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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

I thought the day would never get here and now our trip to Savannah is over.

Train station in Savannah

My long time friend Pat and I took the Amtrak there, and despite our trepidation, we were five to ten minutes early both ways. Another guest at our B&B who came a day later was held up an hour while a bridge near Jacksonville was inspected. For bombs? structural problems? No one knows.

Azalea Inn & Gardens in the Historic District took us back in time with its period furniture and heirloom garden.

Azalea Inn & Gardens

Dining Table

The dining table was elegant. The walls were painted with beautiful murals all around. Oil paint even covered the switch plates! This is where we had gourmet breakfasts and lively conversation with folks from N.C., OK, NY, GA, Washington State, England and Australia. I have probably forgotten some. Oh yes, a few more from Florida.

Happy Hour with with a few very congenial guests

I had a lot of fun with the Joe Biden look alike in left corner. He was a good sport and had been mistaken for him on several occasions, especially just after the election when he was in Bahamas at same time as Pres. Clinton.

Pat

My friend Pat below sitting on our private balcony. We had two bedrooms and a bath upstairs in the carriage house where birds sang at window level as a wakeup call.

My bedroom

This will have to be Chapter I. Next post will be on the beautiful city of Savannah.

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Once my husband started ordering from infomercials there was no stopping. To his credit, he watched many more—to the bitter end—than he responded to. My shelves, though, are testament to the fact that he did respond on more than one occasion. On many birthdays and Christmases I’d unwrap a gift I knew well from hearing the excited users on TV. So I would be excited and reluctant all at the same time. After all, Jerry had pictured me using these marvels of science, and I had to follow through.

I’m not sure which was the gateway drug, but probably the “storage system” complete with containers and a turntable. Never search for the right container for your leftovers again, nor the lids. Just spin and you would find them. Ha! So I put them to the test. That was years ago. They are still up there making each day easier exactly as advertised.

Surely the GTX-press Jerry ordered next would not live up to its billing: quick, perfect eggs, leftovers wrapped in a tortilla and made into a healthful dinner, angel food cake with fruit in the middle, etc. all in about three to seven minutes. Come on! How often would I drag out an appliance to do one of these things anyway? A lot! Again, except for the propensity for the Teflon to peel a bit, it was perfect and is indispensable in my kitchen.

Jerry also responded to fantastic promises in catalogs. We all know flower catalogs should be sued for false advertising, but after years of restraining himself, Jerry ordered a “carpet of flowers.” When it arrived he cut a small portion to test and followed directions to the T. Did we have a carpet of flowers? Yes and no. A few varieties came up, but most vigorous was the verbena. It eventually made a verbena carpet and we loved it. Verbena was my mother’s favorite flower, so we always knew she had orchestrated its insidious march through our garden.

Walk though my house and you’ll see item after item you’ve seen in catalogs: Galileo’s temperature gauge, little German boy and girl that pop out and foretell the weather, elegant, domed barometer, solar waterfalls, gargoyle cats, and the list goes on and on. I treasure them all.

Did I ever call a halt to a purchase? Yes, yes I did. Twice. For a Lifestyle neck lift and a “slimmer” undergarment. Jerry was genuinely puzzled with my attitude—and I did have an attitude. Those are the two times I said, “BUT WAIT!”

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When the freeze warnings hit Florida I knew the location of two Monarch chrysalises, which created a dilemma. The last time this situation came up the freeze was shortlived, and most important, I had my husband and granddaughters in the house that night. That was important because, as some of you know, I would be scared silly (yes, silly) with butterflies flitting around in my house. No worry as long as I had someone to take the Monarch out if it hatched overnight. It did. The broken branch was in a vase in my closed office so the cats would not harm it. That morning I opened to door to find him hanging onto the opened chrysalis. I quickly woke H-1 and she grabbed the branch and ran it outside to finish drying and fly away. We did not know where it was in this process. It was not far from flight as it turned out.

