Testing, Testing

I got a new camera for the trip to Perú in September and have been playing around.

Fannie and Mabel

Fannie (left) and Mable watching intently


Mabel waiting for popcorn


Fannie, sure that the camera is going to take her soul…


Buddha statutes and portulaca


An interesting coleus

New Front Door

Our new front door


This weekend has been gray and dreary – typical Winter – but not cold enough for my liking.  In mid-December, though, it got quite cold for a few days – upper 20s.  Cold enough that most of my perennials died off.  And last week, it got down to 18 degrees for a couple of nights, killing off the rest.

I took that as my cue to start afresh in 2017.  I pulled out everything from all the beds except the major architectural plants.  I’ll start amending the soil (or at least trying – it’s probably a lost cause at this point) and hopefully replanting in April after the live oak leaf drop/pollen explosion is done with.  But here’s the current state affairs…a bit bleak.



The Back Yard – 15 January 2017



The East Bed – waiting for vines and ground cover



The North Bed – A clean slate






Mable – a bit blurry – she never sits still



The Naked Elm Tree



The Holly Tree


Paradise Lost

So, my neighbors put in a pool.  My outdoor sanctuary is gone.  Partly it was a self-inflicted wound; they needed our permission to tear down the fence and destroy a good part of the yard so they could get the backhoe in.  Every lawyer I know told me I should have said no.  I knew I should have said no.  But I didn’t say no.  The construction was bad enough, but I knew worse was coming and it did.  My outdoor sanctuary is gone.  I guess I already said that.

There’s now a pool party almost every night.  This one from four days ago was the worst.  We counted 42 place settings at this table.  42 women showed up about 7:30 for cocktails.  42 women sat down to dinner at 8:45.  42 women jumped into the pool, screaming like 8-year-olds at 11:oo.

The Party

Aftermath of the Party


We used Perfect Lawns to clean up the damage.  I still haven’t presented the neighbors with the bill; they typically use a guy with a pick-up truck and some shovels.  Things are finally getting a little bit back to normal, but the new normal, I guess.

We put in a ‘wall’ of crepe myrtles and Cherry Laurel for privacy.  We also did a more professional job on the firewood placement.


Crepe Myrtle and Cherry Laurel Screen


The puppies are glad to have their yard back in tact.  In April, Brian got two Pražský Krysaříks (‘Prague Ratters’ in English – I don’t even try it in Czech.).  Fanny and Mable.

Fanny and Mable

Mable and Fanny in a rare ‘still moment.’

Mable and Fanny

Mable and Fanny – Fanny’s daring me to take away whatever rubbish she’s found in the yard.

New Flag

A new flag in honor of the Fourth


I haven’t posted in a while; it’s been a tough time.  In January, we lost our Gus.  I think I’m still in shock.  Between five vets and three animal hospitals, we’re still not sure what happened.  He developed an exceptionally rare autoimmune reaction to something – maybe his vaccinations – and he just slipped away.


Gus – December 2015