Entries to Win Afghan

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Winners are: 3rd place- e-book of your choice: Wendy Nystrom. 2nd place- book of your choice, paper or e-book: Sue Ann Crawford. Winner of the afghan: Elaine Hull.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hot Trouble

The defining feature of the day was heat. Wow. I did get some laundry done, and worked on a database project I've become obsessed with. But I didn't move far or fast.

Neither did Trouble. This is Riley's offspring who has stayed around. I think Trouble is a good enough name for him/her. We can't have the bird feeders any more because we can't afford to feed the squirrel(s) too. We now have a fox squirrel hanging around too, and they are really pigs. And I think Trouble chews more than Riley did.

Anyway, these pictures were taken on a different hot day, but Trouble was pretty much slowed to a crawl as well.

red squirrel

I took the pictures because I've never seen a red squirrel just lie down and look less than alert out in the open like this (on our deck railing). Here's one through a cleaner window.

red squirrel

But it was oppressive enough today to keep me pretty much in a chair with a fan on.

See Hello, My Name is Trouble
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Friday, July 22, 2016


No doubt about the quality in today. Lots of work and too hot and humid, but I bought a new kind of melon to try. It's called Lemondrop.

Wow! It's like a honeydew with more than a drop of lemon. I like it a LOT. Not quite ripe. I'll bet it gets even more lemony.

Notice the skin is like a cantaloupe with smooth pale green stripes, in case you see one and it's not labeled.

lemondrop melon

And I can't resist showing you last night's sunset. Sorry about the wires. They are there. What can I do?


I'm off to work soon. Cooler at night and the building is air conditioned. Still hot, but not like working outside. I feel bad for people who had to work outdoors today.

And, it's my dad's birthday. He would have been 112, and he died 40 years ago yesterday. Link below if you didn't see previous post about him.

See Ray Ford Leary
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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Exploring Hesperia's Parks

I'll probably show you a few more things from Stan Hywet another day, but I did something interesting this morning that I want to share.

There is a small town about 45 minutes from me that has quite a few parks, and I wanted to research them to use in my newspaper column. So I went there and collected information for a couple of hours before the rain started. I had to come back to get to work anyway.

They just added a "history trail" to the central park in town. I read about that in the Oceana County weekly paper, and that's what kicked off my interest. Hesperia has fewer than 1000 residents so I hadn't thought of it as a big recreation location, but they actually have quite a lot going on. The main park is Webster Park. It's nicely decorated.

Webster Park

They've just added 13 interpretive panels along the perimeter sidewalk. It was pretty interesting reading. This isn't one of those signs, just part of the entrance gate that I liked.

Webster Park

The primary natural feature of the town is the White River, and the dam which has supplied power for various industries since about 1867. Now it provides recreational fishing grounds.

White River below Hesperia Dam

There was a short trail beside the lake above the dam. I just liked these two stump terrariums.


Caught pictures of two interesting birds. There were a couple dozen killdeer on the mud flats along the lake. I don't think I've ever seen so many killdeer in one place. It seemed odd. Perhaps there was some invertebrate they found particularly tasty.


I did get a very bad picture of a kingfisher. It's not worth showing you. I did, however, catch the footloose robin. Quite a few of them actually. The town was decorated with plywood trees which had been painted by school classes. I liked this one.

footprint robins

I need to go back on a day with bluer sky to get nicer pictures.

See more White River
See Killdeer
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Orange Flowers

The beauty just keeps coming. The last one seems unusual to me.

Lantana is a familiar plant in many gardens although it is not hardy this far north. It's native to South America and Africa. It has become a serious invasive pest in the South Pacific and Australian area. There are both herbaceous and woody shrub Lantanas. This one is a shrub. The flowers of all have an interesting feature that they change color as they mature resulting in the varied flower heads.


The next two plants I pictured for the orange foliage. Croton is another garden and houseplant favorite, although it's known for being fussy. I killed one once, but then... I've killed MANY houseplants. There are a number of plants called Croton, but this is Codiaeum variegatum pictum.

If you live in Sri Lanka it's native and you'll have better luck! These ones in the conservatory at Stan Hywet were very happy.


Another foliage favorite for landscaping is Japanese Maple. The leaves are really more burgundy, but look what the morning light did to them! The rear of the Manor house is in the background.

Japanese maple

Finally, I bring you Turk's Cap lily, but in a pale orange shade with small blossoms. I'm not usually fond of pastels, and this was indeed a soft orange, but I loved how airy and carefree it looked. I have no idea if this is a particular variety, that always produces small flowers in the light orange shade, or if it was some fluke of the minerals in the soil. The plant was labeled as something completely different! (Unless the other plant was tucked in between but not blooming.)

turk's cap lily

I think this concludes the flower closeups from Stan Hywet. I do have some general shots of the gardens that will give you a feel for the sheer expanse of the manicured space.

See Pink Flowers
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pink Flowers

Not sure if I subconsciously left pink till near the end because (as some of you know) it is my least favorite color in the entire spectrum. That said, although I'd never fill a garden with pink, It's still colorful. And there are lots of pink flowers. It seems to be a color the natural selection process likes.

Not a single one of the ones I'm going to show you is native to this country, although most may be generally familiar as garden or house plants. First is Dianthus, Sweet William, or Pinks. They are native to Southern Europe, but have been a common garden staple since colonial days. They do come in colors other than pink. Pinks refers to the ragged margin of the petals as if it had been cut with pinking shears.

sweet william

Lots of bromeliads are used as houseplants. Most are native to South America. Some are known as air plants, because they can grow by capturing water from the atmosphere. Others are more "normal." Pineapple is a bromeliad. The family is very diverse.


Here is a pink peace lily. The white ones show up as house plants quite often. They are members of the genus Spathiphyllum for having that spade-like leaf. They are native to South American tropics and Asia. Another familiar member of the family from our area is the Jack in the Pulpit.

pink peace lily
Caladium or Elephant Ears are all the rage in gardens, but they aren't hardy as far north as we live. Interestingly enough, they are in the same family, Araceae, as the peace lily and Jack in the Pulpit. If you want them in your northern garden you will need to dig up the tubers and store them over the winter. The leaves come in many shades of color. These are red and pink. The leaves can be anywhere from about 6 inches long to a couple of feet! (In the planter with them are fan-flower (Scaveola) and Dichondra 'Silver Falls.')


I saved this one for last because it was new to me. This is Medinilla. It's also native to the tropics, but is apparently becoming available for gardens as well. The label on this was Medinilla magnifica but the flower panicles aren't a match to other pictures of that which I found on line, so I don't know which information is incorrect. At any rate the clusters are quite stunning. This was maybe 8 inches long.


For anyone who might have just stumbled into this post, all the flowers featured the past few days were at the gardens of the Stan Hywet mansion in Akron, Ohio.

Josh is home from the hospital. Hopefully there won't be too many crises or changes for a while now. I could use a "normal" rest of week.

See Purple Flowers
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