Friday, March 27, 2020


New outdoor project that is probably going to take me a bit of time or not. I might suddenly regress into my youth, have the strength and endurance that I once had. So, like I said this project is going to take a bit of time.  I am attempting to add a waterfall to our existing koi pond. Laying the fabric down was the easy part, the hard part is adding the rock work. Over the years I have added rock to the gardens with the idea that someday I would finally add the waterfall. I have rock of every shape and size tucked away everywhere. Some of it looks really nice where it landed but it all gets moved eventually, however long it takes this old gardener to move it.
After I work my way through this pile that I pulled from behind the old chicken house...... 
There are really large ones hidden in the acanthus bed that by summers end will be completely hidden from view.
 There are large pieces of flag being used as stepping stones.
There's the dry river bed that is full of river rock and good sized boulders that are screaming to be part of the new waterfall.

There are rocks not so hidden but look great like they were just meant for that spot, so will probably remain.
 And there are rocks that I don't remember and just surprise the hell out of me when I discover them while gardening.

But it is rain in the forecast for the rest of this week and looking at our Roxy I think I will follow her lead. The rocks are not going anywhere.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Just Another Day

It's funny how people react to isolation. We are doing great and this really hasn't changed our personal lives much, being retired. Apart from not seeing our family other than FaceTime in the evening to catch up on how things are progressing.

Our ancient Mt. Fuji Cherry is in full bloom.
Spring has truly sprung as the weather is pretty unpredictable. regardless of weather there is never a shortage of things to do. MeMa put a new message on the front porch giving the dog walkers something to read.

When taking Roxy for her morning walkies, the neighborhood was desolate, no traffic noise, no children out playing, not a sound except our footsteps. Once home MeMa made a few phone calls to friends to make sure they are all keeping well and staying in. We have not had to do any shopping and our supplies are holding well. On to the next project!

Listen Up Folks

As of last Monday the residents of Oregon have been given the "order" to stay home, no longer a request. MeMa and I being ardent rule followers stayed in as of the earlier request, but thousands of citizens drove to the coastal towns as if this whole work from home thing was time to party hardy at the beach. Wrong! It is because of these stupid people that the coastal towns got together and closed everything and issued orders for all non residents to vacate or be arrested.
Words to live by

MeMa made two lists, one are all outdoor projects and the other indoor since it is spring and weather flip flops from warm sunny to cool rainy. Today is rain so we have been decluttering the upper floor which contains office, library and guest room. Being an amateur naturalist I have collected many things from my years of traveling and living in Europe and the UK. We recently purchased a museum case at IKEA to house many of my specimens and bits and bobbles. MeMa did a bang up job of arranging most of it. I am just thrilled that most of my collection is out of the many boxes they had been housed in and stuffed in the closet.

She also guided me through the task of tidying up a disaster called my desk. Oh, look the roll top actually closes.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Star Magnolia

Magnolia Stellata or Star Magnolia

Back in the day and that day was most likely sometime in 1977 or 1978. Lets see.....We bought the house in 1976, there was a gravel drive with a narrow planting bed that was filled with dead zinnias running between the house and the drive.
They were dead because it was October 31st. Once the dead zinnias were grubbed out, I let the long narrow bed sit empty imagining what would look best.

I settled on eight little one gallon sized Star Magnolias. They looked bigger in the pots, but once in the ground they looked so small.

MeMa was pregnant with our second son and  posed for a photo standing next to my row of star magnolias.

A couple of years later we hired a company to install a tile roof on our house. I was just getting ready to leave for work and told the roofers that this row magnolias was very important to me and please be very careful of them as they worked above them. That night I got home and MeMa met me with tears in her eyes telling me that the roofers dropped tiles down on all but the front Magnolia.

That lone survivor was the first of many plants to be planted at Menagerie Manor. In the spring the fragrance is intoxicating and in summer it shades the front porch from the hot afternoon sun.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Shut It All Down

Mom took me for an extra long walk. Dad can you chase the squirrels out of the yard?

We have been surprised by the number of people that just don’t seem to care about the request from our Governor to stay home. I suspect next week that because of this attitude this request will become an order, like what is going on in California. Today I read that in Warrenton, a small coastal town government officials took a vote and unanimously decided to shut the town down to just residents. All tourists have been given the order vacate the town within 24 hours or they will be arrested. Managers of hotels, motels and the like were to close and order guests to leave town. 
Yesterday our youngest son, wife and our two beautiful granddaughters FaceTimed with us just to say they are well and staying home.  Our eldest son and his wife work at a large bread plant, so are considered essential. Unfortunately they have been given mandatory 11.5 hour shifts. They try to keep the six foot distance from fellow employees but say most of the time it is impossible. 
MeMa and I are doing what has been asked of us and staying home. We have a huge list of things to work on for both outdoors and indoors. We are getting plenty of exercise working on our projects and walking Roxy who surprisingly would rather sit on the back of sofa watching for squirrels.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Walkies And Peas

This is day five of our isolation and the supplies are holding up quite well, we didn’t panic buy. Living in earthquake country one has a tendency to keep a good supply of food and necessities. We made a small list of things we might need. We will run out of a few things eventually and we have been told by our good neighbor we are not to have a delivery service bring things in, he will get us anything we should need.  Good neighbors are a plenty here, everyone helps out when someone needs it.
After a good breakfast we took Roxy for her morning walkies. The first half of the walk is slow because as we pass, neighbors want to talk. Roxy realizes now that this is all quite part of walkies. Each time we get stopped Roxy lays down for a little rest in the sunshine. Eventually we get a couple blocks away and pick up a steady pace. Halfway home, and neighbor Trish pulled up to the curb and told us she was headed to the market to stand six feet behind in the que and buy groceries.
Back home while MeMa texted our grocery needs to Trish. I got into my seed storage and picked through the cool weather seeds. In the kitchen garden I planted carrots, beets, bunching onions, spinach and kale. On our morning walk the first neighbor to stop us gave me the remainder of an envelope of climbing peas which I have never planted so I put in a row of those and some of Matrons heirloom beans (Mrs. Fortunes).

