Monday, February 28, 2011

Evening With The Stars

Yes, that's right it was Academy Awards night at Menagerie Manor. As a child MeMa's parents owned and operated a theatre in the small town of Clatskanie. Clatskanie has grown and faltered over the years but actually has one traffic light. The Avalon Theatre sadly has gone but MeMas love of the movies and Hollywood stars is still alive and strong.

When the Avalon closed for good I took out a portion of the old seats and the old cigarette stand came from the projection room.

One of the rooms we added to the Manor's collection of thirteen was its own theatre room. And so on the night of the Academy Awards you can find us comfy in our chairs, feet up and refreshments on our trays whilst cheering on our favorite stars.

Our Sophie kept one eye open from her favorite pillow

Although the photo only shows our feet we were quite thrilled watching our favorite stars, Miss Betty not so much.

Friday, February 25, 2011

March is fast approaching

"May your Lamp of Hope Never Need Oil"
This Irish wish on one of MeMa's ancient Post Cards caught my eye as I was looking out the window at the darkening clouds that are threatening record February snow and cold coming towards us. Definitely an evening to work in the greenhouse. On my way home from the office I passed by the Nursery and noticed a couple flats of mixed plants sitting by the dumpster. I stopped and asked Dave the Manager about them and he said they were left over from their display at the Home and Garden show and I was welcome to them. Soooo they all followed me home.

The tag says it can be used indoors or out

One of MeMas favorite, old fashioned Wall Flowers

One whole flat of yellow and white Primroses

Grape Hyacinth, they should look great blooming in this pot

Very fragrant yellow Hyacinth
March is a busy month in the garden, well compared to February that is. I'm glad I was slow in getting the final pruning done on my rose garden as you can see it is a bit frozen.
Best left until they are not frozen in order to keep from damaging the fresh cuts

Under that snow are Magnolia blossoms waiting to dazzle
My garlic bed looking healthy but cold
Monkey Puzzle Tree
The guardian of the front landscape, such a hearty species its no wonder they have been unchanged through the millennia.

Although not Irish MeMa's collection of Devon Mottoware make a great display. The cream and sugar pots on the right are a set she has had for years, passed down to her from a generation before. In our travels we have slowly added to the collection.

March Calendar

Roses - Fertilize roses. After you’ve pruned established roses and before spring growth starts, feed plants. Wait to feed newly set-out plants until after first bloom.

Early March - final pruning of roses. If you missed Washington's Birthday in the last week of February

Seeds - Sow flower seeds. Bachelor’s button, calendula, clarkia, cosmos, godetia, larkspur, Shirley poppy, snapdragon, sweet alyssum, Love in the Mist, Poppies can all be sown in the garden now. Put them in full sun.

Vegetables - Plant cool season vegetables. Beet, carrot, lettuce, pea, radish and spinach can all be sown this month, as can most cabbage family members. A cloche helps warm the soil and gives seedlings an early start. Bare-root artichokes, asparagus, horseradish and rhubarb are available.

Ferns - Last week, cut back all old fronds.

Berries - Feed berries. Put a complete fertilizer on all kinds of berries except strawberries. (you feed them after the June crop) Before you put in new berries or divide old ones, amend the soil with generous amounts of compost.

Perennials - One trustworthy sign that clumps need dividing is reduced flower production or lackluster growth last year. Divide overgrown clumps this month, and plants will be more vigorous this summer. Use a shovel to dig in a circle around clumps, then pop them out of the ground and slice them into chunks. most plants will do well cut into pieces 6 - 8 inches across. Replant divisions into well-amended soil or put them in pots. If you have too many plants, consider giving your excess to a worthy organization for its plant sale.

Blueberries – Starting on St. Patrick’s Day feed with Sulfate of Ammonia.

When new growth starts and while wet weather is still with us fertilize with Rhodibloom.

Fruit Trees – Apply lime to strengthen branches.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Was In Bloom On Valentine's Day Around The Manor

"For Always"

MeMa's Valentine's Day Favorite
Red Tulips

This Hot House Azalea was a centerpiece at MeMa's mother's memorial
It's nice that it bloom's on Valentine's Day

MeMa's Orchid she bought while we were on Maui
"Dendrobium spectibile"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Redwood gets a trimming

Some of you may remember the post I did on History of our Redwood. I take a lot of pride in this tree and made a promise that we commit ourselves to keeping it healthy even if we had to call in the professional arborist or two, this time it took two. In the past I would carefully cut off lower branches as they matured because they become so heavy that they would touch the ground. Those were the easy ones to cut and they would supply a small amount of fire wood in return. As the years went by the branches would still start to bend toward the ground but the point were they attached to the tree was further off the ground so I would eventually have need for a ladder to do this job every six to seven years. Our mammoth friend is now 29 years old and I can no longer reach the branches from the ground or a ladder so I called a company called Arbor-Pro who sent two of their young tree experts out to remove the offending limbs.
This photo was shot about four years ago when we had about six feet of clearance under the branches. This last year I had to stoop over to walk under them.

