Counting my blessings !!


Rain gauge

Rain gauge

Sweet Pea vines

First Sweet PeasFriends and family are baking in extremely rare weather conditions–in Arizona, California and Nevada.  I’m not “baking”; I’m “steaming.”  Eighty-five degrees doesn’t look too bad does it?  The humidity is high!!  Foolishly, I was working in the garden and dripping perspiration.  Shortly after 12 noon we had another of the daily thunderstorms.  We received four-fifths inch of rain in less than one hour. During the downpour it was refreshingly cool; I sat on the front porch and enjoyed every minute.  The storm passed and the sun came out.   Whew!!

The soil was soaked so an ideal time to pull weeds.  Then, spontaneously, I decided to transplant a pink rose-bush from the yard of the vacant apartment.  Not the best time of year to transplant roses but I feel compelled to save as many plants as I can.  Even with heavy red clay soil, digging was surprisingly easy.  It went into “Pandora’s Garden,” close to a beautiful red rose.  In due time, a beautiful yellow rose will join the others in an area I’ll cultivate specifically for roses.

Picture #1: Eighty-five degrees at 3:44 PM.  #2 & 3, rain water in the gauge.  #4, rain gauge is adjacent to the dog fence” trellis with Sweet Pea vines.  #5, my first Sweet Pea flowers.  The Sweet Peas vines were so slow-growing, I wondered if they would ever bloom!!

Below, #6 shows the transplanted rose-bush (one-third the size of a few hours earlier).  #7, 8, 9 & 10 are Gladiolus that will eventually be gathered into one area.  (Why were plants originally deposited hodge-podge in the garden??)

Transplanted pink rose-bush


Gladiolus to be transplanted

Gladiolus to be transplanted

Gladiolus to be transplanted

70 degreesPostscript, 7:00 PM: Thunderstorms were back with a vengeance, at 6 o’clock. The temperature quickly cooled. A Charlotte TV weatherman reported this will last until 10 or 11 “or all night.”  One community less than ten miles from me experienced 4 inches of rain in one hour. Generally, all areas are receiving 2 inches per hour.

ThermometerAt the top, I said I’m counting my blessings!! ~~ Needles, California registered 123 degrees; Pasadena, California, 90 degrees; Boise, Idaho, 101 degrees; Phoenix, Arizona, 114 degrees. I couldn’t write the names and numbers fast enough..  ~~  I just checked (via the Internet) and Lancaster, California, is 114 degrees at this very minute (4:00 PM Pacific time).  I lived in the Lancaster, California, area for over 40 years and cannot remember it ever being that hot before.

Rain off the roof

Rain off the roofBack again, 7:50 PM: Look at the rain pouring off the eave.  So much water, the drain spout can’t accommodate all!!  I thought I’d step out in the yard for another (better?) picture but quickly changed my mind.

Oh, extremely happy day !!

Mama Bluebird is building a new nest

Rain gauge

Rain gauge

Tilting tomato planter

Tilting tomato planter

Repair of tilting tomato planterActually Monday, July 1, 2013 because I want this to follow Counting my blessings!! Why?? Continuity of message.

We had rain almost all night. The gauge shows over 2 inches.  Very wet soil gave me Topsy-Turvy tomato plants (ha).  No worry!! Repair was simple (because I have an area behind the air conditioner with wide variety of “maybe I’ll need this some day” stuff).

Working with the tomato planter, I discovered long-leaf pine needles on the ground under the Bluebird house. That’s an obvious sign that Mama Blue is building a new nest. Oh, extremely happy day!!

Our local TV weatherman says 70% chance of rain today–and similar for next two days. Obviously, I won’t spend much time in the gardens.

Sad note: Nineteen firemen perished in a fire near Yarnell, Arizona.  I know Yarnell because (twice) I’ve visited The Way of the Cross and Garden of Gethsemane.

