Friday, May 22, 2015

You May Now Wear White, If You Care About Rules

We've made it to Memorial Day weekend, the accepted start of summer in the United States. You wouldn't know it by the freezing cold (and rain, but thankfully not freezing rain, though that isn't impossible) but if you are the sort of person that cares about fashion rules, the white shoes and bags can come out of storage. 
I think we all know how I feel about fashion rules.

I don't have the sort of constitution that could manage a trip to the pool for the opening weekend in this weather, but there's a birding hike at one of our beautiful State Parks on Sunday. Sure, it will be muddy with all the rain, but that's what old boots are for. I might have a difficult time convincing the boys to tag along, promise of rare warblers or not. 

I'm going to plant the string beans and patty pan summer squash tomorrow as well. It feels late, but though we are slow to warm in Omaha, I know that it will be sweltering well into October. 90 days to harvest leaves plenty of time to grow. This year, I'm doing the squashes on a trellis. I saw a similar construction at last year's fair and I was determined to give it a try at home. The tomatoes and basil are struggling in the cool weather, but if they survive then they should be the stronger for it. We have the tiniest tomato on one of the plants, and a few flowers, but that's it, and they're all rather small. The smallest of the varieties that is barely growing is called (wait for it) German Johnson. 
Ahem. Moving along...
 Hey everybody, I found earrings to match my necklace. Cool, eh? 

This dress was a gift from my dad, late 80's-ish (the era, not his age). I've removed the shoulder pads to make it more wearable. It wasn't my style then, but I could see why he thought I might like it-the cold rayon, the tasteful floral print, the wearable colours, etc.
Still not my style, but perfect for this sort of weather. Unlike so many rayon dresses, this is lined with an acetate that neither clings not creates static. It is a rare day that I can wear a dress or skirt without the addition of a slip. That alone makes it a keeper. 

I think I like the sheer white tights. Maybe. I keep thinking they make me look like a nurse, but all the nurses wear surgical scrubs these days. Pity the poor fetishists. What I really need are pale pink tights like Talbotts sold years ago. They matched my skin tone perfectly, but I might have been alone in that as they were discontinued. Anyone know where I can get pale pink sheer tights? I'll love you forever if you do. Aw, I'll love you forever anyway!

Outfit Particulars:
Dress-80's, gift
Vintage Margaret Smith handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Naturalizer pumps-Thrift World
Cloisonne bracelet-Goodwill
Necklace and earrings-K Mart
Yellow cardigan-Goodwill
Lippy-Revlon Fuchsia Fusion (say that ten times fast)
Fragrance-White Shoulders (I reek in honeysuckle and rose, even if the garden does not)

We found the most disgusting mould growing in the mulch tonight. I made Mr. ETB dig it out. It was yellow, and sickening and is nicknamed, "Dog vomit mould." I guess that's better than the "Dog penis" mould we had all over last year. 

Really, in MY garden! How dare it?!

So what about you? Do you wait for a certain date to wear white (or wear velvet after Christmas), or do you wear whatever you fancy? Do tell.

Whatever you're wearing, I hope you have a lovely weekend. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mildred's Potato

I didn't know Mildred, but she sculpted a fine potato.
People joke about the Victorian obsession with a serving piece for every imaginable thing, but I don't think they had much on the good people of the 70's, with their owl napkin holders, lucite sugar packet holders, and of course, Mildred's sour cream potato dish.

Thanks, Mildred! Your potato makes serving sour cream at the table a more elegant experience.

Mildred's potato-bought for pocket change (.25 cents-ish) at New Life Thrift.

Bal a Versailles, Jean Desprez ( vintage forumlation)-Review

Hey everyone, grab your pillbox hat and feral cat because we're headed back to the fashionably civet-rich 1960's!

For the longest time, I stayed away from Bal a Versailles. First, because I lived with someone that loathed it, and later because I shared a place with someone that wore it, and I didn't think the house was big enough for two Bal a Versailles wearers. I've always liked it, but understanding how strongly people can feel about it, I went on to other perfumes. I recently had the opportunity to purchase a well-preserved vintage sample (in original packaging) for a very fair price, so I grabbed the chance to revisit this classic.

Though a modern fragrance by era (Bal a Versailles was launched in 1962) culturally, this sort of fragrance feels out of place with the current preference for, "Clean" scents.  I don't detect the, "Dirty panties" note in Bal a Versailles that so many complain of, but if you aren't comfortable with something that can give you whiffs of unwashed hair and a home with several cats between the powder and flowers, you should probably sit Bal a Versailles out.

