Thursday, July 31, 2008

potato vine flowers

We've planted potato vines (if your Dan Quayle, it's spelled potatoe) in soil tiles for the last four years. This is the first time they have flowered. As you can see, the rabbits really do like these plants. That's why next year we're going to plant them in hanging baskets and the tall soil tiles.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pat's flowers

I help water them and take pictures of them. In the spring I bring the pots out and in the fall I bring the pots back into the garage. I heft potting soil and plant trays to the back yard. But if you think I can name any of these flowers, you haven't been following my blog. I have no clue what any of the flowers are. They are pretty.

Back yard

You can't hardly tell we're in the middle of suburbia.

The boys

Bob the hunter in what passes for the woods. Hunting for what, I don't think he knows.

A happy dog is a tired dog. To accomplish this, Bob and Fred walk 6 miles a day. You would think that would tire them out for the whole day. It tires me out, but not them. They still want outdoor time where Fred can communicate with his inner terrier. Little did we know that the wood pile is really a critter condo. Fred digs through the gravel and pulls at the stack of wood in search of critters who are long gone or hunkered down where Fred can't get them. Bob looks on not understanding because that part of doggie DNA missed him. Oh, he'll look where Fred looks and maybe even scratch the gravel every once in a while, but without the DNA embedded drive that Fred has. Bob likes to play king of the picnic table.

Fred caught in the act of jumping for bees. This is a little known, and fun to watch, activity that Fred partakes in whenever he's outside.

Monday, July 21, 2008

j'accuse or caught in the act

We've lost plants to animals all summer long. We have so much hosta that losing a few plants isn't really noticeable except to Pat and I. We figure it as the cost of gardening. We have feeding areas for the local wildlife in the hope they'll leave the plants alone. Now we did lose all of our black eyed susan to critters this year. We had that stuff in half a dozen different areas. That aggravated Pat. My only reply was to plant more next year.

I was sitting in the patio reading Donald Kagan's book on the Peloponnesian war, because I needed some light reading for the summer, when who do you think comes hopping across the yard. It's Mr. Bunny. well at least one of the dozen or so rabbits we have seen in the yard at one time or another. I have my camera with me. As I'm trying to get close to the rabbit, I calling Pat outside. I'm thinking that the Pat who thinks bunnies are cute, is coming outside. I must have called for a different Pat, because as she came outside, Wagnerian music started playing "kill the rabbit". How was I to know. I'm taking pictures and Pat wants to know if I'm going to do something. The rabbit's eating my sweet potato vine, Pat yells. Well yeah, I tell her, I'm taking pictures and going to put them in my blog (at least we now know who's been eating the plants).

Doesn't he look cute?

fun with lights

Honest, I took these pictures around 9:00PM. Look, the solar lights are on. I guess that all the Christmas lights (I guess they're still called Christmas lights even in July) give off enough light that it only looks like daytime.

Our friends Bill and Sarah Gann helped Pat and I put the lights up for Katie and Sean's wedding. We were mulling over what to do with the lights after the wedding when a certain brother-in-law of mine said: Why don't you just leave them up for Christmas? That sounded like a good idea because I have better things to do than unwind lights off of trees (like read Donald Kagan's book on the Peloponnesian war). Well, we took down the ones we couldn't see from the patio and kept the rest up. They look pretty cool when we're sitting outside; you can even read. My neighbors say that their little kids like to look at the lights. I told them that I accept their offer to plug into their outlets. For some reason they don't think the lights look as cool after that exchange.
Pat and I were enjoying the lights tonight when out of nowhere I suggested that Mr Penguin and the deer could go out back this year. Maybe the 20 foot tall light tree too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hosta flowers

The hosta are in the middle of flowering. We have more hosta than we can count so there are a lot of flowers (really, we've tried counting all the hosta and we tire out and lose count after 400 or so). The flowers range from white to purple. Pat asked me a while back if the leaf color determines the flower color. I referred her to a couple of hosta web sites. That kind of stuff scrambles my brain. There's over a thousand different kinds of hosta, of which we only have thirty or so. I just like to plant them and watch them (and split them and plant them). The flowers do not have much of a scent. That doesn't matter because I lost my sense of smell in grade school when I started smoking.
The bees sure like the hosta. You can see hundreds of them flying around all day long collecting pollen. Some are as big as my thumb. It's a lot of fun taking pictures of the bees as they go about their business.