Friday, June 30, 2017


I was out on a job site yesterday, and as I was opening a gate to get onto the property, a pair of western kingbirds kicked up a almighty fuss, swooping around and squawking and chittering.

I didn't think much about it, but when they did the same thing at the same spot when I was leaving the property, it made me pause.  They were still swooping around and yelling at me, and alternately perching on the nearest bush. 

Western kingbird

I took a closer look at my surroundings, and spotted this fuzzy clump in the angle of a fence post, safely held in place by the barbed wire cross bracing.

Western kingbird nest on a fencefence

It held treasure.

Western kingbird nest and eggs, on a fence

Four perfect eggs, beautifully speckled with rich mahogany brown.  I snapped a couple pictures and left quickly so I wouldn't stress out the parents any more than I already had.

Seeing eggs in a nest is so special and rare.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Christmas Gift #1

Amaryllis #37 to bloom for the year is Christmas Gift #1, which is the one that was weirdly streaked with pink last year.

It still has some pink again this year...

Christmas Gift amaryllis

...but that's not the weirdest part.  This year, one of the flowers had four of each part, instead of three.

wonky 4-parted Christmas Gift amaryllis

Four petals, four sepals, four lobes on the stigma, and eight anthers instead of six.

This bulb is so confused.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

So pretty

This is one of my prettiest cacti, I think.  This is Mammillaria theresae, native to central Mexico, and is another that is critically endangered in the wild.

Mammillaria theresae

The flowers are a lovely shade of lavender, and are so delicate.

Mammillaria theresae

The spines are plumose, feathery, very soft and pretty.

Mammillaria theresae

The flowers last a couple days, and while there's no scent that I can detect, the display more than makes up for that lack.

Mammillaria theresae

Just lovely.

Mammillaria theresae

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


I hereby declare today to be Hibiscus Tuesday.

Hibiscus "Spin the Bottle"

It's a new national holiday.

Hibiscus "Spin the Bottle"

Everyone has to stop and admire this beautiful glowing flower of radiance.

Hibiscus "Spin the Bottle"

It doesn't even look real.

Hibiscus "Spin the Bottle"

Monday, June 26, 2017

Let the pretty part begin!

I have started cutting and weaving the open spaces on my curtain!

Hardanger curtain - cutwork started!

I love this part. It's when the piece really starts to come alive.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tiny bouquet

From the big Zygolum flowers yesterday, to tiny flowers today.  This is Schoenorchis fragrans, a species native to India, Myanmar, Thailand, and China.

I got this one at the orchid show in Portland in April, and it had little nubs of bloom spikes barely visible between the leaves.  Now each of the three spikes has nine buds/flowers just starting to open.

Schoenorchis fragrans

It's so tiny, so very tiny.  The whole plant is just over an inch across, and each flower is about 1/8 inch high.

Schoenorchis fragrans

As the name suggests, this is fragrant.  Not strongly so, but if you hold it close it's a light sweet floral fragrance that also reminds me of something fruity like freshly peeled green grapes.

Schoenorchis fragrans

Tiny plants make my heart sing.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


A strange sounding name for a very pretty orchid.  Zygolum Zygolum my preciousssss...

This is Zygolum Louisendorf, an intergeneric hybrid between Zygosepalum labiosum and Zygopetalum Artur Elle.

Zygolum Louisendorf

This is the first time this plant has re-bloomed for me since I got it about four years ago.  And not only is it blooming, it has FOUR spikes!

Zygolum Louisendorf

The flowers are huge, and scented like peppery hyacinth.

Zygolum Louisendorf

Friday, June 23, 2017

Just a pretty lizard

Critter and Emma and I were out in the back yard a couple days ago, playing with the macro lens for my phone.  Critter has some amazing textures.  I love his little scalloped eyelash scales.


This next picture is cool because you can see that he's about to shed the top of his head again.  The old scales are lifting up and about ready to pop off.


Thursday, June 22, 2017


This is Rebutia heliosa, native to the mountains of southern Bolivia.

Rebutia heliosa

Such a bright and cheerful display, with the bright orange flowers over the green-brown plant and silvery flat spines.

Rebutia heliosa

I bought this pretty clump about a month ago, with only a few buds showing.  Many more buds developed since I got it, and they've been opening over the past couple days.

Rebutia heliosa

Such a pretty display.

Rebutia heliosa

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Graceful serenity

One of my Echinopsis subdenudatum cacti is blooming again.  I have several of these because they're so pretty, and this is the first of many buds that are developing this spring.

I could tell that this flower was going to open overnight, so I put it on my bedside table when I went to bed.

Echinopsis subdenudatum

I checked it every time I woke up, and some time between 3:06 and 5:20, it opened!  I blearily registered that it was open at 5:20, but I couldn't wake up enough to take a picture for another hour.

Echinopsis subdenudatum

These flowers are so beautiful.  They are huge compared to the size of the plant, and have that amazingly long flower tube.  And they're fragrant, too, a sweet almost jasmine scent.

Echinopsis subdenudatum

Monday, June 19, 2017

Well, that went quicker than expected...

I had a lovely weekend of mostly hardanger-ing.  I'd almost forgotten how wonderful it is to just sit and stitch for hours at a time.

I finished the buttonhole stitch all around the top and sides, PLUS the kloster blocks just inside, PLUS the eyelets in the klosters.

Surprisingly, all that only took three days: Friday late afternoon and evening (buttonhole edge), Saturday afternoon and evening (klosters), and Sunday afternoon and evening (eyelets).  It was probably about 25 hours all together.  I was really not expecting to get all this done in so few days, but once I got going it was just a soothing repetitive motion and I sort of went into autopilot mode, especially on the eyelets. 

hardanger curtain

I cannot tell you how incredibly satisfying it was stitch the kloster blocks up to the last corner and see that everything lined up exactly perfectly, down to the last thread.  My counting was correct.

