Thursday, December 31, 2015


 Being a California girl, I naturally think that if the sun is out, it's time to hang out the sheets! Of course in the Rogue Valley of Oregon, the sun can be out but it can be 24 degrees! It's warmed up to the mid 40's so I figured the sun, even at its compromised winter angle, will shine on the sheets and do some good.
This view shows the cantilevered Canadian clothes line which folds down against the house when not in use. Come on sun!! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


 Another re-purposing...thinking outside the bookcase. This old skinny black bookcase fit and we painted it Creme Brulee to match the closet walls. Jack's side is on the right and mine is on the left. Happily, the double racks worked as designed and I got some dress and long skirt hanging next to the shoe cabinet.
 Shoe storage complete with adjustable shelves allowing for seasonal variations in footwear. 
So no excess expenditure...we had all the stuff for the shoe shelves. Jack also added some battery powered LED lights at each end of the closet. 
And no animals were harmed or endangered species threatened during this construction. Chase the dog stayed well away from the bedroom but Isabella lounged on the bed watching the entire proceedings.
I call this $100 well spent! 

Monday, December 28, 2015


 Day One of the closet makeover.
Oye! That's Yiddish for Oye! Jack happily anticipates yet another honey-dooo! This one will take a couple of days, lots of work but not too much money! I've waited 5 years for this makeover!
 This is the before. Shoes are all over the floor and on the top shelf. My lingerie chest is stuck on the bottom shoe shelf (a bookcase that we re-purposed and layed in there sideways. What you can't see is that I have another closet half full of clothes in the guest bedroom because stuff just won't all fit in our so-called master bedroom closet...we call it a stand-in closet because it's 36" deep.
 Our plan? Take everything out, move up the top shelf to within 12" of the ceiling, replace the warped wooden dowel circa 1978 with a new powder coated steel dowel. Replace the dowel holder/shelf brackets (they're bent) with new ones and then decide about where to put the lower racks. Wood supports will be needed for the shelf and the dowel end holders as they were quite stingy with the 2x4's in the side walls! 
A brief intermission while we go to the hardware store. Hubbard's Hardware is our favorite place for stuff...we did our best to support the local economy and spent about $100 for hardware and wood. Turns out that they had everything we needed!
 By the end of day one, we had done much head scratching to figure out where we wanted the lower racks...we ended up making Jack's side (the right side) lower by a couple of inches than my side. His shirts are longer than my tops and we wanted to put those on the top rack. I finished off with painting all the new wood supports on the side walls. 
Here you can see our new metal racks and the metal brackets holding them. The big white bracket is screwed into the 2x4 at the back of the closet. You can just make out the wood 1x4 that we used on the side wall to hold the dowel fixture. The back wall stud location dictated the width of the new racks. My side is wider than Jack's because of that. Seems right to me! Tomorrow we'll put in the shoe storage and re-install the sliding mirror doors. 

Friday, December 25, 2015


 Happy Holidays from us. We're celebrating with a mimosa breakfast before opening our gifts. 
 We make our mimosas with some fresh tangerine juice and some Amour de Paris sparkling peach wine. A delightful combination! 
Actually, our present this year is a closet makeover...hard to wrap...but memorable through the coming year. We'll be attacking the closet between Christmas and New Year's. Mimosas will probably be in order! WATCH THIS SPACE! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Well, maybe not all...but I did get my wish thanks to my resident, if reluctant, plumber guy. The long sad story is that my last faucet was impossible to use with its spray feature without getting me, the window and the counter wet at the same time. So I saw an opportunity when the old faucet needed repair. A quick trip to Lowe's (Jack gets a Veteran's discount there) and looking at 50 or so models (who knew there were so many brands and styles!), we settled on this beauty. 
Turned out that Jack had to cut out the old faucet (it had been put on the sink before the sink was installed), modify the new undersink mounting bracket to fit, and voila! or viola!...2 hours of swearing, contorting the body laying under the sink by Jack and about 25 tools later, we had the "faucet of my dreams!"
The black button on the spout is the spray feature. I can also pull the spout down and move it around without any kink in the hose! 
Jack's chiropractor asked, "What have you been doing to yourself?"  
Sometimes it is the little things that can make a big difference...

Monday, December 14, 2015


 We woke up Sunday morning to 6" of lovely fresh snow. That means that the ski resort (Mt. Ashland) probably got much more and can open as soon as they clear the road up there. This is the most snow we've ever had since we've lived here at 1900' elevation. 
I put out extra seed for the expected influx of birds today. 

