Rain in July!

Not much, just a sprinkling last night. But enough to get the ground wet. And there were lightning strikes at the beach yesterday. Several people struck and one actually died. That very seldom happens in Southern California. No way you can tell me that our climate isn’t changing. I’ve lived here long enough to know that it is.

Been putting the chicks in the atrium most days. They love it. But they are making a mess of it. They scratch everything up and chicken poop is fast becoming an issue. I think today I’ll let them out on the patio for a bit today. Let them make a mess there for a while. Give the atrium a chance to recover a little bit. I really don’t want to let them out unsupervised. We do have raptors in the area and there are a couple of outdoor cats in the neighborhood.

Worked on some new silver pieces this weekend. Finally figured out what my problem was. Old silver clay. I’m guessing that the binder in some of the older bits has disintegrated. Pieces made out of it have a rougher texture and don’t hold the detail I need for my molded pieces. It’s still usable for other things, but not those. So I opened some new packs of clay this weekend and most of my problems disappeared. I’ve been trying to do resin cloisonné, but the dyes dilute the resin too much and it runs. It’s also hard to control in quantities as small as I’m using. I’m looking into powdered resin dye and a two part resin instead of the uv cure. Going to take a while to get all the materials around. I hate having unfinished pieces laying around. I feel like the ideas are trapped in my head and unable to get out. I know what I’m trying to do, I just haven’t been able to get there yet. Oh well, I’m nothing if not persistent.

Strenuous Dreams or Do you wake up tired too?

We’ve been re-watching “The Walking Dead.” The makes would be proud to know that the shows are just as nightmare-inducing the second time around as they were the first time. I’ve had zombie dreams for the last three nights in a row. Does it ever happen to you that you’ve had a night full of dreams where you’re running and chasing and hiding and you wake up feeling like you’ve actually done all those things? That sure has been the case for me the last few nights.

On an entirely different subject, the chicks are fast becoming chickens. We moved them out to the coop last weekend, so they’re outside birds now. They have a tiny bit of chick fuzz on the back of their necks, but are otherwise pinfeathers and dinosaur feet. I’m hoping they don’t grow into their feet. They’re a little bit larger than a dove currently, but have feet the size of velociraptor.

The Wonderful Spouse’s hops are doing pretty well this year. We’re definityly going to have a lot more than we had last year. We might have had an ounce. I’m hoping for three or four ounces this year.

The adventure begins

So this happened this week:


That is a box of peeps. Peeping away as I drive them home from the post office.


I now officially own chickens. I’ve been excited about it for a while, and I still am. What I wasn’t expecting was the associated level of anxiety. I’ve been worried about everything. Now I always worry about everything, so it’s really nothing new, but the quantity of things I was anxious about is just stupid. I had dreams about the quantity we got. In one it was eight, in another it was three. In one they were all dead.

The first night, when we set up the box and put the heating mat under it, set to the appropriate temperature, I kept having visions of cooked chicks. I wanted to get up and look, but didn’t want to wake my husband.

Now that we’ve had them for a few days most of the anxiety has dissipated. Looking forward to getting the coop assembled and them being big enough to go outside.

Nice Weekend

Celebrated our 20th anniversary this weekend. Went to see "Malificent" and then out to 'linner' at a Korean barbeque restaurant. One of my favorite parts of the movie was all of the creatures in the fairy lands. I thought 'that's where I want to live.' It occurs to me that I'm pretty close to that now. We're a wildlife haven on a very small scale at our house, with birds, butterflies and hummingbirds everywhere. We have lots of monarch larvae around the yard. Which means that the milkweed looks very chewed up. I don't mind the crappy looking plants when I have monarchs flitting around the yard. Flying flowers pretty much make up for a few chewed leaves.

Leafcutter Bees

LeafCutter Bee

I’ve known for the past few years that we have leafcutter bees. I find the evidence above all over my bougainvillea plant. But I’ve never seen one. Until last night when my husband and I were sitting on the patio talking with some friends. I saw an insect on the plant and then, lighted up by the sunset, I saw a little pink spot fly away. I was so excited, I interrupted my husband’s conversation. All this time I’d never seen one. Never paid enough attention. A few minutes later it came back and did it again. That time I was able to point it out to everyone. Now everyone knows about leafcutter bees, whether they want to or not.

More wind

Another day of high temperatures and killer winds. My garden has gone from lush and green to crispy and brown. Going from spring to summer has always been like that, but it’s barely spring yet. These wild swings in temperature are hard for things to handle, including me. I feel like a piece of parchment paper.

And more plants

Finished moving everything to the new potting bench and the Wonderful Spouse took apart the old one and it went into the trash. I’ve been thinking about building a new potting bench for a couple of years now and finally got up the ambition to go get the most important part, plastic decking material. I’ve gone through a couple of benches now and have gotten tired of them rotting away. The synthetic decking seemed like a good alternative. So I drew up a plan using the deck material and copper pipe and the Spouse made it happen. I had one engineering flaw; all the joints faced in the same direction and the whole bench would lean to one side. The spouse fixed that issue by putting in a center support on the bottom shelf and putting screws through the joints so they won’t turn.

It has an additional benefit besides being rot-proof. We put it agains the back wall of the patio which gets lots of afternoon sun and Ash likes to sit on it, soaking up the last bit of sunshine.

I’ve got three hummingbird feeders in the backyard and we have three different kinds of hummingbirds that visit, Anna’s , Ruby Throated and Rufous hummingbirds. I was inspired by a house I pass on the way to work. It has a couple of feeders and the hummingbirds are there all the time. I often see more than one bird at a feeder at a time. The ones in my yard won’t tolerate other birds. Territorial battles are constant. They frequently startle me by chasing each other right past my head when I’m working in the garden.

We had a plumbing problem recently. We called for a plumber to fix a leaky valve and he managed to break the main water line to the house. They had to dig up a good portion of the front yard to fix it. Now I’m left with a long bare swath out there. I’d be mad, but it created the opportunity to get new plants! The bees loved the lavender, but it was taking over the whole planting bed, so I’m not to upset that I lost some of it. I have a couple of plants coming up from seed, I’m going to move one into that area and be a lot more aggressive with the pruning this time. I bought a bunch of things to put in the area this weekend. A few annuals for instant color, but mostly perenials. I tend to overplant. I see it as a battle for space and may the best plant win. I keep trying new plants until something does well. This time around I’ve planted penstemmon and salvias for the hummingbirds and marguerite daisies for the bees. So far almost everything has survived the planing.

I need to get my newest plants in the ground. It’s supposed to rain this week and that’s the best time of all to plant things.


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