Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Break

Sometimes getting grandchildren together from two households is like herding kittens. So when all else fails chase them up a tree and grab ‘em quick. It’s spring break for this lot and we managed to grab three out of five to spend two days with Poppi and MeMa. 

The noise level alone is amazing, when it’s just the two of us the ticking of our thirty some clocks is almost deafening. But when the grandkids are here we don’t hear a one. Supper was late so that made the big bowls of ice cream even later and bed time........well what happens at MeMa and Poppi’s house, stays at MeMa and Poppi’s house. The next morning for breakfast it was fresh baked cinnamon rolls while we watched the movie  Jumanji Back To The Jungle. After the movie and a whole bunch of giggling and goofing around we loaded everyone into the car and headed to a local pet shop that specializes in reptiles. Our two box turtles Ruby and Elmo were in  need of a nail trim

I used to do this task myself but shy away from it now because of Ruby’s great age (100+) , Elmo is very bad tempered and will bite the hand that feeds him. The manager was very impressed in their overall health, strength and alertness for such seniors. Just as he finished with Ruby, granddaughter Taeya came up to us and frantically told us that one of the shops resident tortoises  was upside down in its enclosure. The manager asked her if he unlocked the door would she mind rescuing it as the ceiling is only four feet high. My granddaughter since birth has spent a lot of that time at Menagerie Manor so she has been introduced to every sort of creature imaginable. I think she handled the rescue like a pro and the manager was very impressed. As she uprighted the poor flailing tortoise he let out a very human sounding sigh of relief that made Taeya giggle.


The now recovered tortoise took an immediate likening to his rescuer, it was as though he wanted to thank her.

After dropping Ruby and Elmo off at the house we headed to gymnastics lessons.

Then back home where Lucy immediately let us know how the rest of the day was going for all of us.

Monday, March 26, 2018


We decided to make a trip up to the cabin and do some work on the place. We left Portland with the fragrance of spring blooms and marvelous blue sky. 

It takes exactly one hour to get from Menagerie Manor to the cabin. The locals are always happy to catch our arrival and if I’m slow with the unpacking they are eager to help with the bags of groceries.
We lazily woke around eight the next morning to an inch of snow.

Large flakes of snow continued until about noon, the trees looked wonderful all dusted with snow.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Field Trip

I absolutely love my grandchildren. They all know that when they ask a favor of their Poppi, they will get one of two answers. Yes, I would love to or absolutely not. One thing I have never....ever done is said yes to a school field trip. At the risk of sounding rather chauvinistic, that is something MeMa does. However when ten year old Taeya told her mother that her next field trip was to a bird sanctuary she neglected to pass all this knowledge on to her poor misinformed mother. When I received the text from my daughter-in-law I didn’t want to embarrass the poor thing so was forced to say, “I would love to.”

Have you ever noticed how much oxygen 30 some children suck out of a large bus? Well I am here to tell you those little devils had no idea that this old gardener was suffering. The bus trip lasted about fifteen minutes. Smith and Bybee Wetlands is a hidden gem completely hidden within an industrial park. The excited students were met by a group of volunteers from the Audubon Society that broke us into smaller groups.

Since it is a wetland I was not surprised that the first bird spotted was our national bird the Bald Eagle, perched high in a tree watching over us. My cell phone makes him look like a dark blob in the tree. If you click on the photo it will make him look like larger dark blob in the tree.

We saw several Greater Blue Herons like this one hunting frogs.

Dead fish in the woods, no water in sight.
An Osprey’s intended meal that got away, unfortunately both hunter and prey suffered. One left without a meal and the other without water to swim away in.

The children were very excited when they spotted this young garter snake.

When this old gardener finally made it back to the student filled bus I was quite surprised to hear my granddaughter Taeya’s (fourth smile from left) voice, along with three of her friends all yelling “Poppi we saved you a seat back here with us.”  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Well Done Young America

At precisely 10:00 am students and faculty began streaming out into the courtyard 
A smallish band of old hippies. We were told to show our support just off campus on the public sidewalk.