Monday, December 7, 2015


Here's an excellent photo of our pooch, Chase, in all his barking excitement, taken by our daughter-in-law Susan when we were visiting them in Chico. You just can't have too much cute in your life!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


 With the help of a ready-made Trader Joe's wreath, I decided to enhance it with succulent cuttings. 
 The succulents are from my babies in the little greenhouse. I had to talk to myself to take them from their mamas but I've always wanted to try this. Included are aeoniums, graptopetalums, senecios, graptoverias and kalanchoe. The good thing is that all of the cutting will probably survive and I'll be able to root them after wreath season. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015


 This is the new addition to my kitchen least it seems like it has a permanent place on the counter since I brought it home. It's just so handy for me since it is a 2.5 quart crock pot. Great for 2-person meals and the white crock makes it so much easier to see what is going on inside. The doohickeys on the top of the lid are clamps for securing the lid for travel, in case you're wondering. It has the basic "LOW, HIGH, WARM" crock pot settings.  
 My miniature rose is blooming just before we get a killer frost. That means I'll have to put it inside. Since it shows no sign of going dormant yet, a deep freeze could damage or kill it since it is in a pot. I must have fertilized it a bit too late in the season or it just hasn't gotten the message. 
Luckily the weather guessers have modified the forecast a bit so it appears the next big system "Cara" (now that they are naming winter storms) will not be as nasty as earlier predicted. So low temps will stay in the mid 20's and not the teens. We're hoping this year to get a later winter "bug killer" storm after all the plants are asleep. 

Monday, November 16, 2015


YOU KNOW YOU HAVE IT WHEN...1) The rake in your hands looks like an instrument of torture, 2) Even though you put the leaf blower on low, it's still too damned loud, 3) Your garden gloves don't get dry overnight and are damp and cold when you put them on, 4) A cup of coffee and a sit down by the fire are even more appealing than usual, and 5) You can watch an entire NASCAR race without going outside even once! Yep, I have it big time. It usually stikes in November, just as I am facing the LAST leaf cleanup. So I do only the minimum clean up...getting the leaves blown off the patio...and ignoring them on the lawns or paths or even in the gutters. WHO CARES? I'll wait for that week of warmer weather (or "false spring" as it is called) in February to finish cleaning out the beds. 
Now where did I put my slippers?   

Saturday, November 7, 2015


 The article today "below the fold" in our newspaper hit me between the eyes like a dead mackerel! The "BIG DIGS" is a mansion under construction in the quaint gold rush town to our west...Jacksonville. It seems a couple from California struck it big when they sold 4000 acres of land in the coast range near La Honda, CA to some kind of land conservancy for 21 million bucks. So they did what a lot of Californians do...moved up to Oregon to build their dream home. 
"Okay Kathy," you say, "just get over it!" I probably could EXCEPT THAT THIS DREAM HOME IS OVER 43,000 SQUARE FEET! Yes, you read that right...I don't have too many zeros on that figure...
Turns our the kitchen alone is 2100 sq ft. The "butler's pantry" is almost the size of my entire home. And no, there are no plans to make it a destination resort, or B and B or a maternity hospital. This is a home for one family. 
To say that I'm appalled is putting it mildly. What are they thinking? Who needs 14 bathrooms? Think of what good they could have done with a small portion of that money and still built a "modest" 10,000 sq ft home! s     

Friday, November 6, 2015


 It's that time of year that reminds me of that Dr. Seuss verse: "Poor Ali Sard, he has to mow grass in his uncle's back yard. The faster he mows it, the faster he grows it!" 
With us, it's raking, blowing, sweeping leaves from our two big maple trees that just about makes us go nuts! The faster we rake 'em, the faster they fall! 
We grind some of them and dig them into the raised beds. This year I thought maybe I'd just skip the grinding part but my under gardener saved the day! Maple leaves are actually harder to grind because they are so thin and light. They also get soggy in a light rain, unlike oak leaves. So we had to get to the grinding before another storm moves in this weekend. Just the way to spend a nice sunny fall day!
 Jack, my faithful under gardener, grinding away. 
 Most of them make it into the bucket!
The bin is almost full of ground leaves but the trees are no where near done. Me thinks we'll be doing this again next week. Hoping for lots of wind from the northeast to blow the leaves into the neighbor's yard but it will probably come from the northwest! 
Time for a coffee break and a hot shower!  

Saturday, October 31, 2015


 It seems like just overnight, things have gone gold. The maples are radiant and dropping leaves for me to rake up.
 The Ampelopsis (Porcelain Berry Vine) is golden against the blue green fence.
 The oak leaf hydrangea flowers have appropriately turned Halloween orange. 
 More yellow and orange maple leaves against the green groundcover...
And Izzy stands guard over 34 green tomatoes. I expected only half as many when I pulled out the vines today! We're sure to have a plate of nice red tomatoes for Thanksgiving! Yumm!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


For the past couple of weeks, our mail has been delivered late. We're talking later than 5 pm and now in the past few days after 8 pm. I didn't know that the postal service worked that late! So we've been getting our exercise since our post box is up at the street and we're down a 150' driveway. We don't like to leave our mail in the box overnight since we've had some mail theft in the area. We made over 10 trips last night and we finally had mail by 10 pm! We were expecting a large check which the sender said was being delivered yesterday. 

 Maybe we are experiencing a new US Postal Service enhancement called "Starlight Delivery." We call it "Flashlight Delivery!"  

