Friday, March 20, 2015

Our new fence after ivy is removed part 2

Here is our new redwood fence along the alley. Now the ten foot tall and eight foot wide ivy is gone.
Above is the space where the old tottering falling down fence was, and with the ivy gone. That took heavy machinery to remove.
Above is the beginning of building our new fence.
Above to the right is the heavy duty hand made gate. The contractor built it on our patio and I saw him build it.
We are happy to have this much progress.
Now we need to consider what to do with our huge back yard, to have a new sliding glass patio door installed, and to have some sort of shade for part of the patio. Perhaps a canvas awning over the patio doors and a table with an umbrella, or a roof of some kind that will extend over half the patio.
Step one and a big one is the fence is installed, hurray.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Our fence and gigantic ivy disappeared Part 1

Is our gigantic ancient English ivy taking over the universe?
Yes, friends. Our long wooden fence and the ivy covering it have disappeared. Our home had English ivy covering the fence when we moved in. No, we did not plant it as English ivy is considered invasive for good reason. The ivy has gone crazy in growth, reaching ten feet high and eight feet wide. This photo shows me standing near the fence along the alley, in our yard. Or possibly me in the Amazon jungle. You decide.
The reason we decided to have the ivy removed is that 1. It is taking over the yard, and possibly the universe. 2. It is almost closing off the alley which impacts other people and the old wooden fence it is growing on is collapsing from age and the weight of the ivy.
This view is taken from the sidewalk in front of our house, and shows how the ivy is threatening to completely block the alley which is on the right in the photo, and how the ivy extends about four or five feet in to the alley with about three feet available for people to walk in.
You can not drive through the alley because there are gigantic city owned trees growing in the alley in the area of our back fence. But people occasionally walk through it.
Stay tuned for my next post showing the area after ivy removal and fence removal, and soon our new fence. Sad to say, you can never completely remove this tenacious ivy. The contractor who removed it says it will grow sprouts which will need to be dealt with. They brought it a special machine to gouge out the thick trunks and roots near the surface, and ripped out the top few inches of soil and ivy in an eight foot wide area. Any tips on preventing regrowth gladly accepted and desperately needed.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rotary phones and party lines

Who remembers in the 1950s and 1960s when families in the USA had rotary dial phones? And I do mean "one rotary phone" as in one phone per household. Yes, those phones have a dial that rotates rather than the push buttons. In those early days each family typically had one phone.
When I was a child our phone number had only four digits, like 8379.
Now typical numbers have seven digits plus three digit area code for a total of ten numbers.
Those four digits were quick and easy to dial, even on a slower rotary dial phone.
Since I am talking phones here for fun I include this photo of what looks like the top of one of the classic British red phone booths. I have read that they are disappearing which is a sad story indeed.

As I recall when we first got a telephone we had a party line. That meant that whoever shared your line and was talking on the phone controlled the phone until they would hang up. So you would wait a few minutes and pick up the receiver again, hoping they were done.
It could be pretty annoying if your line sharer was a chatty Cathy type. If "chatter box" was on the line when I picked up the phone receiver I could hear her conversation.
A snoopy gal could listen in which of course is totally rude! Usually you could tell if a party line person was listening to your chat.

For those bloggers who have only known cell phones and their convenience and privacy, rotary phones on land lines are the way it used to be. Of course, there really is no cell phone privacy as the government monitors our calls and knows where we are as our cell phones ping continually, to stay connected. When turned off but the battery still in them, they continue to ping, even more, as the phone struggles to connect. Kim Komando has an excellent email newsletter which I subscribe to, which discusses all things tech, including this issue.
The ping tells the phone company and the government which cell phone tower we are near. This is true even when our cell phone is turned off.
I was going to just write about the old rotary phones but then I realize the shortcomings of cell phones so had to add that in.
One aspect of our family having one phone that was anchored to the wall was that you could not go in another room with the phone for privacy. When a call arrived for me, my mom, dad or sis would announce something along the lines of "Terra, call for you from Sandy". Or sometimes "a call for you, it is a boy!" Imagine trying to chat in those conditions! Teens today can have all sorts of private calls. Is that good or bad? Who can say? Change is ever with us, that is for sure.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Visit to wharf with friends in February

