Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hugo Update Plus Lemon Pie

Many of my loyal readers have been asking me about Hugo.  "How is Hugo?" they ask, "We haven't heard about her lately."  Well the truth is, there are other things in life besides kitty cats.  Although some of our children's friends would say that we're "obsessed" with this cat, I think my loyal readers will concur that there's just not near enough pictures of her up on the blog.  Especially lately.

So for all of you who feel Hugo-deprived, here is a little vignette.  She was taking a nap on her favorite of the Arbor Walk decks.  I crept up on her (good thing I wasn't a rhyno or a hippo or whatever it is that eats cats) and positioned my camera just in time for her to turn around and say "meow-lo." 
In other news, I baked a two-hour lemon pie.  It was delicious, so it looks like I have to find at least two more hours in the future sometime for an encore.  Also, the apple tree is adorable.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Traci's Craftsman and the Prize Pig

While reading one of my favorite sites, Apartment Therapy, I happend on this great Craftsman in Pasadena.  I'm a sucker for a good old fashioned Craftsman that's been redone.  This one is about the same age as Wellington.  Well, about the same age as Wellington would have been if he hadn't needed a whole redo instead of a reno.  But let's say the same age as his front steps.
 I love the white oak floors, the yellow front doors and these cute tea-related accents.
I was also intrigued by the reference to their guinea pig named Daisy.  I couldn't help but wonder if she looks anything like Boo who, as many loyal readers will recall, is only the most beautiful prize pig in California.  But there was no picture of Daisy included in this particular article.
It was still adorable.  I love the little girl's room, too.  But you'll have to follow the link to see it because I was too lazy to put it up here.  These are my favorites from the tour.
I can't do everything for you.  Oh, okay.  Here's the prize pig, in case you missed that post.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What the HELL is Going on with the Platypus?

WARNING:  May not be suitable for all readers.
I already knew it lays eggs.  Platypus babies emerge from the eggs hairless and the size of lima beans.  I get it.  They're odd animals.  That's okay.  But did you know that platypuses don't have TEATS.  The milk just sort of squirts out of its skin and forms puddles in the fur that the little pink, sticky babies find and slurp up.  The little boy double checked it.  It's true.  I can't remember how this topic came up this morning while he was drinking his Mocha that his Mama made him.  Or why he had this information floating around in his noggin, I couldn't say.

And this:  it only ovulates from one ovary, but it has two.  Why?  This site he was reading from also said that you can tell a platypus in the wild because it doesn't have external ears.  Seriously?  I think I could probably tell a platypus in other ways.  I'm just saying. 

I want one.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Garden Update #72

It's not really #72.  I'm too lazy to see what number it is, so we'll start with 72 from here on out.
This is the little plant I got from the Treasure Island Flea Market.  I asked the vendor what its name is and I remember it started like rhododendron and had a hydro-something in there.  But isn't it pretty?  It is small now - about three inches across - but will spread.  And it just started flowering.
Speaking of flowering, the blackberry scabiosa is still glorious.  Go ahead, click on the pic.  It's so beautiful.  And its little heads bob in the wind.  I keep thinking this flower is moving, but it's more like what I refer to as an "optical illusion."
I never usually include photos of the hebe.  These four plants were salvaged from the waist-high crab grass that was in the front of Wellington when we moved in.  The Hub dug up these plants and methodically plucked all the crabgrass out between their toes before replanting them in the backyard.  They're so happy!
Once upon a time I had a hydrangea inside my house in a little yellow pot.  He wasn't happy.  So I dug up a hole next to Figgy and plopped him in there and look what happened! This year he's blooming and enjoying his dappled sunlight!
Many loyal readers will recall this cute little bird bath I got at Romancing the Home when we first moved to Benicia.  We just had the darndest time keeping it from getting rust sludge constantly.  Which wouldn't have been too bad, but the cat kept trying to drink the rust sludge and I'm pretty sure that's not good for her.  So I shoved this little succulent in there.  I got him at the Treasure Island Flea Market, too.  Don't worry about the cat.  Not only does she have a constant supply of fresh water in multiple kitty bowls, she also drinks out of puddles, turtle water and even the very high bird bath The Hub just put in the back yard.  I will try to snag a pic of that.  It's funny how she climbs onto a ledge and stretches her little body up with her front toenails gripping the rim of the bird bath and her little tongue reaching out for a few drops of bird water.  She wants you to think she's a wild cat, fending for herself.  She isn't.
You may remember that when we first moved into Wellington, The Dot unearthed a redwood tree seed she had received as a present from her sweet friend we like to refer to as "Head".  This seed was years old but apparently only dormant.  We planted it in the teeny pot it came with and I watered it loyally for weeks and weeks.  And it finally paid off because look!  Two years later it is three inches tall!  It's cute though.
Speaking of paying off.  This may not look like much NOW but the day before it was a gorgeous magnolia blossom!  Off of the $6 magnolia tree that's in the Arbor Walk.  I would have taken a picture the day before but I didn't.   So this is the one you get and I kind of like it.
Here is a guara flower which I am including because of this:  these little flowers are at the very ends of long stems, and so whip around in the breeze.  You would think they would be hard to capture on film.  But this camera that I've been using for over 10 years - closer to 15 - is really good!  The Little Boy keeps telling me I should get a new one because of the "pixels" or something.  But I love this one.  I have to keep a rubber band around it so the little door on the side won't keep opening up, but it takes great pictures.  I'm not kidding.  You can even see the little hairy bits on his staimeny thingy.  Go ahead, click.
Some of you have seen the pictures of these plums on my schizophrenic tree, since I put them on my Blip Photo blog.  But they need to be included in this garden update because how cute are they?  The other parts of this tree - apricot and peach - didn't do too much this year.  But that's ok.  He was severely compromised when we put him in and he's still recovering.  I was surprised we got these plums!  Which we have not yet eaten.  And besides, this is the little tree that the Lowes lady gave us free.  You can't beat free.
This cat was free, too.  Plus she was hot because it was in the 90s when I took this picture.  She's a desert animal, so it's ok.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hot Day at the Harbor

