Category Archives: Garden

Happy First Day Of Spring?

IMG_3303by Kimberly A. Cook

Here in Oregon the trees are budding and Spring may actually appear. We had a wonderful warm day yesterday and then the bird bath froze last night. Welcome to weather.

I read another Nor’easter is headed for the East Coast. So sorry. Thought I’d send some blooms your way. This is one of the trees on my street. Used the telephoto so we could all get up close. Tree climbing is not my thing.

Hope this finds you enjoying the small signs of Spring. Or if you can’t find the ground buried under snow,  I suggest silk flowers and bunny figurines. Couldn’t hurt!

Have a wonderful first day of Spring!

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Have You Hugged An Easter Alpaca?

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How cute are these two? Still in the paper bag when they arrived home. I’m keeping the pastel one and have named her Rainbow. She has moved into my office. Easter alpacas on sale. Is this a great country or what?

by Kimberly A. Cook

Bought two alpacas yesterday. Don’t freak, they were stuffed toys. Gotcha! The last thing I need is something else to take care of, as cute as alpacas may be. I like having the excuse to drive up the Columbia River Gorge or over to Sisters to make personal alpaca visits.

They were a complete impulse buy. I was on a mission for potting soil and ended up with these two cuties as well. One is a gift, one is for writing inspiration. Seems the next fiction book in my Vintage Vets series involves alpacas. Animals just keep showing up in my writing. I am not in charge.

But first I feel I should apologize to the USA residents in the East. Sorry about all the stupid snow. It was 69 degrees here yesterday, a fluke and we loved it, hence the potting soil trip. Rain again today, so back to our regularly scheduled weather.

When you live on the West coast, for me everything past Montana is back East. I have been told by Midwesterners that is not correct, but it works for us out here. Imagine that is why in Hawaii we are all “the mainland” because the rest of the country is East to them, except for Alaska which is North and East.

Potting soil bags does mean Spring is on its way. I’m downing the allergy pills to prove it. The two toys were on sale as Easter alpacas. Never heard of Easter alpacas, but I fell for it. Sometimes you just need an Easter alpaca.

What Spring rituals are you looking forward to?

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Ready For Summer?

by Kimberly A. Cook                       (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

I am in complete denial. Yesterday I noticed the leaves are turning colors. Fall shades to be exact. Earth tones. Like pumpkins. While I may be able to ignore the calendar and the shortening of the light, the turning leaves are a beacon of the seasons.

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Official first swing of the summer – 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, September 26th. All is right with the world.  

 

Who stole my summer? It went from a record breaking rain year with moss growing on everything, including me, to a heat wave extravaganza since the end of June. Then forest fires with smoke, plus more smoke shared from Canada. So because of all those events and roofers who have been on my house for two months, don’t even ask, it has not been an average summer.

Between the cascading weatherproof membrane pieces, flying white waterproof sheeting, sliding pieces of block and tackle and packets of shingles this summer, I did manage to get the lawn swing spray painted so it looks brand new.

In the process I got so carried away I didn’t realize I had spray painted my toes silver. Should have taken a picture before I stuffed each foot in the sink and scrubbed. Amazed my pedicure of red sparkles still came back after the episode. Not letting it dry too long must have been the key.

Words to the unwise: Do not wear flip flops when you spray paint near your feet. Overspray happens. Just saying.

Which is why yesterday was the big day. I put the lawn swing out! For two days. Before it rains again. The roofers have finally quit throwing projectiles from above, so it was safe to assemble my haven of heaven.

But in the grand scheme of life, times are grand. I’m happy to have a roof, power and running potable water, unlike our fellow citizens in the U.S. Virgin islands and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria flattened our islands. But the Navy is moving the hospital ship USNS Comfort into place. The Marines landed days ago. Other support is finally getting to the island with the hard work of military personnel, the Coast Guard and FEMA workers getting the airport fixed and the harbors cleared.

Pilots of both planes and ships get cranky if you give them runways with gaping holes and harbors full of hull piercing metal. Great job getting the debris and junk cleared out to start the relief efforts.

