Thursday, September 16, 2010

Flight of the Butterfly

I was taking a nice quiet day off, you know one of those selfish days where I get up and make sure all creatures are happy and fed so the rest of the day could be totally self indulgent. I puttered away in the greenhouse pampering my orchids, brought this one indoors, probably my favorite ????  hmmm wellllll yeah maybe? 

 Poured another coffee and was admiring one of my fern's (Davallia trichomanoides), then I floated back to earth and landed with a crash as the doorbell rang at the back of the house.......which only meant one thing, "The Little Terrorist #1", Taeya.  The din that ensued was ridiculous, Taeya screeching with excitement, the dogs racing through the house just so they could be the first to reach her.  Our son Ian trying to fight his way through it all with a mountain of baggage that goes everywhere with her (this girl does not pack light), he then turned and waved and said "don't forget she has dance class"!  Dance class, how could I forget.  Mema signed her up for it because.....well......that's what Mema does!  Only this day Poppi gets to take her because.......well?.....Well,  just because Mema told Poppi that is what he was going to do!!  Have any of you ever tried to put what seems to be a tutu  that is two sizes too small on a wriggling three year old that has enough energy to run an electric plant? And if that wasn't bad enough the ballet shoes looked like they were supposed to fit dolly, not Taeya. And the right foot looked exactly like the left and were not marked as such either.  So who knows if I have permanently damaged the poor child's feet, but at least she is not walking like Quasimodo.....yet!
I loaded the little ball of energy into the car and off we went. Don't get me wrong but my granddaughter as most wee ones has always been a bit of a klutz and on our arrival at the center she tripped and fell three feet away from the car.  We avoided most of the tears by humiliating myself with goofy faces and spinning her round and round until we walked through the doors in loud squealing giggles.  I sat her down on the dance floor and my granddaughter instantly changed.

She changed before my very eyes

could these be the wings of a butterfly?

....and off she flew....

there was never a moment when the sat still

other butterflies tried to compete with her flight around the room

...with or without wings she out flew..and the other little butterfly's either crashed to earth or..

....or stumbled off shaking their little heads.

....then.... like magic.....

....the beautiful butterfly came in for a other words, the class ended!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September list being done in a hurry

It is already half over and I have made a good stab at the to do list. Mema and I will be enjoying the last part of the month in Las Vegas. We had planned on going there to attend a wedding but when Mema happened to mention the trip to another friend at work they gave us free room at their Condo which is just a block off the strip. So we decided we needed to extend our stay in "the city that never sleeps". As you can probably guess Menagerie Manor can never be left unattended so when we leave we hire a full time house sitter. We have been very fortunate finding this sitter, they love the animals and even take extra care with the greenhouse and I have never lost an orchid. I will list the jobs I have gotten done in the garden.

Iris:  Divided Siberian and Japanese clumps.

Orchids:  Spray for spider mite control.

Penstemon : Take cuttings

Raspberries : Removed the upper half of canes that produced this year.

Apples :  Picked and stored the Liberty / Emla  (Best apples for eating)

Amaryllis : Moved all bulbs into garden shed to harden them off, reduced watering and am waiting for foliage to wither so bulbs will go dormant.

Peonies : Time to transplant, use lots of compost and plant crowns 2 inches below surface

Perennials : End of the month good time to transplant before winter rains make soil too wet to work. Wait, I'll be in Vegas! It's a good thing I got that job done last year :o)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Swan Island Dahlia Festival

Every year I choose to order my Dahlia tubers in person, they still send me a catalog that I peruse and sort of get an idea of what I would like to have. But I always end up at the farm with my catalog in hand. Besides the tuber orders they offer large bunches of picked dahlias that Mema usually indulges in.
The youngest son called first thing in the morning whilst we were sitting and having our morning coffee and asked if we could take the "Little Terrorist #1" for a while. They have built a new garage at their home and wanted some "alone time" to install shelving and the work bench, as always we said yes. So we three headed out to the dahlia festival in Mema's little green Beetle.
The following pictures are on my 2010 order for delivery in the spring of 2011.

