A Little Adventure and Some More Flowers

You Guys!! Did we ever have an adventure around here yesterday. I was gone most of the day. So when I came home, I followed the same routine I always do–I come in through the studio door, find Noah’s bark collar, let him out of his crate, put the collar on, let Bess out of her crate, and then open the door to the mudroom. They both run out through the doggie door, and I follow through the human door. As soon as Noah got outside, he barked once (bark collar) and that’s not that unusual. As soon as I got out the door, I heard something that sounded like one of my pipes or hoses had sprung a big leak and was spraying water somewhere. So I turned my head in the direction of the sound…. and there, curled up in the corner of the house, RIGHT NEXT TO THE DOGGIE DOOR, was a HUGE rattlesnake. He was hissing and rattling, and that was the sound that I heard!!!

Here’s a picture of where he was, you can see how close he was to the doggie door.

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So even though I was hyperventilating, I managed to get Noah to come to me, and picked Bess up, and took them carefully in the house. The snake never stopped hissing and rattling, but he didn’t move from his corner. I put the hard plastic thingie in the doggie door (just in case he decided to come inside) and got the dogs back in their crates, and called my neighbors (the best neighbors in the whole wide world,) and asked in a very shaky voice “is Tom there?” So Debbie sent him over. It seemed like it took forever for him to get here (they live about 1/2 mile away.) The whole time I was pacing around the house, and then peaking through the mud room window to make sure the snake didn’t move. That would have been even worse, not knowing where it was!

So….you can see the “scar” on the siding there. Just one shot, and it was over. I made myself spend time outside watering the garden so I wouldn’t get all paranoid about being outside. If I was a better blogger, I would have gone out and taken a long distance shot of the snake while I was waiting for Tom to get over here. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

And to end on a pleasant note–one last look at the rose bouquet in the oak tree.

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And a close-up shot of one of the prettiest roses I’ve had this year…

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I love these liriope so much. I have five of them and this is the only one that bloomed. I’ve done a little research, and I think I’ll just move all of them to a different location to see if I can make them happier next year.

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The color and the substance of the blooms just fascinates me.

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I hope you had a great weekend.

In The Garden–What Season Is It?

My oldest laceleaf Japanese Maple thinks its fall. I think it got a little dry and so it decided it was time to change colors!

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Is it spring? The rose bouquet in the oak tree fascinates me🙂

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There are at least six blooms up there!

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It must be summer. All the annuals continue to thrive.

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The white marigolds have finally started blooming in earnest. I put the short ones in too early this spring, and I think they did worse than if I had just been patient and put them in later.

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I bought a new hibiscus a few weeks ago. Couldn’t resist, even though I know its not frost-hardy. Aren’t the blooms beautiful?

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Beautiful, yes. But a bit too close to pink–Sophie was EXTREMELY interested.

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Ha! A Sophie-proof container. Every morning she stops below the pot and stares wistfully up at the blooms. And then she goes and chomps down one of the little blooms on the Abutilon. Her look says “they’re not nearly as tasty, but they’ll do in a pinch.”

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I am enjoying the garden and the cooler temps we are having. I hope you all take time to smell the roses along the way.

Summer’s Bounty

This summer I am taking advantage of the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are available this time of year. I hope you are enjoying them as well!

A summer veggie bake–just tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and a bit of parmesan on top.

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Blackberries so ripe and sweet, even I did not need to add sweetener🙂

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Green beans! Yes, I boil them, and add about a teaspoon of butter per serving. A very worthy addition.

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Peaches have arrived!

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And good tomatoes! I forgo the oil in a caprese salad–just the balsamic vinegar, some basil, and one ounce of fresh mozzarella. Costco came out with some little “singles” of the fresh mozzarella–just right for a single person like me!

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Also frequently seen this summer: cantaloupe, with and without cottage cheese, watermelon, broccoli salad, taco salad, and blueberries–usually baked into something or other, or made into my blueberry apple compote–perfect with yogurt and a bit of granola.

Another new product I found was some uncooked corn tortillas–good directions on cooking them, and so delicious–only 60 calories!