Oh, it's going to be a warm one.  The Hub and I walked down 1st Street, right to the pier at the end.  It was still, and already warm.  Not even 11 a.m.
You have to look closely to see, but there's an artist doing a chalk drawing of the Vermeer painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring.  Hopefully it will still be there next time we go down and I can take a picture of the final product.  Then again there's always a chance he's not very good.  We may never know.
This is the view of Benicia from the pier.
Look closely at this pic and you can see a pair of kayakers paddling around the little island.  It was so peaceful you could hear the colony of seagulls calling to one another.  It made me wish I was out in a kayak with the hub.  But I have a feeling I wouldn't like it.  I was terrified on a great big sailboat with my brother-in-law at the wheel.  (See old post re:  sailing.)
The marshy land bordering the straits.
This is the old shipyard at the end of West C Street.
The Community Garden on 1st Street.
There is some building going on near the new succulent nursery.

It's now 12:30 and over 80 degrees.  But nice and cool inside Wellington.  We have good insulation.  But sometimes I have to go outside just to warm up.
In fact, I just had my lunch in the Arbor Walk with Hugo.  It was Greek Yogurt with a peach and a cherry, picked right off the trees and still warm from the sun.  Honey drizzled on top.  And a kitty to lick the bowl when I'm done.  So far it's shaping up to be a nice day.

UPDATE:  It's almost 9 pm.  We just got back from an evening walk.  Here is the Vermeer in chalk, as promised.  Go ahead, click on it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Peach Pie, Apple Too

Today my little baby nephews, Winston and Alexander graduated from High School.  They are very tall and beautiful and we were very proud of them.  In their honor, their parents had a get-together before the event.  I was in charge of pies.  After I peeled the peaches I just had to take a pic because look how gorgeous they are!  Some are off my tree, but most aren't.

Then I made the peach pie and it looked nice, too, so I took a pic of IT.   You can just see the peeled apples waiting to go into their pie.
Here are the pies fresh out of the oven.  I actually made the peach pie especially for the twins' grandfather, but he was late so we mostly ate it.  I did manage to snag a piece and hide it in a hidey hole.  Still don't know if he got it but I'm hoping YES. 

The pastry is the America's Test Kitchen pastry made with VODKA.  (Here is a link.)  I do have to agree it's fool proof.  I've been making pastry for over 20 years and this is the most consistent recipe I've used.  The apple filling is my own recipe, mostly just sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and stuff.  The peach pie was taken from this site.  The whole barbecue was delicious.  And those little boys sure are cute.  :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stuff I Didn't Buy

I don't know why I do it.  Occasionally I look through the Craigslist listings, but I never buy anything.  I actually have a purpose.  I'm looking for an outdoor wooden table that has leaves that fold down so you can use it for two (most of the time) or four (when the kiddies are home or company is over).  I know it's out there somewhere.  And I don't mind refinishing it.  Or watching while The Husband refinishes it.  Mostly I don't find what I'm looking for.  But I always find what I didn't know I wanted.  Then I don't buy it.  Here is a sampling.
Is this adorable?  It's a wooden kitchen table in yellow and orange.  It's from the 1950s and is only $40!  Wish I bought it.  Didn't.
Equally adorable is this 1950s Hans Olsen table and chairs.  It's Dutch, and $600.  Bought it?  No.
Here is something else I didn't buy and I hope my sister doesn't read this blog before someone else snatches up this lovely guy.  It's a "large concrete bear lamp" and it's only $250.  You don't want it.  It's hideous.  But delicious.  And only two broken teeth.
I love this walnut drop leaf table.  Not for outdoors, of course.  But it's lovely.  $350.
Ironically, the only thing I was interested in had no pictures attached.  FYI, I have emailed for pictures.  But I probably won't be buying it.  I mostly think about buying things.  It's much more frugal.

And might I just say, it's APPALLING how many people misspell the word "dining."  Today is Sunday.  I have looked through the Sunday and only half the Saturday listings on Craigslist.  It's not because I'm tired of looking.  I'm quitting before I become more depressed about the state of our public schools.  Easily 20% of the people listing dining room tables on Craigslist this weekend forgot the two consonants/short vowel rule.  Or never learned it.  I'm not (much of) a spelling snob, but come on people.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Benicia to San Francisco

 Here is a view from the harbor yesterday. We walked down there hoping it would be a bit cooler.  It wasn't.  But it was very nice.  That's the Carquinez Bridge in the background
This is one of the doors in the back of City Hall, which used to be Benicia High School on East L Street.
Today I went to San Francisco to the Ferry Building with The Dot.  They have a Farmer's Market every weekend.  It was very crowded.  But beautiful weather and full of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Bought some nectarines and swiss chard in all the colors of the rainbow.  Except blue.