"Musk, civet, and vetiver", are the three words that make this perfume lover's heart beat faster, and they're all there with amber, orris root, neroli, and Bulgarian rose. Still, the civet is the dominant note, essentially throughout, playing hide-and-seek between the lilacs and cedar. I have a vintage bottle and it is unmistakably real (not synthetic) civet. Less sharp, and somewhat indolic it is able to temper the Bulgarian rose keeping Bal a Versailles from becoming overwhelming. The vetiver note is so well done here you hardly notice it until the middle when you get hints of the sweet yet bracing aspects of it. It is so subtle, like the sandalwood you wonder if perhaps there's some other unrecognisable note until you sniff again and nod to yourself, "Of course, that's the vetiver. Good quality vetiver."

 Near the end, I get a strange settling on the skin where each whiff moments apart can smell of everything from the sea, to the forest, to a bag of carrots left in the crisper bin too long. It is so incredibly beautiful!

Danny was intrigued by it (he's as perfume mad as I) and asked for a dab on a hankie. I obliged, and while not initially in love with it by the time the middle notes came through he was carrying the hankie around plastered to his nose. He slept with it, not wanting to miss any part of this fragrance, which is unusual for him. For someone that claims to not like civet, the only other perfume to grab him this way was Jicky. Go figure. There's something about that...fecal note. Whatever it is, it keeps the perfume interesting.

These super-sweet-cotton-candy perfumes of late are nice, but I don't feel the need to keep experiencing them, to smell them unfold because while they're not mono-notes, they don't really stray too far outside their dominant ones. There's little contrast, and certainly nothing animal, or sexual about them. I like roses. They're beautiful, and they smell nice, and I enjoy a vase of them on my dining room table-but I don't want to smell like a bunch or roses unless those roses take a side trip to a whorehouse. Bal a Versailles is a whorehouse, and then some. Bal a Versailles is the women's at the Limelight Club in the 80's when the weirdness came parading through to touch up lippy, adjust sweaty boobs beneath strips of spandex posing as a top, and splash on a bit more perfume because there wasn't already enough sex and strangeness in the air. Bal a Versailles was the old Museum of Contemporary art, before they moved to the better digs, when it smelled of paint, damp basements, and heavily perfumed patrons. They just don't build perfumes like Bal a Versailles anymore because we wouldn't know how to live them if they did.

Oh god, how I love this perfume. I'm glad I gave it a thirty year rest because I doubt I'd appreciate all it has to offer if I'd been wearing it all along. Some people stock fallout shelters-I stock a large, dark jewelry chest with bottles of beloved perfumes. I have enough Emeraude to see me through the rest of my life, and I shouldn't need Shalimar any time soon, but me thinks it is time to start amassing a supply of vintage Bal a Versailles. Now that's we've been reacquainted, I think we're headed to the altar cheap motel on Lincoln, Ave.

I have never wanted a menthol cigarette and a wine cooler as badly as I do this very moment.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week

I made these a few years ago to celebrate:
 And of course I made the larval stage as well.
We don't have them in Nebraska yet but Iowa does, and it is only a matter of time. The advice is to hold off treating your trees until they are here, but they're so close now I don't know what I'd do if I had an ash tree. The loss in Illinois was devastating. Anyway, when I feel helpless in the face of something awful I tend to bake-have a cookie. Then, see if it is time to treat your trees.

In other news:
I wore my beaded rayon 40's dress. I've had it for years, but I rarely wear it. It isn't the most flattering thing I own, but it is too nice to get rid of.

I thought a new venue might be interesting so, welcome to my kitchen. 
I hate that floor too. On a positive note, it doesn't show much dirt.
"Hey. The boss needs his payment. In cash, or vintage fedoras."
That's his papa's tie, and yeah I don't know what's going on with the knot either.
The beading is beautiful, but damn near impossible to photograph in any light. This was the closest I could get to a decent photo, but trust me, the beading is lovely.
I added the tiny rhinestone pin to cover a hole that would be too obvious to repair. I bought this dress more than twenty years ago at a long-gone shop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I love it, but rarely wear it as the cut isn't flattering on my body. I'm sure it had shoulder pads of some sort originally, and I really ought to replace them. I suspect that would go a long way to making it more wearable. On the other hand, if I made it wearable, it wouldn't be in such good condition. Loving vintage is a difficult thing.