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Okay, so this is a ceramic pumpkin. Looks real, no? 
But there is a pumpkin shortage here in the Rogue Valley thanks to an early hot spell this spring, just as stuff was starting to grow and flower. It also messed up the corn and tomatoes, which just quit doing their thing as temps got over 90 degrees in April and soared to over 100 in May. 
"What the @#%$?" we all asked. 
Now we know why...seems the weather experts predict that Medford will be the new Redding by 2050! Snow will no longer fall on the valley floor but instead the snow level will rise to 10,000.' No more 20 minute drive to ski at Mt. Ashland...which is only 8,000.' Water will be in short supply due to little snow pack. Start taking out your lawn now! Golf courses will be plowed under (that is already happening here).
I guess that means that Redding will become the new Yuma?
Meanwhile, start hoarding cans of pumpkin as I'm sure the grocers will take advantage of the situation and jack up the price of a can to $3. 
The good news? Maybe I won't have to haul in my overgrown lemon bush this winter and the growing season will be longer. 


Thursday, October 8, 2015


 The mini greenhouse is rapidly filling up with tender succulents and geraniums. Sonia the garden angel watches over them all with her sidekick bunny. Seems like I keep finding more and more pots to consolidate or dump out. I'm afraid to count how many pots I have.  
 But the race is on to get them all organized before Oct 15...the date when the storm door usually opens and we get cooler and perhaps wetter weather. Meanwhile the temp in the greenhouse can get to 100 degrees on a balmy fall day of 75 degrees, so I have to remember to open it up each morning. 
 I'm trying to fit most of the pots into the coldframe next to the greenhouse. Heavy big ones on the usually takes a couple of times to get them all stacked right. Oops, there's another one I forgot about! The definition of insanity comes to mind... 
And just when you're thinking about winter, a clematis goes and blooms its head off in October! Who knew? 

Saturday, September 19, 2015


 A new super duty 6' bench cover fits my 20 year old potting bench well. The old, inexpensive cover was getting little holes in it after only a couple of years, so I stepped up to the "deluxe" cover from Gardener's Supply in Vermont. This one is very heavy vinyl. Of course that meant that I had to clean out the workbench and vac out all the spiders. Amazing how much junk you can accumulate in one season! 
When the new location for Wild Birds Unlimited opened this month, I popped in to get a couple of things and they gave me a free mesh finch feeder, along with 2 pounds of Niger seed. They knew what they were doing, of course, because now I have to buy Niger seed as well as the seed for the big bird feeder! Sort of like getting a free cat!

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Most folks think it rains all the time if your address is in Oregon. But the truth is that our part of the state (Southern Oregon) gets about the same rainfall as the North State (of California) or even the Bay Area (22" average per year). In the last few years, we've all experienced well below average water years. So we're happy to get some early autumn rain to dampen down the dust and reduce the fire danger from "Extreme" to just "High." It means that I can use the lawn mower before 1 pm instead of having to get it done before 10 am. Looks like we're getting close to .40" from this early storm. We say, "Bring it on!" Let's see...where did I hang that raincoat I haven't used in 3 years?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


 Yes, it's that time of year again! You know...that re-tool-in-the-purse- department time of year...
I resolved this Fall to DOWNSIZE. I really don't need a big, floppy purse to "disguise" my hips any longer or to "balance out" my former pear shape. And I don't carry a lot of junk in my purse these days...just the basics. So a shopping expedition to TJ MAXX was in order. Would they have some smaller purses like the ones showing up in all the fashion pages?  
 Sooo lucky was I! I spied this beauty right away after I hit the purse department. It is REAL leather and the leopard print is on cow hair. It's soft and furry. The zippers are heavy duty and the short strap just fits perfectly on my shoulder or I can just tuck the bag under my arm. So no more purse flopping around in the car seat! And it's just the right size, about 12" x 8". 
It has outside zippered compartments front and back (a must for me for keys and glasses). And it goes with my new, chic look, being animal print! Ah, those Italians know what I like! It's handmade in Rimini, Italy by Valentina. Ciao bella!

Monday, September 14, 2015


 The portable farrier's stand that I found at the metal recycler several years ago makes a great plant stand on the patio. This pot of ivy geranium seems to love last week's hot weather.
 Here's Sally Holmes! old fashioned single climbing rose. It looks fetching against the teal green lattice. I love white in the summer refreshing!
 The Brandywine heirloom tomato produces the late summer glut of very sweet juicy tomatoes. It makes all our neighbors happy to get some of the overage.
And my favorite fragrant white rose... "Secret's Out"... is blooming again and perfuming the veggie garden. I pulled it out of the ground this spring from a too shady spot. I only got a few roots and one stem at that time so I potted it up and hoped for the best. 
 Seems like it's hard to kill a good hybrid rose thanks to hardy root stock! It will get popped out of this too small planter and get a nice place of honor in a raised bed this fall.