Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Garden For MeMa

Two weeks ago I was able to start planting the annuals that I started in the greenhouse.  The first order of the day was the little garden that I built for MeMa out by the front of the house were she could see it every time she left or arrived at the house.

I planted 124 yellow Petite Marigolds
She is absolutely the biggest Mickey Mouse fan and has her home office completely stuffed with old and new collectible Mickey items.

The walls are covered in shelves of small items.

Corners are filled with larger items.
Tables are filled with even larger items, such as colour Television.
Not a Minnie Mouse in sight...only Mickey will do.

Two weeks later Mickey is filling in nicely and we are anticipating yellow flowers will be creating quite a bright spot in the front garden.  And I look forward to seeing that lovely smile as MeMa drives up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bring Out The Big Gun

We love our dogs and in thirty eight years of marriage we have had our share of them.  All very much loved and cared for and all very well trained.  An obedient dog in a large city is a must for their own well being especially when one takes them everywhere.  I feel we are both accomplished trainers and have "finished" most of our dogs in obedience training using lead and training collar or choke chain.  I prefer to call them training collars as when used properly that is what they are.  I have seen far too many dog owners pulling relentlessly on the lead and the dog straining away choking itself until its eyes nearly pop out of its head or it barfs up its last meal.  There was one occasion when a young lady walked by or I should say her large dog was pulling her by, she was yelling heal and pulling steady on the choke chain with the usual effects.  I could stand it no more and asked her if I could show her something, to which she practically tossed the lead to me.  I then told her the proper use of the choke chain is to "pop and release".  I then walked forward letting the dog lunge ahead to which my reaction was to slow and command "heal" while at the same giving the dog a good sharp pop of the collar and then immediate release.  The dog returned to my side confused but understanding that something had changed.  I continued the short lesson a couple more times and by time I handed the obviously thrilled girl the lead her dog was walking like a gentleman.  But paths we travel in life would not be paths if they didn't have a hurdle or two, so enter our son's dog Popeye........

Popeye has never had a training collar because as with all dogs of his breed it could damage his larynx if too much pressure was applied, so he has always had a halter or just let do what he wanted.  He is totally ridiculous on a walk and when he first came to live with us he was just plain rude in the house. We have been very patient with the brute and he has slowly come to terms with our rules and I am happy to say he is quite the little gentleman.....most of the time.  But on those occasions when I have been tested to the limits and he just will not listen I have to get out the "Big Guns" as far as training methods......well I do it...... I'm not proud that I have to use this source as it is total intimidation, but it works.

 Look at the fear in those eyes.  He was off the bed and on his cushion in seconds.  Maxwell Smart to the rescue, never a claw was used only a complete look of benign disdain and it was all over with.

With a casual look he then went off about his business of keeping the rest of the house in order. The Governor of Menagerie Manor, Maxwell Smart. Dog trainer extraordinaire.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Good Day In The Garden

With the promise of several days of summer like weather I had plans of spending the entire weeks end in the garden.  Well Saturday turned out to be just another dreary Oregon day of cold and damp so MeMa and I jumped in the car early and spent the day indulging ourselves by going to the Goodwill Bins and looking for treasures that we probably didn't need but bought anyway.  However Sunday was gorgeous weather so I put my gardening clothes on.  MeMa loves Zinnias for bouquets so I had planted a tray of the giant variety called State Fair.  The seedlings needed to be pricked out and planted into four inch pots so that was the first chore accomplished.
120 Zinnias, next move will be to the garden
A tray of petite yellow marigolds for the Mickey Garden. Mickeys head takes about 40 plants all together. So I will pot the remainder into four inch pots to use as replacements if needed.
This is a tray of Roma Tomato's that I started earlier, these are my extras that will go into neighbors gardens as I have planted two in mine.

And I have 27 Beefsteak Tomato's and 21 Better Boy Tomato's of which I will keep a couple for my garden and the rest will be distributed to the neighbors as well.

In 2011 I posted about one of our favorite Koi fish "Kokie" that was being treated for Kidney disease, she unfortunately did not make it and passed early this spring.  I have been updating the filtering system and enlarging it as well, it is well hidden behind this lush bed of Acanthus mollis.

Wisteria sinensis "Cooks Special" in full bloom

I planted this Tree Peonia  " Paonia lutea ludlowii" in February of 2003 and it has always done very poorly for me, never flowered.  Last year I dug it out and fully intended to toss it in the debris pile but at the last minute I dug a hole on the back fence line and unceremoniously tossed the root mass into the hole and left it.  Well I guess it took notice of my impatience and grew gangbusters and is covered in bright yellow flowers.
The first rose to bloom is the diminutive "Cecil Brunner"
One of MeMas favorites "Lilly of the Valley"
These green and white tulips look rather good in the viola bed
Just outside the chicken yard is this delightful white cranesbill
The idea of the "Yuma garden" was to hide the ugly white pipe. This side of the house is extremely hot

And fresh from the greenhouse

Epicactus "Padre"

Orchid #37 - This odontoglossum stays in bloom for about 45 days
African Violet "Pinwheel"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What Does a Gardener Do When Tired of The Rain?

.........Well he packs his bags and with the lovely MeMa, the "Little Terrorists" and eldest son Nathan in tow they all go to Disneyland.  I love Oregon, it is the perfect environment for persons with potting soil in their pockets.  But even a devout gardener gets a little tired of constant rain, so off we flew.  MeMa made all the reservations and did all the planning including having our dear friend Andrea move into the Manor to see that our little zoo was taken care of properly.
First stop after our flight was the pool. I highly recommend the Candy Cane Inn which was a two block walk to the front gates of Disneyland.

MeMa had the brilliant idea of purchasing inexpensive umbrella strollers that we could just leave behind on our return to Portland.  She was bound and determined not to hear "I'm tired" from the "Little Terrorists".

It really is the happiest place on earth, and we went from one ride....... the next

and if MeMa or I saw anyone looking bored........
....we simply loaded them on another ride

Taeya's high point was being asked to chaperone Minnie Mouse clear across the park back to the dressing rooms, She was glowing as they walked hand in hand.

MeMa and Taeya spent one afternoon having "Lunch with the Princesses"

While Poppi, Nathan and Brooklyn did cool guy stuff

But then it was back to one ride after the other

After five days and nights our son asked if we would mind  taking the "Little Terrorist" to the park on our own and he stay behind. We didn't give him a moment to change his mind and out the door we went.

Being hard core Disney fans MeMa and I like to stay until the park closes
 to say goodnight to Walt and Mickey

and goodnight to the Little Terrorists