Outfit Particulars:

Danny: Shirt and trousers-K Mart
Tie-God only knows where his papa found it.


1940's beaded rayon crepe dress-Vintage shop, long gone
Vintage Naturalizer pumps-Thrift World\
Vintage navy handbag-Goodwill
Flower on handbag-Tiff and Tam
Sara Coventry vintage clip earrings-Antique shop in rural Wisconsin
Cloisonne bracelet-Goodwill
Lippy-Revlon vintage re-issue 1940's Icy Violet (not for me, at all).
Fragrance-Lentheric, Tweed
 I don't know why I look so sad. I promise, I'm not!
Geez, I look like my pet died or something. Not to worry though, Blondin and brood are all well. 

 We got out today for errands, and it was freezing. I needed my wool coat for heaven's sake. Last evening I was able to get in a good, long walk but made it home just as the weather was turning for the worse. I don't feel like myself if I don't get in a good walk at least a few times a week, and of late the rain has been most uncooperative. A little rain I can deal with, downpours accompanied by floods are quite another. At this rate I may need to join up with the elderly "Mall walkers" that do the indoors walk before the stores open. Who am I kidding-those, "Elderly" persons could beat me in a race, easily.

So keep your eyes peeled for Emerald Ash Borers. Next up, Brood IV Cicadas (in Nebraska anyway). That's going to be loads of fun!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I finally manged to do a bit of thrifting this weekend-I was fearful I might be losing the desire to shop (the horror!). Mr. ETB practically shoved me through the door of Goodwill, and I'm glad he did as I found a few interesting things.
A ceramic wall owl! Never can have too many of those, I reckon. The red bit in the basket is a 1960's wool cape. It needs a good wash, and it looks like it was worn-a lot. Still, for the price ($3.59) I thought it was worth trying to rescue. 

After the thrift stores, we went to a quote-along viewing of The Holy Grail. I might have enjoyed it more if I wasn't seated in the second row from the screen, but it was still fun. Everyone got a pair of coconut shells as they entered the theatre to clop along with. You can't get to Camelot without coconut shells, I guess. 

Outfit Particulars:
1970's Chessa Davis skirt-Thrift World, .89 cents
Gauze blouse-K Mart, last year
Cork wedge sandals-K Mart, several years ago
Earrings-K Mart
Hair flowers-Tiff and Tam
Bangles-all over, thrifted
Fragrance-Courreges in Blue

When Sunday rolled around, we unraveled our backs and straightened our necks (how DO people sit so close in movies?) and headed out to run a few errands, and then visit Aksarben Aquarium. 

What's that you say? Look for patio furniture? OK, let's. 

 This one's rather nice, but $750.00 seems a bit steep, for K Mart. I think we'll go the used route. We did pick up a small glass table to rest a coffee cup on whilst I read the morning paper outside.

 Oh look, they've turned potato crisps into health food. Great!
And the microwave popcorn too! What a relief, The organic corn will be such a difference when it is popped in a sea of fake-butter chemicals. And salt provides essential nutrients like iodine, which the typical American diet is seriously lacking. Lime? That's vitamin C right there. I feel healthier just looking at the package.
 Something about that smells, dontcha think?

Outfit Particulars:
Coral linen Coldwater Creek dress-Goodwill, $3.59
Vintage beaded purse-Thrift World
1950's milk glass and mother of pearl bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Naturalizer shoes-Thrift World
Milk Glass brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Milk Glass earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Hair flowers-Tiff and Tam
Fragrance-Jardins de Bagatelle, Guerlain

 This is Aksarben Aquarium in Schramm Park. Admission is free, and while the fish and turtles are interesting, the birding is phenomenal.
 Just look at that beautiful paved trail.
I spotted a Native Nebraskan. They're not all this adorable, trust me.

A hummingbird decided to be cooperative and let me snap his picture. Thanks, hummingbird!
They're so tiny, and move so fast, it can be difficult to get a good photo with a pocket camera. 

 The swallows are back, and sitting on their nests.
None managed to hit my head today (they swoop rather low). 
The butterfly garden was alive with beating wings.
And colour everywhere.