Of course there will always be a few radicals that don’t follow rules like these three old hippies that crossed the line for better view. I’m the one on the left in the blue cap.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Oregon Coast

Should one ever have need for recuperation, whether it be for mind and body or just the need for fresh air, I highly recommend the Oregon Coast. The first thing after checking into the hotel we put on our boots and beat feet down to the sand. It was rather warm and no rain so made perfect weather to look for shells and the most cherished item,”beach glass.”  You know, glass that has rolled around sometimes for years in the ocean and it’s sharp edges made smooth from the sand. So there I am searching fruitlessly for what seemed like hours standing in yet another rocky area of surf which is prime area for beach glass..........nothing! MeMa walks right up next to me and quick as that she reaches down picking up the most beautiful piece of glass that we have ever found.

It is definitely the prettiest piece of beach glass in our collection.

There she is with her little red beach combing bucket, the little pixie has outdone me again.

The casino hotel only has three floors. We always request the third because most people walk as though they are doing jumping jacks. We have a great ocean front view.

Our second day has turned into a wonderful stormy day with high winds and rain. A perfect day to either sit by the window in our room or hit the road and visit some of the sights, we chose the latter.
Boiler Bay

Devils Punch Bowl 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Don’t Insult Her House

Normally I would do all my rose pruning on Presidents Day but this year we had snow. So, fearful of causing more damage than good, pruning was done a week later. Pruning my roses is a job that takes time and concentration. It is a process that is started and finished in one day, so I start by laying out all tools that I may need. Next, I stand back and absorb my surroundings. Mostly I  end up staring at the house and the craftsmanship it took to build it. I only have about 40 roses and and am very well practiced at pruning them. The actual work doesn’t take a whole day, it’s the standing back a absorbing my surroundings bit that takes time. Menagerie Manor is 102 years old, we are the second owners and still share this grand old house with the spirit of the first owner. Most of the time we forget that Lucy Warner never really left the home her father built. Then she will do something to make her presence known. Last month our two youngest granddaughters spent the night. Before bed, but after the huge helping of ice cream their parents don’t know about, they like to play “dark hide and seek.” There are three floors and thirteen rooms in Menagerie Manor, plenty of hiding places that two little girls and MeMa can hide in. That leaves this old gardener as the lucky person who counts to 40, yells ready or not and then stumbles through the darkened house only to get the crap scared out of him when shining his lousy little pencil light into a dark corner and be pounced on by a sugar induced screaming child. Perhaps I should rethink the ice cream? We had just finished round three and were gathering in the parlor. Taeya, the ten year old came walking past us and said, “MeMa your house is creepy”!  She then sat down in a chair, as she looked up she grabbed at her face and yelled, “Ouch!” A cardboard star attached to a wall hanging shot across the room hitting her just below the eye, a distance of about fifteen feet.
Back to the roses......I was pruning the rose we call “Lucy’s Rose” when that evenings events popped into my head.

I think Lucy Warner would have been happy to know her rose has won several trophy’s at the 
Rose Show. Maybe she does know?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Edgeworthia Winter Bloom

With the coming of harsh winter weather there is not much in the garden that blooms unless you have one of these little winter gems. Edgeworthia chrysantha, or paperbush.

The tubular shaped fragrant flowers hanging down are a welcome sight when winter keeps everything else dormant. It is the kind of nudge that dormant gardeners need to draw them out into the fresh air.

The next week while it was at it’s best, Mother Nature showed her jealous side and covered it in snow.

Two days later the rain returned washing the snow away revealing undamaged flowers. It is truly an amazing little plant that I would recommend to anyone looking for a bit of the unusual. I purchased this one in 2015, it was rather small, in a one gallon pot and it consisted of two eight inch twigs. So it is rather a fast grower.