Monday, March 31, 2008

Lilac Vase

My MIL gave me this vase several years ago at a time when purple and lavender were not popular colors in decorating. I think it must be old; it says Limoges, AL, France on the bottom. It has three twisted handles that are shaped like branches. My lilac is blooming like crazy now so I got it out the other day and and was reminded why I put lilac in it every spring. Isn't it lovely? I hope you enjoy it too.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

First Rose

My first rose of the season opened today. It is the climbing rose on the south wall of the kitchen. It's name is Joseph's coat and it does indeed have many colors. It first opens like this, kind of orangey/pink. Then each blossom fades to yellow slightly tinged with pink.
Not long ago I was puttering in my front garden and a neighbor walked by. Even though they hadn't bloomed yet, he stopped to comment on these roses and I gave him a cutting. I hope it flourishes in his garden and gives him as much enjoyment as it gives me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

House Project

Just a quick note to report that Teen1 and Teen2 are safely back from Mexico. They had a great time and their group did complete the little house in four days. I'm totally amazed and proud! They worked hard, laughed hard, and learned a lot. Way to go, kids!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I've got a big project I need to work on, so I'm taking a little sabbatical. I'll be back on April 15th if my floo powder holds out.

Monday, March 24, 2008

B-E-A-UUU-tiful Day

We had a B-E-A-UUUU-tiful day (name the movie) yesterday. The weather was perfect. The food was scrummy. Wisteria perfumed the air.

I enjoyed more of my favorite colors.

And some of my favorite foods.


Potato salad....


Barbecued chicken...

And cake.
There's a little story that goes along with the cake. The Lord of the Manor did the grocery shopping Saturday. I thought I asked for a white cake mix, but he came back with a yellow cake mix and chocolate frosting with tiny chocolate chips in it. I'm sorry to admit that I don't make cake and frosting from scratch, and one of my sisters won't even eat my cakes because of that, but anyway, that's what I made. After I frosted the cake (wondering all the while how I'd make it look springy), I thought it looked like dirt! What's gardener do with dirt? Plant something in it. So that's how the cake ended up with violets in it. And actually, I was quite pleased with it.

And after lunch we all sat and played games and talked and listened to these huge bees droning in the blossoms. It was B-E-A-UUUUU-tiful day.
ps: Yes, that's a fireplace in our back garden. We use it often in the fall when we sit outside in the evening. And we even cook in it sometimes. I'll do a post on that sometime in April. And the Teens got off to Mexico last evening and phoned me this afternoon as they were preparing to cross the border. So far, so good.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

The view out my kitchen window
Teen1 and Teen2's Easter eggs

Devastated bunny

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Heaven Scent

The wisteria is in full bloom now. Maybe it's because of global warming, but it does seem early this year. The scent is intoxicating and permeates the back garden which will be nice for our Easter party tomorrow. I spent a few hours outside this afternoon watering, tidying up and planting a few annuals. It seems odd to be watering already, but it hasn't rained in weeks and it was over 70 degrees here today.
It's been hectic the last few days here Amongst The Oaks. We've been busy getting Teen1 and Teen2 ready for Easter Break. They are leaving for Mexico tomorrow evening with the church youth group to build a house for a needy family. I still can't believe 15 kids can really build a house in 5 days, but Teen1 says she will photograph the whole process. Being the do-it-yourselfers that we are, they have seen and helped on construction projects, and a few adults will be there to guide them, but they have to use all hand tools. No Makita? No Skillsaw? No Sawzall? What a challenge! Lack of power tools won't be the only challenge though. They also have to camp out, use an outhouse, and prepare their own meals. But what a great experience this will be and hopefully, building skills won't be the only thing they learn.

Friday WisteriaCam

That lazy WisteriaCam operator has been sleeping on the job! I went out and gave her a kick in the pants and she finally posted Friday's photo. Sorry about the delay.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Love is in the Air

I know Mary is tired of hearing about this, but I just couldn't resist.

Yesterday morning I saw these hawks in the tree in the middle of the street. The early morning sun was just beginning to hit the top of the tree and making them glow so I ran and got my camera. They seemed to be basking in the warmth of the sun, just watching the day come alive.

Since this tree is only 200 yards from the school, I think they are the same birds I saw there.

Whilst snapping away, one of them swooped down onto the other one with amorous intentions. It all happened so fast I just got one blurry photo, and now I feel like a sleazy paparazzi. Shame on me.

Now, should I show you what the squirrels were doing? Naw, that would probably push Mary right over the edge. But it does seem that love is in the air here Amongst The Oaks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday WisteriaCam


Playground Supervisor

My usual walking route takes me past the elementary school. East of the school near a drainage canal is a grassy playground with several trees. Frequently I see two large birds either in the trees or foraging in the grass. We have lots of hawks here Amongst The Oaks, and they look like hawks to me, but they don't act like hawks.

Sunday I finally remembered my camera and got this photo of one of the birds perched in the tree. Then while I was watching, it swooped down to the lawn and after digging around a bit, ate something.

I watched it for quite a while and got this shot of it on the ground. Isn't it beautiful?

