Archive for the ‘Adventures!’ Category

Hello. I hope this brief post finds you all happy and well. Things have been a bit intense lately, at work and school and especially in my head. There is a team presentation due in class today and another test on Thursday. After that, maybe I can breathe a little bit for a couple of days and think about something else. In the meantime, I wanted to share some photos with you. These were taken in the canyon just North of our home on Sunday. It had been raining and the canyon was beautiful, all the leaves are turning too. Funny, Tom and I wouldn’t have gone on that hike, but I needed some photos of poison oak for the class presentation and it forced us out there. We were both so happy and vowed to go again this coming Sunday. Enjoy:

...Fall colors: Toxicodendron diversiloba (Poison Oak!)

It stopped raining just long enough for our hike, and the blue sky was beautiful.

...blue sky through a Sycamore tree

We found some juicy looking mushrooms growing on an oak tree.

...fungus on oak

I really really LOVE Sycamore trees.

...California Sycamore

This one is surround by a carpet of Poison Oak, which is also growing up the trunk – beautiful and very itchy.

...it really needs a tire swing.

Sometimes, when I’m in this canyon, I forget that it’s right next to the highway.

...a place to rest on the way home.

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Many thanks to all of you for your kind words and positive reinforcement following my last post. The collaboration with Ruth was a resounding success and I can’t wait till our next one. I’m sure I speak for both of us when I say that the response from our audience put some much needed wind in the sails. Most of us take photos, write poetry, paint or draw, garden – whatever form the creative process takes – we do it because we love it, audience or no. But, when it brings even the smallest amount of pleasure to someone else – well, it’s a pretty awesome feeling. Plus, I made some new friends. Thank you again, Ruth, for sharing your wonderful words and your kind friends with me. Until we meet again…

...Muir Woods - California - September 25, 2011

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The heat and the need to study are keeping me out of the garden today. I’m ok with that. There is a HUGE new vocabulary to learn for class and most of the outdoor plants don’t need anything but water right now. So, as I head off into a cool part of the house to learn about the chemical bonding habits of hydrogen molecules and why that matters to plants, I will leave you with a butterfly I met at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco when we were up there last month to visit Terri and Emily. Happy Sunday!

meet the Tiger Longwing Butterfly (Heliconius hecale)

I got to looking at the photo and noticed how well I could see the proboscis, which is a straw-like mouth, curled up and quite visible. It’s hard to get that in a butterfly photo since they usually flutter off when you approach. So, I enlarged the photo – I think this is a pretty awesome picture of a butterfly and she looks quite lovely against her green background:

...this one sat still for an entire photo shoot!

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As promised, I took a lot of photos on the tour of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Terri and Emily took us there because the special exhibit was out of Amy Stewart’s book “Wicked Plants” which I have read and loved. The old Gothic conservatories and hot-houses are another love, so basically it was an awesome day all around spent with some of my most favorite people in the world ever. Thank you, Terri and Emily 🙂 I was going to find the names of all the plants and label them for you, but that would keep me from posting them sooner. Basically, enjoying the photos this time is better than worrying about the names. There are orchid things and waxy things and steamy things…mostly tropical things and some poisonous things…enjoy.

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Well, let me just say I’ve been having a wonderful time lately and haven’t had the opportunity to post. I even skipped the Tuesday’s Muse post this week because She and I were busy playing elsewhere. Things are coming along swimmingly and the garden is thriving in the mid-summer heat. We just got back from a lovely weekend in San Francisco as well. There will be lots of photos of plants to post from our visit. I’ve also been ruminating on some serious cleaning out and editing in my life, house, garden, and this website. Everything is chaos and there is too much STUFF. So, I’ve been busy busy busy. Perhaps this weekend I’ll have a good post ready, as soon as I can focus on one single thing instead of 800 as I’m doing now. I’ve learned to indulge myself in the ‘too many irons in the fire’ phase because eventually it all comes around to making sense. But not yet. In the meantime please enjoy this hot steamy photo taken in San Francisco at the Conservatory of Flowers where Terri and Emily took us for an awesome tour…more on that later…

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers - Wicked Plants Exhibition - July 2011

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Tom and I took a few hours off last week and went to the Del Mar County Fair. We hadn’t been in almost a decade. Everything was the same. I had to have a corn dog, like always. We looked at the livestock and I remembered the years of my youth spent in the country. The smell of manure does that to me. It wasn’t unpleasant. The smell of manure I mean.