Taeya with a mammoth sized flower

"Dazzle Me"

"Bride To Be"

"Imperial Wine"
This one Mema purchased as cut flowers and when she put them in a large arrangement on the dining room table, they looked so good with the colors in the room she called the farm and had them add it onto the order for next year. 


There are over 40 acres and more then 350 different varieties of dahlias

The Dahlias at Menagerie Manor are grown in the picking garden and are all chosen with the idea that they will be used in Mema's beautiful floral arrangements. So size is important, the large ten inch flowers are never used. I have a few of those as garden fillers in the main gardens but they never make it indoors. Mema prefers long stemmed 4 to 6 inch blooms.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Part Seven Menagerie Manor .......... Lucy Has A Tantrum

We lived in the Manor's older rooms untouched; left the way Lucy left them. The original wallpaper still hung in the parlor and dining room. Mema decided it needed a face lift and so the long hard job of removing wall paper three layers thick began. Once the paper had been removed one could see that all the crown molding had been removed from windows, door and the entry way, the stain marks were still visible on the raw walls. There had been plate rails halfway up the dining room walls and wainscoting, removed as well, probably to make it easier to wallpaper. We researched the wood and design and decided to replace everything back to its original state. When it the wood work was done Mema picked out the paint for the two rooms, but being that they had never been painted before we had to prime all walls and the new wood work as well.
I was busy painting white primer on every surface when I heard a loud pounding coming from the dining rooms bay windows. I went and had a look but could see nothing. Returning to my painting the pounding returned, except this time it was at one of the small upper fireplace windows. I figured it had to be a bird looking for insects and went and stood on the deacon's bench next to the fire place and again nothing was seen. I returned to my painting and heard Mema and the "Crazy Cat Lady" talking on the walk by the front porch when all of a sudden the window directly next to my shoulder started shaking under a loud hard pounding. I looked out at Mema and she asked me what I wanted. I said, "nothing, I thought you were pounding to get my attention".  They had both heard all the pounding and thought I was working on something in the room. I said, "Oh my god", Mema and the C.C.L. both said, "Lucy". They both came into the room were I was painting and Mema said out loud "Now Lucy, Doc is just painting the rooms and we are going to fix your house up just the way your Father had it, it's going to look real nice". The pounding stopped and the work was finished. The rooms look as they had in 1916. Life at the Manor has returned to normal.....well normal as life with a ghost who has a sense of humor can be.
 Besides the color change to the green bungalow, it has all new wiring and plumbing. It sports a four car garage instead of the small one large enough for a model "T" car, and has a lovely sun room off the back that leads into an open basement with a theater room, extra bath and laundry facility. The original part of the home has not changed much; even the old kitchen is in its original state. In all I would like to think we kept our bargain with Lucy Warner and that she will continue playing her little jokes on the stewards of Menagerie Manor.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Part Six Menagerie Manor....."Say Cheese"!

Our youngest son Ian was soon to leave for college so on his birthday I took lots of Pictures. The Manor was packed with friends and family, a few of them with cameras as well. So it was no surprise that our camera came up missing, assuming that someone mistook it for their own and it would be returned soon. Days went by and no camera, so we called the list of guests and still no camera. We turned the house upside down looking for the camera, Mema said it was probably Lucy but we sort of forgot about it as there were a lot of things going on with getting Ian checked into dorm life and all. Summer came and "Moms Weekend" had arrived so Mema went to Corvallis and picked up Ian, they were driving down to Eugene where our oldest son Nathan was living and the three were to have a night of it. I at the time had just arrived home and sitting in the parlor I called Mema. I told her to be sure to take pictures to which she replied "I would, except Lucy took the camera". We both said in unison "Lucy, I wish you would bring the camera back". I then left the house to attend a fund raiser for the Community Gardens. On my return I entered the parlor and was facing the chair I had been sitting in talking to Mema when we made the request of Lucy, and there sitting in the chair was the camera, missing all these months. I was shaking when I called Mema to tell her the news.
Tomorrow......"Lucy Has a Tantrum".

