Friday, April 11, 2014

pink stinkhorn and other lovelies. no photographs included. but feel free to research the images yourself. if you dare.

posted by:  jennifer

so, last week i was in the front yard and noticed something popping out of the earth.  it was about 6 inches long, pink, and stalky.   i know huh?  sounds lovely.  the tip of this thing was covered with flies.  i mildly freaked out.   i thought maybe it was a small rib bone... fresh.   i tend to have an active imagination.  my mind went other places as well... maybe it was something alien?  where did you think i was going?   okay, it did seem slightly phallic... but really not so much at the same time.

i was quite brave.  i got a plastic bag, and pulled it out.... i determined immediately that it was not a bone.  maybe an alien life form...  i threw it away.  and pretty much forgot about it. we had a crazy day on friday, and this was pushed to the recesses of my mind.  until another one came up.  (5 have been spotted thus far)

at this point i decided to research it.  we have pink stinkhorn fungi spores in our yard.  who knew these lovelies existed?

on another note:  chilblains.

have you heard of them?  a couple of times a year i have these lovely outbreaks on my toes.  
they are bright red and at times insanely itchy. they stick around for a couple of weeks, going through a few stages.  they then disappear for many months.  

 on doing research i have come to find that many people silently suffer from this condition.   i think that we need to shed some light on this matter.  chilblain sufferers unite!   although i honestly don't know what we would do for each other....  encourage others to be strong, and to not scratch.... offer helpful tips on what footwear will cover up the chilblains, but will let air in to help them heal.

lastly.   earlier this week i spent a couple of days with my oldest child at the beach.  we both love beach combing.  

 side note: i just looked up beachcomber in my vintage (1972) dictionary. i wanted to make sure it was one word.  the definition of beachcomber is: a man who loafs on beaches or wharves, esp. on a south sea island, living on what he can beg or find.
hmm.  well, by that definition, we are not beachcombers.  however, we do like to comb the beaches for shells, rocks, and other treasures.

second side note:  did you know that extreme temperatures are not good for people who get chilblains?  walking barefoot in 59 degree water and then walking on 95 degree sand probably did not help with my... ahem... condition.

anyway.  while beach combing.  i found not only several sand dollars, a couple of bones, (one i thought might have been from a whale. my husband feels it is probably a rib bone... from someones b.b.q.)  and a pair of diving goggles... but i also found what i thought might have been a fossilized piece of a sea star leg/ray/appendage.  i took it back to our hotel room. 
while sorting through our finds i couldn't help but notice that there was a strong smell of the sea in my treasure pile.  i showed it to my daughter who has a knack for finding fossils.  she informed me that no it wasn't fossilized.  

well, i am not sure how to end this post.  but maybe just with this.  what you think might be a rib bone may just be a fungus.  what you think might be an ancient whale bone may just be a rib bone.  but always keep an open mind.  because you never know.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Silly and a Kiss

Love this.

A lovely collection of pictures that "capture the human experience" HERE.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Topsy turvey --- updates

My world was rattled last week.
According to
we had 15 earthquakes of 2.5 or more magnitude in less than 24 hours.  I felt almost all of them.
Being a native Californian, the jolts and the rock and roll are not new to this girl.  I am, however, starting to wonder what is going on?

Then there is this, and this, and this.

The moonflower seeds that I started earlier this month...remember?  Well, of the 10 seeds I started, only 2 broke soil.  But the odd thing is that although the first set of leaves showed green, they just stopped growing.  They never opened.  They turned brown and died.
I am not a quitter! I started more seeds.  This time I did not "nick".  Daughter April suggested that nicking might remove "something important" needed for the success of the plant.  The theory sounds plausible.  (Still, the reality is that we have nicked moonflower seeds for years with fruition.)
I have started a new set of moonflower seeds the way a young child in school starts lima bean seeds.
They are in a cup with blotter paper and so far, so good.  They have grown healthy looking tap roots, and are getting lateral roots, and have opening leaves.  A couple days ago, I planted one in soil to see what will happen.  Fingers crossed.

