Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Rainy Nature Walk/Katherine's Ninth Birthday

 It started out as a walk to the mailbox, but just overnight the rhododendrons have burst into bloom and are breathtaking.  A little sunshine would make them even prettier, or maybe the gloomy skies make them stand out more.  

I took this photo last week when it was the only one on the bush.  These bushes are  right outside my dining room window and such a beautiful view.  I wanted to hang bird feeders out there, but now I'm having second thoughts because of the danger of bears coming up and raiding the bird feeders.  I don't think any have ever been seen right around here, but I would not want to run into one.  

This is a bigger version across the little path that's taller than I am, and the buds are huge.  I need to figure out what kind they are. 

When I first saw this last week, I thought it was bird droppings on my newly washed car and was thinking I probably needed to ask my upstairs neighbors to put their bird feeder on the side.  It happened to me when I lived on the second floor.  No one mentioned it, but I noticed that my seed was falling on the car below me and moved it to the side.  

A closer look showed it was wet cottonwood blossoms.

This is Washington's version of pollen.  t's a little bit I obnoxious than pollen but not much.  It falls like snow and piles up like ice crystals, so it doesn't look as bad, but it will get in your nose and mouth if you're not careful.  

After we were warned not to plant anything in the newly 
"landscaped" beds, this old hosta popped up.  Supposedly the apartment people will do their own landscaping, and I'm sure it will be nice enough, but there's no date for it.  I like to be a rule follower when I can 😇, but it's a shame to have to look at dirt when I could plant more hostas and other things.  Who cares if they dig them up.  I'm sure I could find homes for them.  I'll probably just get some pots and bury them if it ever gets warm enough to want to dig around in the beds.

The primroses and pansies are still beautiful - or at least the pansies are although a bit leggy.  I should cut them back, but the blooms are so pretty.  The primroses bloom only once a season, which is such a shame.  I hope I can save them over the winter in a pot for next spring.

This was the prettiest pot at first, but it looks a little bedraggled.  It's the only one off the porch and getting the rain.  Maybe that little bit of sunshine I see will perk it up.  I'm not sure anything bothers the creeping jenny.  It's just happy anywhere you put it and adds so much to pots and baskets.

This piece of Christmas/Thanksgiving cactus fell off inside, so I brought it outside, and it's rewarded me with a new petal, or whatever they are called.

Plain old parsley.  It looks happy.  I'm going to snip some for the spaghetti I'm cooking right now.  

No one but Bowie has been able to enjoy the rockers much in this cool weather.  I got these pillows, but I'm not really happy with them.  The seat cushions have faded so much there's not much that will match them.  I also need a bigger pillow form for the one on the right.  That might or might not be one of my worries this spring.

Yesterday was Katherine's birthday, and she came here after school.  I had her a couple of minor gifts since the Calico Critters Tower didn't come on time, and she was just excited about the card and the glitter pens and the new games.

We pretended to smell the different flavors, but I never smelled anything, and I don't think they did either!  It was glittery though, and that's all that counted.

 She did had the most tragic look on her face when she arrived.  She said, "I didn't get my birthday bag at school."  Poor thing.  All year, the kids have their birthday bag on a cabinet (I guess) or somewhere, and on their birthday, they are given the bag to take home.  Katherine, in her words, is "naturally LAST," but her teacher even forgot to give it to her.  I bet she'll get it today!  I guess no one in her room has summer birthdays either.  

I wasn't sure about the new games. Graysen had played Apples to Apples at a sleepover and told me how much fun it was, so I got that for them both along with this one.

We had so much fun playing and laughed at every round.  It's one game that emphasizes the fun rather than the winning.  Sometimes it was a group discussion about which caption was most appropriate.

There are a couple of the captions that won.

Friday, May 17, 2024

First Things First

 I see it was May 4th when we went to the nursery and got my Mother's Day plants.  It's nearly two weeks, and the porch is finally getting to where I want it.  

Last weekend was the hard part, but I don't think it tired anyone else but me - just watching everyone work.  

Emily was determined to get all the windows washed, and she did.  We raised the blinds in the three front windows and one side window, and she figured out how to take off the screens and got just the right cleaner and right drying method, and those windows were sparkling before she left.

