Monday, July 27, 2009

Profiles in Discourage

I saw this little preying mantis around 7 pm tonight, my first preying mantis of the year. She was not too into me following her around so when she jumped to the top of the fence, she thought she had successfully discouraged me. Oh no. Not me. But she's an ambitious little bug. I watched her try to figure out whether she could leap for the gutter on the side of the house or not.

I saw her look right and I saw her look left but she was not about to give me the satisfaction of looking at me. She decided against leaping for the gutter.

And went over the side of the fence instead.

Which Violet thinks is not such a bad idea.

Because she knows it's impossible to discourage me once I have a camera in my hands, even when I can't get anyone to look at me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another beautiful day in the garden...

Finally the caladiums are starting to look good (I got a late start in planting them this year).

The purple pineapple lily is starting to open its flowers. They don't all open at once but instead start at the bottom and work themselves up.

The individual little flowers are very pretty. They also attract ants. Two ants kissing are kind of sweet.

Three ants is an infestation, um, I mean crowd.

I decided to grow a couple bulbs of eucomis bicolor for the first time this year (they opened a week or so ago). The individual flowers of this pineapple lily are a little different than the one with the purple leaves.

I love the the look of the flower clusters in this closeup.

Pineapples are considered a symbol of hospitality.

And turtles obviously aren't. Look at that face on Cathy Jean.

And rather than share a space or spend any time with me in sight...



If turtles could spit, I'm sure she'd be doing that too. 

Friday, July 24, 2009

Advice and observations

Sarah warned me to be prepared for a lot of visiting critters on my 20.8 acres because at Redbud Ranch (which is close by) they have foxes, raccoons, possums, deer, muskrats, one beaver, skunks, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, hawks, snapping turtles, you name it. Cathy J says she foresees a lot of paper plates in my future. :-)

The above photo is of a new raccoon that came by around midnight last weekend. Unfortunately, I don't think he or she is Freddie.

But I suspect he or she is a relative because there's that bold curiosity thing going on... :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Living in two states

And I don't mean states of mind or condition. I mean two states like one being Missouri and the other being Kansas. Meg said that when she first bought her land ten years ago she could not keep away from it (even though no building existed on it yet). I thought my need to see what's going on on my (oh that sounds so weird) land would kick in later, much later, like a year or something. I'm surprised to find out that it is ever-present on my mind now. And what specifically am I thinking of? A very odd spider that I couldn't get a good picture of on Monday's visit because it was overcast and actively raining and Aussie Mueller was at my side and this spider was getting away...... 

Look at that thing. Really, it's a spider... it's just shaped like a triangle, striped and full of thorny looking spines. Apparently the spiny orbweaver is a very common spider in the woodlands. Does not look very common to me. I know I should be saving up for a new car but I want a more powerful camera now. My car is twenty years old...surely it can hold out a little while longer while I try to figure out how to finance Big Purchase #2 in my jump to getting back into the debt game. >:-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pineapple lilies

Last year I kept the seeds from the pineapple lily that bloomed to see if the seeds would germinate this year. I threw the dried flower stalk into a paper bag, ignored it in the basement for the entire winter and a couple months ago, sprinkled the seeds into a little 4 pack. It took about a month for them to germinate...

...but once they started, they kept going.

They get bigger every day. They're so much fun to watch. I had no idea two months back that I would be acquiring a very large area to plant all of these things because they take up some space if you will be growing 40 of them!

This is the flower stalk of the proud parent lily. The buds should start opening in the next couple days.

The turtles were observing my observations from across the yard.

Michael was not too happy about being noticed.

He can be such a clam.

Is any of this interesting to Violet?


Do you remember that Twilight Zone episode with Billy Mumy in it? The one where he turns a man into a jack-in-the-box?

This is Violet wishing me to the cornfield.

Monday, July 20, 2009


And I will write more about this land ownership thing later but right now I'm exhausted.

Exhausted? Why? Well, gathering up three last minute certified checks from three different places just an hour or so before a closing appointment is something else. I felt like I was on an Amazing Race reality show on HGTV. One loan officer even met me with a check in an elevator. I think we were both running in place while we exchanged our "It was nice to meet yous" and then the two of us were off to our next appointment as fast as we could scramble. I would have gotten to the closing appointment on time...and I kind of did...but I was lost in a parking lot for ten minutes and had to call the title company to talk me into finding their building. An agent came out of the building with her phone, described where she was, I described where I was, we both saw a Pepsi truck. When the Pepsi truck started moving she said-"Follow that truck, follow that truck, it's coming in my direction!" I finally found the entrance to the building-even though it was the back entrance. It also helped that the agent was waving her arms at me. And then.....lots of paper signing and those 20.8 acres now belong to me. I think I'm happy about that...... Yes. Yes, I think I am definitely happy this time. 

After all the papers were signed, it started to rain but I decided to go take a look at the property as its new owner anyway. The first thing I saw was a camel cricket which is the one thing I was looking forward to never having in my life again (hateful things, I like or at least can tolerate most insects but camel crickets are right there with flying cockroaches.....eeeeeeugh, I just despise them). That was not an auspicious entry symbol to my new life. I guess the Irish in me can really bring out the superstition but then, but THEN, within seconds of feeling bad about seeing that horrible creature that "greeted" me, I got bumped in the back and it was Aussie Mueller, that sweet red dog from across the street.

So the two of us tromped through what we could tromp through because...did I say anything about the weeds? Seriously, there used to be a creek on the property, I swear...

Good thing I had an experienced guide dog to take me in and lead me out or I'd still be there, completely drenched but sucked dry by ticks.

But at least I'd be surrounded by a lot of pretty.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Meg couldn't use her shovel one day because it was being used by a little frog who was not going to budge. She got a staredown.

I know all about that sort of thing. If Michael wants something, he stands his ground and gives me a goooooood staredown. However long it takes. He will get his way once I figure out what his way is.

I was having issues with some jumping spiders that kept trying to get into the house. I'm not sure why I'm describing it as trying because they did keep getting into the house. And then they had to be guided right back out. I got some staredowns.

They could put on their cute face but they still got escorted out.

Even the ones who used all of their eyes to give me a good staredown.

Stella has always been good with the staredowns to get what she wants or something she doesn't know she wants. She just knows that a good staredown will get you something.

In the next day or so I close on the 21 acres in the country. Twenty one acres. That's a lot of staring eyes. Even so, I'm excited about it and am looking forward to figuring out what all those new staredowns mean.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Oh, that land...

Early May...

Late May...

Very early July...

Sarah says it's a good thing I got to see the land in a season other than spring...that other season known as the growing season! The real weeds are now three times as tall as baby Rex.

So you need someone tall to get you through them.

I have a lot of mowing ahead of me. A lot. 

Because this property has been inspected by Rex and has been approved.

And now I can move forward from what I thought would be a permanent state of fret and regret to something happy and fun and um, weedy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

When the going gets tough...

..the not so tough get sewing.

This land purchase thing has had me in a serious funk. One thing I've learned is that proceeding with courage takes a lot less thinking than proceeding with doubt. And of course, doubt is the approach I have chosen. I keep trying to snap out of it but since I haven't figured out how to do that yet, I pulled out the sewing machine. I'm not happy with anything I've been sewing but at least I can get some input from Violet when it comes to sewing problems. And the financial problems? I've been following her advice on that one too...just take an 18 hour nap. As many naps as it takes.