Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Settles Upon the Backyard

After writing this post a couple months ago, I thought it might be fun to write a little update on what's going on in our garden. With Mr. W out of town until September, I'll be enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor by myself for awhile. But the little butternut squash above may not be ripe until close to the time he comes home. I cannot tell you how excited I am about that squash. Butternut is the candy of the squash world. Love.

The zucchini has been extremely plentiful—and as you can see, the bees love it. Mr. W and I made ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers once with blossoms we bought at the farmer's market, but we've yet to try it with our own stock. If I'm feeling adventurous, maybe I'll give it a whirl on my own. Just have to remember to get all the bees out before plucking them...

Apparently artichokes come back even better the following year if you let them flower. So we let our last few go and have thoroughly enjoyed their vibrant lavender spikes. 4 out of 5 resident bees are also big fans.

We have no idea what kind of squash this is. It's a total little rogue that just popped up near the tomato plants. We thought maybe it was summer squash or acorn, but the fruits don't seem to last long enough to take on their adult shape. They keep rotting on the vine as little green balls. I'm hoping the warmer weather will push them into maturity so I can finally figure out what they are!

I think we have about 7 tomato plants in the backyard. The cherry tomatoes have been awesome and I just ate a few of our larger tomatoes tonight—they didn't disappoint. The very first big, fat red one we had in the backyard was stolen by a furry backyard thief. Perhaps our the skunk who lives next door. Mr. W had been watching it for days and when he went to pick it and discovered that someone else had beaten him to it, I got an IM message with the f-word in it. He's very protective of his tomatoes...

This has become a very common sight out back in the mornings. The hummingbirds love our fountain and regularly take baths in it. We're pretty sure a sweet little hummingbird couple has built a nest up near our barbecue. Mr. W kept seeing a male up there sort of guarding the area. Naturally, he decided we should name him George. I need to come up with a name for George's wife. Maybe Martha.

We have a hummingbird feeder hanging off one of our trees, but I'm glad to see that the kids still go old school and drink out of real flowers. They're so cute I could just watch them forever.

I wonder if I'll be tired of zucchini and tomatoes by the time summer is over. I'm sure I'll be more than ready for a fall crop of lettuce and maybe some root veggies. Backyard food is seriously the best!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Company We Keep

I love this picture. Mr. W took it when we were visiting the central coast.
Don't they just feel like they're unconditionally in love?
The house has been pretty quiet since Mr. Wonderful left Monday night.

I'm not sure if it's the late summer sunsets or the cool evening air that are making me nostalgic, or if it's just the hush of living single again. But last night I was doing a lot of relationship pondering (and crafting...shameless plug:

I thought about a couple of my favorite girlfriends who are both moving away from LA soon. These two girls changed me. They're the ones who got me to climb Half Dome. They're the ones who encouraged me to run and eventually complete multiple half marathons. They've been my sounding boards, my advisers, my exercise partners and my favorite comedic companions for several years now. I'm not quite sure what I'll do without them nearby.

It could have been because I was thinking of them that, when I crawled into bed and glanced at the picture on my nightstand, I thought about how much I like who I am with Mr. Wonderful. I saw myself smiling such a genuine smile in the photo. I just had this funny flicker of, "I like that girl."

That hasn't always been the case in my relationships—friendship or otherwise. There have been some people who bring out the baddies in me. Friends who enticed my sharp tongue or coerced my sleeping sloth. Boyfriends who inflated my anxiety. People who I allowed to get to me in such a way that I turned into an insecure, unhappy little waif.

But we all get to choose who receives our time. We can seek and be loyal to those who make us feel like our best, happiest, most motivated selves. Or we can stagnate with the people who make us feel awful.

As I switched off the light last night, I was filled with a feeling of relief and gratitude that I married one who makes me feel so right. And that those friends who continually propel me forward will always be only a phone call away.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All This AND They Filmed Fantasy Island Here

If there's anything the LA County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are known for,
it's peacocks. Not exactly sure how they became an occupant of the neighborhood,
but my grandmother always had them in her backyard when we were growing up.

Is there really any feather more gorgeous than a peacock's?

These octopus agave definitely caught Mr. Wonderful's and my eyes.
We planted several agaves in our front yard when we relandscaped
but these guys are way cooler.

I can't remember now what sort of tree this is—
something from the Philippines. Doesn't it look like someone took
pastel chalk and colored the trunk? It was like a beautiful So Cal sunset.

I had never seen a female peacock before. Nor did I know that her proper name is peahen.
Nor did I also know that the general name for these birds is peafowl.
Mr. W has peafowl sometimes after he eats asparagus.
How cute are the tiny, nearly camouflaged baby peachicks?

Teenage peachicks. I think I saw one of them texting.
The very elusive Photographis Wonderfulrus. Snapping some nice shots of kangaroo paw
(another plant that we have in our front yard) with his snazzy new camera.

All I can say is that I'm glad this wasn't Mr. W's nickname in college.
Nobody wants to marry a woollybutt. Unless he waxes regularly.

Canadian defectors.

These canna lilies reminded me of Hawaii. Or a wall of flame getting ready to engulf me.

I love love love waterlilies. In a future life, I'd like to spend a brief stint
as a frog, just so I can lounge on the petals and lily pad of one.

Tell me this doesn't look exactly like an alligator! I saw it and had to walk
all the way over to the shoreline to make sure it wasn't. Turned out
to be a palm frond or something bunched up in the water.

Mr. W and I both really liked this tree from Madagascar.
Doesn't it look like some cool mid-century sculpture or something?

There's nothing prettier than a Southwest/Tuscan colored bit of
architecture against a bright blue sky.

...except maybe a bunch of grapes...