In the Army I served with several Puerto Rican soldiers. They worked hard, taught me cuss words in Spanish, loved to play jokes and had the best laughs. Wishing hugs, hope and support to all in our islands.

Donate what you can, be grateful for the life we enjoy and prepare for Fall and Winter. The best thing about winter this year? It will finally end the hurricane and fire seasons!

That is worth celebrating.

For me, I’m enjoying my new nickname: Silver Toes.

Lawn swing ho!

 

 

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Summer Shenanigans?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Summer arrived last Wednesday and I spent the day power washing my Mom’s house. Thought the job would take a couple hours, but we’ve had such a mossy, wet winter the little power washer really earned its keep. I had mud up to my naked knees and over my head. The photo Mom took will never be made public. Trust me.

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Farmer Bun surrounded by The Fairy roses and his wheelbarrow full of blooms. Summer!

 

The weather was warm and the power washer worked after Mom figured out I had turned the water off due to a leak. Always helps to have an assistant. It became a kind of zen thing to clean the gunk off everything. Now I’m obsessed. Must do my front porch, patio, lawn swing before repainting, garden pots, my thundereggs, garden bunny – again.

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The Gardenia made it! This winter I put her in the garage for more than a month, never had to do that before. Lost about one-third of the plant, but she’s blooming now. Love it.

 

Between garage sales, finally good weather, farmer’s markets and five visits from my A/C repair guys, it’s been a busy two weeks, but I’m almost ready to play this summer. Thought I’d post some backyard pics to show you what is finally blooming after our long, long, really wet winter. It’s sun time!

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Decided last year I was getting rid of the strawberries. So this is what they did when I left them alone. Which is what they do every year when I leave them alone. Maybe they’re magic?

 

P.S. You can’t have summer without ice cream and my hairdresser got me hooked on “Breyers Girl Scout Thin Mint Ice Cream.” Going to need to train for a marathon to work that off. And then found a childhood favorite from “Umpqua Ice Cream, Maple Nut.” Tastes even better now.  Stock up on ice cream!

 

 

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Have You Spit On Rocks Today?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Distracted easily, that’s me. Finally had a day of sun last Friday and I could hardly make up my mind what to do first. I avoided all the things I “should” do and bolted into the backyard to assess fairy house door construction.

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Love this solar powered fairy door. When you open the door a staircase shows up, but alas, too tall.

The Douglas Fir stump in the middle of the Fairy Rock Garden is going to become a house. With this in mind I have already cut up one of the leftover cedar fence boards for a roof.

Assembly challenges exist on that since I can’t figure out how to nail the pieces together, even with a vice. Think glue first, then nails.

Have been able to de-cone several pine cones to get the shakes ready for the roof, but I digress. Last year I bought a variety of fairy house doors and now was the first opportunity to go outside without a scuba suit on for more than ten minutes and play.

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Very cute Easter Bunny themed door, but would not allow for roof overhang. Don’t think I need to do gutters. We shall see.

Gathered the fairy house door booty and headed out. Tried several different doors and the size problem appeared. Too small or too big. The Goldilocks issue. When I finally figured out the little door with the Welcome sign on it would work the best, I noticed a shiny pretty rock in the special lake rocks.

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Perfect! Even comes with flowers and a window frame. Now have to figure out the entire glue attach thing.

This is how it starts. For us born rock hounds, it was a simple pick up of one rock. That is never enough. Before I knew it I was matching rocks for earring sets. Like when am I going to get my butt in gear to do that?

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A girl and her bucket of rocks. Life is good.

Never stopped me before, so on I gathered. Ended up using one of the large fairy house doors as a tray. When I had trouble finding exact matches I hauled out the kitty litter plastic bucket still  half-full of leftover rocks. There is another full container since I obviously didn’t know how many rocks I would need. Backup rocks.

While I sat in the sun hunched over the plastic bucket, happiness ensued. One challenge was the lake rocks had been out all winter and were completely rinsed off, not so the ones in the bucket. Dust on these, so this required some spitting to get the true color on some rock specimens.

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Little rock couples, how cute.  Except for one at the top. And before I tripped. But I have the photo.

