Sunday, June 28, 2009


It certainly isn't as nice as the Gecko's Grotto, or even the Gecko's Ghetto - but it is a very nice hotel and a nice view from my room. The rooms have a very little balcony with a couple of chairs and a small table. Not used much in the summer I imagine! I took a couple of pictures from my balcony this morning - the light was very pretty.
I visited the Heard Museum in Phoenix yesterday afternoon. It is a Native American museum that I have always meant to visit when I came through here. It is small and very nice and maintains a wonderful focus on children with lots of things for them to put hands on and do while they move through the museum. My favorite exhibit was 'every picture has meaning'. This is a long winding hall with displays of images on woven baskets, textiles, beading, carving, etc. The images are explained in a very simple and clear manner with pictures of the actual animal or plant that is represented. Berries are seen a lot and that makes sense - they are good to eat! A lot of the images in the object are actually parts of an animal or plant! Wings, beaks, fl, owers, leaves, etc. I didn't know that and learned a lot. A fair number of the images I had always wondered about are either representations of bird wings or beaks. Now I see it when I look at the object where I didn't before.
It is not a big museum and doesn't take long to move through but well worth the visit and had a fair amount of modern art as well.
Naturally the focus was mostly on the tribes of the Southwest! There was actually an Inuit exhibit but the art and objects were mostly from Nunavut in Canada. Alaska wasn't represented to my disappointment! Well worth a visit, though. The pictures I posted here are from the Heard's website - I didn't take them!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


The temperature in Scottsdale this afternoon!

Back to harvesting the cactus starts --- I am working on the paper cactus

Ever ready with the camera, Bob got a shot of Debbie and I actually working!
Bob's very fine Country Cadillac. Very nice car. Debbie's not real thrilled to have it up on a jack on her back car port but it is a very nice car.

Bob's original car - a Super Bee (I'm not sure that's correct but he will see this and correct me I am sure!).
A '55 Chevy (Ford?) - the back has a very nice paint job and I learned very quickly that one is NOT supposed to wipe the dust off of a restored car's paint. One should just stand back and admire it through the dust. That is something everyone should know.

And one last look before I leave. Thank you, Bob and Debbie! I enjoyed my time with you very much and hope it is not 6 more years before we get to take pictures, cook (Bob's the best darned cook!), eat (I'm pretty good at that), talk, play with the dogs, wander around the desert, think of things we need to do, take afternoon naps, and generally enjoy each other's company and talk of all the important things on our minds. I already miss you!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The answer is: 14

Question: what is the number of vehicles on Bob's property? Pictures later.
I think it is around 107 now, tomorrow it should be 110. That's warm.

With Bob and Debbie's help I decided to take cactus starts/seeds back to my staff as souvenirs. For those who are interested we will try to grow cactus gardens in the windows at work. Meanwhile - who knew that the great big Saguaros (the big cactus with arms that live to be so old) put out seeds and that is how little Saguaros are made! I didn't know that. Luckily I am here at the time that the Saguaros are putting out their seed pods. We were busy trying to get to them before the birds did! Debbie and I are in front of one of the big ones in their yard below. We scrambled around the base of the cactus to pick up the seed pods.

Below is a picture of the seed pods when they are way up there on the top of the Saguaro! I missed the blooming, though. They bloomed first then put out a seed pod apparently. I imagine it was very pretty.
Those great big cactus come out of these itty bitty seeds - they are about like a poppy seed!

The next cactus's (cacti? cactus?) we decided to harvest are below - the one in front is called a 'paper' cactus - don't know it's real name. The one in back is colloquially called a 'dog turd' cactus (don't know it's real name, either!). We picked these because they don't grow from seed - they grow by putting out new limbs or buds and you just put these in soil and they put down roots. My theory is that this will be more successful but we will see!
Paper cactus bud below

And guess which one this is!

A picture of Debbie's house - The Gecko's Grotto!

Debbie's view from her front porch - where we are not sitting in the 107 degree heat!
A desert 'lawn'. No mowing needed!
A home for another kind of family! A comfy and cozy home in the Saguaro for a woodpecker couple and their young family. A birdie condo! Nicely shaded in the mesquite tree. Now I'm home sick!
That is all for today! Stay cool!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Life on the desert

Welcome to the Sonora Desert! Where my friends, Bob and Debbie, live. Neither know why they are here but they've been here for a long time.....since at least 1981 so they are certified desert-rats and some of my dearest friends. I am showing Debbie how to write blog post and she said I was one of their dearest friends, too, so I thought I would document that here. They can't go back on it now! It's on the Internet so it must be true - right?

