Friday, April 25, 2014

Work to Be Done

Our recent trip to visit my brother in Arizona fueled the urge to come home and get things going not only in the gardens, but Menagerie Manor itself has been needing some work for years and we have been putting off and putting off until it can no longer be ignored.  The heavy tile roof has done some damage over the forty years it has been on.  The tile is actually made of concrete, so each 7x13 inch piece weighs considerably.  We have decided it is time to have a new roof put on next year.  Next week a company is coming out to shore up the front porch, replace the weathered side of the cedar siding and remove a spot or two of dry rot.  All very boring and expensive work, but it needs to be done.
Digging out the old footing making way for a larger concrete footing poured and set to cure a few days before the rest of the work continues.
Meanwhile I got a good start on the gardens with our week of good weather.  A couple of years ago, MeMa brought home a very nice wrought iron gate that she picked up for free at a garage sale.  I installed it on the path that runs from the greenhouse to the area that houses the vegetable garden, garden house and MeMa's picking garden.  All places off limits to dogs.
The gate installed, Popeye was quite upset he could not get into the back gardens to do his deed.

I planted out this tray of lupine seedlings. I always grow extra because they go in the bed bordering the Crazy Cat Ladies drive.  CCL always drives over the first few seedlings before they have chance to grow enough for her to see them.

These are trays of Cippolini onions (reds and whites) and I started two trays of tomatoes and one tray of sweet peppers.

MeMa found a great sale on wall blocks so while she unloaded blocks I built up this corner of the shrub bed next to the new patio.

MeMa is not the only bargain hunter.  At the office the other day I was alerted to the fate of these two very large planters that were going to be dumped.  I gathered several employees and we put them in my work van.  The upper one now houses my apricot tree and the lower one will go on the front porch and will be the summer home for our very large bird of paradise plant. They weigh a ton and I will have to have help wrestling the last one onto the porch.  I used a mason drill bit and was only able to make one drain hole in the largest pot. It took quite a long time to complete it and the bit is now dull beyond use as the pot appears to be made of glazed concrete or something of that nature.
I love this time of day, looking west out the sun room windows and seeing everything leafing out and filling in.  I have loads more planting to do and trays of annuals in the greenhouse that are waiting until we stop having cold nights.  Hope you all have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt ~ Bonnets Required

Even if I do say so myself, we live in a wonderful neighborhood.  With the approach of Easter the "Librarians" sent out e-mails to all the residents on their list asking all who wish to participate in this years annual Easter egg hunt to please follow a few simple rules.

1.  Everyone please meet in the "Librarians" yard promptly at 10:00 for mimosas and treats.
2.  Pink and Blue eggs are for three year and under children.
3.  Dogs leashed and on sidewalks only.
4.  Everyone move from yard to yard as a group.
5.  Please wear an Easter Bonnet.

Rule one? Well done! Personally I believe if you offer them mimosas, they will not doddle.  So that one was an easy one.

Rule two? Someone who knows who they are did not read their e-mail and created a bit of a kerfuffle when it was explained to all, that the yellow eggs were for the three and under's.

Rule three?  Well done, but someone please explain to me why we have to bring our dogs to such an event?  They don't carry baskets and hunt for eggs, they sniff each other's butts and pee on things.

Rule four? Very well done!!

Rule five???? As MeMa said, "Well not many of you read your e-mail, did you?"

Mimosa's anyone?
10:00 It's time to gather
50 treat filled eggs hidden in the garden at Menagerie Manor
MeMa in her required bonnet and all 50 eggs now gathered.
Lucy samples her hunting bounty
Egg hunters turned loose on the next yard
Lucy telling mommy she needs another basket
Last minute bonnet works.

Nary a child went home empty handed

Taeya, pretty in pink as always

Time to play while MeMa prepared the table for a big Easter ham dinner
While the children play.....ahem! Look at you,  stealing the goods from the baskets.
After a big meal MeMa surprised everyone with this delicious cake

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh Nurse.....Can you Fluff My Pillow?

We have an invalid recuperating in the sun room.  Popeye was diagnosed with a mass-cell tumor on his left rear leg that needed to be removed as it is a "angry or hot" form of cancer that could easily spread throughout his body.  In addition he sheared one of his molars off just above the root while chewing on a bone.  So it was removed while the poor boy was on the surgery table. Normally a very exuberant pup he now lies on his puffy pillow bed....with the sunshine streaming through the windows.....on the wicker settee.....the one that no dogs are supposed to be on....ever!  Yes, the one I used to enjoy my late afternoon scotch on.  He is a whimpering mess that will surly keep us awake all night long.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Miss Betty Goes To Arizona

When we ready ourselves for any trip I usually feel terrible as I walk past Miss Betty, who realizes what is happening and puts on the sad face as I load luggage into the car.  She is very in tune to what certain actions on our part mean for her and luggage being put into the car only means one thing, her humans will be leaving her for some time.  I would have loved to share the surprised look as I swooped her up and loaded her into the passenger seat landing her into her soft cushioned bed placed just so she could easily watch out the window as we traveled to Arizona.

Our first night destination was Reno Nevada at the Harrah's Casino and Hotel. MeMa booked there because they said they were a pet friendly hotel.
Harrah's Hotel has an east and a west tower with a sky bridge that carries one accros the busy street that runs between the two. We were told that our room was in the east tower......on the fourth floor.....the pet exercise area was out the back of the west tower. We had to walk through the hotel, out the parking structure and walk accross the busy street, down an alley-way which led to the exercise area.  Betty's condition has progressed to the point that after a few minutes her front legs tire and she flops down on her chest.  I attached a leather lead to both sides of her cart so that I could lift just enough to give her some support.  We got quite the looks as we trotted her through the hotel lobby/casino.  Being a retired therapy dog she is trained to avoid contact unless she is working with a patient so she would hold her head high look forward as though nothing was out of the ordinary, taking no notice of all the strangers that certainly noticed her.

MeMa has made this trip several times with the "Vegas Girls" so knew all the best stops and Betty enjoyed stretching and having a little refresher, but when time to leave she would get up and wheel back to the car door on her own.
One intriguing stop was the famous haunted Goldfield Hotel in the nearly ghost town of Goldfield Nevada.
Built in 1907 on the sight of two earlier hotels that burnt to the ground and has been the subject of several films documenting paranormal activity, a subject familiar to our own lives at Menagerie Manor.

It was a long two day trip but we finally arrived at my twin brother's home in Phoenix Arizona.

Miss Betty's cousin Baileigh (left) could not quite understand why Betty would not get up and play - but the girls got along very well from the beginning.

The Arizona sunshine agreed with not only Betty but was very welcomed by MeMa and myself, our morning walks revitalized the soul.

At the center of my brothers lovely gated community is a large grassy park and Betty loved to rest a bit in the cool grass before heading back to the house.

Preparing to transplant a Palos Verde's tree that was in the wrong spot
 Besides working on the desert landscaping around the house we found time to hop into the car and with the top down drive off to some of the tourist attractions.
My twin brother at the wheel and MeMA giving driving advise, I am the annoying one in the back seat with the camera.

The town of Cave Creek is an artists community with lots and lots of photo opportunities.....leave it to my father and MeMa to request one in front of an old outhouse.

Our next trip was to the beautiful countryside of Sedona. I just couldn't get over the colors in the mountains.

Bell Rock
A couple of desert ruffians

Click on the photos and they will enlarge, this one was amazing with a complete forested Eco system surviving in this bowl on the side of the mountain.

The cousins had a peaceful day to themselves