Dinner tonight: Canteloupe and cottage cheese, and one of my favorite stir-fry combos: zucchini, fresh corn, and onions. And am I the last one in the world to discover that fresh grown onions taste SO MUCH BETTER than store bought onions???

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Honestly, I can get on board with minimizing sugar, eliminating processed foods, increasing protein. But when I bite into a perfect piece of fruit, I CANNOT fathom giving that up for the rest of my life like some people do. I just don’t get it. If you just don’t like fruit, that I get. But if you are giving it up because it “makes you gain weight,” that I don’t get. Its one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

That said, I did see a very funny Jim Gaffigan riff on fruit “who likes fruit?” And I remembered how, when I was very overweight, I didn’t eat fruit, because I needed more room for cookies…….

The Other Dog Days of Summer

Sophie pointed out to me that I had misrepresented the Dog Days of Summer. “imagine, if you will, the nerve of her doing a post and misabusing ourselves and then not even a mention of us, except in the most exculpatory and unflattering way possible.” (said in the high squeaky voice of a little dog who does like to put on airs.)

So here, then, is a photo essay on “the other dog days of summer.”

There’s something over there.

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When Chloe is excited (which is a majority of the time) she has to grab her bone for a chew.

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Whaaaat??? Don’t you know the sun is in my eyes?

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There’s SOMETHING over there.

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Sophie caught chewing on a plant that USED to have pink blossoms.

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Really. There’s SOMETHING over there. Why don’t you believe me?

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All four girls got a bath today. Doing my best to stave off the dog days of summer🙂

 

The Dog Days of Summer

This is the time when, for me, I just have to muscle through and keep taking care of the garden. There is not the huge reward of the springtime blooms. But the plants still need water, more than ever. I am looking forward to fall color from the Japanese Maples, so that is a motivating factor, and I’m babying along a few plants that will reward me with blooms next spring. I still buy a few plants at the nursery to motivate myself, and also to fill in some empty spots and add a bit more color to the garden.

Most of my flowering bushes are huge, and I’m letting them go for now, hoping for a big springtime show, and then I WILL PRUNE them. In the meantime, I keep reading up on the best ways to prune the various plants. MLG has been over, and has helped transplant a few plants, trying to find just the right spot for each of them.

Here’s the scene this week.

The phlox are really huge and tall this year. I cut back the rose of sharon after its first bloom, and it has continued to send out a few buds. I like that geranium that I put in the ground, so I will do that next year (usually I put them in pots.) And I like the salvia, but this year there wasn’t much of it that came back, so I will have to buy another little six-pack.

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Best buy this summer: a big $2.50 investment of a six pack of these zinnias. They grew like crazy, and have filled in the area behind the carnation patch.

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So I got another zinnia, a little bigger variety.

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And then I found a GIANT zinnia this week🙂

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These gaillardia have done much better this year. Funny what a little water can do for a plant🙂

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This is the stupidest rose bush. Can you see that huge long stem, going all the way up into the oak tree??? This is the kind of thing that makes me want to replace plants. I am thinking about replacing several of my roses. If you’re going to spend the time and effort to care for roses, I think they should be really nice roses, don’t you?

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Here’s the top of that rose, blooming up in the oak branches.

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I really like this hydrangea, but it does this every year. The branches don’t seem to be strong enough to support the big flower heads, and so they all bow down like this. I’m going to do some research to see what I can do to encourage stronger stems. Otherwise, I LOVE this hydrangea, and I really love that it blooms in August and looks so nice.

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I transplanted this liriope. I really like them, and I have several of them. This one is the only one that is blooming. Boo…

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I like this little pink vine, and the new marigolds seem to have taken hold.

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Here. This is what a lot of the garden looks like. Kind of sad and messy. Those purple penstemon just kind of fall over on the ground, and the other firecracker blooms are so rangy. Oh, but you know what? This is where I planted the cleome seeds that Lori sent me, and I THINK that one of them might be growing. Also, it looks like there is a healthy lupine growing, and so maybe that came from Lori in with the cleome seeds. I asked at the local nursery about cleome, and she said that they just aren’t available out here, but that she had other customers from the east coast that also inquired about them. Interesting, don’t you think?

