Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Garden in Summer

A flash of harmless lightning,
  A mist of rainbow dyes,
    The burnished sunbeams brightening
      From flower to flower he flies.
     John Banister Tabb, Hummingbird
 My pink garden is blooming again, thanks to monsoon rains.  We have been seeing hummingbirds in much greater numbers than any season before this. To encourage even more to visit us, I have finally put out this lovely glass hummingbird feeder one of my sisters-in-law gave me when we moved in here. Now if I can only get one to light long enough for me to snap his photo.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Burst of Color

Whether the flower or the color is the focus I do not know. I do know the flower is painted large to convey my experience with the flower – and what is my experience if it is not the color? ~Georgia O'Keeffe

We planted two trichocereus cactus in our front yard when we moved here and they have faithfully given us spectacular color each year. However, because the past winter was so damaging to so many of our plants we were unsure if they would perform as usual this spring. But once again nature has surprised us with its resiliency and we are  enjoying a burst of color in the garden.  It will be short-lived like most cactus blossoms, but the vivid color will remain in our memories until next year.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Hedgehog in Bloom

Although they can look fearsome with their spines and prickles, or just plain ugly, cacti are transformed into strange creatures of beauty when their delicate flowers appear. ~Unknown

My hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) bloomed today and already some critter has eaten part of the first bloom. Life in the dessert, I'm afraid.  The beauty is always fleeting.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Springtime in the Garden

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."
-  Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant  

Today has been a lovely day.  In spring we often have very windy days and yesterday was like that--not a day for wandering in the garden.  But today has been calm and sunny and so I just had to go check and see how my garden was doing.  As you can see it is in fine fettle. 

This is my perennial garden. It is to the side of our back patio and I can even see it from my kitchen. We had such a lovely garden back East and I miss it, expecially in spring. Since we planted these perennials, however, I feel happy. There are sages, valerian, penstemon, and guara. I hope to continue planting flowering perennials each year. I can never have enough blooms in my garden.

 Here are some close-ups of my Hill Country penstemon--we planted this in honor of my mother-in-law who misses the Hill Country of Texas now she's in California--my valerian, and some of my sages.

This is the southwestern corner of my back garden.  The little leaf ash has regained its feathery leaves at last.  It is a semi-deciduous tree, but lost all its leaves this winter because of the unusual cold.  The euphorbia in the foreground is a superb plant. Its yellow flowers appear early and last and last until autumn.  The little hedgehog cactus is getting ready to burst into bloom.  We rescued it from along the road on one of our walks.  Javelinas had been feasting on it and dug it up completely.  As a rule we never take plants from the wild, but it would have died otherwise.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yarn Along

It's Wednesday so I am joining Ginny for her weekly Yarn Along.  I'm a bit late today, but I went into town early this morning and just got back. 

This week I have a new knitting project to show you.  It is a reversible cable pattern that is easy to follow.  The yarn is Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in the Ruby colorway. The free pattern can be found here. I am making this scarf for the Red Scarf Project.The volunteers who run the project only accept donations from September 1 through December 15 each year. Having so much time in which to finish my project makes me feel very relaxed and I am enjoying knitting it very much. 

I am listening to the book, Faithful Place, while I knit on the scarf.  I prefer reading, but this allows me to multi-task and, since this mystery is set in Dublin, I also get a  chance to hear the lilting cadences of the Irish characters in the novel. I have read two previous books by the author, Tana French, and really enjoyed them.  Her mysteries are like no others I've ever read. The internal musings and motivations of the detectives in her stories are as important as the victims and perpetrators of the crimes they investigate.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Yarn Along

Once again I'm joining Ginny at small things for her weekly yarn along.

Time has gotten away from me since last Wednesday and I haven't accomplished very much in the way of crocheting or reading. I haven't done anything on the tote project I posted about last Wednesday, but I have been working sporadically on two other crochet projects--an amigurumi snowman and an afghan square. Both of these projects need a lot more work before they look like much.

The snowman is my March project for the Christmas ornament KAL/CAL-2011 on Ravelry. The pattern for this little guy can be found here on the Lion Brand website. It is free, but you must join to have access to their free patterns. He is my third amigurumi project and I am continuing to enjoy making these cute stuffed toys.

The afghan square is my April square for the 2011 Crochet Block-a-Month CAL, also on Ravelry. The pattern, Crown Jewels Square by Melinda Miller, is also a free pattern, and can be found here. It is the fourth square for the afghan I am making for my grandson for Christmas.

I haven't gotten very far in The Dollmaker since last week, but it is well-written and has captured my interest.  I need to finish reading it by April 22 in order to discuss it at my book club meeting.

Looks like I have a lot of crocheting and reading to accomplish in the next week if I want to show more progress than I have this week.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

National Poetry Month

Poetry should... should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.  ~John Keats

Each year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft. Various events are held throughout the month by the Academy of American Poets and other poetry organizations.  The Academy has a website here where you can find information on poets, their poetry, and ways to celebrate this month.

I found one of my favorite poems on the above site--Spring and Fall by Gerard Manley Hopkins.  Hopkins was an English poet of the Victorian era. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.

Spring and Fall  
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

              to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow's spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

I encourage you to check out The Academy of American Poets website,, and find a poem that speaks to you.