Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary Love...... Oh And About that Cast

Yes today is our thirty seventh anniversary as husband and wife. Tonight we are dinning out at an old friends Italion Restaurant, Enzo's Cafe Italiano on N. Alberta Street. I met Enzo when he first came to the US from Northern Italy and we became good friends with he and his wife. We became parents for the first time when our son's were born on the same day and parents again when his daughter and our second son were born a couple of days apart. And now today we are grandparents, no the grand kids were not born on the same day. So tonight the Lovely MeMa and I will get all gussied up and dine Italiano. I in my slacks and a nice shirt and MeMa will look gorgeous in a nice evening dress and big cast on her left arm. Last Sunday MeMa was in the back garden showing "Little Terrorist" Brooklyn how to run after a soccer ball and slipped in a wet patch of grass and fell hard breaking her wrist pretty bad. I was in the garage some twenty feet away and could hear the snap. Brooklyn thought it was all part of the game as she never uttered a peep just quietly got to her feet and said we better get to the hospital. We spent the next eight hours in emergency. Sunday is one of the worst nights to spend in emergency as it is packed with people Fortunately they did put a temporary splint on when we arrived which immobilized the arm but gave her nothing for the pain. I know my wife has a high pain threshold but I could tell the pain was very bad, and it had to have been horrible when they set the bone because although she would never cry out her feet quickly coiled then shot out with lightning speed that would have seriously maimed anyone standing at the foot of the bed. This Thursday they put on the hard cast which will be somewhat smaller and more lady like. I told her she should get it in bright pink so to be the envy of "Little Terrorist" Taeya, but MeMa thinks she wants it in green to match her VW Beetle. But tonight she will dine out with the large temporary cast which covers shoulder to finger tips.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blooms, In And Out Of The Greenhouse

Orchid #36
Oncidium "Golden Honey"
This one will be in bloom the entire summer as it has four flower spikes

Orchid #33
Oncidium wentworthyanum x sphacelatum

Orchid #32
If I was to have a favorite Phalaenopsis it would be this one.
'Buddhas Treasure'

And out of the greenhouse
The 'Love in a Mist' is just starting to bloom

Rhododendron 'Fatuosum Flora Pleno'. This is my favorite a stands about eight feet.

Digitalis or Foxglove are a nice surprise when walking the path to the chicken yard

Rhododendron 'Yakusimanum', started this as a cutting from a plant on the Sprouse  estate "Vine Maples" in 1977

In preparation of the Fourth of July MeMa's kitchen window box is all patriotic

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's All How You Look At It........

.........and I was sick of looking at it! Not only the "Poodle" look but the hard work that MeMa put into it every year just to keep me from digging it up and tossing it on the brush heap. The front garden was designed originally as a low maintenance landscape so that I could devote the rest of my time to the back gardens which are just the opposite.....high maintenance. There is no lawn just shrubs, trees and cotoneaster ground cover. When purchasing the trees I got such a good deal on a Japanese Black Pine that, I bought three.....well it made sense at the time. About five years later I had to remove one because they started crowding each other out. Number one rule of landscape...... "never plant in even numbers"! Well this just wouldn't do, so about that time I purchased my first Monkey Puzzle tree and that is when I removed the second tree and foolishly shaped the last remaining pine into a green Poodle.

Here it sits to the left barking at the third and hopefully last "Monkey Puzzle" tree
About the third year of the Poodle look I told MeMa that I was going to remove the last Pine because I was too lazy to be spending so much time every spring carefully removing all the hundreds of candles that pop up and need to be removed in order to keep the Poodle at bay. MeMa just shook her head and volunteered to do the pruning every year if it meant keeping the tree. I relented and year after year she would get into her garden gear, including long sleeves as the pine needles would cause a great rash all over her arms. I would be weeding and telling her she wouldn't have to suffer this job if she would allow me to take the tree out. I felt guilty every year as she would rub lotion onto her arms after battle with the Poodle. So this year ( I'm slow) I came up with a plan to keep the fair damsel from any more agony and still keep the pine. It will take several years of corrective pruning but will benefit both of us. I enjoy topiary when it has its place and the front garden is ideal. It will still be heavily controlled growth but not in the big round ball shapes, rather a more open and airy look.

The new look
It will take many years of corrective pruning before its done.

It was amazing how much debris was removed in the four hours it took me to start the process of change. I filled our city yard debris cart and piled even more into my trailer. (By the way, pine takes too long to compost so just get rid of it).

As I started opening the balls up I realised how many dead needles were packed into each ball, so as I made an opening I would dig my hand in and pull out fists full of dead needles....and spiders....yuck! When done, I stepped back to take a look and I was quite certain I heard the tree make a sigh of relief. I then went into the house, showered and rubbed lotion into my scarred arms :o(

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not giving up!