Papa Blue

"Mama Blue" inside Bluebird houseLater: I waited an hour for the picture far left.  “Mama Blue” was there, too, with a twig in her beak.  I missed the shot!! She flew into the bird house.  I’ll keep watching because “I love my Bluebirds!!”

Singing a new song !!

100 degrees in back yard.

Patio umbrella repair

Diana & Ash with repaired umbrella


Clear view to bottom of Bluebird house.


Illustration for testing







“Hi ho, hi ho, I’m ready for the show!!”  Last night, a friend from the JAARS RV Park adjusted the focus on the Hawk Eye Cam while I monitored the image on my TV.  Oh how delightful to have an extra pair of hands!! Several days ago he swapped a new “jockey wheel” for original–on my T@B travel trailer.  He also repaired an umbrella for me and I almost just said here that “he took pity on this old lady.”  To the contrary, I think “Ash” enjoyed using his skills, and tools, for my several projects. Hopefully I can handle the umbrella for a patch of shade–on a camping trip.  I don’t have the strength to set up the awning on the T@B.  ~~  In my humble opinion, “guys” have a knack for getting things right in a short period of time. Remember I made at least a hundred trips back and forth from the ladder adjusting the Hawk Eye Cam to the living room to view the image? Ash accomplished in a very few minutes!!  Explanation for pictures 6 & 7: The box is approximately the size of a Bluebird nest.  If I can read the print, I should be able to see “Mama,” and eggs, and babies.  ~~  First picture: 100 degrees in my back yard when I got home from work today.  Much too hot, and humid, to work in my gardens!!  (So I’m preparing this blog.)

This old lady remembers the song from Disney’s movie  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go.”  I’ve altered the message slightly.  Now, I’m hoping and praying that “Mama Blue” will start building a new nest so I can “hi ho, hi ho” enjoy “the show.”

Footnote: Another thunderstorm about 7:45 (just after I took pictures 6 & 7).
Footnote, Thurs., June 27, 5:30 PM: Tremendous thunderstorm this afternoon. One clap of thunder was (seemingly) adjacent to the building I work in.  It really scared me!! Really scared me!!
New Jockey wheel
To the right, photo of old and new “jockey wheel.”

Give me an “E” for Effort !!

Items for a Thrift ShopFuchsia ready to bloomGive me an “E” for effort!! I got many things to the back of the KIA just prior to a cloud burst and thunderstorm!! It is very dark (I have lights on) and I’m listening to lots and lots of rumbling. The rain has cooled things off significantly after high humidity. Already half-inch rain in the gauge  in less than half-hour. ~~  It feels good to “downsize” and get things out of the apartment!! They will go to a local Thrift Shop.  ~~  Truthfully, I spent the morning in the gardens.  For one thing, I was spraying plants to kill (or discourage) bugs.  I swept the patio and hosed it clean.  The transplanted Fuchsia is almost ready to bloom.

Postscript, 4:40 PM: Shortly after I published the above message, we lost power at 3:23. The hard rain has moved away and we only have a sprinkle.

More about flowers, less about Bluebirds !!

Beautiful flowers attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies

View of Scarlet Runner Beans from neighbor's patio

View of Scarlet Runner Bean from my patio

baby-bed bed springs as a trellis

Wild Carolina Jasmine at the edge of my yard

Wild Carolina Jasmine at the edge of my yard

Cypress Vine

Cypress Vine

Carolina Jasmine in front garden

Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem Artichoke

#1: Hummingbirds and Butterflies are attracted to the flowers . #2,3,4: Scarlet Runner Bean is prolific!! See the baby-bed bed springs in #4? Obviously not needed as a trellis!!  Next year I may put it somewhere else!! #5 & 6: Native Carolina Jasmine growing at the edge of my yard.  I hope to “train” it on trellis’ and cultivate it from year to year. #7 & 8: Cypress Vine with beautiful red flowers advertised to attract Hummingbirds. Last year the vine was a dismal failure. I thought I’d try one more time. #9: Carolina Jasmine is finally beginning to push out new growth. It was transplanted May 11th, 2013. #10 & 11: Look at the growth of the Jerusalem Artichoke. It is my height, 5′ 2″; amazing growth in two months!

