Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter……Out with the (C)old!!!!

Wow! The final weekly photo challenge of 2011 is upon us!!   We’ve a scant 30 minutes ’til it’s “out with the (c)old, in with the new!”

If you’ve looked through my blog at all, you know I spent my entire life in the Northeast. I could share hundreds of Winter “Wonderland” pictures with you, but I”m loathe to perpetuate that myth.  Besides, on the advice of a caterpillar 😉 we left that mess behind!  😉

But the question remains…how to photograph winter, when you live in a place it doesn’t typically visit?    Simple…you take a picture of this December bloomer with a name CS Lewis would love:

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri

Mexican Donkey Ears

Kalanchoe Gastonis Bonnieri isn’t the only winter bloomer, though.   Look at this other harbinger of winter, watching over my front walk.

Euphorbia Trigona

Euphorbia Trigona

When the yellow “dots” emerge in late November, count forward three weeks to the arrival of winter….and Santa!  Now he’s a myth I can get behind!!!!

Until next year…….


Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

On December 23,  the WordPress Photo Challenge called for submissions illustrating the concept “Between.”   Due to the bustle of Christmas and houseguests, I fell behind in my participation but am actually glad I did!  While reminiscing with my kids and looking through family photos, I remembered a picture worthy of a belated entry:

Between the Ivory Tower and the Office Tower

At first glance, you see a young man in the iconic garb of a single day, between the Ivory Tower of his past, and the Office Tower in his future.

Studying the photo more closely, you realize he’s crouched by a wall plaque, the source of his bittersweet facial expression, caught between happy and sad.  “Persevere with Love and a Smile,” it reads, in memory of his friend and classmate who died tragically last winter.

When i took this picture, I thought of a family who lost an enormous part of their future when their son left this world.  How radically life can change between February and June!

Something to bear in mind as we enter a new year.

Until next time….

Yaaaaayyy Me!!! Yaaaaayyy Family!!!

Last winter, while researching Florida Friendly Landscaping, I ran across information on our state’s Master Gardener Program: participants complete a 12 week course sponsored by the University of Florida, after which they are certified to participate in community garden projects.  I was immediately interested……so……I applied.

Today, I was accepted!!!  Yaaaayyyyyy me!!!!!

Class starts on Jan 10, and meets 8 hours every Tuesday for 3 months. I’m very excited to learn more about horticulture…especially soil science and organic pest control. To read more about the history and structure of Master Gardener Certification, click here!

Yesterday,  I told you about Jack and the Rubber plant.  Today, he continued his yardwork, attacking the invasive Brazilian Pepper Trees overtaking the fence.

Jack and Brazilian Pepper Tree

There he is again, behind yesterday’s “hatchet job!”:  Snip Snip!!

Jack cutting through vines

When he was done, it was time for the annual Sibling Christmas Picture:

TC, Maggie, Jack, 2011

Yaaaaayyy Family!!!

Such fine young adults are these three, I am honored to be their mother!

Until next time….




Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant!

I really, REALLY, have no affection for rubber trees…especially the one in front of my lovely Palm, below.  When we moved here two years ago, several of it’s branches extended as high as the palm fronds!

Rubber Tree in front of Palm TreeDue to a combination of hard freezes (and equally hard prunings) I succeeded in taming it….somewhat…but this past summer, rapid growth kicked in, so we’re practically back where we started!

Enter my son, Jack, clippers in hand:

Jack with clippers, 2011

He begins to make a pretty good dent in it:

Jack and the tree, 2011

Before too long, a huge pile is accumulating!!!

Rubber Tree BranchesYayyyy Jack!!!!

An hour later, I snapped this final picture:

Jack posing when done!

I don’t know if its his size, or the pose, or the fact that he was fighting  (in gloves!!!  🙂 ) with a rubber tree, but while he was working, I had flashbacks to a scene in Rocky Balboa when Stallone enters the ring to a song made famous by Sinatra…you know the one…but if not, here’s a refresher:



Comically appropriate, yeah?

