Friday, July 31, 2015


 I ordered new Glide dance shoes from One Step Dance Shoes in Ohio. These are always special order because I get custom fabric (Midnight Micro), custom heels 1.5X "Dixie," pro soles (double layer suede sole), wide width and snaps on the ankle strap instead of buckles (faster on and off and easier to adjust. You can't wear these shoes anywhere but the dance floor and even then you have to stay clear of any water which can mess up the soles. The price tag, you might ask? $170 with postage and about 8 weeks from the time you order until they show up at your door. "Yikes!" you say? Trust me, they're so much better than trying to dance in street shoes! They have a steel shank and very padded footbed. 
Yes, these will be my special shoes for Saturday nights and any other time when I want some bling. Next I'll replace my "old dog" nude leather and mesh practice shoes which I've worn for 7 years. They are also from Step One and are just plain tired because they have lots of hours on the dance floor. "NEVER MISS A CHANCE TO DANCE!"

Monday, July 27, 2015


 I've never grown Cannas before, mainly because they were too big for my landscape. But happily the canna breeders have developed dwarf varieties suitable for pots and modestly sized landscapes. They promise to only get up to 24"-36" tall. They are grown from a rhizome. 
Cannas give the summer landscape a slight "tropical" feel with their large thick leaves and yellow and orange flowers. Some have bronze foliage and striped flowers. They bloom continually and love the heat. They do like regular water and full sun but my pot has done fine with partial midday sun. These rhizomes were grown in Junction City, Oregon where they grown lots of bulbs, especially tulips. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


 One of my favourite succulents is Aeonium "Kiwi" potted up here in a vintage 1950's clay pot and sitting on an old antique folding chair. Lots of morning light in this location encourages the nice yellow and pink coloration. I appreciate its compact growth habit since it does have to spend the coldest months in the greenhouse.

This big boy (about 8" across) is the echevaria (pronounced ek-eh-vair-ee-ah) "Morning Light" growing in a planter with alyssum and a clematis. It too will get transplanted in the fall and moved into the greenhouse but it's fun to stick them in unexpected places for the growing season. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Our earliest ever tomato picking up here at 1900'! The red ones are Legend, a great slicer and the yellow...soon to be the heirloom Persimmon. We went ahead and took them off the vine as we're expecting more thunderstorms and rain today and maybe never know! Did I mention BLT's for lunch today?   

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


 A doozie of a thunderstorm ripped through the Rogue Valley last night with wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph and lots of lightning and thunder. Our big maple took a hit and lost 3 large lateral branches. Luckily none came down on the house thanks to having them thinned out this spring. 
We're promised more storms for the rest of the week. Flash flooding in Ashland drowned out Shakespeare and heavy lightning in Jacksonville cancelled the Britt Festival. I forget who was playing. Also ended the Medford Rogues baseball game. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015


To be sure, we are NOT planning a trip this 4th of July weekend, but we ARE packed....
We live on the side of a mountain in the Cascade foothills of Southern Oregon. We've been in a very dry period for 2 years, similar to Northern California. Southern Oregon and the Rogue Valley are not the "cool green vacationland" as advertised decades ago. We're dry and hot in the summer and depend on rain in the winter and spring to keep things nice. 
Every year on the week of the 4th, since we moved up here in the foothills, I review our emergency getaway plan. One suitcase for us with basics, a bag of toiletries, a bag of pet supplies and the cat carrier and dog leash. 
There are big 8' x 10' electronic reader boards at every entry to our foothills reading "NO FIREWORKS PERMITTED BEYOND THIS SIGN." But there are always those who think it doesn't pertain to them! So we await the evening with a certain amount of trepidation. At the sound of the first local booming (and there always is some) we call 911. Last year we were able to have the police respond in a very timely manner and they got the folks lighting off the mortars. The fine is $1000 per violation. Yes, we're not talking sparklers here (although they are illegal up here as well), we're talking stuff that shoots up way beyond the tree tops and makes the windows rattle and the pets hide in the closet. 
Our housing development was built in the 1970's and is a model for how NOT to do it. We only have limited ways to evacuate...3 roads out going down to Medford. We have huge mature conifers right next to homes and lots of overgrown brush in many yards. About 1/4 of the homes are rentals and are not well maintained when it comes to logging out dead trees and bushes.  
Other things to remember...plenty of gas in the cars, a box to gather up the computer stuff, cash and credit cards, a list of motels that take pets, the box of important papers....
We have had a few fires over the years from lightening or brush cutting at the wrong time, but they were quickly extinguished. We can't always think we'll be that lucky!
So Happy 4th of July!