The Sweetest of Peas

While shopping for ‘bedding plants’ (take two) I bought this small trellis.

garden trellis

Garden trellis

It was an afterthought.  I spotted it as I was checking out, fell in love and grabbed it. Now it’s the focal point of the curb garden. Funny how things work out.

The long, narrow bed definitely needed some height and character. Originally I thought I would accomplish that with one large plant, but I’m really liking this alternative.

I planted garden peas from seed in late August, and they’re already three feet tall. The first of the blooms arrived this week, which means delicious, garden-fresh peas will soon follow. As fall descends and the tomatoes go fallow, it’s delightful having this little garden oasis.

Peas on the trellis

Peas on the trellis

Flowering peas

Flowering peas

pea flower

A pea is sure to follow

Work on my Halloween costume continues. Here is a sneak peek at my costume inspiration: this beautiful piece of art by our good friend over at Boomdeeadda. Isn’t it stunning?

Halloween Countdown:


Just a couple of bloggers, wearing wigs and smiles before tea.

Boomdee Crafts

Costume inspiration close-up

If Fences Could Talk

We’re finally seeing some fall action here in San Jose, which for us means cloudy skies and temperatures south of 50 F (10C).  It also means perfect hiking weather!

Almaden Quicksilver trail view

Almaden Quicksilver trail view

My walking partner cancelled this week, so I took myself up to the Quicksilver trail for a ninety-minute hike.  I love social hikes, but now and again, it’s great to go alone. I’m able to tune in more to the nature around me, to see things that I might have missed.

On my recent hike, I noticed the number of fences running along the trail head and into the hills as I climbed.  Wooden fence posts seemed to be re-joining the landscape. Once tall trees, whittled into fence posts, forgot all about formalities. They were gradually returning to a natural state.

decaying fence

Like the understudy in a play waiting in the wings, here was their chance to shine. Each fence post took on shape and character, gathering moss, lichen and weathered decay. Fences meant to keep trespassers out quietly invited small guests in. Signs of a woodpecker, insects and moss were everywhere. I had the sense that if i lingered awhile, those fences would tell me a story.  That perhaps I wasn’t alone after all.

If those fences could talk, what do you think they would say?
crossing fence posts fence with barbed wire fence with lichen

Halloween Countdown:

lacy pumpkin

All dressed up: Lacy pumpkin

Just Visiting



My personal motto is that homes should be lived in and gardens shared. Visitors are a welcome treat. We’re all social creatures, heart and soul, no matter where you land in the social equation. Extroverts like to live large, while introverts find solace in the quiet in between. I’m a little of both.

My friend Jazzy has a day care next door.  In the late afternoon her young charges visit my garden and deck, running up and down the ramp, checking out the fairy garden and swinging from the Magnolia tree. Yesterday they were playing hide and seek.  It makes my heart sing when I hear their squeals and the sound of running feet.  Sometimes they’ll peer in the kitchen window to say hello. I love the open inquisitiveness of the under-five set.

Our neighbor’s cat likes to call our place home. He doesn’t get the attention he craves at his real address a few houses over, so he travels to find it. He sleeps in the garden, plays with one of my cats, and has mastered his way in and out of the yard through a hole I need to fix in the cat fencing. We love him like our own and would be heartbroken if they moved.

Mighty Mouse neighborhood cat

Mighty Mouse Neighborhood Cat

Squirrels, possums, raccoons, hummingbirds, snails and a myriad of other four to six-legged creatures also stop by. Though destructive at times, I’m still honored by the visit.  It tells me they’ve found a bit of nature in my backyard, a place to have a drink from the fountain or to eat a grub under the lawn.  I don’t garden for a living; I’m not selling crops.  So I work through my disappointment when one of them snaps a sunflower or digs up my (sniffle, sniffle) newly planted Snowdrop bulbs.  They’re busy living life to the fullest on a much-encroached planet.

squirrel on the fence

Isn’t he cute?

a pair of snails

A pair of snails heading home for the day

The welcome mat is forever unfurled.  Won’t you please come in?

Halloween Countdown

Ghost Pumpkin

The Ghost of Pumpkins Past


Garden Tools: The Dirty Dozen

garden tools in need of some TLC

The Dirty Dozen

I made some progress towards the garden clean-up today, though not as much as I would have liked. I gathered the “dirty dozen” of garden tools and made a mental assessment of the work ahead. My husband, handyman extraordinaire, gave me some quick tips on removing rust using steel wool.  If you’re wondering the difference between #000 and #0000, just ask!

I pounded the cushions together to loosen the dust, and brought them indoors for a quick wipe-down.  I had to run outside to tether the inflatable spider before it broke loose from the yard and put the fear of arachnids in someone down the street.  Then I was out the door for appointments for the rest of the day.

Costume Update

I’ve enjoyed dusting off the old sewing machine this week and putting it to use. This year I’m dressing up for a few Halloween parties as a Bella Pilar greeting card. Her designs are fun and whimsical.

I pieced together a crinoline using two “maternity panels” from a fabric store and adding tulle from an old costume.  Today I finished sewing the skirt and made headway on the top.  I’m making a pattern as I go along, so fitting it has been a challenge. I’ve been dreaming of my own dressmaker’s form, but it’s hard to justify that expense given the minimal use it would get.

Just a few finishing touches and the costume will be ready to wear.

cat ears

leopard skirt


Halloween Countdown

Princess Pumpkin

Princess Pumpkin

Transforming the Garden: Mad for Inflatables

We’re used to seeing cars slow down in front of our house this time of year.  Either the driver is smiling, because they love Halloween as much as we do, or they’re shaking their heads thinking “those people are over the top!”

My youngest son has been a fan of inflatables for as long as I can remember.  He used to spend hours at the computer during the winter months, bookmarking page after page of inflatable decorations.  He printed his favorites, and pasted them in a book.  Every year we visit a local “parking lot patch” where he gleefully enjoys the enormous inflatable slides, bounce houses and the occasional obstacle course.  One year he received fifty dollars for Christmas from one of his uncles, enough to buy a holiday inflatable at 50% off. And so it began.

inflatable cat and spider

Inflatable spider with moving head and his trusty kitty side-kick

My son saves his allowance and the occasional cash gift and “invests” in his inflatable treasures.  Each inflatable has a story to go with it.  The monstrous cat purchased at a discontinued price, hidden in the back yard until Halloween night so he could surprise everyone.  The creepy spider, bought online with an annoying whistle whenever it turns its head.  Finally, the pièce de résistance, the inflatable archway, complete with ghosts and tombstones. By the time we saw it in a party store they were sold out.  The store agreed to sell us the floor model for, you guessed it, half off.  I paid for half, he paid the rest.

Inflatable archway

Through wind and sleet and Halloween decor, the mail carrier still delivers

My way of decorating before having children was more subtle.  I would put out a pumpkin or two, a few fall plants and call it a day.  Not any more.  As my son ages, he wants everything a little scarier.  By Halloween night we’ll have a spider with a moveable head, the enormous cat and the lighted entryway.  He’ll stretch spider webbing from shrub to tree and my husband will add lights to the awning. The webbing catches falling Magnolia leaves, that twist and turn in the wind.  We toss plastic spiders at the web for a naturalized effect and by October 31st we’re looking downright spooky.

Rocking chair ghost

Rocking chair all dressed up

Our garden, transformed.

Halloween Countdown

I'm a Mac Pumpkin

I’m a Mac Pumpkin