It actually rained a little this morning - the first rain they have had in was fast, a few drops, then over, but we enjoyed it. Deb and I are out on the back porch this morning admiring the clouds - we had just gotten up so weren't our usual gorgeous selves, yet.

Back inside for breakfast! I contributed my recipe for the breakfast eggs...Bob has been raising his garden (you can see the pictures of him standing in his garden in a previous post) and he has 2 tomatos to contribute. Only 2? Well, apparently there are tiny little birds here that can get through the holes in the net that he spreads over his plants to keep them out and they poke little holes in the tomatos and suck out the juice! He has saved these two for today. He is very proud of his tomato as you can see below:

We very carefully split that tomato 3 ways!!! It was delish! Bob is quite the farmer, in a small way, perhaps, but still quite the farmer. Now he needs to brush up on his bird shooting skills!

Bob has incredible talents --- one of which is a mechanical and technical aptitude as well as an innate ability to puzzle through problems to a solution. I always say that it must be inherited - his ability to 'fix' things is definitely far above the average bear!

He is a collector of antique cars --- I don't think that's really a good description because I remember those cars when they were new! But apparently that is what they are called now - perhaps 'classic' is a better word! That describes Bob, Debbie, and I, a little better.

Anyway, below is my favorite car in the whole world - a '65 mustang!! Bob has lots of cars, can't tell you how many populate this strip of desert but perhaps I will log them all here. He has 'plans' to restore them all. But what a car this is! By the way - most of you have seen pictures of the Eskimo village I used to live in ---- this is it's opposite but still the same - --- you never throw anything away you might be able to use. Living in the desert means there is not ready access to parts to repair and restore things! Bob has a signficiant talent in keeping things he might need some day!

We have more pictures but will end this here for right now --- Deb, Bob, and I have been out on the desert collecting cactus seeds to start a desert garden in the window at work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Picture of my suitcase

Just in case they lose the darned thing - I decorated it this time. Even have a horrid gaudy purple metallic butterfly luggage tag. I am printing pictures to take with me in my carry on. Travel is so much fun anymore!

Monday, June 22, 2009

At Last! Bead Crochet - this is for the Beady-eyed Bunch!

This is the bead stitch I have been working on learning since 2003! I think I've got it! I even figured out the 'invisible join' last night. Now all I need to learn is how to read and follow a pattern and I will have mastered it. Meanwhile, I am proudly displaying the bracelets I joined last night and this morning

Just too cute!

Yep - that is a dog. Specifically, it is Portia's dear doggy friend, Pixie, in her little sailor suit. I thought this was just the most wonderful picture and asked Portia to send it to me.

This is one lucky puppy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Curb Appeal 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Just in case you might be wondering why I enjoy my flower beds so much - I have found pictures from all 5 years I have owned this house. Cecily had commented that she and Steve were there in the beginning and that led me to try to find a picture from each year. It looked so horrible from the outside that I told the realator to not bother showing it to me. But I really liked the neighborhood and nothing else was available at the time so I did look at it. Liked the inside - it was just perfect for me (well except that 2nd bathroom every girl needs!).

This is what it looked like in 2005:

I'll bet you really like that door, too! No storm door - just a bright yellow door. My brother said it needed a happy face painted on it. When Cecily and Steve came down to arrange the furniture and hang pictures Steve spent time digging and did manage to get one of those horrible bushes out. Mike Howell, who has done the rehabbing inside and out, pulled the rest out with a chain on the back of his truck in the spring of 2006!

So - almost all of it came out. I was busy with the job I had at the time and hired someone to plant in 2006.

Then she planted. She put in a lot of different plants and it never did look like it was comfortable with itself. Half of it died - I loved those Shasta daisys but they died, too. I finally moved the bush to the woods in back and moved some grass she had planted to the backyard to hide that green thing in the corner.