 We've been lucky (touch wood) this spring without any extreme heat. Given the time to bloom slowly, the park is coming back to life in a way we rarely get to observe.
OK Mr. and Mrs. Swallow, we'll be back in a couple weeks to see the babies. Eat lots of mosquitoes for us. 

I hope you had a nice weekend where you are. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Chickpea and Vegetarian Sausage Stew

I didn't bother with a photo as there's no way to really make a bowl of stew look photogenic. This is such an easy thing to make, and a batch will last several days to be served with potatoes, rice or flatbreads. You can skip the veggie sausages as they really only add a bit of texture. I had them, so I used them.

You Will Need:

1 lb. cooked chickpeas (or about 3 tins if you prefer to skip the cooking) skins removed
1 large, sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
5-6 large carrots, finely diced
(about) 1/4 cup olive oil (more or less to taste)
3-4 tablespoons Merguez spice (recipe follows at bottom, but commercial is fine if you can get it)
Water to cover
1 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking mushrooms
Veggie sausages, cooked according to package directions, and chopped

In a large, heavy stockpot heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Fry until softened, then add garlic and carrots. Cook a few minutes to soften then add Mergues spices and stir to coat. Add chickpeas and stir again. Cook for a minute or two to absorb spices. At this point, if it looks like the spices are burning, add a drop more oil if you wish. Add enough water to just cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook half covered while you prepare the mushrooms.

Heat the oil in a skillet, and add chopped mushrooms. Cook until all the water they give up is evaporated. You may wish to brown the mushrooms for deeper flavour. When this is done, add them to the pot of stew.

Leave the stew to cook until the liquid is reduced by about half. Gently mash with a potato masher (or a wooden spoon) until some of the chickpeas are crushed to thicken the stew. You don't want refried beans, so try not getting carried away with it. Most of the chickpeas should remain intact. Taste and adjust spices keeping in mind veggie sausages tend to be salty. I used a chorizzo style sausage from Light Life, a company out of Turner's Falls Mass. I am not being paid to endorse their products, but I do buy them and find them superior to the others on the market. They are a small company, and their products are more expensive than than the Con Agra products (they're gonna kick me out of Omaha for saying this as they're a major employer here) but I do think the quality is much, much better. They're also not filled with a bunch of genetically modified crap.

The sausages should be added near the end of the cooking time. Keep in mind that the stew will thicken as it cools, but resist the temptation to add more water until you re-heat it. Most likely, it won't need it.

This makes a tonne of stew that re-heats and even freezes well.

Merguez Spice Recipe:

1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons ground fennel
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used chipotle because I like the smoky flavour)
4 teaspoons icing (powdered) sugar

Combine, pour into a jar and store in the fridge. I like to shake it up a bit before using as the spices settle. Having the spice results in finding all sorts of things to use it in. Lamb is the obvious thing if you eat it, but I frequently use it in soups, stews, and even eggs. It keeps a good long while, but odds are you'll use it up long before it would lose strength.

Distraction Baking-and Baby Blondin Photos

I don't know how you deal with stress, but I bake. These were just the start, over the past week this place has been like a fully functioning bakery, and the freezer is now well-stocked. I was pleased to discover that my raisin bread recipe also makes delicious cinnamon buns, though more bread-like than the typical commercially baked ones.
 These both use the same master dough recipe. Yep, lopsided loaf-thanks for noticing!

 Buttermilk dinner rolls.
For the cinnamon buns/raisin bread:

2 tablespoons margarine, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, lukewarm
1/2 cup warm water
4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-2 cups raisins (They can be soaked in rum ahead of time if you like, then drained and patted dry)
Plain flour-5-7 cups depending on flour, humidity, etc.

In a large bowl place the warm water, sprinkle a bit of the sugar and stir. Sprinkle on the yeast, then stir to dissolve. Let stand about 5 minutes until puffy. Add the buttermilk, salt, eggs, butter, margarine, and 1 cup of the flour. Beat well until very smooth (I use a hand mixer for this part). Add remaining flour by hand until you have a very soft, sticky dough. Knead in the raisins adding more flour as needed. The dough will be better if you leave it on the soft side, but not so soft that you can't knead it. When the dough is kneaded, place in a large buttered bowl and let rise until doubled (a couple hours). Punch down dough and let rise another 40 minutes until almost doubled. Punch down dough a third time. At this point you can begin preparing the bread, buns, or both.