It is another glorious day of sunshine, which has a tendancy to make me want to plant things way too early but after last weeks snowfall I have been pretty good about what goes in the ground and what gets a spot in the greenhouse. Today I planted a flat of a beautifull little Zinnia that I have been trying to find for the last three years at all of the local nurseries. It is called "Zowie" and is a yellow flame zinnia that is just stunning.

 I was able to get three packets of seeds online last fall and am looking forward to my first crop of these. If they flourish, I will be guaranteed future seeds to collect and store every year. I also planted a few pots of acorn squash, patty pan squash and some tomatoes. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Big Changes

Since the Governor has asked that all of us seniors stay home and don't socialize, life really hasn't changed for us. Other than the fact that all of our friends and family have not been seen or heard from since they have started working from home and the grandkids are out of school until further notice. Our daily routine has not changed. We get up have coffee, feed animals and start the next project that needs doing. In September we were planning a trip to Europe but with my recent surgery, our nieces wedding coming and now this whole virus scare we have decided that traveling this year was off the table. The trip is all planned out so when things improve we can pick up where we left off.
Today is one of those beautiful spring days, sunny and about sixty degrees out, so when the Librarians stopped by with their golden, Stella and asked if MeMa and Roxy would like to go for a long walk. She said yes, and I said by, I had started some gardening projects and was anxious to get back to them.

Last year I started another boxwood topiary that with some more trimming and a lot of patience will be a Mickey Mouse head. I planted it in the front garden in one of my annual beds, this summer it will be surrounded with dwarf zinnias.
After getting Mickey planted I moved to the back to water the seed trays in the greenhouse. As I walked slowly I was very aware of the constant noise going on around me. At the end of our road where the nursery used to be is now and three story storage facility that is still under construction. 

Our next door neighbor is adding another floor to his house as well as adding another twenty feet to the back giving him and his new bride a master suite upstairs and a big kitchen and dining room to the back. 
Then as I enter the back garden I will probably never get used to being greeted by this row of monoliths starring over our back fence.

These houses are ten feet from our fence line so they have no garden to speak of but for the amount these homes sold for the homeowners will probably have to work all the time and not have time to fuss with gardens. 
If the virus eventually keeps us indoors full time at least we won't have to hear the constant noise of the construction going on all sides of Menagerie Manor.

Monday, March 16, 2020


Life at Menagerie Manor has been void of canine companionship for a little over two years. But after careful consideration, attending several dog shows we decided a border terrier would be a good fit. We were at an a large outdoor party and saw a woman with a border terrier so I asked her about her dog. She not only told me about her dog she gave the breeders business card, Shadowhills Border T erriers. A few weeks later I contacted the breeder by email and told him of our interest in his dogs. We were invited out to their ranch to talk dogs. I had it in mind that we would be purchasing a puppy.

But after visiting for awhile  they let this sweet girl in. Roxy came bounding in and after enthusiastically greeting us both, rolled over in MeMa's lap for a belly rub. We were told that she has had four litters of puppies and like herself several are grand champions. Roxy was to be spayed and retire as a house pet. At five years of age, four litters of beautiful puppies and a very impressive life in the show ring. “Roxy”,  CH Joteel’s Foolin' Around at Shadowhills CGC,  has given all she can give. It is time that she is given a life of love and individual care.

Goodbyes were tough and tearful but once we started the long drive home to Menagerie Manor Roxy fell fast asleep in the new crate we bought her, on the double quilted kennel pad with the baby butt soft blanket in the cute sock monkey pattern that MeMa picked out for this very trip.


Roxy had a good time exploring the many rooms with her prized possession, the green ball. As we expected there was an adjustment period but she seems to have snapped out of that rather quickly and is enjoying life as the canine queen of Menagerie Manor.

Lots of walkies

Roxy formed an immediate bond with youngest granddaughter Lucy and was thrilled that the friendship included her prized possession, the green ball.

 Roxy loves it when the younger grandkids have sleepovers.

She has several very comfy baskets but quickly let us know what the sleeping arrangements would be.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Up And At It

My last post was August 2019, that's when between Blogger and my Apple computer I began to think I would not be posting anything ever again. Of course life here at Menagerie Manor does not sit still for any of this sort of nonsense. Family, gardening, traveling and so on has kept this old gardener busy. Our beautiful niece is getting married this summer and has asked MeMa and I to do the flowers for her big day. So I have been busy in the greenhouse filling trays of annuals early so that they have a better chance of blooming by the end of July.

Currently I'm still recovering from my third surgery for bladder cancer. The removal of two tumors and another dose of chemo has me feeling quite well though and ready to get things going. I planted a nice row of sweet peas in the new raised bed, a bit early but we had 60+ degree weather and the day before surgery had me out planting early. This morning we got a couple of inches of snow......
I took this as a bit of a swat from Mother Nature telling this old foolish gardener to stick to his schedule.

A couple of weeks ago we decided it was time to rid the upper floor of those cumbersome large computers and the desks they had been inhabiting for quite some years. This was part of our joint effort to downsize and clean out. All of our photos and some of the files we may need are now on an external hard drive and the old computers???? Well, properly recycled? We both have our own Apple laptops that can be worked on anywhere in this big old house. Currently I am sitting in front of the fire in my big comfy chair. And as you can see access to my blog has been restored. I have a lot of catching up to do with my blog friends and tons of reading blogs that I have not been able to follow.