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This double impatiens is so pretty, but this is what it always looks like. I think its just too hot for an impatien to be happy. If I move it further into the shade, it doesn’t bloom at all.

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Also, I think its called the dog days of summer because this is the time everything is so dry, and the dogs bring bits of the outdoors inside every time they come in and out…its a conundrum–do I clean, or do I water?

Re-Entry…Random Thoughts from a Trip

Re-entry…its hard sometimes. A day of travel just wipes you out. A little trip to Colorado seemed so easy–just a 2 1/2 hour flight, no lay-overs! But then you add on the drive to   the airport, the never-ending shuttles to get you here and there in the airport, long waits in line, and the three hour drive to your destination, and its a whole long day of travel. Nevertheless, I am home. And so happy to be here, even if I am too tired to look happy🙂

Glad to be back to my routines, and somewhat anxious to return to those routines. But still too tired to jump right in. Had my own blueberry scone and coffee this morning, and then was hankering for a little more. I just so happened to be reading Biz’s blog, and found her recipe for banana-chocolate chip muffins, and thought I’d give them a try, with a few of my own variations, of course!

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While I waited for them to cool, I decided to drag in the suitcases and unpack. 10 minutes–done! Not as many clothes as I usually pack for a trip, and quilt stuff was limited to what I could fit in between clothes in two suitcases–thank you to Southwest for allowing two suitcases to be checked without any charge!

Bess supervises the unpacking

Bess supervises the unpacking

Zoey keeping track of me from her usual perch.

Zoey keeping track of me from her usual perch.

Sophie and Chloe in their place under the desk, happy I am home.

Sophie and Chloe in their place under the desk, happy I am home.

I will start my laundry soon, and get out there and start watering the garden, and then I will be ready to go to the gym, grocery store, and pick Noah up on the way home. Aaaaah, its good to be home.

The girl's babysitter did an excellent job of keeping the garden going while I was gone!

The girl’s babysitter did an excellent job of keeping the garden going while I was gone!

 

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Morning in the Garden

This morning the light seemed just right in the garden. I headed out with the camera, and found a lot more to share than I thought was there! Picture-heavy post, but not too much reading, so just scroll through and enjoy!

The big bag of oriental lilies I got at Costco did very well for their first year.

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A secondary flush of foxgloves. Most of the big plants died, so I bought a six-pack of mixed foxgloves to replace them (they are in the bed below behind these foxgloves.) They are growing very well, so I am excited to see what colors I got next spring.

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Sophie cracks me up–she’s like a little kid walking along the wooden rails.

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Each hydrangea has a different bloom time. The blue ones are fading just as these white ones are starting.

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I bought some new plants to fill in empty spots. I loved the color of the leaves on this “Nine Bark.”

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This is not light shining through, it is the actual variegated color on the leaves.

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The double impatiens seems to be in just the right spot.

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And I just love all these flowers blooming over here.

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The zinnias that I got to fill in are really doing well.

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LOL, I was taking so many pictures over here, Chloe just came and sat down and stared at me. “People are hungry, don’t you know?”

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The Belinda rose is doing very well. the stems seem a little weak to me, but it is the first year. I’m just glad its still alive🙂

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A hollyhock I bought last spring.

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The ____ Peace rose. I didn’t notice the bug damage when I was taking the picture!

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The Abutilon. Have to stand on my head to take pictures of the blooms.

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The Phlox are so tall and beautiful.

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That little pink vine I got is doing very well.

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I got some more white marigolds to fill in here.

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The bee balm. Now its about 10 inches tall🙂

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And the little rose from the two inch pot. I’m so glad it likes its place right by the front gate.

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Tiny perfection.

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And on with the week. I have taken my ninth early morning walk–well on my way to 21 for an established habit–yay! Today is a day of running in and out to give the whole garden a good soaking. And, I am prepping ten yards of fabric–finally gonna get out there and use my new dye studio.