For the bread:
Shape loaf and place in a well-buttered loaf tin and let rise another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Before baking, brush top with beaten egg white. Bake 20 minutes, then rotate tin and bake another 20-25 minutes until bread sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom, or reads to an internal temperature of about 200 degrees F.

For the buns:

Roll dough out into 1 or 2 rectangles (depending on whether you make all buns, or a bread as well). Spread generously with a few tablespoons of very soft butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar to taste (but don't be so miserly with it that you don't get any filling). Roll up jelly-roll style, cut slices and place slightly apart in a well-buttered baking dish (a 9x13 is about right for a single batch). Let dough rise again for 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees F. for ten minutes. Rotate pan, bake another 10 and check for "doneness" (probably not a word, but eh, whatever). Remove to a rack over a baking sheet and glaze with icing sugar and water or icing sugar and milk. If you plan to freeze any, don't glaze those.

For the Buttermilk Rolls:

2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons margarine (the bread keeps longer if I use marg, or shortening, but if you can't bear it use oil or butter)
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 scant tablespoon coarse salt (or 3/4 tablespoon regular table salt)
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup strong (bread) flour
1 cup plain flour
Remaining 2-3 cups (or more) whole wheat flour (you can of course do all white if you prefer)

Heat buttermilk and margarine until just lukewarm and the margarine has mostly melted. In the warm water, proof the yeast with the sugar. Combine buttermilk/margarine mixture with yeast mixture in a large bowl and add the honey. Add the strong flour and plain flour and beat with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one, or a wooden spoon if you have neither) until smooth-about three minutes should do it. Slowly add the whole wheat flour adding just enough so that you can knead it. Place dough in a buttered bowl and cover with clingfilm. Let rise until doubled (a couple hours in a cool-ish kitchen). Punch down the dough and let rise again until nearly doubled-this rise should take about half the time. Punch down a third time, then shape buns and place on a greased baking sheet. You can also bake this as loaves-this should give you two standard sized ones. The dough is versatile and can be shaped into crescents or clover leaves if you prefer. Fold-overs are also popular though god only knows why because there is no less satisfying bun than a Parker house Roll!

Cover lightly with a tea towel and let rise again 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. You may brush the tops with egg white, egg yolk+water, Molasses and water for a deep sheen, dust them with flour, or leave the tops as they are. Water brushed on before baking will give a crisper crust. These are also nice lightly brushed with egg and topped with either sesame seeds or poppy.

Bake 10 minutes, then rotate pan and bake another 10 or until done. Cool on a rack. These freeze well.

Now, to the baby:
"Screw you lady, I like Parker House Rolls! But I'd take a crescent if that's all you have. Really, I'm not picky."

"Pass me one of those cinnamon buns, will you? It will help my tail grow back."

Baby Blondin has learned well from his papa and now comes to visit us unattended. He's been doing a good job eating the food that falls through the platform bird feeder, so it is like having a furry little Hoover on the balcony.

"Do I smell Blondin Biscuits? Mixed spice? Extra molasses? Hell yeah!"

This weekend is expected to be more severe weather (broken record...for you kids, a "Record" is one of those big, shiny black DVD's that come in a cardboard sleeve) but I am taking Danny to a Quote-Along viewing of The Holy Grail at Film Streams tomorrow night. They're giving it the Rocky Horror treatment where people can yell out lines. Danny would have rather had a Quote Along Meaning of Life but that would be too much for an Omaha audience I'm afraid. Anyway, that's my only planned activity this weekend, but I'm determined to get in a bit of time alone even if it means going for a walk in a storm.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Warblers Are Here

                                          Not a warbler, but a large Canada Goose that wasn't pleased with us.

"Hey lady, this is my park, bugger off will ya?"

Danny tells me that if the geese are honking and flapping their wings they have a nest nearby and would like you to get lost. We hurried away not wishing to tangle with a pair of large geese.