Baby goats are the cutest thing ever. If only they had fit in my purse!

According to the sign, these two goats are named “Beyonce” and “Maybeline” which is why they got their pictures taken. I really do love goats.

Beyonce and Maybeline are too busy for a photo shoot.

We looked at the winners of the flower contests and I enjoyed waltzing around saying ‘oh I can grow a better Rose than that blue ribbon thing’ until I ran into a purple Dahlia bigger than my head. That shut me up. I didn’t take a picture of it because displaying that prize-winning flower on my website didn’t seem right. I did get pictures of non-award display plants that tickled my fancy:

The 'day-glo' colors of this Bromeliad reminded me of an aerobics leotard I had in the 80's.

I fell in love madly with a Fuschia

Bloomers and Petticoats

or maybe a ballerina in a tutu

Years ago I dragged Tom through the gardening displays making mental notes about the garden I wanted ‘some day’ and yesterday I walked through thinking ‘wow I totally did it’ and that was a great feeling!

African "Lion's Tail" fit their description perfectly

We visited the vegetable and farm displays, always my favorite.

can I get an "Amen" up in here?!

I loved the colors of this Cabbage

A Sea of Sunflower Happiness

There's always time to stop and talk to a Bee

We looked at the photography exhibits and I thought about the dilemma I’ve had over whether or not I should put my name or website on all my photos. Some garden bloggers do that, something written across every photo they post so that it’s there forever like a big scar. It’s been on my mind for a year and half now and I firmly decided at the Fair that no, no I will not put any identification whatsoever on my online plant photos. Yes, I took them and they are technically mine. But, it’s a photo of the natural world which does not belong to me. There have been billions of poppies bloom on the planet throughout the course of history and capturing an image of one more is not something for which I need permanent credit. My intention is to share that moment in time with you, and I do it freely. If someone wants to ‘steal’ a photo of a flower from my website, that’s a good thing for the world. If someone wants to print it, frame it, and enter it in a photo contest, then they had more gumption than I did and I hope it wins a ribbon – woo! Perhaps I’ll change my mind one day, perhaps not.

Ok, does anyone know what this is?

We saw everything in three hours, mocked everyone’s fashion choices, wondered at the numbers of people in line to eat deep fried butter, bought a ‘ratchet pruner’ , which has become a new favorite tool, and now we don’t have to go back for another decade, unless I decide to enter a flower growing contest. No, definitely not.

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There was a story in the news this morning about a man named Andreas living in a town called Wiener Neustadt, which is south of Vienna in Austria. He was turning the soil over in his backyard and uncovered buried treasure. Hundreds of pieces of jewelry and baubles around 650 years old: a nifty reward for doing one of those ordinary mundane gardening tasks we all do in the Spring. Who buried it? Was it a pirate? I bet it was! The best part of the story is that he was considering loaning the collection to a museum instead of cashing in. I would do the same thing of course. Well, after I played “Pirate Dress Up” for a few weeks, THEN I would loan it out.


It reminded me of all the things I have unearthed while gardening. Mostly toys like little plastic soldiers or marbles, some tiny skeletons which I assumed were Halloween favors from long ago, animal bones, costume jewelry for little girls and strange articles of clothing. Every time I find something it gets my imagination working. How did that get there or what was the child like who was playing in this dirt, or how did that sock get buried under this tree and is it evidence in some serial killer’s murder spree? A few times I’ve hit a power line or a water pipe that I wasn’t supposed to hit – oops. The best ‘buried treasure’ story came from my grandmother. Apparently my grandfather was digging her a garden many years ago in Indiana when they were first married. He found a wedding ring, a real one. He immediately came in the house and asked her to marry him again. She always said “of course I said yes.” She wore both rings on the same finger for as long as I can remember.

Resist the urge to jump! - Kauai

Gardeners are like mini-archeologists. We are compelled to dig and till, turn over and stir up Earth, always with an eye open to what’s down there. We bury some things and we find some things. How many amazing and random objects have seen the light of day once again simply because some of us cannot leave the soil alone. It’s pretty awesome when you think about it. Makes me want to go garden.

My very own pirate, Tom, getting some morning exercise in Kauai with his new rooster buddy, who followed him around all morning.

All of today’s photos were from a trip to Kauai a few years ago because thinking about treasure makes me think of pirates and pirates make me think of tropical island paradise. And also Johnny Depp – the best pirate ever!

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