Wednesday, April 16, 2014

it's a bird!...

As is our habit, my husband and I were sitting on the back porch watching birds at the feeders earlier this evening.  He said, "what kind of bird is that?", causing me to look up from my ipad and squint at the faraway feeder.  "IT'S A ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK!", I fairly yelled.  "You're making that up", responded the spouse.  Into the house for the camera...an older Panasonic Lumix...I tried to take a picture of the rare bird sighting.  Here is the result:


Okay, so I didn't hold the camera perfectly steady, and the 10x optical zoom didn't work magic by capturing a perfect image of this beautiful male specimen.  These birds are not seen in central Florida often, in fact, rarely south of Georgia.  They love oil sunflower, like cardinals, their kin.  They have several lovely songs.  Here is a picture that someone else took...


Do I need a bigger, badder camera or RTFM for the one I've had for years?  At least, I know I have to have the camera out in the yard, just in case the unusual happens...oh, and look up from the ipad now and then.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

a little clarification

In 2009, we built a small koi pond.  Last year we made it bigger.  It's about 300 gallons and is home to our one koi, Moby.  We have a good filter system, but lacked a clarifier.  Thanks to my brother, Paul, who sent an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas, we were able to buy a TotalPond UV Clarifier for the pond.  Wayne installed it a week ago. What a difference!  Here's what the pond looked like before:

(except without the carrots, and not as yummy).

The filter was easy to install and will fit 1/2, 3/4, or 1 inch filter hose.  We chose to install it outside the pond just in back of the waterfall.  It can also be submerged.  It will be hidden by plants behind the pond.  It has an indicator light that glows blue to let you know it's working.

In just one day the pond was a lot clearer, you could just see Moby.

Today, just 5 days after installation, the water is almost completely clear.

Moby can now see us and tries to hide when we get near.  You'd think after 5 years of feeding the ungrateful fish, he'd not be afraid of us.  Perhaps he never got over the fright of having his mate attacked by a raccoon.

One day after UV filter installed.
5 days after filter installed.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

bookmark obsession

I collect bookmarks.  I knit bookmarks.  I design knitted bookmarks.  I use bookmarks.  My little metal dpns (double pointed needles, usually used for knitting socks) are constantly in my hands.  My latest bookmark design is called 'crocus pocus'.  The pattern for it is available on Ravelry.  It's just a buck.



I've knitted 6 of these so far, given away a couple.  The third one in the picture has a big old mistake.  Can you spot it?  The one on the right was knitted on #3 dpns, instead of 2s, so it's a little bigger.  The finished size is about 2 1/4 by 6 1/2 inches without the tassel.  The pattern consists of two simple lace charts and is a wonderful way to learn lace knitting and reading charts, which is essential for knitters who would like to tackle more involved lace projects like shawls.

Blocking lace is easy and necessary.  Just wet the bookmark and stake it out with blocking pins.  Use lots of them, so you don't create peaks.  See below:
























And now for something from the garden.  It's one of my favorite orchids, Bulbophyllum Doris Dukes.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

whale, ho!

We built a small backyard pond four years ago, originally to hold our large Butterfly Peacock Bass, Jack.  After Jack's demise, we bought koi for the pond.  Moby is now almost four years old and 2 feet long. Last summer we enlarged the pond, replacing the rigid pond liner with flexible liner.  We also upgraded the filter system.  The one piece we haven't had in the budget is a UV filter.  We've had such a hot rainy summer, that the pond has had a perpetual algae problem.  Cleaning it is a big job.

Wayne saved the rigid pond liner, which he set up and used to hold the fish while emptying the pond.  Lots of muck on the bottom was removed and the filter medium thoroughly cleaned.  After refilling the pond with water from our well, we let the filter work for a day.  In the meantime, Wayne set up a sun screen so the temporary pond wouldn't get too hot.
Shaded temporary pond on the left

a really big net


Moby now has a nice clean clear pond, as do the 2 large Plecos and the frogs.

We can see him again, and sometimes we can hear the waterfall when the cicadas shut up for a minute.

Moby
Fire pit area, bird feeders and pond

Monday, September 2, 2013

recycled garden - turn trash into pleasure

Today a neighbor gifted us an old cast iron sewing machine base.  It is exactly the right sized base for a piece of granite we had been saving.  The granite was cut out of a counter top to fit a sink.  For the 100th time, my dear husband stated, "this is why I never throw anything away".  You should see our garage...stuffed with stuff just waiting to be used again.

Here is the sewing machine base...




and here's the granite...



and here's the finished plant table with my variegated oregano and a couple of orchids.



Cast offs that would otherwise end up in a landfill can enhance and add a bit of whimsy in a garden.  Bowling balls decorate a new planting bed.


A rickety seatless rocker, painted white, frames a plumbago.


More great ideas for junking up (I mean enhancing!) your garden can be found in Garden Junk by Mary Randolph Carter.  Your local library will loan you this book and many more absolutely free!  How awesome is that?

Next up...what to do when the pond is so green that you can't see a 2 foot long great white koi named Moby.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

oh hai

Are you still there?  It's been a while.  My friend, CRC, talked me into resurrecting this blog.
Today is her birthday.  Happy birthday, my friend.  You are exactly one day OLDER than me.
This orchid began blooming this week for our birthdays...yours, mine and Karyn's.  I have no clue what it really is because the squirrels stole the tag long ago.  I named it Karyn, because her birthday was first.

I promised you I would write today, and I promise myself that I will continue.  Next up, goings on in the garden, the craft room, and maybe even the library.