May 31, 2012

From one paradise to another

"Don't you want to go somewhere in May?", my friend Linda asked. "I am available to ranch sit, I need a fur fix, and I need to get warm and see sun". Having lived in the PNW, I totally understand. Winter lasts forever, and the rain and dark days get you down. So Dan and I decided to go back to Kauai, where we vacationed regularly in the '80's and loved it. I was prepared for major changes, but regardless, it would still be blue ocean, tropical plants, and lots of tropical fruit.

Kauai did not disappoint. It was gorgeous. Hurricane Iniki ravaged the island in 1992, but people rebuilt, and smartly at that, and Mom takes care of the rest. The only major change we found was the chickens. They are everywhere. During the hurricane, chickens (rumor has it, fighting cocks) got loose and have taken over the island. They are protected in the state parks, but everyone seems very tolerant of them no matter where.

We went back to some familiar haunts, but also did some major relaxing. As much as I enjoy my routine, not having one for awhile is great too, especially knowing that everyone at home is expertly taken care of. I think we were more wet than dry with the snorkeling and the swimming in the pool. And having people cook for you, yeah!

After we got home we spent some more days with Linda before I drove her to Cathedral City, CA, to meet up with Graham in their newly purchased house. Great times, worthy of a repeat.

May 9, 2012

May rain

In my limited experience, this is an unusual phenomenon. May is normally characterized by hot, dry, weather and the start of the fire season. How lovely to have a little rain this morning! I had just finished weeding the garden, and mulched the tomatoes and cantaloupes, when the storm got close enough for me to decide that the porch might be a better spot to enjoy the weather.

We had a cup of coffee and watched, smelled, and heard the storm pass over. They say we may have another day of this tomorrow before we get back to normal. So, to my friend Linda (aka The Rain Goddess), it will be great weather when you get here on Saturday. And most likely for your entire time here.

May 7, 2012

All new and tiny

It's spring and new life is everywhere. How about this little praying mantis. Dan found him and a sibling on one of our windows. He was about one centimeter, legs included. It's my fingers you see behind.

Beware the cactus wren, who patrols the porch!

May 6, 2012

Century plant, day 6

The stalk is growing by the hour ...

There is an additional stalk between the house and the barn. Same variety of agave.

May 3, 2012

The Giant Defiant

Dan is having a semi-significant birthday in a few months, and for his birthday he wanted a new bike. One of those super light, super sleek, and super fast road machines. So, after research and test riding, we went out yesterday and bought his all-carbon Giant Defy with electronic gearing. It is a gorgeous bike, and we spent some hours getting the bike fitted just for the rider.

Here is my Roadie, with his machine and new road shoes, after our ride this morning. Happy camper!

I am not yet sold on a new bike, and have a wait a couple of years for my blah-blah birthday anyway, so Racy Tracy and I are still a team. We have owned our Specialized Tricross' for one year now, and have put 3500 miles on each of them.  And we have had such great fun!

May 1, 2012

Century plant

That is what people call the various types of agaves here in the desert, because they bloom only "once in a century". They really bloom once in about 10 years, which is right on track as we have lived here 8 years and the plant must have been at least a year old when I bought it.

It stands outside the kitchen window and surprised me this morning with the impressive beginnings of a stalk. It will shoot up a couple of inches a day now and finally display some beautiful flowers that will be visited by a lot of insects and the hummingbirds, and then the plant dies. Sad, but true. To ensure survival of the species, it does have a "pup" at the base, so I will do my best to keep the young plant happy. I like that plant in that location. I will post the progress.

First prickly pear blooms.