This is what I see when I lie on my bed.  Unfortunately, I hardly ever have the blinds up this high since we have a balcony right above us to the right, and if I can see it, they have a nice view of me.  I do it enjoy it though, in rain or sunshine.

Again the bedroom view with the side of my porch and the balcony above.  It's a nice neighborhood, and I don't mind the close neighbors.  I think I prefer it.  

The family across the street has two little boys, and they're not home much, but they're very friendly.  Cute little front porch with their happy red door.

Another family just moved into the house next door to theirs last week, and they also have a little boy and a teen or preteen boy who seems to already have a following of little girls riding by his house on their bikes.

This is the side window where the table and chairs are.  I'll get the hummingbird feeder back up and a couple of birdfeeders, so I should have some pretty things to look at.  So will the cats.  I'm ordering some plastic trays for the window sills so I can grow some herbs there.  Hopefully.  There's not much sun, but if I put them out back where the sun shines, they're not as handy to grab when I'm cooking, and I forget to water them enough. The pink rhododendrons are blooming since this picture, and are huge and so beautiful.  

The one thing that has taken some getting used to is how close the sidewalk is that runs between the two buildings.  You pretty quickly get used to it, and most people who walk by here don't pay much attention to what's in the windows.

The view from the living room window of the little park across the street where the girls like to run over and play.  There's no equipment there except a big rock and some benches, but they don't care.  They climb the trees and make up games, and I can usually hear them and keep an eye on them.  If not, I'll walk outside and look for them or call them.  

I have a good place for sewing if I'll ever get myself back into the mood.  This window overlooks the front porch.  We got Katherine to stand on the sewing table to wash those top inside windows.  She felt pretty important.

I didn't do much all day except clean the window sills and carry things back and forth to the porch and then to the laundry room when Emily got ready to vacuum.  She worked so hard that day.  Besides the windows, she vacuumed the whole apartment, got several candles lit and the house smelling good, picked up heavy things and low things for me and kept the girls on task.

I don't have a picture of them washing the baseboards in the living room and picking up things that had gotten out of my reach behind furniture.

Once I suggested cleaning the screen grooves with a paintbrush, they got busy.  I had in mind a bigger paintbrush, but they seemed to feel more creative with the little artist ones.

Even the doorbell got a got cleaning, and I don't think I heard them ring it one time that day.  

I had not been to the grocery store to replenish their favorite snacks, so we had to be creative.  I had some Italian bread, butter, and raspberry fruit spread which immediately became the best snack ever.  I had to promise to always keep Italian bread in my house.  I hope I remember.

Ryan worked all morning in the background, pressure washing not only the porch and walls but the screens and sidewalks too.  Once he gets started, he finds it hard to find a stopping place.  Woodrow is such a good helper too.  So patient.  

By the time they left, all the plants and furniture were back on the porch, the windows were sparkly (no other word works for them and for the day), and I had a clean, good-smelling house.  Happy Mother's Day to me!

These arrived Saturday after from Griffin, GA and are just beautiful.  Thanks to Gray and Stephanie.

One thing I noticed once they were gone is that I have these new blinds in the living room window that are raised and lowered just by pulling on the bottom and not by a cord.  As night fell and it became time to lower the blinds, I realized that I could not reach the bottom of the shade to pull it down without going to the garage and bringing in the ladder.

So I just left it open all night.  Now all the midnight dog walkers know exactly what's in my living room and kitchen if they care to look.

It's still been a little cool at times on the porch, so it wasn't until yesterday that I got the last plant in it's new pot.  I touched up the chairs with some black spray paint and even gave the little table a first coat of paint.  

This is going to be my favorite pot this summer, I can already tell.  It's exactly what I had in mind with the coleus in two colors, the creeping jenny, and the million bells.  I can't think of what their name is, but I'll find out.  I'm starting a plant journal this summer to keep up with the fertilizing and other things instead of leaving it to chance.  

This will be pretty with a little time with the coleus, petunias, and  creeping jenny.  There's also a parrot's beak in one of those pots that I'm hoping to see bloom.

I struggled some with getting this hydrangea planted, and now I'm going to have to move it to a sunnier spot.  

It's just what I wanted - a vanilla strawberry hydrangea that is supposed to look like this when it blooms:

Unfortunately, my porch is too shady, and I'll have to move it around back where it will get more sunshine.  At least, someone else will have to move it for me.  That's a heavy pot!