When I got home I looked it up using Cornell's excellent site and discovered that it is a red shouldered hawk. They eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and crayfish. They are a year-round California species and live in forests and riparian areas, often near water. They drop down on their prey from the canopy just like I'd observed. So you kids better shape up, 'cause there's a new playground supervisor, and he looks serious.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday WisteriaCam

It's a glorious day here at the WisteriaCam. The first blossoms have opened and we are beginning catch a whiff of their scent. It ought to be quite nice for Easter here Amongst The Oaks.

WISTERIACAM 3-18-08 0750PD

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday WisteriaCam


Colors of Spring

Perhaps because I was born in the Spring I have a special affinity for it. I love the warmer weather and the fresh green shoots. I love the lengthening days and the returning birds. I love the scented blossoms and the fresh breezes. But I especially love the colors. And the colors of Spring seem to be popping up everywhere here Amongst The Oaks.

Here is that perfect blue of a breezy Spring sky.

And here is a beautiful purple flower.

Look at the fresh green of these delicate new ivy leaves.

Remember this luscious peach colored daffodil?

And these cheerful pink shamrocks seem appropriate for today.

In the house the sunlight seems to bring a new color to everyday items.

Even the floor is decorated for spring thanks to the crystals hanging in the window.

I just love Spring, how about you?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Seven Things You Don't Know About Me

I've been tagged by Zoe at The Glory Hole to share with you 7 facts about myself.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog. Some random, some weird.

3. Tag up to 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
So here are the seven things you didn't know about me.
1. I'm only 5' tall. This has caused some problems over the years like constant teasing from certain people. And it seems to me that people don't always take me seriously. But darn it, I'm strong and capable and I can do anything I put my mind to!
2. I crave balance and symmetry. I frequently arrange vignettes in my home in pairs of things and I'm trying to get away from that, but it's hard.
3. Several years ago I learned to fly helicopters and actually soloed. I have also flown airplanes, but all that was B.C. (before children)
4. I enjoy residential architecture. I don't mean I drive by a house and say, "Oh, that's a pretty house." I mean I study the shape of the roof, the style of windows, the details and materials. I research it when I get home in my architecture books. I take trips with the sole purpose of photographing homes just for the fun of it. I take photos of doors (but you already knew that). I designed my own home and also a home for a friend.

5. I used to live on a boat. It was a 35' sailboat that we eventually sailed to Mexico and back. It was a very interesting way to live. Beautiful in some ways, but very difficult in others. This was before cell phones, internet, and GPS. When we went out the Golden Gate and turned left, we were on our own. The experience changed me in profound ways; it made me realize what was really important in life, it made me more self reliant, and it made me question American consumerism.

6. I have different ideas about food. I think if God had intended us to eat highly processed, chemical laden carbs, He would have made cookie bushes, potato chip trees, and donut vines. And there would be rivers flowing with carbonated, high fructose corn syrup beverages. But that wasn't the plan. So I try to eat fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, real cheese, milk, butter (yes butter), fresh meats and fish. I never buy anything that says Diet, Low Fat, Lite, or Non Fat on the label. When the food manufacturer (I hate that term) took out the fat, they put in carbs and chemicals and that's what's killing us.

7. I don't enjoy shopping at the Mall, but love antique shops, flea markets, and estate sales.

I tag Morning Has Broken, Covered Porches and Screen Doors, In The Garden with Miss Jean, At Home with the Farmer's Wife, Across the Pond, Days Missed on a Hammock, and Elizabeth Hill. And thanks to all you creative bloggers who help to make my day.

Sunday WisteriaCam


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Breakfast Views

Saturday morning. Yogurt and green tea. Grocery list. Piles of laundry. Breakfast views.

Saturday WisteriaCam

I hope you're not bored with the wisteria yet. Here's another angle.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday WisteriaCam

The wisteria is growing really quickly now so I think I'll post every day for a few days.


More Doors of the World

I was so intrigued by the Doors of the World post, that I wanted to share a few other photos I've taken over the years.

Here is that Oxford door I first thought of using.

Here is a door in Nice, France.

Here are several doors in Lucca, Italy.

Bicycles seem to be the preferred mode of transportation in the walled portion of Lucca.

Here is a grand door in the tiny village of Civita de Bagnoreggio, Italy.

And another door to a mysterious garden in Civita.

And this last door is also in Civita.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finished Dogs

Here is Amy's brother, Spot. Not to be confused with this Spot, who comes from a distinguished lineage and is well formed and well trained. My Spot looks pretty good, but I'm having some trouble training him up. Let's see if I can get him to sit.

"Sit, Spot, Sit!" Hmmmm.....Ok, let's try, "Come."

"Are you talking to me?"

Here comes Amy. Can you see her new eyes? I used tiny black beads and I like them better than the wool. I used black beads for Spot's eyes too, but you can hardly see them under his messy coat.

Being litter mates, they like to play together.

Spot always wants the upper paw.

Amy usually lets him have his way. But sometimes she holds her own.

And then finally they both get tired and have to take a nap.

But Spot is still pestering Amy and won't let her sleep.

Ah, finally quiet. Having two puppies is such work!