Marigolds, Pumpkins and Worms - Oh, My!

Auntie Marie spotted a pumpkin plant at her nursery and immediately thought of Leia, whose favorite season is when PUMPKINS!! are on the ground. 
We added marigolds as a companion plant - they help keep bugs away from the fruit -
and earth worms for soil improvement (and because they are cool.)
PopPop did the hard work,
breaking the soil and adding the grow poop soil amendment, 
with just a bit of "help" from Leia.
Then Leia and I carefully built two hills for the pumpkin plants, 
and surrounded them with marigolds, which Leia planted all by herself.
A little watering with her new purple watering can, 
also courtesy of Auntie Marie, and we were good to go.  
Leanne got up from her nap just in time to flip a little dirt and pose for photos. She was having so much fun, she didn't even mind that Leia had "borrowed" her favorite sunglasses.
And now?
Happy girl and I wait patiently for the pumpkins to grow and water, water, water!  


Iris Days

One by one, my iris are blooming. In my mind, I pictured them blooming all at once, with fields and fields of blossoms arrayed across my front yard. Not asking much from 14 little bulbs, is it?
 This one is Wonderful World.

Wish we had time this year to go visit their home fields. 
But a trip to Vacaville, on a weekend, before May 12 is probably not in the cards. Maybe next year . . . 


Backyard Treasure

We often forget about the cool things that are almost in our backyard. One such is Moorpark College's EATM Zoo. The exotic animal training and management program started in the early 70's. We took our kids to visit when they were young but hadn't been back in years.

The zoo has grown since then, needless to say. We took Leia for a visit today and she loved it - from Cowboy the parrot, who performed tricks and 'mimicked' words,

to the blue-tongued skink in the animal show (the color is a defense mechanism; bright colored things in the animal world are often poisonous, so even though the skink isn't, predators avoid them. Cool, huh?)
to Clarence, the 90-year-old, 500 pound Galapagos tortoise.
Students were available everywhere to answer questions - and Leia had lots to ask. She got to help make treats for birds and monkeys - wrapping food in rolled up newspaper that the students then put in tubes or boxes for animal enrichment.
Monkeys, singing dogs, birds, lions, sheep, water buffalo, and more. Short drive, inexpensive, and fun. Yep, we'll be back soon.



Warm floors in my bathroom were the first hint that we had another water leak under our slab. The first one was 10 years ago or so; it was expensive back then so we anticipated major $$$ this time. The first estimate didn't disappoint -$3200?!?!?! I think not. 

Second estimate was less than half that. We had another company come out and pinpoint the leak(s), so the plumbing company could do minimal damage to the walls during the repair work. That was the theory anyway. 

First hint that this was a big job - two plumbing trucks arrive first thing in the morning. Things seemed to be taking longer than anticipated; at about the 4-hour mark, I overhear the main plumber tell his helper, "Take it all out and start over . . ." This was after they tried turning the water back on and we had water shooting up to the ceiling everywhere.
At the 4.5 hour mark, the main guy says, "Ohhhhhh, there's 2 leaks. . . ." So they brought in another plumber, and called the guy who did the "pinpointing" to come back and recheck his results. Turns out he made not one but two "oopsies." 
When our house was built, 30 years or so ago, the original plumber crossed the pipes at - wait for it - not one but two manifolds. So today's plumbers did all their original work on the wrong pipes.
The good news is I think they've got it fixed, plus I have new valves for the washing machine and a new water pressure valve - and pretty copper pipes - at the front of the house. And the flooded bathroom carpet? It probably needed replacing anyway; it was at least 6 months old.
The bad news? The plumbers blew past their original estimate and we still don't know how much this is going to cost. But at least I have pretty new pipes and clean floors from mopping up all the water. How's that for making lemonade?


A Rose By Any Other Name . . .

 I'm calling these dresses 'family treasures'
but most would say they are 'hand-me-downs'. 
Both were Addy's, until she outgrew them. 
I made the purple one for her last year - 
and the camo/tulle dress was one of her absolute favorites from the day her daddy brought it home for her.
Bunny Foo-Foo sat outside my mother-in-law's kitchen window for years. Leanne and Leia both love him and talk to him all the time. I think she'd get a kick out of that.

Now, Leia and Leanne love these dresses.
And I love watching them enjoy life,
and a rousing game of 'follow the leader',
while wearing them.
More great memories in the making. 


High Tech and Craftsy Discount!

Hubby's a tad hard of hearing, so when the Roku3 came out with the ability to plug headphones into the remote control (genius!!), I was first in line to get one.
He loves it . . . . or at least he did until the headphone jack stopped working on the second night. ~sigh~ I did so love that short-lived peace and quiet.

While he was enjoying his teevee, I was making a birthday quilt and using my baby iPad to watch Craftsy
where my friend and weaving mentor, Deborah Jarchow, is teaching her 'Beyond the Basics' rigid heddle weaving class. (Doesn't she look great?)
Love, love, love this class. I love the Craftsy model anyway - take classes on your own time, in your own home, at your own pace, with the ability to ask questions of the teacher and get responses within 24 hours (or thereabouts) - but Deborah's class is really outstanding. 

My favorite part is that her lessons aren't 'sanitized'; when she makes a mistake (we call them "design elements" in my crochet classes) she laughs and shows how to fix it. Watching the repair job really fixes in my mind what went wrong and how things should be done.

And because she's such a great person and friend, Deborah is offering 50% off her class to my friends. Just use this link - www.craftsy.com/rhdj. Be sure to tell her Elisa said "hi!"


New Sweater

I have a list of projects as long as my arm that must.be.done.NOW. But is that stopping me from starting a new, just for me project? Heck, no!
This is Wild Flower Jacket from Drops (pattern here; Ravelry page here). It's been in my Ravelry queue forever. A woman in my Thursday night knit-crochet group wanted to make it, so we're doing it together as a mini-crochet-along. Love the yarn; love the pattern; crossing my fingers they'll play nice together.


Home Decor

What's in your wallet living room?
 Bet it's not kitchen cabinets . . . .


Flowers With Attitude

Went out to take pictures of the one, lonely iris that's blooming - 
according to the chart, this one is Goldfinger (hmmm, I wonder why?) -
but this is my favorite pic of the day. 
Such attitude! Gotta love it when even the flowers give you the finger.

The rest of the garden was a bit more polite 
and gave me a chance to experiment with my new super-macro lenses.
The difference in magnification between the old lens 

and the 4x is amazing,
but when you go up to 10x?
The detail is astounding (see 2nd Goldfinger pic above).
Looking forward to going to Descanso Gardens or Pleasants Valley Iris Farm to practice some more.
Happy almost Spring, everyone!