Monday, April 21, 2014


 Chase is enjoying one last early morning romp on the polyester shag carpeting. 
 I'm fixing breakfast surrounded by furniture in the dining area...2 couches, 2 chairs and the big Danish TV cablinet.
 The installers from Completely Floored arrived by 8:30 and had the carpet and pad pulled out very quickly. They even fixed the squeaks where the rehab folks didn't replace the old particle board.  
 This lovely green stuff is called "THE MUFFLER." It muffles noise and eliminates that hollow sound you can get with flooring. 
 By lunchtime they were half way done. That gizmo with the long handle cuts the board ends squarely and neatly but you still get a whole bunch of sawdust by the end of the day. They kept their table saw outside. 
Say hello to Evoke Heritage Plank Oak from the Au Naturel Collection . No shiny stuff for us! This has a low sheen or satin finish. And we now have the finishing touch of baseboards! Didn't have 'em before...
There is no funky goo around the rock base of the hearth either...they cut the boards to fit the rock perfectly. 
We're impressed and loving it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I ordered 2 climbing roses from Jackson and Perkins in March. Little did I realize that they were not coming from Bakersfield where they used to grow 'em but from South Carolina! It took them 12 days to get here and when I pulled them out of the box, you see the resulting leaf drop in the saucer. yOU'D DROP YOUR LEAVES TOO IF YOU WENT WITHOUT SUNLIGHT OR WATER FOR 12 DAYS! 
I'm sure that more LEAF DROP will follow. My advise is just DON'T order roses in the mail, EVER, unless you know for certain where they are coming from! 

Monday, April 14, 2014


 Meet Clematis Louise Rowe, the newest girl in the garden. She bloomed all at once only a few days after I planted her at the outside corner of our new privacy screen. 
Lavender is a great garden color, don't you agree! She has a double layer of petals that give the blooms a fluffy look. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014


A pot of pink and green striped tulips makes a good accent. It was one of those last minute purchases this past fall. 
 Creating a focal point is as easy as using an old strawberry jar planted with hens & chicks and tops with a planted of more succulents.
 Blue (veronica "speedwell") and white (candytuft) are the unifying colors in the spring garden along with the bright spring green of new growth. 
The old portable farrier's stand (the bellows rotted out long ago and the wood parts fell off) but the dull patina of the rusted metal is a great contrast with the colors green, white and hot coral. It makes a perfect plant stand and it's one of my favorite finds from the metal recyclers! Got it for $25! We took a load of metal to Schnitzer Steel and got a whopping $25. I saw this stand and had to have it. As Jack said, "There goes the profits!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


 Our old apple tree that's probably about 40 or more years old hasn't had an easy life. When we moved in 3 years ago it did not bloom at all. We figured it was on its way out but we pruned it and cut off an entire dead side. The next year it had a few blooms and a couple of puny runt apples. But this year after more pruning and care it has rewarded us with a nice bloom. 
 The trunk that goes to the right in this photo is completely dead but the left one is doing much better.
We still don't know what kind of apple it produces but I have a feeling we'll find out this year. I'm guessing it might be an original red delicious (now called a Cameo in the stores). Or it could be a golden delicious. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014


 This concrete swan is a real treasure for a succulent gardener! I just about had the big one when I spotted this planter at TJ Maxx! I had to have it...even if I thought that I couldn't lift it into the cart without help! But I just sucked it up and heaved it in. I peeled the sticker off and gave it to the clerk at the checkout as I figured I had only one more lift in me...from the cart to the trunk of the car. Oh where is my undergardener when I need him? 
I filled the beauty up with graptoveria, echeveria and sedums.
 Other animals in my succulent menagerie include this owl...another TJ Maxx find that I filled with a trailing crassula and some hens & chicks.
We're promised a week of good temps (lows in the high 40's and highs in the 70's so I'm setting out my tender succulents this week. The pink center is a Fred Ives graptoveria. The blue are echeveria and the lime green are sedum in front and a miniature ice plant towards the back.  

Saturday, April 5, 2014


My collection of garden stakes has dwindled over the last 40 years...but the ones that are left (mainly redwood) are looking bad after umpteen seasons in the ground holding up beans and tomatoes. So after a good sanding to take off the fungi, a coat of Storm stain in "wet sand" color seemed a good idea. There was a time early on in my gardening life when redwood stakes were the "garden variety" stake of choice, available at any garden center in California for about $3 for a seven footer. Flash forward 40 years, and those stakes (if you can find them) are upwards of $15 per! I guess this is because redwood became the darling of the tree hugging generation and all our redwood supply has dried up. In Oregon, cedar is the wood of choice. Oregonians claim that Port Orford cedar is better than redwood...more resistant to rot and a lot stronger. Hopefully this coat of stain will keep both the redwood survivors and the cedar newbies going for the rest of my gardening life.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


 We don't have to just "think Spring," we can actually see it! Yellow Tulips, blue Muscari, Candytuft and white Arabis make a nice arrangement under the maple tree.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


 It's strange but true that Saab owners really love their much so that once in a while an owner wants a commissioned artwork from Jack. This makes Jack very happy to do something besides the greasy work on Saab engines and transmissions.
 The Canadian Saab owner wanted his 4 (yeah four) Saabs in the picture along with his favorite grain elevator and some Manitoba scenery. 
 Got markers? Yes, you can do fine art and poster art with good markers...the kind that give your wife headaches they are so toxic, even with the windows opened. Some of these are from when Jack was at Art Center...say circa 1976 or so. "They don't make 'em like the used to!" says Jack. Well there is probably a reason for that but I'm sure the fumes have killed all the spiders in the room! Even the dog and cat won't stay in the studio with him!
Here you can see the large areas of color...some like the blue are opaque watercolor or gouache (rhymes with squash). This is showing the poster after 2 days out of three or so of to trace in all the elements, one for laying in the large color and one or maybe two for doing the cars and "noodle-ing." 

Oh, and did I mention the motor noises coming from the studio?...A necessary part of the artistic process, I'm told. Vrooom, vroooom!