Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sunday Sundry

I don't have a thing to blog about, and nary a bloom in the garden! I found this lantana in bloom at my daughter's house. I think lantanas are far more interesting up close than from a distance, where you miss the details of each miniature flower head on the cluster.

In the heat of July, my son-in-law transplanted a dying sprig of lantana. Turned the hose on drip and kept it on for over 2 weeks straight! I told him that he was wasting his time--it was too hot to transplant, and then to add so much water. By August the cutting was all filled out and full of blooms! He has yet to say, "I told you so", but I know he secretly wants too. He definitely has a green thumb!

Ruellia brittoniana, also called Desert Petunia or Purple Showers.


In the passed two weeks I have attended two funerals. A total of five friends have passed away in the past two weeks and one is in ICU. It's been a sad week and year in many ways.

We have had record heat and the monsoon has been a big zero. Even desert plants are dying from the record heat and lack of rainfall. My large prickly pear is drooping and pads are falling off, even though it gets water. The sun's relentless intensity is just too much. It has been one hell of a time around here! But today, despite the heat, we are filling my two extended planters with soil and mulch. I'm ending up with 10 additional feet for more flowers this fall, winter and spring. Water lines are in, walls stuccoed and painted, seeds bought, and I'm just waiting for a couple weeks to pass to start planting! That is, if the heat lets up. I may have to wait a while longer if that happens, but then, the whole schedule is off and the plants suffer on the other end.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Greetings from Arizona!

Hubby moved the lawn mower this morning and found this baby Coon Tail rattle snake sound asleep underneath!

We grabbed a bucket and carefully lifted him in. He has one button and we are guessing he is about one year old.

They feed on small mammals like squirrels, rabbits, mice and birds. I would like to keep him around long enough to eat all the mice that have invaded the side yard! But...the venom is extremely dangerous and I HATE snakes--all snakes. When I see one I scream, run, and then shiver for hours after in disgust! They give birth to four to 23 live babies in the summer through fall, and that thought terrifies me, so we decided to release him far, far, away in the desert!

So--maybe that's why my squirrel visitor has not been back of late!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Craft Projects

A few months ago I made this fused glass meditation stick during a class I took sponsored by a Phoenix garden shop. Throughout the year they offer various arts and crafts classes, and this class seemed interesting and something new to me. The meditation stick was very simple to make. We chose various types and colors of glass and arranged it on a 1" x 10" strip of clear glass and secured it with Super Glue. During the subsequent firing of the piece, the glass bits melt into each other and fuse to the glass strip. Depending on the thickness and type of glass, some are thicker, some expand, others shrink, so you never know for sure what your stick will look like when finished.

Since the pieces of glass had to go with the instructor for firing later at her shop, everyone eagerly awaited their masterpieces! By the time we got them back, we couldn't really remember what we started with. Next time, I'll have to take a camera if I do any more fused glass classes! The class was fun for me as I enjoy art projects that can be done in just a few hours--even though I had to wait for the firing.

This took about 30 minutes from start to finish. I found these silver plate serving pieces in a junk drawer while decluttering this morning, and decided to make this simple wind chime. We (Hubby) flattened the four pieces in a vice--drilled a few holes-- I used fishing line to attach the forks to the spoon on top and voilĂ .....chimes! I thought I forgot to attach the teaspoon--went outside to check-- and there it was, hanging perfectly in line with the fork! They have a charming tinkling sound, just what I was looking for to compliment my Hawaiian bamboo chime and my beautiful tuned chimes.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sad, Sad Cemetery

This small town cemetery is only a few miles from my home. I've lived in this area my entire long life, and I don't ever remember going in to this cemetery, only passing by. A few years ago, according to my memory, the local newspaper had an article about someone renovating the cemetery. After building the nice fence along the roadway, I assumed it had been finished. I wasn't prepared for what I saw as I entered the gate. My heart sank at the sickening sight of neglect. I was afraid to walk though the area because of the sunken earth, large pot holes and grave markers unearthed. Everything was in a deplorable state! I was expecting to see a casket lying around!

Every now and then, a nice marker could be seen, mixed in with the potholes, piles of stones, and scattered cement slabs.

I was mortified to see the dirty, torn and tattered American Flag left hanging on this pole. It's probably been there for years!

Not even a cactus could grow here. Not a blade of grass or weed anywhere, even though fields of crops surrounded it on three sides. Very strange! Maybe pre-emergent agents have been sprayed there to cut out any maintenance.

A lot of wooden crosses, all unmarked, and some wooden fences surrounded two or more plots. Faded plastic flowers were placed on some graves and left to disintegrate.

The few I got close enough to read showed they were born in the 1800s. Not sure the date of the last one buried here as there was no plaque to be found.

Curious looking rock markers-what were they thinking? I guess it's an economical and creative way to mark a grave.

At least someone tried to leave a lasting tribute. It was so sad. I was so ashamed at the neglect of this cemetery that I almost didn't post this. I left there holding part of the sadness that seems to hang over this cemetery.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Agave Collapse!