The whole time that I was doing the buttonhole edge I debated about whether I would go ahead and do the klosters and eyelets.  Will I, won't I, will I, won't I?  I tried to tell myself that it would take so long, and there would be so many eyelets, and I didn't really want to tackle that many eyelets after I just finished all the eyelets on the stacked diamonds.

Finally I sat my whiny mind down and told it that I shouldn't take shortcuts.  A buttonhole edge backed by klosters and eyelets is the most stable way to finish off an edge.  It just is.  The edge is the part of the piece that takes the most stress, and there's no point putting in all the work on the rest of the curtain if the buttonhole stitches eventually pull out of the edge because they're not properly secured.

I guess I could have just done the buttonhole and waited until after the fair to do the rest, but that's backwards.  It would be harder to do after the excess fabric was cut away from the edge, and more likely to distort.  It just wouldn't be right.

So I did it the right way.

hardanger curtain

And lest you think that I had a completely slothful weekend, I also did two loads of laundry, hung them out, put them away instead of leaving the pile of clean clothes in the basket, changed my sheets, cleaned my bathroom, cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, watered and checked all my plants, mowed my lawn, went to the Farmer's Market, and put 12 pounds of local strawberries in the dehydrator.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Amaryllis #36 for the year is Benfica.  I finally got one, after last year's disappointing mislabeled bulb that turned out to be Cybister Rose.

Amaryllis Benfica

I'm a little underwhelmed, because the flower is pretty small.  It has really nice color, though, and I probably shouldn't judge it too harshly because it has been struggling a little and the bulb is still unrooted. Next year the flowers will probably be bigger and more impressive. Still, its shape is a typical amaryllis, with the rounded petals, and the color is not significantly darker than most of my other reds.  It's pretty but not outstanding.

Thus concludes my informal quest for The Best Red (for now).  I declare the winner to be Red Pearl, with Grand Diva a close second.  I really like the more star-shaped pointy petals of Red Pearl, which barely edged out the slightly darker Grand Diva.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Triumph!  This amaryllis, Cybister Rose (mislabeled, it was supposed to be Benfica), which I bought in the fall of 2015 and which first bloomed in April 2016, finally has roots!

Amaryllis Cybister Rose, finally with roots!

Yes, that's right. This bulb produced 13 flowers on two scapes last year, but never grew any roots or leaves. Not a single one.  I babied it along on a perfectly luxurious bed of sphagnum moss, but it just sat there and did nothing.

Now, finally, 21 months after it arrived at my door, it has produced little tiny roots! There is hope!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Progress on the hardanger curtain

Well, my time is ticking away on the countdown to the County Fair, so I need to get this curtain done if I want to enter it this year.  I've made good progress over the past week.

hardanger curtain

I finally, FINALLY finished all the eyelets in the row of stacked diamonds.  Whew.

All that's left for the embroidery part is to go around the side and top edges with a row of buttonhole stitches (and possibly kloster blocks and eyelets, we'll see how I do on time).

hardanger curtain

Then, on to the cutting and weaving!  My favorite!

hardanger curtain

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What can I say...

I am weak.  I am helpless when confronted with mini-Phalaenopsis orchids.

new mini-phals

They are just so small and perfect.

small white phal

This white one is called Phal. Liu's Fantasy.

small white phal

Plus, the pink one is fragrant.  Now really, how am I supposed to leave that on the shelf?

fragrant pink spotty phal

Its name is Phal. Jiaho's Pink Girl.

fragrant pink spotty phal

(Do you see the birds in these flowers?)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

White slipper

Here's another pretty one, Paphiopedilum Greyi.  This is a tropical slipper orchid, and is a primary hybrid of Paph. godefroyae and Paph. niveum, both native to the Thailand/Malaysia area.

Paphiopedilum Greyi

This is a relatively new plant for me, and when I got it about three months ago it came with an itty-bitty bud in the center of the leaf fan.  So I can't technically take credit for the flower, but I can take credit for keeping it going until it bloomed.

Paphiopedilum Greyi

It's so pretty, with the delicate red stippling on the pouch and in the center.

Paphiopedilum Greyi

Plus, this is a nice compact plant.  That's a 2" pot, the widest leafspan is only about 10", and the flower itself is about 2.5" across.  I'm running out of room, so compact is good.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Another beautiful orchid to share today, called Miltoniopsis Lila Fearneyhough 'H624'.  This is a hybrid, with a lovely pattern of magenta purple petals and sepals and a darker waterfall on the white lip.

The best part?  It's heavily scented, and smells just like roses!

Miltoniopsis Lila Fearneyhough 'H624'

Miltoniopsis orchids are notoriously tempermental, liking cool-ish temperatures (60-80 F), moderate light, and constant moisture with good airflow and high humidity.  Not really the climate of eastern Oregon.  However, I feel triumphant that this bloomed for me!

I've steered clear of Miltoniopsis in the past after killing several, but I couldn't pass this one up.  It was 75% off with no flowers left, but the one next to it on the shelf with one flower left had that amazing fragrance.  The plant with the lone flower was in very poor shape, but this one looked good so I took a chance for $5.  Four months later here's my reward.

Miltoniopsis Lila Fearneyhough 'H624'

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Aloe blooms!

This is a first for me- an Aloe plant blooming.

Aloe 'Minnie Belle'

This is Aloe 'Minnie Belle', a hybrid variety.  The flowers are lovely, a tall spike of long red tubes with flaring yellow tips.

Aloe 'Minnie Belle'

I've seen hummingbirds visiting the flowers, too, which is a nice bonus.

Aloe 'Minnie Belle'