This will be nice when I find some things to fill in around Wilma, the dwarf lemon cypress tree.  I've lost two small evergreens that I've tried to keep on the porch, so this year I plan to take this one inside to be an indoor plant for the winter.  So cute.

The girls found Carly yesterday and took advantage of a sunny afternoon to decorate Ryan's clean sidewalk.  

The girls' musical programs were excellent, and we had such a good time.  Both of them knew their songs and dances, and it was just a fun night.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera on Gray's night and didn't get any pictures.  I just had to settle for the Facebook one.  

This video just gets to me, and my eyes get watery when I play it.  I told Katherine she made me cry with her song, and she said, "I almost cried too.  I got really emotional." 

How did I get lucky enough to get to experience their lives up close?  

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Flower Time

 This is usually the weekend Emily and I reserve for our former annual Carnation Plant Sale in Carnation, WA.  We've had several years of driving over and just losing ourselves in the flowers, vegetables, baskets, and everything festive about spring.  It doesn't matter that it has rained every single time; in fact, that's part of it.  It gives a feeling of camaraderie among the shoppers.

This year, life got in the way, and we discovered the plant sale was the same Saturday Ryan and Emily were to pick up their plants for the landscaper working on their front bed.  Not a big problem though since they were going to Mount Si Nursery.  It's a beautiful place, as you can see from the pictures, and we haven't been there in many years.  I think Mike was with us the last time we went.

Graysen had a playdate scheduled, so Emily and Katherine picked me up a little after 9:00, and Ryan took the truck.  The first thing we saw when we drove up was a CAT!  Katherine headed straight for it and gave it some loving.  It turns out the cat's name was Atomic Kitty, or AK, and he swirled around our legs and brushed up against us nearly the whole time we were there.

The koi pond was another attraction that we enjoyed.  Not only were there large and small fish, but Kate sighted a turtle right underneath the water.  Looking straight at us.  I'm glad she told me what it was, because it would have terrified me if I had seen it first.  That face!

Just a few of the many pretty things we saw.  

I do love the Japanese maples, and they had so many. 

I can't believe the size of some of these trees.

Mount Si background.

I don't have enough sunshine on my porch to even consider geraniums, and they are my favorite.

Ryan and Emily putting the last touches on their order and Katherine chasing after AK.

Kate and I went into two greenhouses.  In the first one, we discovered Black Magic petunias and Galaxy petunias (K's name for the speckled ones).  Except for the prices, which were probably reasonable for the quality, and my limited place to plant, I would have gotten one of each type and more.  

These are mine and Emily's collections at one point.  I was concentrating on different varieties of coleus to bring some color to my shady porch.  Katherine fell in love with this color of Gerbera Daisy.  I told her how it was one of her great-grandmother' Eleanor's very favorite flowers, and so she got one to take home.  

It's really a pretty place and just so full of beautiful plants and decorations.  Kate decided as soon as she got in that she wanted a hummingbird suncatcher, and she ended up with her original choice - a many-colored one.  

When I let Bowie out tonight, I discovered that my plants had been delivered by Ryan.  I tried out this New Guinea impatiens in a white pot that had held an amaryllis at Christmas.  I think this is perfect for it, and I'm in awe of that beautiful color and the markings.

I tried out the miniature Christmas tree in it too, but I think I'm going to put in a coleus pot.  

My hydrangea is not blooming yet, but it's not the usual mophead variety.  The blooms are shaped like lilac blooms but are watermelon colored.  I'll get the details tomorrow.  

Even though I had a nap, I'm still more than ready to sleep.  I'm just proud of myself that I made the effort to get out and stand and walk a good bit.

I didn't work on the new blog since writing about it last month, but I can still type here with no problems.  When I come back, I'll see if I can find some May Plant Sale pictures from previous years.

Graysen's Fifth-Grade Musical was Thursday night, and it was such a great night.  Fun songs and happy faces along with excited parents.  I'll grab some pictures from Facebook and post those too, if I don't forget.  Katherine's program is Monday night. I do have this one.  This is one of the quieter songs.  

The weather, although rainy, is a little warmer, and the sun comes out enough to keep things fairly warm.  I had no trouble with being too cool this morning.  I just needed to find a spot to sit down and rest ever so often.