Anyway…..thanks to Rocky….er, um…Jack, there are less aerial roots and buttressing branches inpinging on my yard space…and that’s a good thing!!

Until next time……


It’s Almost Christmas!

Two days to Christmas!!

Yesterday, my boys arrived from Boston!  My daughter took this picture of us earlier today, so I could introduce you!

Me and My SonsT.C. is the oldest (age 27,) wearing the dark shirt; Jack, will be 24 next week.  You’ve already seen my daughter, Maggie, pictured here.  Its so fun having everyone under one roof again!!!   Although we’re not sure our cat, Clarisse, agrees:


Clarisse, tuning us out!

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with a garden update!

Until next time……

Weekly Photo Challenge: Self-Portrait

21st century science tells us that electromagnetic fields can interfere with neural synapses in the human brain and theories abound regarding the results of these disruptions.  Did you really see that ghost/orb/entity or was it some strange hijacking of your brain’s communication center?   What of the odd, hazy outline in your peripheral vision, the shadow person just beyond the corner of your eye? Many people have reported seeing the Mysterious Hat Man, a fleeting image in the recesses of a dark room, who brings a feeling of unease, of being watched,  that lingers long after his apparition is gone.

Mysterious Hatman

Thankfully, I haven’t seen this ominous “person,”  but I have caught sight of a different one!  When the light is just right–golden, late afternoon sunlight– I sometimes see a spectral vision, haunting The Ranchero.

shadow woman

Mysterious Garden Lady

Last spring I was lucky enough 😉 to catch the above image via cellcam and post it to Facebook with the following caption:  “Do you believe in Shadow People? I do!”

All joking aside, the message in the caption is why this pic is such an illustrative self-portrait: I absolutely DO believe in the fringe-sciences–the left-of-mainstream stuff that brands alot of people as “crazies”–yet I know I’m absolutely sane!   🙂   Paranormal events, ESP, remote viewing, UFOs…the wonderful, hard-to-fathom topics of Coast to Coast AM radio; these are the ideas to which I gravitate in books, movies, and TV.

While searching through my computer today, I ran across an old Coast to Coast audio file from the late ’90s when Art Bell, the show’s originator and first host, was in his heyday. .What you are about to hear may be total theater or it may be total truth–who can say for certain??  But without a doubt, this on air conversation between Art  and a pilot flying over Area 51 restricted airspace is 100% entertaining!    Click this to listen!

Remember….The Truth is Out There!!

Until next time!!

Everything Old is New Again….maybe.

While I was uploading the October Bloom Gallery, I ran across pictures of my Cosmos flowers, started from seed in early spring.  I’ve planted Cosmos many times over the years and always had the same result: pretty orange blooms on 12-18in stalks, like this:

Normal Cosmos

Needless to say, that’s not exactly what happened this time! Although all of this year’s seeds came from the same packet, at least a third of them behaved strangely; they kept growing..and growing…like these, seen in August, reaching 2-3ft.

Cosmos, Sept, 2011

But they didn’t stop there. September arrived. The same thing was happening in the back garden, as in the front.  Take a look behind this Canna:

7ft tall CosmosThe Cosmos were out of control!    Here’s a view from a different angle:

Super Cosmos, 2011I am dead serious when i tell you…the above shot is of ONE plant, 7.5ft tall, with a stalk as sturdy as a tree trunk!    Totally stymied as to why this happened, i did a little research.

Turns out, over the past decade various cosmos strains have been introduced to grow sometimes taller (or shorter) plants.  If variants of these hybridizing processes get mixed up in the same seed packet, the result is a more diverse garden than you’d otherwise expect.  Ironically, the original wild Cosmos flowers were MUCH taller than the ones seen in our lifetime.  As they say, maybe everything old IS new again?

My inquiring mind really wants to know!

So, as this year’s specimens died back, I collected as many seed heads as i could.  I’ve started re-sowing in the past few weeks, and will let you know how the next “crop” turns out!

Since we’ve been talking “orange/yellow plants”,  I’ll close this out with a picture I took this morning–

Cannas Thru the Citrus

Cannas Thru the Citrus

until next time!