sweet.

This great desert plant looks a little tropical--it's from the mountains of southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay. It produces small green fruits if properly pollinated. I only have the one plant and untill I find room for another, I will just enjoy the petals!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Number Five

This is the fifth tree I have planted in my front yard over the past 16 years. I have had a multi-trunk Acacia, two other trees that I don't remember the names of, and a Weeping Acacia. In addition, I had two large Saguaro cacti. They seem to grow fine for a few years, but then unknown factors cause them die, or the wind gets them.

After the first tree blew over in a strong wind, I found out that I didn't know how to water properly. Now, I soak them overnight every two weeks to establish a deep root system. I don't have much room to plant, so I'm hoping that planting just few feet away from the last tree will make a difference. I choose the Desert Museum Palo Verde because of the fact it does not have any thorns and I will be the one to prune it. It reaches the mature height and width of about 20-25 feet. It will flower until late spring; maybe until the end of May.

I'm thinking about watering often (but deeply) to get the height I need to shade my cactus and patio area before the blazing summer sun arrives. I purchased and planted the 15-gallon tree February 15th. It has grown about a foot. At my age I don't even buy green bananas, and shouldn't buy 15-gallon trees hoping they'll mature in my lifetime!

Hopefully this Palo Verde won't be dillydallying around and will just shoot up.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Birthday Gift

A big box arrived today...

A birthday gift. Another diet!

In fact, most of my adult life starts with a diet on my birthday. This is the eighth time I have started on the NutriSystem program. I first started the NutriSystem program in 1990. I lost the 35 pounds that I had gained after I stopped smoking in 1982. I have aways lost weight on the diet; sometimes I even got to my goal before I got sick of the food. My problem has always been portion control and NutriSystem takes care of that! The Atkins diet always appealed to me because I could eat a lot of food but I never stayed with it very long because when the fruits I love come in season, I couldn't resist. Every season brought another fruit! I tred Weight Watchers a few times, but again, I can't control portions, so I always over ate.

I ordered my favorite NutriSystem foods. Funny that in real life, I never eat pancakes, mashed potato or BBQ beef--which are just the foods I ordered.

I won't make this into a diet blog- so the only time you will hear about my weight will be when I start another diet, or when I reach my goal weight. It will probably be about another diet!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blooming in the Garden Today

The wind has flattened most all the rock rose orchids! We've had wind for days now, along with temperatures in the 90s.

Sweet peas ready to be delivered to friends and relatives.
The pollen, stirred up by the wind, has really stirred up my allergies. Everyone seems to be suffering from the abundance of pollen this year. All this because we got much needed rain from November through February. A mixed blessing for sure.

This poppy, or rock rose, (who knows?) bloomed this morning. It was stunning among the deep purple rock rose orchids. The wind had been blowing so hard that the plants were flattened, so I thought I'd rescue this one. I picked it and a few more to enjoy, and they lasted about 45 minutes in the vase. They are definitely not cut flower material! The petals on the rest of them had already blown away, so these would have been lost anyway.

This cactus bloomed today. I think it's some species of Parodia, but Parodia usually don't clump, so I guess I'll just enjoy the gorgeous flowers without concern for its identity. The only one who cares is my sis, who always wants to know the genus and species in case she wants to get one too.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rings and Things and Buttons and Bows

My Aunt Lucy had a collection of buttons she kept in an old fruit cake tin. When I visited my Uncle for the first time at his Chicago co-op home in 1989, I felt like I had walked onto the set of "The Honeymooners". Everything in his home was exactly as it was when they married in 1942! They never moved the furniture from where it was placed, used the same china and silver they received at their wedding, and never replaced the stove or fridge. The freezer needed defrosting. but everything was in perfect shape.The curtain cover that hung around the kitchen sink was clean and pressed, but it was the same one from 50 years ago! An antique toaster--still used--sat on the gas stove.

Do you know anyone these days that would use an old #2 pencil, as shown above, sharpened down to this size?

Everything that was inside the old cake tin went onto this box; buttons, belt buckles, thimbles, needle, needle threaders, hooks and eyes, bobbins, and snaps. It makes a nice memento, and it's also useful. It holds many papers and miscellaneous doo-dads that had belonged to my uncle and aunt.