Thursday, April 28, 2011

wine time

It was about five years ago when my friend, Carl, offered me two grape vines he'd removed from his yard.  One of the vines is a Florida hybrid developed at USF which has a metal tag "FL primo bunch 'pink'".  The second vine had no identification, so I'm not sure of the variety.  Wayne built a simple arbor using pressure treated 4 x 4's and trellis panels to make a home for the grapes.
From grapes!
This year may prove to be our best harvest, yet.  The primo pink has lots of almost mature grapes. The no-name vine is completely covered with tiny clusters.  We've tried eating the primos in past years.  They're a bit tart.  We've never had mature grapes from the no-name vine.  This year we may have enough of both to make wine.  That has me thinking ahead to designing a label (Dragon's blood, anyone?).  Before that happens, I need to learn how to make wine.  It seems to involve bare feet and a large vat.
From grapes!
From grapes!
From grapes!
From grapes!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

hummingbirds and orchids

Wayne put up a third hummingbird feeder at the pond pergola.  We were sitting next to the pond when a little ruby throat female appeared as if by magic next to the new feeder.  I saw her and she definitely saw me.  She paused and then hovered just a few feet away looking right at me, or maybe it was the bright red top I happened to be wearing.  I did not breath!  She sped away, but has been back, sampling all of the feeders and the cardinal vine flowers.  We planted the cardinal vine with the seeds from last summer's vine.  Happy 226th birthday to John James Audubon.

Orchids blooming now include this beautiful little Dendrobium Pierardii, purchased as a baby at an orchid show a couple of years ago.  It's a reliable bloomer if you give it enough humidity and filtered sun.
From orchids
Laeliocattleya Fire Dance 'Patricia" is spectacular in red-orange with a magenta lip.
From orchids
Sometimes our orchids end up with names like 'little red vandal', because we've lost the tag, or we never had one.  It doesn't matter.  We still love them.
From orchids
This little dendrobium is d. loddigesii according to the tag.  It was a gift from Carl, who gave me my very first orchid.
From orchids
Another laeliocattleya (we have much better luck with these than their bigger cousins, the cattleyas).
From orchids
Dendrobium Anosmum smells like raspberries.  The bonus is that we got two for one when we bought this plant.  It has a white and a lavender variety in the same plant and we get a little of each when it blooms.
From orchids

Saturday, April 16, 2011

underwater simian ghost photograph

I wanted to take a great picture of the record 4 blossoms on our Star of Zanzibar water lily in the koi pond.  I point the camera down at them and shoot.  Rather pedestrian, no imagination.  Wayne took my camera and knelt by the pond edge holding the camera just over the water and pointed across the top to the little waterfall.  Brilliant!

The flowers are beautiful, reflections superb, but the strangest part of the image is one we couldn't reproduce if we tried.  Wayne couldn't see the viewfinder, so didn't know that the large white koi we've named Moby was lurking under the surface in the lower right corner of the picture.  The pattern on Moby's head makes it look like a ghostly monkey face is floating just under the water's surface.  Click on the photo and you'll see.
From Garden

Thursday, April 14, 2011

orchid surprise

It has been about 7 years since the orchid bug bit us and we have gone completely and irrevocably bonkers for orchids.  Thank you so much, Carl and Gladys, for giving me my first orchid that did not die.  This is that dancing lady oncidium after a few years.  It is in bud now, and has been divided into three plants.
From orchids
I am not one of those fastidious collectors who carefully label each plant.  No...tags which come with them get lost.  Squirrels steal them.  I'm sure of it.  The lack of documentation makes it a pleasant surprise each time one of the unlabeled orchids bloom.  This cattleya was a gift without a tag.  It had buds which ended up opening up into beautiful ruffled peach blossoms.  It has a faint sweet smell.
From orchids
Last weekend found us at the USF Botanical Gardens annual Spring Plant Show & Sale.  Our intention was to buy some landscaping plants for the front yard, to which we pay absolutely no attention.  There were orchid vendors there, of course.  We came home with six new orchids and a replacement lobster claw heliconia (for the one we lost to a freeze last winter).  So much for jazzing up the front yard...but the back yard looks fabulous!
From orchids
Lenny Bruce lends his tail as a tape measure to show the size of these Onc. Twinkle 'Sunlight' orchids.
From orchids
We love the bizarre shapes of bulbophyllum.  This one is a species, bulb. Maximum.  It is of maximum bizarrity with it's spear shaped bloom.
From orchids
Beallara is a new one for us.  I love the shape and color, but I especially love the name 'Lunatic Fringe'.
From orchids
We haven't had as much success with Cymbidiums. But I'm a glutton for punishment and bought another one.  I was told by the vendor, Charles Chapman of Chapman's Orchids in Apopka, that most Cymbidiums sold in Florida at grocery stores and flea markets come from California and are high altitude plants.  This one is low altitude and will do well here.  I believe him mostly because he had the most beautiful moustache I've ever seen (next to my cousin, Eric's).

We also enjoyed Pineapple/Orange/Guava juice and Coconut Sorbet at the plant sale, especially since it was 90 degrees.  Maybe we'll get those landscaping plants for the front yard at the Butterfly, Herb and Native Plant Sale in June.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

cotton washcloth with kittehs and hearts

I made these for my dear mother-in-law.  They are too cute.  They're a very quick knit using Peaches & Creme cotton yarn, of which I have a bushel.  To make the mirror image of the pattern, just read it from right to left.  That's easy if you're used to reading lace charts.  The pattern is called 'Kitty Love' by Cheryl Lacey and is free on Ravelry.  You must be a registered user.
From knitting
You can see Knucklehead's cauliflower ear just to the right of the table in the picture.  I included a bar of Miss Jenny's Lemongrass soap in mom's gift package.  We stock up on her wonderful soaps each year when we go to the Florida State Fair.  You can even watch the family make the soap at Cracker Country.

It was a surprise to me when I went to link Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Company, the long-time manufacturer of Peaches & Creme yarn, to find out that they had closed the plant in North Carolina, putting 81 people out of work.  That's very sad.  The brand has been sold to a Canadian company.

Friday, April 1, 2011

a lovely day for knitting

Yesterday it rained here.  That is a gross understatement.  There were tornadoes, one of which passed just a mile or so north of our house at 10 AM.  There was wind which gusted up to 80 mph.  This lasted all day.  By the end of the day, we were very glad we had that diseased oak tree removed a couple of weeks ago.  We had 6.5 inches of rain.
It was a good day for knitting.  I took out my current projects and decided which one I needed to finish first.  Mom's 80th birthday is imminent, so the pink and ecru kitty washcloths are first.  I'll include some artisan soap with the gift.  I must make time to work on the sweater for me!  It will be the Hampton Cardigan from New England Knits.  I'm using Berroco Lustra in Teal.  I also have to finish the bookmark I've made for Martha and will bring it to work on Saturday, which is when she usually volunteers at the library.
From knitting
Today was absolutely gorgeous.  Sunny, 70 degrees, blue skies...and I'm still knitting.