Anna’s Always Around

q8~Anna’s always around; flitting from flower to flower, buzzing by our heads, sitting on my favorite dead dwarf peach (another story), squeaking at us, or just generally flying about. This hummingbird does not migrate from our area, even in the coldest San Diego weather, Anna is always around. We are amazed at how brazen this bird is, I guess without any natural predators she doesn’t have to be afraid. I know there are he’s, I swear I see the female more even though the male is “prettier” with the gorgeous red neck feathers.

During the fall, if we leave the front door open Anna’s will fly in straight through the house and try to get out of the vaulted-roof-high window. The Hubs has had to save many a hummer. He climbs up a ladder and plucks the bird down when it’s become too tired to fly. Holding the bird in your hand is as if you’re holding air.

When I go out to water the garden, I’ll spray the water into the air so Anna’s can come and enjoy. I was amazed the first time this happened.  Our garden has a lot of hummingbird friendly plants, so I figure I’m being thanked

Anna looking at me as I take her picture.

Anna looking at me as I take her picture.

Anna loving the purple salvia.

Anna loving the purple salvia.

Male Anna's enjoying the Verbena flower's nectar.

Male Anna’s enjoying the Verbena flower’s nectar.

I actually dusted off my Canon Rebel XSi with the 55 – 250 mm zoom lens to take pictures. My Anna’s deserve better than the iPhone point and click!

Mystery Eater!

– What is eating my plants? When my ground cover was gone over night, I thought it was rabbits. First, I rabbit-proofed most of my plants. Then, I saw a squirrel digging up the roots of the ground cover. Each day I go into my yard and find some new damage to my plants.

The real mystery is who is eating my plants. Most of these plants are on tables or planters to high for rabbits or squirrels to jump or reach.  Do opossums or skunks do this? It isn’t grasshopper or snails. The flat of ground cover, in the upper right hand corner, is sitting on my outside table. Something jumped up on to the chair and on to the table. I am stumped. What can this be? 😦

Amazing Begonia

~A few years ago we purchased a few beautiful begonias from Weidner’s nursery. If you live in the San Diego area, this is a can’t miss place. Fabulous flowers and the most amazing begonias. Not your typical nursery.

What is amazing is that this begonia has been blooming for OVER a year! It never stopped blooming in the winter, even though we did have some freezing days. Every other year it died back the way our other begonias did. This begonia must have decided it loves its location. Amazing Begonia. I wish I had taken a picture of it every month. 😎

Create Your Backyard Paradise

– Well the backyard is coming along fantastically. Thought I would share how I went about planning my backyard paradise.


After my husband finished the wood fence, the cement boarder, and the pergola, I took three different shots of my backyard (see above). The photographs were printed out on 8 x 10 paper. I taped the two pictures on the above left together (see below) and started creating my backyard. I used this technique before when planning the landscaping for a small area in the front yard. I started drawing in the plants as I had done before, but this just was not turning out the way I had envisioned.  I was in a quandary, what should I do? Then it hit me, why not use the catalogs from the flower companies. Cutting out the colors and sizes I wanted, I pasted them into correct place in the picture. This was a perfect rough draft for the layout of my garden!

The picture below the two taped pictures is the right side of the yard where the raised vegetable garden is going. Can you see the green blob on the right side of the picture? That’s the vegetable garden

After the plan looked exactly the way I wanted the garden, I pinned it up on the kitchen wall. My husband looked at it and thought I was nuts. He said, “Just tell me where to dig the holes.” Once the plants were in he understood what I was trying to do with the pictures. There was a method to my madness! 😎


What do you think? Cool or what. It is going to take a while for the plants to grow, and I still have some smaller plants to put in. I can add them anytime. Note: No grass. We will be putting that in when it gets cooler which is usually the end of September or October. You can see the outline of where the grass will be. We used drip line to water and put plastic down then wood chips on top. We are still creating the walk up to the pergola.



I planted succulents around the pergola and drought tolerant plants along the small fence area. The first picture is the ground cover around the pergola. The raised garden is in the works. Stay tuned. 😎


As I said, “I can’t stop looking for new ideas.” Now I see yard art everywhere. My husband was taking down and old patio cover for our son, and I thought the corners would make great trellises for the yard. My husband attached two larger trellises to the fence, I am going to have a rose climb up one and wisteria up the other one. Doesn’t this look great?

We are in the process of finishing our backyard. Note: We have been in the house since 2003. We have four plus acres, but our backyard is only fifty-five feet, so it has not been a first priority. The orchard and plants in front have taken up most of our time.

He took the other two and cut them down and attached them to the small three foot fence.

These smaller ones are going to have roses growing on them. I am so excited to finally have a back yard with plants and flower to look at. Dirt and rocks was getting old.

The other cool idea from Birds and Blooms, was to find an old serving bowl and turn it into a bird bath. I just found a great one from the Goodwill Store. To be continued….


– It all started with my sister. She lent me some Birds & Blooms magazines. This magazine has some of the most interesting ideas to make. Now I can’t stop looking for new ideas for my garden. I see them every where. Oh I can use egg cartons for seed starters. I have made fire starters out of egg cartons, but I have never used them for seeds.