I told you about the earwig traps.  They are working better than expected.
But there's the weird thing.
I have continued to empty the traps in the chicken yard.  Both hens had been gobbling up the scurrying bugs until a week ago.  Suddenly, Amelia, has become a vegetarian.  She is not in the least bit interested in the earwigs.
While Nellie continues to peck up the extra protein, Amelia is now content with strawberry tops and whole grain bread.  Did she read an article in the newspaper about the cruelty of earwig hunting or the benefits of a vegetarian diet? 

Amelia, in the back, reading a life altering story in the newspaper.

And then there's my mum's roses.
My mom died 8 yeas ago, and her roses have been pretty much neglected ever since.
Her once lush garden has been in steady decline.  The plants did receive water for many years, but my father no longer wants to pay for water for the garden.
The lawn is brown, the gazanias are barely hanging on around the perimeter of the parkway, and once abundant ferns and cascading baby tears have withered, crisped, flaked and blown away.  
Yet this spring, my mom's roses are more beautiful than since she tended them with her own hand.  They are large, perfect, and velvety. 

I was at my dad's today and I pilfered some of my mom's roses.
How wonderful to it is to have these roses in my house.  It is as though part of my mom is with me. What a calming presence when other things are 
thrown off balance.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Mantle

Spring Mantle....

*A garland from  This Etsy seller I had various styles of these glass garlands in my favorites on ESTY for a good year... Then one day I just cracked and bought it before I could talk myself out of it. I have never regretted that purchase. It's one of my favorite things. 

*A "Chocolate" bunny. It's ceramic but he looks so much like a chocolate bunny! And he holds candy inside. There was a decent sized earthquake here last night. Many of my friends who live close by lost things. I was certain this bunny was going to be broken. I was so happy when I arrived home and found him whole. This morning he got a good helping of earthquake gum to hold him in place. :)

*“Happily” on the chalkboard. Because yes, Happily. 

*Daffodils. About $1.00 at Trader Joes in the spring. I buy a bunch just about every time I go.

I love spring!!!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Repotting my water lilies

I have had a pond in my garden for over a decade, and love it. 
The sound of moving water, reflected sunlight on the water, fish, dragonflies,  and water plants, especially the water lilies, made me want to give the pond more space in our garden.
So what started as a 2 barrel pond, progressed to a barrel-and-in-the-ground pond in 2008.  A waterfall feature has been a part of both ponds.

I received a "Colorado" salmon pink hardy water lily for a gift in 2004.  It lived in the first barrel pond along with a couple gold fish. It was while in the barrel pond, that the lily survived its first raccoon raid.  Sadly, the fish didn't.
Raccoon attacks have continued through the years, in spite of wire covers to protect the plants and fish.
Raccoons are not laid back fishermen.  They ravage the plants, while chasing and catching the fish.  My water lily has survived these repeated assaults, even though its leaves have been shredded, and striped.

After having the lily for a few years, I had a lot of lovely water lily leaves floating on top of the water, but it had stopped blooming.

After reading an article (Pet Project by Robert Smaus 3-15-2007) in the L.A. Times 7 years ago about repotting the lily tubers, I started bringing my lilies up and out of the water once a year to shorten the tuber and roots, and to replace the soil in their pots.  Turns out, water lilies need this care in order to continue blooming.

For years I was nervous about cutting the tubers and roots.  But my lilies have responded, producing flowers all summer long, since I began making it a yearly job.  I am less hesitant about it all now, after many successful tuber splits, trims, and repots.

It is a muddy job, one requiring my garden apron, old clothes, and rubber gloves.  This apron was a gift from my friend over at  Thank you, Jen.

The roots have jumped this pot!  The plant is healthy and has divided in two. 
(The plant in the second pot, the white plastic dish pan, has died. This is the ups and downs of gardening.)

First I remove all the old leaves, leaving only the newest, still curled, leaves. 

After removing the lily from the pot, I cut the tuber leaving 
about 5" of the growing tip on each lily.  Next, I trim the roots, leaving about 6" in length and width. 
Using ordinary clay garden soil, not potting mix which is too light in weight and will float away in the water, I repot the trimmed lily in new soil, placing the tuber and root ball to one side of the pot.  I fertilize the plant with a high phosphorus food. (I continue fertilizing once a month during the spring and summer for continuous flowers.)