 

When I finally stopped since the tray was full, it worked well until I tripped on getting up and launched three of the rocks into oblivion, never to be recovered.  Sigh. When baby rocks fall into other rocks and on a cement walkway studded with rocks, forgetaboutit. I did a scan, nada.

Pretty proud of myself I only lost three of the rocks, though. Can use the others as pendants. You betcha.

If you’ve got a rock hound in your family, we’ve got Mother’s and Father’s Day coming up. Go to a local landscape rock place, find the “specialty” rocks and buy a couple pounds. Perfect!

Got rock stories?

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Have Butterfly Garden Dreams?

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The birds are singing, tulips are blooming and I’m back on allergy meds; it must be Spring! Walked into my bedroom Sunday and heard a noise like a cross between a mini-jackhammer and a tiny steel drum band. Yup, the woodpecker is back and still in love with my gutter. The sounds of the season.

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Plant arrangement outside my sister’s house to celebrate Spring. Finally!

 

Last Tuesday when I was playing wood nymph outside instead of writing a blog post, I made a momentous decision about my backyard garden. Okay, garden is a bit overrated, it’s an assortment of garden pots. But it is my garden. Since I water it and don’t eat the limited produce and herbs, I’m giving serious thought to replacing it with a butterfly garden.

Not only can I help out the butterflies, but I can extend the Fairy Rock Garden closer to the patio. Given the amount of Fairy Rock Garden booty I’ve picked up over the long, damp, wet, gray winter, I’m need to annex some lots anyway.

The idea occurred to me surfing the web when I came upon a native plants nursery in West Linn, Oregon when looking for huckleberry plants. Not that I’m going to plant those, but I LOVE huckleberries. The nursery had a web page about butterfly garden plants. It looks like an amazing place to take my camera. Road trip!

What better neighbor for a Fairy Rock Garden than a butterfly garden? When I took Mom over to my favorite trail in Camp Sherman last May, a butterfly even landed on me. Think that is a big hint.

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Butterflies chowing down on plants by the river in June 2012 at Camp Sherman.

 

I’ve always loved butterflies, so this will be an adventure.  Everyone knows fairies ride butterflies for transportation, so I need to set up their transit hub. Stay tuned for updates on the butterfly garden transformation.

Got garden plans?  Got room for plants to feed butterflies? Dig in!

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California Dreaming?

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

It’s raining. Again. It’s official, this is the wettest February on record in Oregon. Since before the pioneers. This time of year we should be looking forward to Spring break, posies popping out of the ground and humming vintage Beach Boys songs.

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This plaque set next to the squad of bunnies in the store. Beach trips! 

 

Instead I took a couple pictures of the first pink saxafrasia blooms yesterday and they blurred. Not enough light. It was 2 p.m. in the afternoon! But there are some soggy buds on the trees and the brave daffodils are trying to rise into the air once again. I need to get them life vests.

Of course, it’s pouring in California too. Good news for them, their drought is over. Bad news, Mother Nature is still pouring on the water. Just to be sure I guess. Maybe she’s been chatting with Smokey Bear. (I call him Smokey the Bear but it appears he’s changed his name. Hard to keep up.)

Since I prefer to live in denial these days, I am going to assume the sun will come out again and we will have a fabulous Spring. Plans for planting my garden pots, more development in the Fairy Rock Garden and wearing less than four layers of clothes fill my mind. Naked painted toes! Shorts! No parkas! I get excited so easily.

We can do this. We can plan for sun. Warm breezes. Farmer’s markets. It will happen. Raspberries. Visiting alpacas. Fresh pears. Gliding back and forth in the lawn swing on a warm summer’s eve smelling neighbor’s BBQ and hearing the birdies sing.

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Farmer’s Market bounty. Everything comes back to food…..

 

In the meantime I guess we can take a hint from Spec Ops Cat and spend some time like he did yesterday. Find a cushy bed and a fuzzy blanket. Proceed to tunnel, twist and turn into a cat burrito. Cats are so smart.

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Yes, Spec Ops Cat is inside that lump. Cats rule! 

 

Wake me when it’s Spring!

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