With so much awfulness in our local news of late, I wanted to get out and remind myself that Nebraska is generally a lovely place, with kind people. The horror of the past week starting with a baby in a dumpster (he lived) and his five year old brother in the river (he didn't) and their mother murdered by the eldest son (now arrested) would have been more than enough horrible news until the prison riots in Lincoln, and Tecumseh started breaking out. Now there's dead inmates, many injured, and very little information about what's going on over there. The lack of comment from officials does make everyone suspicious that things are much worse than they are admitting. It could be another Attica for all anyone knows because there seems to be some sort of official silence on the matter from the media as well. I needed a walk, away from the Internet, newspaper, and the radio.
This is Towle park in Omaha. It runs along a creek, and has a small pond that attracts a number of birds. Tucked away behind a busy intersection, it is another one of our parks you'd never know was there. The summer birds have been arriving along with migrating warblers passing through on their way north. It was a beautiful day, so we set out looking for warblers. We didn't find any, but we did manage to spot several other birds including some Vireo Danny had been wanting to see. I got a nice walk in a beautiful park, so all in all it was a great afternoon.
This is a Cowbird. I don't know the origin of the name, but I can assure you they don't, "Moo." Their song is rather sweet, for a bird with such a terrible reputation. They have been known to sneak their eggs into other bird's nests (and sometimes even eat the other bird's eggs). So they're disliked, but I always feel sorry for them, like Brown Thrashers and Starlings-some birds just get a bad rap. They can't help how the food chain sorted itself out.
You could almost forget you're right next to the busy intersection at 90th and Center. It is so quiet and lovely here.
We stood beneath this tree for a good long while listening to the Vireo call, but it was shy and we couldn't coax it out for a photo. I caught a quick glimpse of a small-ish pale bird, but that was it. There must have been a million midges under this tree, and I think I breathed in at least a few thousand. No mosquitoes (yet) though, which is good.

I couldn't put it off any longer, so the tomatoes, peppers, and aubergine are finally planted. The back of the house is slowly turning into a rookery, though it isn't rooks but instead Grackles. They've taken over the trees, and our patio with all the plants and feeders is a comfortable spot for them to sit and do whatever it is they do. I came home to find a pair sitting in my geranium, which was cute as it is in a swan shaped planter. In what was sheer luck, I happened by the thrift store immediately after someone donated a two-tier wooden potting stand. It took some creative angling to get it in my car, but for $8.00 I wasn't leaving it. It now holds flowers out back where I'm trying to attract hummingbirds. So far, all I have are robins, finches and grackles. And the woodpecker we call, "Mr 4 AM" because that's when he starts hammering away. I hope that kid of mine remembers this someday when he's an ornithologist because I am sooooo not a bird person. I'm trying, really I am.
This thing is heavy, which is good because we get insane winds in Nebraska. Right now it is blowing a gale out there.
 Slowly, we're getting some colour. Today, we bought a hummingbird feeder, just in case they're not attracted by the flowers. I have another rounded tiered plant stand for the front garden that can hold pots of herbs. Slowly, I'm taking the garden vertical.

Isn't this just the prettiest salvia you've ever seen? Perhaps I'm just biased, but I sure think it is.
 With the hummingbird feeder, that makes five. The neighbour to our left is also hanging feeders, and the people at the end have a rather elaborate setup for various birds-so this is the Burt Street Bird Resort. They just go from house to house, then back to the tree to enjoy the surroundings. I think the people directly across the street have feeders out as well.

I haven't done anything with the ground floor patio in back, and I should. The season is just getting started, so perhaps I'll invest in some shade plants. Maybe a proper patio set, and tiki lights. We'll see. If I make it *too* nice, I might never leave the house.

Outfit Particulars
Home-sewn skirt (not by me) Goodwill
White linen blouse-K Mart
Enamel flower brooch-Goodwill
70's handbag-Thrift store in the mall, Jenerations
Earrings-K Mart
Beaded/leather belt (60's) Hand-Me-Ups
Bakelite bangles-all over
Fragrance-Yardley Lily of the Valley

This evening, we went out again to look for Night Hawks that circle around the streetlamps as they first come on. None tonight, but we were excited to see several Chimney Swifts getting ready to bed down for the evening, presumably in chimneys.
I nearly forgot about this skirt-bought years ago on a clearance rack at K Mart. I've been rediscovering my transitional wardrobe as this is the first year in a while that we've had a proper spring (we typically go from freezing to sweltering).

We're due for torrential rain (again) over the next few days, so that's it for planting until the start of next week (at least). I'm sitting here watching the automatic lawn sprinklers spraying in the 50 mph wind at the college next door. I suppose there's no override for rainy days, but it does seem terribly wasteful. We take our water for granted in the Midwest, but knowing what California is going through, it is almost painful to watch that water blowing away without even hitting the lawn. I guess the street will be quite clean now.

Ahh, mid-week. Almost Friday!