So back to the present. Not only did I not have aid, the freeze was to last almost two weeks. Releasing a fresh hatchling into that kind of temperature would probably have been sure death anyway. That fact salved my conscience as I covered the plants and reconciled the butterflies’ plight with nature.

Over the course of a week, I peeked at the one bright green womb with the brilliant gold crown. It had darkened and continued to darken long past it’s due date. Nature had taken care of the situation. Or so I thought. . .

This morning I spot a bright flutter in the driveway. It couldn’t be. It was. The Monarch was still wet from birth and the rain that had just stopped, but was trying to dry out. He looked fully formed and perfect. I was shocked. The sun was shining and wind blowing strong, so he would do just fine.

And now to check the freeze browned plant for signs of life in the leaves. There were a few green ones left at the bottom, but the real sign of life was another chrysalis, darkened and ready to soon release another butterfly. This is long past their normal gestation. I can only surmise that nature held onto the little creatures until the weather was hospitable. Now the challenge is for them to find a proper plant to live on. That is going to be a challenge for sure, but they have gotten this far so I have to think they’ll make it.

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Tis the season I don’t have time for 2,000 words, so their equivalent will help me touch base. This is what is  going on in my wildlife garden right now. At least six Monarch caterpillars have hatched on the broad leaf Monarch plant that grows as high as the eves out front. It’s a caterpillar condo with the finest acomodations. These guys hatch on the leaves, then start munching them for sustenance. The ones with finer tastes take a table by the beautiful blooms and have a regular luau.

One has already begun his new cycle. He’s formed a “J” and will soon create a beautiful, gold crowned crysalis, after which he’ll emerge in a week or ten days as a Monarch butterfly to start the cycle over again. I could not resist taking the Jesus candy cane off my lapel to hang beside him. The similarity smacked me in the face.

A glance up the well lit street and my house looks pretty bare of decorations, but then on closer look, nature has added trim no store could match.

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Hummer!I don’t promise these are great photography, but they are a triumph for me. I finally caught a hummer on camera. Through a double-pane window  and screen, but I caught him. This is the first time I have seen a hummingbird perch. They are always in a tizzy, flitting from flower to flower. This time he sat right down on my red pepper cage and waited until I got the camera. He wiped his beak back and forth on the wire like a chef sharpening a knife, then preened for a while. I’m in awe. So not good photography, but a great accomplishment for me.

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You know what they say happens when you are over the hill? You pick up speed, of course. Darned if it isn’t true and I think I may know why, at least in my case. Older people tend to cast off things that are no longer useful (my mother almost stripped her house) and eliminate activities and associations that no longer give them pleasure. Perhaps the feeling is that life’s fuse is burning shorter and we don’t have a minute to squander on non-rewarding things. I’ll leave that to psychologists. I just held a microscope over my own changes and found them interesting. Here are some of the things I now do.

  • Choose microwave over crock pot (all that planning, you know)
  • No longer compare purchases strolling store to store, but on Internet
  • Encourage e-mails instead of time wasting phone calls (anti-social, I know)
  • During commercials, play show recorded earlier on TV and get two in very little more time
  • Skim newspaper articles instead of reading every little thing. I’ve seen most on Internet anyway.
  • Crave news instantly from Twitter, treating “refresh” like a one-armed bandit in the casino when things are really breaking.
  • Revel in flash fiction and haiku (reading and creating)
  • Love challenge of squeezing my thoughts into 140 characters on Twitter, making every word count.

For what do I squirrel away all this time, you might be thinking. Family, friends, good books (or slutty books, if I like), working on my house and first garden, exercising, keeping an eye on government, doing photography, matching wits with my cats, any darn thing I enjoy – and nothing I don’t.

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P1060173P1060187P1060190My first red pepper. I don’t know whether to eat it or look at it. Who knew gardening could be so exciting?

There’s still a little green on bottom, but couldn’t wait to pick it.

Note: Always click Control & + to elarge my photos.

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