Rainy weekend

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We did our annual family vacation this weekend. Usually we do a beach thing, but this year we rented a house on a vineyard, miles from anywhere. Getting there was a nightmare, with the main way to get there closed by mudslides and being caught in traffic for hours only to have to turn around and go back the way we came.

We did finally get there and the house made up for a lot. We’ve rented a lot of houses over the years, this one was the best equipped so far. Rental houses go from having everything to having darn near nothing, and you don’t find out until you get there which it’s going to be. Mom, sister and I each make one dinner with breakfasts and lunches being a group effort. It’s actually kind of fun cooking in a group. Much easier to get dinner on the table for a large group when you have enough people to handle each aspect.

Of necessity we spent most of our time indoors, but we did have a half day of sunshine. I went walking around the property, enjoying being outside with no other people within view. I spent half an hour sitting at the edge of a dirt road, watching and listening.

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That half day made the weekend for me.

The rest of the time we sat around the house, watching the rain come down outside. We put together a couple of jigsaw puzzles, played charades and Heads Up. We’re a very exciting group. But it was actually nice not to have a big agenda. Getting everyone organized to go shopping or out to eat can end up being quite a production, especially since Mom’s in a wheelchair.

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Actually got myself outside and did some work in the front yesterday. My schedule has changed recently and I have far less time to do the things I want to do now. And feel like doing them much less. I work a “part-time” day at 6 hours and am required to take a lunch. Neither of which did I want. It’s all of the disadvantages of full time and none of the benefits. Then there’s the jewelry business, which I am NOT willing to give up.

But I’ve been really inspired lately by the succulent gardens of David Feix. His succulent landscapes are packed with beautiful contrasts of form and color and I want a garden like that right now. However, I have learned that things like that don’t happen quickly. The best way for me to achieve it to work on it a little bit every chance I get. Goodness knows that working in the garden will be better for me than sitting at my workbench.

Stealth Butterfly

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Found a caterpillar eating blossom of my gaillardia. It’s probably a moth, which I think of as stealth butterflies. I spent some time poking around on the web to see if I could find out what exactly it was, but “moth” covers so much ground I wasn’t able to narrow it down. I thought about removing it, but wildlife here has had such a hard time for the last couple of years, I just left it.

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The gulf fritillary larvae are doing pretty well. I moved them from the vine that they’d eaten all the leaves off of to another one.

My garden is really small. I have a long, narrow patio and postage stamp front yard. I used to think of my garden as this little cup of life in the desert of suburbia. Most of the houses around us have yards that are aimed at being the least possible maintenance. But lately I’ve come to realize how much the cup overfloweth. The things that I put in the garden are only a part of what happens there. There are the bees that come and drink the water from my water pot. The birds that come for both food and water. The bugs that eat the plants, the lizards that eat the bugs, the rat bastard squirrel that ate all my macadamia nuts last year.

There are a few who have yard like that in my neighborhood and I wonder how much wildlife depends on these tiny oases. How many creatures pass through every day? I get the feeling that spaces like these are going to be more important at more people are squeezed in and everything else is squeezed out.

Warm afternoon

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We had an all-to-brief (for me) break in the rain yesterday. And it was warm out. And we all spent part of the afternoon on the patio. More rain is due today, but at least we had a little bit of time outside. I spread my collected seeds over every bit of unoccupied ground.

The bastard squirrel paid us a visit, the furry tailed rat.

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And I found out that what I thought was a raven’s nest is a squirrel’s nest. It ran along the roof and sat looking at the bird feeder. I think it was seriously thinking of jumping onto the tray. A blast from the super soaker discouraged it. At dusk it left off taunting the cats and made its way through the trees and disappeared into the nest.