Yesterday I was looking over the garden when in flew my pesky Blue Heron. He, she or it will just not give up on the prospect of a Koi dinner. You will see him just on the left of the Wisteria planning how to get one of the big fish out of the water and into his gullet. "They are too big, you great twit"!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"I'm Calvin, I'm Named After the President"

Friendly eyes meeting mine, an exuberant hand shake, followed with  "I'm Calvin, I'm named after the President".
Our dearest friend Andrea was on her way back to our house late last night and stopped at a gas station to fill her tank when she was approached by an elderly gentleman who asked if she knew the directions to Estacada.  Estacada is a small rural town about an hour from Portland.  While giving him directions, she could see a fog of confusion cloud the worried face.  She decided it would be best if she just had him follow her and she would attempt to get him to the freeway where the signage would direct him the rest of the way.  Good plan, but Calvin was truly out of his element and barely able to keep up at twenty five miles per hour.  The freeway entrance they were headed towards is also about twenty blocks from Menagerie Manor so Andrea called us and filled us in, and asked that we meet them at the Burger-Ville near the freeway entrance.  Upon arrival Andrea walked Calvin to the corner and pointed out the freeway entrance, but the old gent just shook his head and with tears in his eyes said he was just so confused.  Andrea suggested that they go into the restaurant and get him something to eat and perhaps contact someone that knows him.  He said he didn't know anyone, frustrated she then asked if he had any family.  Calvin then said "oh yes, I have four sons and a daughter".  He then pulled out a card which had all their names and numbers.  Andrea started calling and finally got hold of a son-in-law.  By this time MeMa and I walked in.  Calvin was a tall elder Jimmy Stewart sort of gentlemen, the type of person that could make a friend of another after just meeting for the first time.  I held out my hand and introduced myself and he immediately greeted me with his friendly smile and told me his name was Calvin and that he was named after the president.  I talked quietly to Calvin and then said "I hear you are a bit confused about how to get home from here".  He was embarrassed at that so I said "oh don't worry, if it wasn't for my wife I'd be lost all the time".  Calvin chuckled at that and immediately calmed.  I ordered a couple of cheeseburgers and a hot coffee that he gladly accepted.  Calvin started reciting some of his past life, often repeating parts of his story unaware that he had just told us that.  Thinking of the Jimmy Stewart movie "Harvey" I looked around half expecting to see the movies Alzheimer-inflicted characters imaginary giant rabbit sitting in the corner.  We listened to the life story of a  self made man, husband and father who still lived on family land that once gave comfort and food to the adults that now must care for him and attempt to give him the independence as long as it doesn't endanger him.  Obviously Calvin should no longer have access to a vehicle, but having gone through this with MeMa's father just last year we know and sympathize with his children as this is one of the worst battles in losing his independence.  Calvin told us that he worked for a paper company for twenty eight years, but then the second time he told us it was twenty one years.  He raised Jersey milk cows and had-hand milked all twelve cows everyday and sold the milk for extra income.  Calvin was quite proud of his life and hard work and as he recited his life the nervousness of his night's adventure subsided, his face became more relaxed and his smile a more natural feature rather then the confused nervous smile of an old gentleman out of his element.  The Burger-ville was closed to the rest of Portland as we talked until his Son-in-law and grandson came to take him home, but in the forty-five minutes that it took for them to reach us we were happily entertained by Calvin's story.  He was one of twelve children raised on  that same family land.   His father slowly dying of Emphysema sold firewood to the big city folks.  Too sick to cut the wood Calvin and his brothers would cut the three cords of wood and load it on their fathers old truck.  Unable to drive, three of the boys would ride in with their father and deliver the wood to customers in the city.  I marveled at the history of this family, hard working folks of bygone years.  I was impressed with the ingenuity and perseverance of a family that held it together because that is what they did back then.  When life passed them lemons they made lemonade, they didn't give up which has become the way of life for many people today.  They gathered what was theirs and took pride in what was left.
Calvin's family came through the doors and after scolding the old man for what he had done, they offered money for our time which I turned down for a handshake and told them we were just happy that we got to visit with Calvin and get him back to his loved ones.
Reflecting back on our evening with Calvin made me think about our own frustrating year with MeMa's father who is now in the permanent care of a very nice facility that handles all his needs.  MeMa visits him three days a week for their game of cribbage and making sure that none of his cares go unmet.  My parents are a bit younger and they lead a complete independent life.  But there will come a day when needs change and decisions will have to be made for all of us, but for today I would like to wish Calvin and his family all the best.  God bless Calvin who was named after the President.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fresh From The Greenhouse

 I was enjoying the long awaited summer weather this weekend when it was brought to my attention that my last blog entry about our adventure with "Calvin" was blocked.  So I went in and tried to open it and Blogger said that this "Blog was not available".  So I re-posted the story and was able to read far.  Really don't know what is going on with all the problems of late but I hope blogger can get it solved.  So here are a couple photos of what I have brought in from the greenhouse.  And if your interested check out my last post, it has nothing to do with gardening just one of those little adventures in life.


Chamaecereus sylvetri or as MeMa calls it Peanut Cactus.  We have always had this plant and have several larger pots of it in the greenhouse.  It came from MeMa's late cousin Carol who passed early in life after heart surgery to repair a problem she had from birth.  This is the first time it has bloomed in all the years we have had it and I'm sure even Carol had no idea that it bloomed.  So dear Carol this one is for you.

Oncidium wentworthyanum x sphacelatum
Orchid # 33 sports a pretty little flower about the size of a nickle.