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Part Five Menagerie Manor......"Lucy Calling"

(From a letter to my twin brother in Texas, dated Dec. 14, 2004)

Just have to tell you about the latest Lucy episode, she is sending me pages now! Last week I was working a graveyard shift with the students. On Monday I normally take Mema to work in the AM and then go out to my office in Gresham. Then I pick her up at night because she works a double shift at Benson High School. Since I was working late at night that week I told her that when she got home at 9:30 to just page me so I would know she got home safely. Well I received the page at about 9:30 and at that time I was taking a dinner break and decided that I would call and thank her for the page and see how her night was. When I called the house I got the answering machine and figured she had taken the dogs out for a walk, so I left her a message thanking her for the page and to have a nice evening. In five minutes I received another page from the home number so I called her right back but again no answer, so I left her a message to call my cell phone. Seconds later she called and sounded pretty upset and said that when she was walking into the house after work she was hearing the last part of the message that I left her. At first she thought I was playing a joke on her and that it wasn't funny. I told her that at 9:30 I had received a page from the house number and then another page five minutes later from the house number. We both just sat in silence for a few seconds trying to think of a good explanation.......very funny more phone privileges!
Tomorrow......"Say Cheese"!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Part Four Menagerie Manor......."Lucy Gets Even"

The young couple had two son's who grew up knowing Lucy's presence but understood that she seemed to be friendly and liked them living in her house.
The young couple decided they needed more room in their bungalow which was now painted its current colors of brown and red. The home was also known as Menagerie Manor, a title given the old house by a group of school teachers that brought their student several times a year on outings to see and learn about all the animals and birds that came here to recuperate and when well were returned to the wild or were made to live comfortably at the Manor. Construction began on the old home that would double its size. The day the workers tore off the entire back end of the house strange things started to happen. One day the foreman was on a tall ladder when he said he was pushed hard from the ladder and broke his leg in several places, he would never return to the job. Things went slowly after that episode. After the construction was finished the Manor had a total of thirteen rooms. Lucy seemed to like it, her humor returned as more small objects would disappear and when she was asked she would return them.
Tomorrow......."Lucy Calling"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Part Three: Menagerie Manor....... "Now You See It, Now You Don't"

Some people would have balked at signing the paperwork for a big investment such as home ownership on the 13th day of the month and taking ownership on Halloween day. But the young couple found it amusing. They had been happily living in the green bungalow for four years and had some strange things happen such as little household items disappearing and then reappearing in rooms that the item would never have been placed in. One particular item was a beautiful blue star sapphire ring with diamonds on the side; it disappeared out of its usual spot in the young wife's jewelry box. By this time Lucy's ghost had been discussed and every time something would disappear the young couple would say out loud "Lucy I wish you would bring that back". A couple of weeks later the ring reappeared sitting on a side table in the dinning room. The young couple laughed but were just glad they got it back. There had been several times when in the evening the young couple would be watching television and a cold chill would pass through the room. One of dogs or cats would rise up from a sound sleep and stare into the room as though they were watching someone. Another time the young couple sat at the dining room table with friends playing a board game, the instructions were sitting on the table next to the young wife as the game was new and they had to keep referring to the rules. The guest couple were arguing loudly about some rule and the young wife was asked to look it up but when she reached to where the sheet had been laying it was gone. They searched everywhere and could not find it. No one had gotten up from the table until then. They all laughed and said it was probably Lucy, maybe she didn't like the loud arguing. Once again they laughed at the thought and said "Lucy I wish you would bring that back". Several weeks later the young couple were rearranging the dining room and moved a tall free standing china closet away from the wall and behind it standing against the wall was the instructions to the board game.