2007 rolls around - the door is still yellow and still no storm door but I pulled everything out and started again! The plants are what I have in now - they all managed to find a 'forever' home. Except for the Peony - I thought it was pretty but, oh my, the ants! Lots of ants. It had to cross that rainbow bridge for plants. I did it backward - it would be much easier to put down the landscape cloth first, then cut holes in it to plant. But I just couldn't wait to put the plants in so...I had to lay the cloth around them. The cloth is to keep the weeds down and it works very well. These days I put newpaper under the cloth for mulch and lay the cloth on top of that - it is a lot of work but really is easier in the long run and controls the growth of the hostas and daylillies that can take over a garden.

Oh - and I painted the door!! First thing I had ever painted! Thank goodness it turned out well. Of course, I have Mike in my corner and he told me how to do it.
Then finally I put the pine bark mulch on top of the landscape cloth - it's done! That's what it looks like under all of those plants.

Everything came back up in 2008 and it was looking good and a happy plant place! There is even a storm door on the front door finally!Except - well, I'm not liking the border around that flower bed. Are you?

2009 - yep - the border is gone. I just think that the border took away from the plants. Some of it has a new life in the back yard holding down the black plastic over the hostas along the tree line. The rest is vacationing in the garage until I decide where they are going. This is the border that I have been pounding in all spring. Now I wonder if the plants are getting too crowded in there....maybe next year I will split them and give them some room where will I plant the parts I split out?

The end - for now.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Time

I have lots of pictures to post - especially since I haven't posted any for the last 3 weeks. What can I say? I work and drive. But I am taking a couple of days off and I will be able to catch up! It is hard telling who might show up here.

First, a picture of my backyard from the deck this morning - it's blurry (of course) but still kind of shows why I drive from Bloomington to Indy every day! Mini, of course, is on point.

I inspected my 'garden' - a tomato plant that kind of fell over last night. My basil is getting a little eaten up by something, my two Rosemary plants are doing very well and I have added a little lavender to harden up so I can plant it in my back yard.

A few of my house plants are tucked in a corner (beside Rocky & Mini's doggy door) to be out of the sun and still get some good light. Unfortunately, my big Jade plant got a pretty good case of sunburn before I noticed it was too far out on the deck. They will have to go back inside in a couple of weeks because it will get too hot. Won't that puzzle the bugs that have taken up residence?!

The row of hostas at the tree line is doing well - thank goodness. Planting them was a lot of work! I have to finish the mulching over the black plastic and move some Lilly of the Valley in front of them today. My Lilly of the Valley in the front of the house has overgrown it's bed and is moving on into the yard so I will need to move a fair amount of it to join the hostas in their new homes.

And an update on Operation Begone Box o''s looking good! The grasses (coin grass) I got at Kroger last fall and planted them before it got cold - they are still small but very healthy and came up well this spring. Last weekend I planted the Korean Spice Viburnum in between each grass. I should grow well and nicely disguise Box o' Wood in the next couple of years. It has been a lot of work I hadn't planned on doing until my new neighbors built BoW (Box o' Wood) last fall - grrrrrrr. However, it will be 'poof' gone someday!
And on the other side of the back fence - the other BoW. My corner is starting to come along - the daylillies I moved from the woods to the corner survived and the tall grass that almost died last summer came back. I have pounded in a border around them and will put down newspaper, landscape cloth, and then mulch. My theory is that all of that will grow around the green thing and hide it. the little white wire fence is hiding my sweet grass, basil, chives, and a basil from Rocky. I put a lavender plant in there but it isn't happy at all. Next year I will plant two white lilac bushes against that BoW and intersperse Russian Sage in between them. I have a couple of Russian Sage planted this year and I will see if they will grow in this clay soil and come back next year.

The daylillies (some from last year and some from year before last) are doing well with the blackeyed susans and the lone hosta in the corner - I also planted a clematis this year but you can't see it in this picture. It is on this side of the a/c. This part of the house gets a lot of sun so everything needs to be hardy and happy in the sun. I hope the clematis lives in the clay soil.
And back up to the deck - I must get up from the computer and go spend my paycheck on mulch!
Oh - I just can't resist - for those of you who work with me in Indy you may know these two. They were helping orient some new associates. These are two of my favorite people but, oh my goodness, they could have disguised the geek a little bit! There are so many titles I can think of for this picture I will just have to walk away.