Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Knotted Lace and Foreign Visitors

We've had some wonderful visits lately from far away friends. Last Sunday LOM's cousin who lives in Guam visited. It had been two years since we'd seen him and his wife. Back in the 1980s they cruised the South Pacific in their yacht and eventually settled in Guam where they have swallowed the anchor. It was fun to see them and their daughter, son-in-law, and new twin baby grand daughters.
Then last night we went out to dinner with friends from Australia. We met him waaaaaay back in the 1970s. We both had Mooney airplanes and flew to Mexico several times together. Then we ended up buying sailboats and cruising, but never together. He cruised thousands of miles whilst we only went to Mexico and back. He eventually met his wife and settled in Australia, using it as a base for the last 15 years of cruising in the Indian Ocean.
His wife is a wonderful woman who makes lace. She's well known in the worldwide lace community and has written two books on Mediterranean lace. She was born in Greece, lived several years in Scotland and immigrated to Australia about 1960. She recently got interested in this Turkish knotted lace and will be teaching classes at the Portland Lace Society's 2010 convention from July 25 through July 31. She gave me this amazing bookmark last night. Traditionally the lace makers used flowers to symbolize their feelings and intentions. She mentioned that she might work up patterns for different Australian wildflowers and publish another book. I am in awe.
So that's what's been happening lately here Amongst The Oaks.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Poor Teen1 hasn't been out of the house for weeks whilst recovering from surgery, so yesterday we thought she was ready for an outing. Our local zoo presently has a lorikeet exhibit that allows you to go inside the aviary and feed them. We've been wanting to do that for ages so yesterday was the day! Those noisy birds didn't disappoint us.
They check you and your little cup of sugary water out a while, then usually hop down onto your hand to lick it up. It's very entertaining to have them so close.
There are several varieties; rainbow, red banded, green naped, scaly breasted, and the Stella, an all black one. They all belong to someone in Florida who loaned them to our zoo for several months.

Pretty, friendly, entertaining... they seem like the perfect pet, right? But there are a couple of drawbacks; they bite as you can see above, and when they poo, it squirts out about 3', hot, wet and icky. Yuck.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mountain Ranch Garden Tour

We went on a Garden Tour Saturday and it was a wonderful day out. The tour was in Mountain Ranch, an old Mother Lode town up in the Sierra Foothills. Their community center needs work, and it was the recipient of the proceeds. They are a little higher than we are, so their season is about three weeks later, consequently the iris and peonies were reaching perfection.

Most of the houses on the tour were very old by California standards. This one was built in 1852 as a stage stop/post office/bar. It still functions today as a cattle ranch and farm. The garden had several very old plants including these peonies and a huge old wisteria covering the south side of the home.

This is the Mountain Ranch Hotel. The portion you see, built in 1906, was an addition to an older section. This property is available for $1 million. You could fix it up and rent it our for weddings and parties. It even has a swimming pool.

The tour featured arts and crafts too. At the hotel several artists were displaying their work.

Here is the largest garden. It recently had a water feature installed, and the garden was still in a state of disarray, but it was the perfect site for the crafts tables. Since moving here 12 years ago, the owners of this garden have built a huge stone wall all around the property and are now starting to landscape the garden. The home is an 1860 adobe building that originally held a store, but was expanded over the years and has functioned as all sorts of things; butcher, bar, post office, boarding house, some even say a brothel!

One of the interesting things about these gardens was their use of recycled items. Every garden seemed to have lots of rusty things serving new purposes. Here is a plow disk holding succulents. And it looks quite nice, doesn't it?

And here is a rusty bucket serving as a finial on this lovely rock column. I like the rusty gate too.

Old stone houses, rusty accessories, water features...they're nice, but the reason I go on garden tours is to see the flowers and I wasn't disappointed at the Mountain Ranch Garden Tour.