I am a lover of horticulture, gardening and the environment. At age 8, I sent away for a package of Zinnia seeds for 10 cents and I've been hooked ever since. After 25 years of being self-employed, I retired. That only lasted 4 years and I now work in a water conservation program: I buy grass from homeowners who are willing to convert to desert landscaping and lose that thirsty green stuff. I pursue what interests me and you can blame my sister for getting me into this blogging thing.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Many Blessings

It's 6AM and I'm finally finished cleaning up my kitchen. What a chore. I've been up since 4 trying to get things in order. I fell asleep in exhaustion after all our guests left last night. I don't know why I work myself into a frenzy getting everything ready. It's so wonderful to share these occasions with friends. I love using all my good dishes and silverware, I love cooking for everyone. My friends are great, they all bring a dish so I don't have to do all the cooking. These lovely lemons are from the bounty of my garden. I thought they would make a wonderful centerpiece, then everyone could take them home.

My husband brought me these lovely flowers, he knows how much I like fresh flowers when we're having company. I am so blessed. I was able to use both of my Waterford crystal vases that one of my sons and his family have sent as gifts over the years. I was able to use my keepsake pitcher that my mother received as a wedding gift. Even though none of our family was physically present, their spirit was with us. All of our sons called to wish us a happy Thanksgiving.

I dwell on all these treasures in my life because I met a man the other day who was a widower with no children. He was one of my customers and he became ill when I was at his house. I had to call the paramedics. He didn't want to go to the hospital because he had no one to watch his dog. I asked if a neighbor could take care of his dog, he gave me an address and off he went to the hospital. I tried to find the house he described and couldn't find it. Finally I put the dog into my car and started driving around until I found the house that had the welcome sign as he had described. No one was home. So I left the dog in the gated courtyard with a note. I asked the lady to call me and tell my she would take care of the dog. Several hours later, she called my cell phone and said she couldn't watch the dog. Her daughter was having surgery that day. I said I would come and pick up the dog after work and take her home for a few days until her owner came home from the hospital. When I went to pick up the dog, the gate was open and the dog was gone. I felt so bad, this poor fellow had no one in the world except his dog and now the dog had run away. I left a message on the lady's answering machine telling her the dog was gone. She called back at 9PM and said she would look for the dog. I woke up at 2AM worrying about the dog. What a dilemma! Finally, the next morning at 7:30, I was already at work, I got a call that one of the other neighbors had found the dog and taken it in. I was so totally relieved. I don't know how the fellow is doing but I will call him today and see if he's home from the hospital and reunited with his dog.

These events of the past few days have reinforced my appreciation for all I have in life. I do not know what the future will bring but for now I am surrounded by people who care about me, pets who love me, a job I love. I hope I contribute to the solution of the problems of the city where I live and when its my time, I will leave this earth a better place than I found it.

P.S. I spoke with the man and he is home with his dog. He's doing OK.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving in advance

I've been way too busy to blog this month. I'm feeling guilty. But I've been trying to keep up a bit with my friends. And getting ready for Thanksgiving. Yesterday I helped a friend all day, landscaping a house he's rehabbing. There is something about getting my hands in the dirt that I can't resist. I should have been cleaning house and shopping. What was I thinking? So my erstwhile blogging friends, I have a 5 day week-end coming up and will get back to business then. I will leave you with this thought.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Oh my aching back!

I've spent the past two days cleaning up my yard and planting fall flowers. We had all our garbage cans full and I didn't want to face the garbage man with all the stuff we put out. There was a lot of debris out there.

What's the reason for all this activity? Tomorrow a photographer is coming to see my yard. There is some software being developed to help people design their yard in the desert style. One of the yards that may be used is our yard, so as usual I work myself into a frenzy cleaning up. It's worse than when I have people over at the house. At least it's more physical.

I bought 24 purple stock plants to add some color by the front door and the side flower bed. That's one of the fall plants that should last the winter, barring freezing weather. I've had some reseed for several years. The yard is looking pretty brown and tan except for some small desert perennials called dogweed and paperflower. They are both yellow. My whole concept when I designed the front yard was to look like the edge of the desert. I used elevational changes, natural rock and lots of native cacti and perennials. This lovely plant is Mexican tarragon. Crush a leaf and it smells distinctly like licorice. I've been told they are used in Day of the Dead wreathes in Mexico.

I also like to use various agaves, this one is called Queen Victoria agave. I have Parry's agave, Weber's smooth edge agave, Century plant or American agave. The little succulent plants are aloes. I forgot which ones they are but I like the way they get reddish on the tips in the fall.

The last plant I want to show you is my screwbean mesquite. It has these interesting seed pods that sort of look like screws. It was 15 inches tall last spring when I planted it. It was in a one gallon pot. Now it is over 8 feet tall after only 18 months. That's what planting an appropriate plant with the right kind of irrigation will get you. And those kids I work with were teasing me last year. One of them asked me if I thought I would live long enough to see it grow up. I guess I showed him.