Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday afternoon enjoyment

It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday here in northwest Washington. After church, my dad, mom, sister-in-law, nephew, and I went to  CJ's Beach House in Birch Bay for lunch. I forgot to bring my camera, so took a few pictures with my phone. Here is one looking out toward the ocean. The tide is out but coming in.

Here are my sister-in-law and nephew. My nephew enjoys the sun; my sister-in-law is in the shade of our table umbrella, by her preference.

My mom asked me not to take her picture. I think she may have feared that the ocean breeze, which was refreshing, had messed up her hair. My dad did not object to having his picture taken. You can see that the cell phone camera is not a good enough camera to capture the background; that all whited out. And the picture doesn't do my dad justice. It looks like I caught him when he was just starting to laugh or talk.

Here's a better picture of my dad, from his most recent birthday, just to establish what he really looks like.

We had a most pleasant meal by the Bay, then drove to my sister-in-law's house for some ice cream for dessert, then came home. Then I took a little nap. All in all, an excellent Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday afternoon accomplishment

A while back, I bought this potting table/shelf, unassembled. Here it is as it came out of the box:

Those metal pieces with the curly cues are cast iron: heavy! Using nothing but my own two hands and a pliers, I assembled it, and here it is all put together:

Pretty, isn't it? In the garage, I have an unassembled rocking chair made in the same line--same kind of wood and leaf-pattern metal. I'm fired up now to put that together.

Here is the shelf with stuff in it, being used for the purpose for which I built it:

And here is a shot of the sitting area:

Een gezellig hoekje. Although I must admit I swept the area vigorously, as the shady side of the deck has a tendency to get a bit spidery. When the spiders are swept away, then it's a pleasant place to sit.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Not this past weekend, but the weekend before, I went back to Hi Hoe Nursery to get more Veronica Miffy Brute, to help fill in the sand and dirt steps on the west side of our house. The ones I bought earlier are doing well and spreading, but just not very fast, so I stuck a few more in to help the cause along.

Of course, I couldn't just buy what I went there for, and I came home with more plants, including these hostas, which I planted between the blueberry bushes because that's a fairly shady spot. I told my dad we should take the blueberries out, as they have not thrived there, but they do have a few berries, so he says to wait at least until the berries are done.

I also bought the fern on the left. The fern on the right planted itself. It's what my aunt calls "a volunteer."

These little plants were so pretty, I bought them for my deck, even though I had used up my pots, and I had to go buy new pots just for them. They are called Blue Ageratum.

And these, with their trumpet-shaped flowers, were vaunted as appealing to hummingbirds, so I bought them and a pot for them, too. The blooms suffered a bit from the fact that these sat in their starter pots for a week before I transplanted them to this big pot. They are called Nicotiana, which makes me wonder if that word is related to "nicotine," and if this plant is related to tobacco. Sure enough. I just looked on Wikipedia, and this is tobacco. The information "stick" said that all parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested, but I don't plan to eat it, or to smoke it either. Just grow it.

And I bought this little fern-type fellow for this little pot. The daisy-type of flower I put in it previously died. I think there was insufficient drainage from the pot and the soil stayed too moist. I put some small rocks in the bottom of the pot this time. There is no drainage hole in it. This plant also suffered from sitting in the starter pot for a week before I transplanted it, plus the starter pot fell over on its side. So we'll see if it recovers or if I'll have to try a third time to find something for this pot.

Ladybug II

It's hard to evaluate the success of the ladybug experiment so far, as it's only day two, I guess. I put them out Saturday night, and here they are on Sunday morning. They had crawled up the trellis from the ground.

Some were wandering into the plant. The picture below shows both two ladybugs, but also how sorry-looking many of the honeysuckle leaves are. Even if the aphids disappear, the damage they did will be irreversible for this season, anyway.

Below is a shoot with a particularly gross infestation. Shortly after I took this picture I cut off this shoot and threw it in a bucket of water to drown the aphids. I hope aphids are drownable. I just couldn't stand to leave them there.

A few ladybugs had already wandered over to nearby plants, like these two on these lavender blooms.

Today there are fewer ladybugs in the honeysuckle (I didn't take a picture), but still some. Well, the long-term idea is that even if many of the ladybugs do fly away, some will leave behind eggs, and ladybug larvae eat even more aphids than ladybugs. They're not as attractive, however.

Any of the pictures on my blog you can view bigger by clicking on the picture; then use your browser's "back" button to come back to the blog.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ladybug, ladybug

My honeysuckle, shown below in a picture from last summer, I discovered is full of aphids. So today I went to Bakerview Nursery and bought a container of ladybugs.

The instructions said to keep the closed container in the refrigerator until use and to release the ladybugs under the plant that's infested in the early evening--first having sprinkled the ground with water.

The guys at the nursery said if you open it during the day, they'll just fly away. The instructions said that they don't fly at night, but they will be attracted to the moisture you've prepared, and they'll apparently crawl around getting a drink and generally checking things out. Many will fly away in the morning. Hopefully, some will stick around and snack on aphids. Also, hopefully, some will lay eggs, which will hatch and the larvae will also eat aphids. It can take a few weeks to be fully effective.

I hope it works. The trouble with sprays to kill aphids is that they usually say to spray the leaves front and back, like you can stand there turning every leaf on a very full plant front and back. Also, I don't like to get bug spray on my fingers, and I don't want to breathe it. 

But ladybugs, if they stick around, will be motivated by hunger and appetite to seek out and eat the aphids. We'll see if it works.

A single ladybug is kind of pretty, but a container about the size of a tupperware dish full of them is not as attractive. The lid had lots of air holes, and lots of lady bugs were clinging to the bottom of the lid, so when you looked at it you were seeing the underside of the insects, with many twitchy little insect legs in evidence. I wet the soil under the honeysuckle, then carefully took off the lid and scattered them on the soil. Many were still clinging to the lid and dish, so I left them there, too, so the bugs could crawl out at their own pace.

Ladybug! Ladybug! Fly away home!
Your house is on fire; your children will burn.

That's version I know (another version). But I want my ladybugs to think of this honeysuckle plant as their home and not fly away anywhere else.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blooms of many colors

The first bloom on my portulaca was pink.

The second bloom was yellow.

And now the third bloom is white.

What next?

Not a prince, but I rescued him (maybe)

I saw movement in my "pond" today and discovered a frog swimming in it. I'm not sure if he jumped in or hatched there.

I couldn't be sure, but it looked as though the frog was trying to climb out of the pond but was unable to do so. I scooped him up in a bucket of water, and first I carefully dumped him out on the lawn. Then I thought, it's a long way to the creek, and since the weather is warmer, what if he dries out on the way? So I scooped up some more water and actually caught and plopped him back into the bucket and brought him down by the creek. I carefully dumped him out there, within a foot of the water.

He's in the picture below, in the lower half, center; this is him in the grass by the creek.

Bon voyage, grenouille!
I need to clean the pond out and put up our Belgian water feature (mannekin pis). Then the pond will no longer be suitable for amphibian life forms.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Can it be?

What is that outside? It . . . it can't be . . . It is! . . . It's . . . it's sunshine!

And they said it couldn't happen here.

First fuchsia blooms

The autumnal-leaved fuchsias have produced their first blooms. Hooray!

Some are still in bud.