I enjoyed a sunny day on the wharf today (February 13, 2015) with temperature of 75 degrees F, and 4 friends and I had lunch at a seafood restaurant. After lunch we walked on the wharf and here is what we saw.
Sea lions floating and napping in the sun.
A restaurant with flags flying, at the end of the wharf. We did not eat at this restaurant but it is very festive.
Wei, Peggy, Terry and me after our meal. That is me in blue.

Wei, Terry, Peggy and Cynthia. We do laugh a lot. This world is a funny place sometimes and we like to celebrate that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Daffodils Bring Me Smiles

This above photo is from day four of the bouquet I bought at Whole Foods, at a great price. No, they don't know I am blogging about this. The daffodils were grown in the USA which has many kind to the earth aspects. More environmental controls, less transportation, etc.
The above photo shows how the ten daffodil stems looked on the day I bought them.
The above shows them on day two.
The above photo shows the daffodils on day three.
Oh daffodils can give me smiles. This photo is from day four of them being in our home. I took them outside to the patio for their photo op.
"Of all the floral catalogues, the most exquisitely tantalizing is the daffodil catalogue. The further you read the deeper the gold." George H. Ellwanger, The Garden's Story, 1889.

"A house with daffodils in it is a house lit up, whether or not the sun be shining outside. Daffodils in a green bowl - and let it snow if it will. " A.A. Milne

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cyclamen on Patio

These red and white cyclamen live on our patio and are happy to bloom even in February, as they are doing this week.
I admit I have a tender heart toward plants that look dead. All three of these looked completely dead, my fault because I didn't water them enough when they were outdoors in tiny pots. They just dried up. But I began watering them faithfully and voila, they are alive and giving me BEAUTY.
Bless their little flower hearts.
That makes me think of my prayer life and how I need to keep it tended and then it gives me joy.
Above is a photo of a cyclamen I posted in the past. It is happy on the kitchen windowsill between two cilantro plants. When cyclamen plants get tired of being indoors I move them to the patio. Thus the occasional seeming death of a patio plant occurs, which usually come back to vibrant life by my watering them. Yes, I live in a temperate climate where they can survive all year.
They also do well in your garden in shade or part shade, and do like to be dry very briefly and then watered.
Sometimes a friend will give me a cyclamen and I always put it on the kitchen windowsill for as long as it blooms and then I move it outside.
I often give a cyclamen as a gift, and this Christmas I gave one to our new neighbors, as a surprise gift, and a welcome to the neighborhood gift.
Do you like to give and receive plants? Do you have favorites?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mma Ramotswe and Her No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series

Books are an important part of my life and I thought to change things up a bit on my blog I will tell you about my favorite book series. The first one in the series is "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency", by Alexander McCall Smith. I think he is a genius to create such a deep and wonderful main character who is a woman and who lives in Africa.
Here are my thoughts on "The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon".

Each time I read a book in this series, I smile with pleasure and a feeling of peace when reading the last page. Mma Ramotswe and her world in a small town in her beloved Botswana will lift your spirits even as she solves a crime or two. Mma always happily thinks of herself as a "woman of traditional build", and has never once thought of the word "diet", bless her heart. In this installment Mma Ramotswe and her assistant, Mma Makutsi (a quirky and prickly and loyal lady) are separated when Mma Makutsi has a baby. Oh, they miss each other so much! In Botswana the old ways means less is said, rather than more, even between friends. Their painful separation causes the two friends to say more, and one of them gives the other a generous gift from her heart. The first in the series is “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”, and each one I read leaves me feeling more happy. I hope they have the same effect on you. Read one and I think your dreams will be sweet.