I went on line to order some safflower seeds that Q wanted to grow. The first batch of seeds I planted just one came up. I called Q and said something was eating my seeds and leaving the shell. She told me it was birds. I wasn’t aware that the birds would eat the seeds, so I put plastic over the top until they started to sprout.

I use what Q calls “the sponge effect” to water. You water from the bottom. The water is soaked up by the carton and keeps the seeds and plants moist. Then I found another great idea, you guessed it, in another Birds & Blooms, to transfer my seedlings to.

Well you guessed it. Recycle your plastic juice or soda container.  I planted cosmos in four of the containers and have transplanted some of the safflower seedlings. I like the square juice jars. They fit great together. Here is how to change that juice or soda jar in to a planter.

Cut container in two.

Put the two together.

Place a rock in the bottom.

Fill with soil. Use “the sponge effect” here, also, to water.

This all start because of my wonderful sister giving me something to read!

It’s For The Birds!

 STOP!  Don’t throw those bits of yarn from knitting and fluff from spinning.  Put the no-longer-needed-because-it’s-Spring suet holders to use.  I packed mine full of fluff and yarn.  You can see that the birds have been having a great time pulling out the bits and using in their nests.  It’s fun to see a bird with a beak full of fluff!  This was full.  I have it right by the bird feeders.

A beautiful have-to-be-outside day!  You can see the blue skies in the background. 😎  The Texas Privet is abuzz with bees and giving off a heavenly smell.  Too bad it is so MESSY!  The scent is drawing me out! Time for birds, butterflies, and flowers!

Knitted Lace Edging

  – One of the most unique projects I have ever done is making the body of a circular sweater on the knitting machine and then hand finishing it. I have done small projects on the knitting machine, but I have never finished a large one. This was one project I really got excited about. Q found a perfect lace edging for the circular sweater. I told her I wanted a knit-as-you-go pattern. I did not want to pick up a jillion stitches around the edge.

The tricky part of hand-knitting a knit-as-you-go edging is picking up a stitch from the body. I found that using double pointed needles works great. I used double pointed needles since I only have a max of 23 stitches on the needle. You can use circular needles just as easily. Here I have all of the stitches for the row and I am ready to pick up a stitch from the edge of the sweater.

See how I pick up one stitch from the edge of the sweater with the point of the needle. After I pick up the stitch,  I slide the stitches back to the opposite end of the needle. I knit to the last lace stitch and the picked up stitch.

When you reach these two stitches, you knit them together and presto the lace is attached. Knit-as-you-go.
I am half done. I am looking forward to blocking it. After blocking, I am going to make a decision about sleeves; should I add sleeves, or leave it sleeveless? Decisions, decisions, decisions!
There are quite a few wonderful edgings at this site; they can all easily be attached to a sweater, cuff, etc.  If you want the knit-as-you-go, the edge stitch of the garment is counted as the first cast on.  You will pick-up a stitch from the garment every other row.  Continue the lace pattern until you reach the end of the garment where you want it to be.

The Wind In My Garden

 Put two postages stamps together and they are larger than my backyard, especially now that I have had to string bright orange hazard tape across 1/2 of it to keep Hans out!  One wonderful thing about our yard is that we get a wonderful breeze almost every single day.  Sometimes the Santa Ana winds blow which actually blew our fence down.  The plus side is that we now have a wonderful new fence. Because of this delightful breeze, I have put wind catchers all over the garden.  I was so excited to open an early Mother’s Day present from my Hawaii family.  They sent to most awesome windsock that is made by a local Hawaiian woman.  The company is called DPs Creative Treasures out of Kailua, Hawaii. The style is Torch Heliconia. Isn’t modern technology great?  I opened the present while we did Face Talk so I could share the excitement with the family.  The largest picture in the collage is my new windsock.  Alan and I have had a wonderful time sitting on the patio watching it spin in the breeze.  This is a sampling of just a few of my wind catchers.  I did have some wonderful ones that the family sent when they were in Okinawa, but Hans ate them. Now, does anyone know of a pattern so that I can knit one?  My guess is that using plastic yarn or plarn would work really well!

What the Heck Ate Dad’s Naked Lady?

Haw haw, doing a little giggle here wondering if anyone came to this site looking for pictures of a naked lady!  Not to offend! 😎  My dad gave us kids some of his Amaryllis plants, aka naked ladies, some years ago.  Usually my naked lady produces wonderful, vibrant, beautifully-formed blooms.  This year some pest, probably a snail, started eating the blooms.  I even moved it clear across the yard, but alas, something ate my dad’s naked lady.  But, it still makes me smile and think of my dad who passed away a few years ago.  Now HE had a green thumb!  Barb lives in the mountains where it is colder, so her’s hasn’t bloomed yet.  Hopefully, her’s will be gorgeous so you’ll get to see a magnificent bloom!

My daughters’ website was down due to WordPress server problems yesterday.  If you didn’t get a chance to “visit” and register to win the mixer now is the time: Serving Up The Skinny.