Postscript, 6 o’clock PM: Off topic. We have had extremely hard rain during late afternoon. My rain gauge had one-half inch in less than one-half hour!! It’s quite possible that visitors to Singing on the Mountain at Grandfather Mountain got drenched. Online weather for the area, and Linville, “Currently 61 degrees with chance of T-storm. 30% chance of precipitation.” I had planned to attend but the Bluebirds kept me at home.  ~~ Below is a picture (from the web) of rainbow and clouds over top of Grandfather Mountain.

Rainbow over Grandfather Mountain

Bye, bye, Baby Blue !!

Empty nest

Out with the old !!

Ready for a new nest

The Ultimate Bluebird House






Baby Bluebird fledged sometime this afternoon. I was monitoring the nest sporadically (via the TV) as I moved from the front yard to backyard and vice-versa.  It seemed obvious to me (about 6 o’clock) that he was gone when Mama Blue and Papa Blue did not take mealworms into the nest.  As you can see, the Ultimate Bluebird House is ready for a new nest.  (Don’t disappoint me Mama Blue!!)  ~~  Picture one was exploratory, with the camera, so I could see inside the nest.  “Junior” was gone!  Picture two with nest removed.

Oh, what a beautiful morning; Oh, what a beautiful day !!

Petunia in Nasturtium planter

Pink roses & yellow rose

Transplanted yellow rose bushThe weather is just perfect: Not too hot, not too humid, slight breeze!!  The gardens draw me like a magnet!! I cut rose buds from bushes in the yard of the vacant apartment. Drawn by a magnet  **And** I cut slips and planted in hopes I could eventually have my own bushes (one pink, one yellow).  Then I decided to dig up the yellow bush and put in a planter.  I fear it is the wrong time of the year to transplant a rose-bush but I am concerned about saving plants from “The Slasher.”  Eventually that yard will be plain and boring; the shrubs and plants will be gone.  I’ll pamper the yellow rose-bush and it may reward me?!  A humorous thought: A Petunia was anxious for TLC (tender loving care) like I lavish on my Nasturtiums (and others) and put down roots in a planter specifically for Nasturtiums.  When that bloom appeared, I asked “Where did you came from?”

One customer at a time….

I’m “downsizing” one or two items at a time.  Management frowns on “stranger” vehicles crowding our small resident parking lot in a cul-de-sac.  Just for the fun of it, I’m posting the items I’ve advertised for sale.  As I’ve found in the past, very few people respond to my ads.  I’m living among retired missionaries and those that prepare for missionaries.

There were actually three separate ads but compiled into one for this (boring?!) blog message.

Memo to myself, I’m still editing this.  Starting with “Insane…” it will be in the “more” mode.
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Same song, new verse !!

Mama Blue is vigilant near the nest.

Mama Blue is vigilant near the nest.

Baby Bluebird

Baby Blue has been very hyperactive in the nest this morning!!  I’ve been monitoring the activity as I work on a “downsizing” project.  And Mama Blue has been sitting–for hours–just outside the bird house.  I’ve never witnessed this before. Does this mean, as I speculated yesterday, that Baby Blue is almost ready to abandon the confinement he has known these past few weeks??  Yes, “he” because (even at this early age) the feathers are very blue (the indication it’s a male). With all the movement, I dare not open the door because he might fledge prematurely.

For the first time in months, I really felt motivated to tackle the “downsizing” project again.  Suddenly the boxes that I labeled “save” don’t seem very important!!  I’ll begin to load the KIA and take items to a thrift shop raising money for their battered women shelter.

Baby Bluebird on the nestSquirrel at the fountainPostscript, Friday, June 21, 2013, 11:00 AM: I’m busy with my renewed interest in downsizing.  But I took time to check on Junior.  I was extremely careful because he has been so active the last two mornings.  Then one of my squirrel friends “posed” for me so, of course, I had to take his picture.