Tomorrow........"Lucy Gets Even"

Part Two Menagerie Manor.......Lucy Warner

The young couple had by now moved all their belongings into the green bungalow and it was fast becoming the home they dreamed of owning. The young wife said "It had everything she had on her list of must haves that would make a house their home". Big front porch that they could sit on and enjoy life as it went by. A large fireplace in the parlor, the built-in's and all the fancy leaded glass throughout the rooms. The young husband was especially thrilled with the over sized lot that the house was surrounded by. The previous owner was a twice widowed lady by the name of Lucy Warner. She married late in life so had no children and the house was built by her father as his retirement home. He was a local builder in town and was planning on spending his last years sitting on the big front porch which at the time looked over open country with a couple of homes that dotted the landscape. Unfortunately one of his competitors purchased the property next to his and built his home just far enough forward so that Lucy's father's view from his front porch was blocked. This angered him so much that he gave the house to his daughter Lucy who lived there until the day the young couple purchased it. Lucy knew she could no longer live safely in the old house with so many stairs so she decided it was time to sell her beloved home to a new family. There were several offers on the home but one offer intrigued her. The young couple both had written a short letter to Lucy stating that they understood her love for the house and loved the fact that the house had been kept in most of its original state. And she noted an added statement from the young husband, that he was an avid gardener and was thrilled with the blank slate the property presented him. That he had big plans for a wonderful landscape. Although the young couple offered the asking price it was the lowest of all bids. Lucy went with the young couple; perhaps she could feel that they had her houses best interest at heart.
About a month after they took ownership the young husband was busy working in the front yard. He had just stood up to look at his handy work when he noticed a large car parked in the street, its occupants watching intently.
 The male was middle aged sitting in the front drivers seat and in the back seat was an elderly woman. The young husband held up his hand to say hello and the driver opened the window. He introduced himself and then introduced his great aunt Lucy Warner. The young husband was thrilled to meet her and invited them in. Lucy thanked him but declined and said she was happy the young couple had gotten the house, the house she loved for so many years. Several months went by when one of the neighbors had informed the young couple that shortly after Lucy's visit to the house she had passed away. Life went on for the young couple in the green bungalow, the house had life, it seemed to always be a happy life, and everything came together, even the little things. On their first anniversary in the old house the young wife gave her husband an antique gold pocket watch. The young husband was anxious to wear it but needed a fob to go with it. But because of its age it was hard to match the color. A short time after he received the watch he was crawling on hands and knees in one of the attics when a glint caught the beam of his flashlight. He crawled over to where he saw it and picked up a gold watch fob. He carried it downstairs and brought out the gold pocket watch, the colors matched exactly, as thought the two belonged together. As the young husband admired the watch and chain the memory of Lucy Warner flashed through his head, he smiled and quietly thanked the old woman.

Tomorrow..... Now You See it, Now You Don't

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Part One - Menagerie Manor.......The Begining

Ok, I have had several e-mails from followers asking about my earlier brief mention of a resident ghost at Menagerie Manor so I have attempted to give you some details in the next postings. I have broken it down to seven posts so as not to bore you too badly.

October 31, 1976,
Halloween night finds the young couple in separate houses waiting for the nights festivities. The young wife cozy'd up for the evening in the little rental house they have been living in for the first two years of their marriage. The young husband with his two fearless canine companions (Basset Hounds) Rosy and Sherman, shivering alone in the recently purchased 1916 green bungalow. The house is large and void of any furnishings, dark because someone took all bulbs out of the fixtures, cold because the furnace company had drained the oil tank. The young husband and two fearless canine sat huddled on the floor for warmth waiting for the trick-or-treaters to start arriving. The problem with that is the house sat empty for a while and the entire neighborhood knew it. After a couple of undisturbed hours the young husband decides to retrieve the kitchen swinging door that he saw stored in the basement on an earlier visit. He planned on reinstalling it as a surprise for his young wife. He called to his trusty hounds and after getting them all excited for an adventure he opened the basement door and flipped on the light switch........nothing! Undaunted by the dark he said to his companions "Come you hounds lets go down, we are not afraid of the dark". Both of the fearless dogs backed up and barked at the dark and then turned and ran. The young husband felt a cool flush of air pass by him that sent chills down his spine; he quickly slammed the door and slid the bolt. Suddenly the doorbell sounded at the front door, the young husband happily flung open the door and dumped the entire bowl of candy into the bag held open by a pint sized Batman. The next scene is the young couple sitting in the parlor of the rental house eating popcorn and waiting for the next bunch of trick-or-treaters to come to the door. The young husband was telling the young wife that he could swear that more than just cold air passed by him on that basement stairwell.
Tomorrow.......Lucy Warner.