Because of the dense growth of our tree we had a lot of dead stuff on the inside so the fellows removed a little more than I had anticipated, but our garden giant looks so much better. We are going to have twice the amount of sun light which will benefit the rest of the garden.

I had the fellows leave all the limbs for me and I have started cutting the large portions into fireplace logs and then stacking the debris into separate piles to be hauled to our recycling center. I have an eight foot trailer which has one load ready to go and three more waiting in the garden. Nice fire wood but so much clean-up.
This all took place on Friday and although I worked a bit on the clean-up Saturday the rest of the weekend was spent relaxing with MeMa after her visit to the hospital. She is doing well considering what she went through.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Rough Day

   After waiting for the defroster to clear a good layer of ice from the windshield before leaving the hospital emergency parking, I drove home that crisp morning at 04:30 through frozen quiet streets and I began to weep.  They were just tears in the corner of my eyes at first but then soon became uncontrolled run down your cheeks and splatter in your lap tears.  I had just spent the last seven hours by MeMa's bed side while Dr and nurses fussed around her hooking her up to monitors asking questions and coming up with no answers.  She had come home from working a full day at the school and was complaining of nausea, light chest pain and upper back pain.  I took her blood pressure and it was off the chart high.  We then called the advice nurse who quickly passed us to a Doctor, who then told us to get right over to Emergency.
  After getting admitted and hooked up to the monitors they gave her morphine for the pain and nitroglycerin.  They tried three rounds of meds for the nausea and said that as soon as it settled then they would take her up for a stress test.  It was decided then that I should go home and see to the dogs and get a little sleep before returning at 10:00 a.m. for her stress test.
  I took the back roads home instead of the freeway because teary vision for a fellow with only one good eye is not a smart way to travel.  It was that long damn hallway leaving the treatment rooms, knowing MeMa lay in that bed still not having any answers that got me thinking of the "what if".  I am normally a very positive person but with being tired and still not having any answers got me thinking those horrible thoughts.  We spend all our younger years working hard to achieve our goals and to create the beauty and comfort we live in.  "We" is all it has ever been about and I cringed at the thought of going home, opening the door and stepping into an empty house.  I don't ever want to say "this is mine" I only want it to be "ours".  I'm guilty of just assuming that this is the way it always be.  So this little awakening kind of hit me in the face hard.  Don't take things for granted because when you do is when things could change.  Miss Betty and little Sophie looked at me confused as to why their beloved MeMa was not with me and went back to the door and fussed, sniffing at the closed door.  I crawled into bed rolling over and looking at her pillow and pushed those ugly thoughts out of my head and thought about all the good things that happened in our life and will happen in our future.  I eventually fell asleep, waking at ten till ten I leaped out of bed a drove straight back to the hospital cursing at myself for missing the stress test.  When I dashed into her room she was sitting up and I just made it in time to put a basin under her as she got sick. She said they took her for the stress test but she was so sick that they postponed it.  The nurse came in and gave her an injection of another drug to settle the nausea, five minutes later she was sleeping soundly, so sound that when the Dr. came in it didn't wake her.  I put my finger to my lips and he whispered that when she woke they would do the stress test.
  At around five in the evening the discharge nurse could not talk fast enough as we prepared to leave the hospital.  The result of the whole event?   Was (besides the inconclusive tests)  two very tired people drove home in their car, stepped into their house and were greeted very enthusiastically by their dogs, just the way it was always meant to be and the way it always should be.  MeMa is doing well, she passed the stress test and the Dr. said she has a good strong heart and so it is still a mystery why her blood pressure was so high.  I'm thinking it is not too late for me to get out there and shop for Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

One man’s junk is another's treasure

Family members of our dear neighbor Margarette Mackenzie, tossed this lovely vase into the trash while they were emptying out her house in order to put it on the market. MeMa rescued it and I cut a few sprays Cymbidium orchids from my greenhouse and beauty has been restored. I have no idea the history of this piece but it looks great on the mantle.