My beautiful Agave Americana collapsed this morning! I was planted 18 years ago, and being the oldest living plant on my property, I am very upset!

This is the center exposed--pretty much hollowed out. It doesn't have any odor or any sort of liquid so far. This damage is caused by the same worm that is found in the bottles of mescal. Sometime the larvae do damage without any outward signs, then suddenly the agave wilts, collapses and dies. It eats on the nerve system of the agave.

The Agave Snout Weevil also eats the roots, and in the process, leaves areas where bacterial infections fester, which then rots the plant. This happens in the summertime when the bug is still a larvae. Text book example--yesterday it looked perfectly healthy! Oh well, I'll try to stay positive. It was planted in the wrong spot anyway! I made the mistake many homeowners make--not taking into account the mature size when deciding where the plant will go. But come to think of it, maybe it was a volunteer pup from my neighbor's plant. At my age trying to remember the origin of this plant after 18 years is a stretch, but again, staying positive, if that's the fact, then it wasn't MY fault for lack of planning!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Nothing...

Since this is a "blog about nothing" and my complete lack of anything else to write about lately, I figured I'd show my collection of various button pins left over from the days I owned a health food store. I must have a trunkful of these somewhere around this house! Every vendor passed out plenty of them, and I just tossed them in a box over the years and forgot about them.

Some others are from who knows where. I don't sew or have ever belonged to a union. I think the Grand kids watched the Ninja Turtles while they were popular.

The oldest in the bunch is the Barry Goldwater button. Mr. Goldwater was an Arizona native who ran for President in 1964, with the campaign slogan, "In your gut you know he is right." He always said exactly what was on his mind and that cost him the election to Lyndon Johnson. I'm guessing on this as I was a young mother not interested at all in politics in those days.

These are going in the Goodwill box--another useless possession that keeps me attached to the past! Clutter often creeps back into my life but I find that at this age it is easier to release all the litter! According to the Chinese art of Feng Shui, "clutter clearing" is powerful and will bring amazing life changes. I wonder how much more I need to get rid of before the "purification" rewards come my way?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summertime Projects: One Down

Another ambitious project started and one finished! I am enlarging a flower bed on my north-facing wall. I want to increase the space for MORE FLOWERS! This will give me four extra feet in planting length. Soon, installation on the long-needed sidewalk will begin.

We finished the west-facing garage door insulation, and adding it has made a significant difference to the temperatures inside the garage. Now, it's about 115 instead of 140! Should have done it18 years ago but thought it would be a lot more expensive and labor intensive, so we never even investigated the project seriously until we saw one someone had installed a few weeks ago. We could feel the difference it made to their garage temperature, so the decision was made and now it's one project down and two to go.

The only plant in bloom in my garden-the newly identified mystery plant is a Hollyhock. It only has one stem with buds and blooms. The flowers are small and the plant is only about 12 inches high. Normally they get about six feet tall in this part of the country, but that's if they are planted for early spring flowering. Since this was a volunteer plant, I guess it got confused on schedules or something.

Compass barrel cactus is in bloom, with a few dried fruit still left from last year's flowers. This barrel is in my front yard, and so I don't count it as part of my backyard garden oasis.

Most of my plants, including some of the vincas, are dead! Never before have I lost vincas because of the heat...with no cloud cover, 110+ temperatures and a lack of summer rain--I count myself lucky to have any at all left! I started buying seeds for fall planting-I always buy many packets of Sweet peas. Can't wait!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hope and Change! Yes We Can!

Finally, a bloom on this unknown plant. Still don't have a clue as to what it is.

The purple flower is surrounded by numerous buds. It should be striking after they all bloom!

I bought this Purslane "Oasis Yellow" at Lowe's today from the 75 percent off table. It was $4.00. It is in good shape, so I thought I would take a chance with it. I have it in the shade on my patio, so hopefully, it will flourish!

I think this is the first time this Rain Lilly has ever bloomed. Of course, I can't remember squat, so it may have bloomed several times in the past for all I know! Sometimes I feel like a duck because as ducks do, I blink, and I'm in a new world. LOL. (Well, I am, after all, Pudgeduck!)

Not much else happening in the garden. I do have grandiose plans for three raised planters on the north wall. After the obvious demise of Turr Tull, I am going to tear down his house and see what has happened to him. I'm hoping that he simply found the gate open and crept away unnoticed.

Hubby and I will try to do this ourselves despite the heat--and old age! I can't focus on more than one thing at a time, but I have four projects going now. We are painting a few walls in the kitchen, insulating the garage door, preparing the side yard for a sidewalk and the major planting bed redo. I tell my hubby that the changes we make will keep us young, that we can't just settle in for the twilight years. That's what seems to happen with older folks. They then can't take any change at all. We have to suck it up and keep the motor running! YES WE CAN! I'll let you know. HOPE AND CHANGE. My hubby says I should keep the hope and he'll keep the change. Sounds like a joke I heard recently.