Monday, October 27, 2008

Stepping on Turtles, Roosters and Geckos

I love stepping stones of all kinds, and I have a lot of them. I have two turtle stepping stones in my front courtyard.

The green stuff is Desert Bluebell sprouts, already up and growing all around my yard. I think I made a mistake in not pulling them up before they went to seed this past spring. But, come February, I'm sure I'll be able to show you all the pictures as I gush all over them!

I painted a gecko on an extra piece of flagstone and added it to my collection. I need to reseal it. The gecko looks like it is fading away.

Before my friend's disability progressed to where she couldn't stand for very long, she made amazing stained glass pieces. She also incorporated the glass into the stepping stones. This humming bird is made with an iridescent glass, and when the sun hits it, it shimmers.

She developed all the patterns that she used for her hanging stained glass art, and then transferred those same patterns into stepping stones.

She made this rooster for me, which I have hanging in my kitchen window. I used to have a whole collection of rooster items back in the day when such a thing was all the rage. This is one of the few rooster themed things I kept.

Then for my birthday, she made the stepping stone to match.

When she moved, she gave me these few pieces. I have all of them in my very small side yard making a path that leads to the heat pump. I have a small seating area at the end of the trail. Kind of a tiny retreat, suitable for fairies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So Much For Hummingbirds!

I bought a cheap humming bird feeder from Wal-Mart and waited for the hummingbirds to come by the hundreds. Only one came, and I didn't have time to adjust my camera for a good shot.

Next came the neighborhood woodpecker! He sucked the nectar dry in just a few seconds!

Then a swarm of bees showed up, and they wouldn't leave even after a I hosed them down. The feeder was emptied by the woodpecker, so I don't know what they were doing--maybe sucking up fumes! In fact, they are still out there! My friend told me that I shouldn't use plastic feeders because of a fungus that builds up inside. She said to use glass only and clean it once a week. She also said to not use the packaged food as it contains red dye and that it could harm the birds. I think I will just take it down and forget the whole thing! Too complicated for me.

These are the kind of insects I like! Easy care, never demanding, don't sting or bite, just stay in the same place until I move them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Squirrel Visit Plus...

Every day for two weeks, this grey squirrel would run across the yard and jump into my potted nasturtium seedlings. This photo is the best I could get as I took the picture through a screened window so as not to disturb the squirrel. He would nap there for a few minutes and then hop out and look around--then run to the neighbor's yard.

These are the only nasturtiums that that survived the squirrel assault! I'm not sure what happened, but he hasn't been around for awhile. This is the first grey squirrel that I have ever seen in this region. They are not common in the desert. We have prairie dogs that are more like rats or miniature gophers, but no squirrels. I wonder if the grey squirrel was an import.

The Orange Jubilee is full of wasps and bees! They are having a hard time landing as the wind has been blowing pretty hard the past two days.

My Stocks are up and blooming! I didn't plant anything unusual again this year. I never order soon enough and never get to a good nursery to browse. Anyway, I know these will look good throughout the fall, winter and then last until May! I love them because the look and smell so good.

The Yellow Bells are abundant with flowers and are also full of bees, but the wasps didn't seem to take to the Yellows like they did the Orange.

The Petunias are looking good. A couple more weeks and everything will be in full bloom! Sweet peas are about 2 inches high and a few other seeds are sprouting. I'm not sure yet what they are. Remember, I like to be surprised! The winter rye grass will be lush and green by next week---Life is good once again. The weather is perfect, the swing swings nice , and I ordered a month's supply of NutriSystem meals. If I could just lose weight this won't matter to me who is President or how much taxes we will have to pay! Well, I'm going to rethink that one--I don't think skinny would make me like tax increases.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks

My son-in-law is an avid rock collector and has built many things from the rocks he collects. The fireplace is one of the first things he built about eight years ago, using some smooth river rocks.

Last year my daughter and S-I-L took out a dining room window and added french doors. This opened up the unused side yard. Last month they painted the fence an array of colors that reminded them of Mexico. The trip to Rocky Point is only about four hours from our homes. Being so close, it has been a popular vacation spot for "Zonies". The kids go down a few times a year. I stopped going after a skin cancer scare changed my attitude about lying around on the on the beach, soaking up rays. I miss it, as it was one of my most favorite things to do for many years! It's not a matter of just wearing sunscreen. I just shouldn't be out at all. Living in Arizona makes it difficult to avoid exposure to the sun.

My S-in-L has many buckets of rocks of all sizes and shapes. After my daughter and S-in-L painted all the sections of the block wall shown above, they decided to put rocks on the pilasters. Both my daughters, S-in-L and I finished the nine pilasters in one afternoon! The french door that leads out to this side yard retreat is surrounded by Honeysuckle vines. In the retreat area, Bougainvillea, as well as Hibiscus plants in many colors (My Son in law's favorite plant) surround the wall. It is a great place to hang out, and smells heavenly in the spring.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Swing Up And Ready For Occupancy

I finally found a canopy patio swing! I searched the Internet, and every store around the area and beyond, but all said swings are "out of season"! Hello--this is "the season" in the desert southwest! Anyway, it isn't the perfect one, but it will do. My last one had a nice plush look to it--this one is plain, but I just couldn't wait any longer. My flowers are all planted and I am ready to watch them grow!

I can't bear to pull up the last remaining Vincas. I wanted this bed for more sweet peas and if I don't get the seeds in soon it will be too late. I still haven't scattered any wildflower seeds--all this gardening stuff needs to be finished today because I'm really out of time as far as the weather. Even one week late in planting can make a difference come early spring, because if it get hot too fast, all the stuff dies off.

Haven't had a bloom on my hibiscus for a while so this one surprised me! We have dropped over 20 degrees in one day to a gorgeous 72 degree high, so all the newly planted flowers are just as happy as I am!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Evening Stroll

I just noticed the Coots have come back. A few were hanging out around the spray fountains. Soon, the sidewalks will be covered with Coot droppings. This is a yearly nuisance, and all the elaborate planning by the HOA did no good in getting rid of them.

My garden is in transition right now and it is pretty boring, so I'll take you on my evening walk around the lake. I live right across from the boat dock on the other side of the lake. I wanted to get a photo of the sunset, but I didn't judge the time right and just missed it.

This is our only hope found in these troubling times.