The pot needs to be replaced into the water in a timely manner, so the plant will not dry out.
It will bubble for 20-30 minutes while the trapped air escapes.  The pond may be cloudy for a day or so while everything settles back into place.

By the summer...

Oh, and I think we have finally found something heavy enough to keep the raccoons from fishing in the pond.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

a new purpose found...under the gazebo

posted by jennifer:

i am a collector or random objects.   if i am attracted to something it comes home with me... well, if it is to be had; if it is free or at least close to it; and if i can physically move it.

sometimes it is a leaf i found on the ground. 
sometimes it is a sweet score on some glasses from an estate sale.
sometimes it is a piece of rusty metal.

i was cleaning up under the gazebo and noticed that many objects that have found their home there are just this type of find.

that cool rusty ring?  it came out of the ocean in laguna beach.  i remember clearly the look on this woman's face as i took it out of the breakwater.  like she either thought i was stealing something...or that i was insane... i am not sure.

the stand that the metal star is hung on?  a garage sale 15 years or so ago.  i am sure i paid only $2.00 for it.  i think it was intended to be used for a bird cage.  

the glass light shades?  both garage sale scores.  all i did was added some wire and beads so that i could hang them.  they look great with a tealight added in the evening.

even the chairs were a sweet target 75% off clearance find.  i think i have had them for about 5 years. all i did was add some fabric to spruce them up.  the canvas was looking a little sad and washing wasn't doing the trick any longer. 

when they are all put together.... along with the apple crate table and the spray painted silver plated tray,  all of these random things come together quite nicely methinks.  

all that is missing is a refreshing drink.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Family tree mural

Every family has one.
The preserver and curator of names, dates, stories, and photos.
The family historian.
An arborist...
the keeper of the family tree.

I started charting my family tree circa l982.  My paternal grandmother loved to tell stories about her childhood and her family. 
  I heard the stories, but I needed a chart to keep them all straight.
 I was in the full throngs of mamabrain at that point in my life, and I instinctively knew that I would never remember the names of my grandmother's 8 siblings, or the name of the town in Germany where my great grandfather was born, or much of anything else, if I didn't write it down.

I certainly didn't have much knowledge about making a genealogical chart. Never the less on recycled paper, in pencil, I started a makeshift chart with boxes and lines connecting people.
During the years, I added to this chart any new information I got through relatives.  The chart is mainly names, dates, and places.  But there is an occasional tidbit written such as, "named Bill, by father, because bills come in on the 1st of the month."  Bill was born on February 1st.
This was the beginning of my gathering and recording of family history. 

 At some point, I was inspired to paint a family tree on our hall wall. 
Again, I proceeded without much of a plan. 
The Duke of Earl and I are noted at the top of the trunk where the branches spread.  On bottom part of the tree, extended family is recorded. Our roots. The upward reaching branches are for our 4 children and their children.  God-willing I'll add some great-grandchildren up there, too, someday.

The tree is a jacaranda.  I had an aunt who visited us from England while the jacarandas were blooming and she absolutely loved them.  I wanted to honor my Auntie Jean's memory by painting jacaranda flowers around the trunk and branches.

Some in the family are not interested in their descendants.
Some are not interested in photos of their forerunners. And that's o.k. But word does get around about the "tree" in our hallway.   I see enthusiasm  whenever a member of the family checks the mural-tree for their name, or the name of a recent addition to the clan.  I like that they know they are an important part of a continuing epic story.

Because the tree is visible to every family member, it generates conversation.
I hear more stories, add new names, and correct mistakes as I go.  

The other reasons I like genealogy are:
I am naturally curious about things and I like to solve mysteries.  
I like restoring a forgotten ancestor to the family's conversation.
I like being a homework helper.
I like the link with the past, the present, and the future.
I like knowing what shaped my family.
I like that I am creating something important to pass on to future generations.

I have 3 file folders filed with various papers: documents, stories, newspaper articles, letters, and my original genealogical chart.  I just recently connected with a distant cousin and am inspired to get all the stories written to enrich  the names and dates I have. 
After all,
our ancestors are our history and I want to keep that circle of kinship vivid.

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol