viernes, 31 de octubre de 2014

Hot Stuff!

The report today was that we have just had the warmest October on record since 1965.  I can't complain, though, because we did get some rain at the beginning of the month.  Today, Halloween, we hit the upper 80's, and the boys went trick-or-treating in t-shirts.  Much different from my childhood in New England when we sometimes had to wear ski pants under our costumes!

With such good weather, my garden is still full of roses and wildlife, but all that is supposed to change in just a couple of days.  So, here are some photos to wish the warm weather farewell.

Pat Austin

Benjamin Britten


La Sevillana



Wasps doing whatever it is that wasps do

Gecko in the kitchen

Abelia and my little porch napper

The warm weather has been nice while it's lasted, but I can't wait for the rains to come to soften up the earth for some digging and planting.  There's so much that needs to be done!

jueves, 23 de octubre de 2014

Birthday Surprise

My birthday was not long ago (happy birthday to me!), and I had a very unique birthday surprise.  As I was walking through the town square, there were 5 local "townies" looking up into the large, 300-year-old elm tree that grows there next to the town church.  

Now, the old ulmus minor is a tourist attraction itself, partly because it is so large, and partly because the base is hollow and children love hiding inside.  Many a family photo is taken there, especially when it is First Communion season (we've had several taken there ourselves).  But, when the locals start taking a second glance, you know something is up...

And, up they were!  Waaaaaay up, some 40 feet in the air, were a pair of tawny owls (Strix aluco), fast asleep.

It's amazing how much their feathers look like tree bark.

Doesn't he just look perfectly blissful?

Later on, just before dusk, I went by again to see if they had awaken.  Sure enough, they had.

By the way, what looks to be a tree trunk to the bottom left of this photo is actually the abdomen of the other owl!

If you would like to check out our town's ancient field elm tree, I found a video about it on YouTube made by a British tourist.  Funny.  The video shows it in the winter with no leaves and after a recent pruning, but you can see how hollow it is:

You might also like my post from earlier this year about Little Owls, Whoooo Me?

Any owls or ancient trees in your neck of the woods?

miércoles, 15 de octubre de 2014

Bloom Day, October 2014

I haven't participated in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for ages, but since we had some sunny weather last week, I was able to take some photos.

Abraham Darby, one of my all-time favorites

Winchester Cathedral always gets a bit of powdery mildew this time of year

Golden Celebration, my favorite yellow rose

Jude the Obscure is doing surprisingly well in the shade.

Jayne Austin

Crown Princess Margareta

 Madame Alfred Carrière is also doing very well in the shade.

Pierre de Ronsard - I wish it smelled as lovely as it looks..

??? One of the first roses I ever bought at a garden center, unlabelled.
Ah, but the scent...

 The Pilgrim is the most vigorous rose in my garden.

Benjamin Britten

Lady Emma Hamilton

Buddleia davidii

 What's blooming in your garden today?

jueves, 9 de octubre de 2014

Walk This Way

(What can I say?  I grew up in Boston, and I couldn't think of a more appropriate title for a blog post about a walkway than an Aerosmith song...)

If there is one good thing that came out of breaking my back this spring, it was having enough time on my hands to finally plan out our front walkway.


Itn't it purty?  The stones are irregular and look almost like the slate from my native New England, but they are actually granite from this area.  Yes, those are real railroad ties bordering the walkway.  Many of them were found on our property when we bought it, so I figured that, since the toxins have been leaching out anyway, we might as well make it look pretty. 

By the front gate, there is now lots of cleaning and planting to do...

... but I think the bed to the right of the walkway is starting to look pretty spiffy 
(sage, thyme, abelia, ivy and Abraham Darby rose).

As you can see from the black tube in the photo above these lines, we still need to find some outdoor lighting that we actually like (which is no small task).

Along the sides of this part of the walkway that leads to the side of the house and kitchen porch, The Pilgrim rose (left) and Benjamin Britten (right) are just begging for an arbor, don't you think?

This is a photo of the same walkway, taken in the opposite direction, 
with Benjamin Britten reaching out over the path, and Lady Emma Hamilton below.

Luna still thinks this is her own private jungle.  Lavender seems to be her favorite plant.

So, come on in and walk this way... or run, if you please!

viernes, 3 de octubre de 2014


Living where we do, in a rural area near a reservoir with lots of wide-open countryside and rabbits to boot, we often come across stray dogs.  My heart goes out to each and every one of them, and I have often given them food and water, but I have never taken any home.  With two kids, a dog and a cat, I have to put their well-being first.

But, Spaghetti was different.  The children in town named this dark-brindle greyhound Spaghetti because of her thin tail, and they had seen her near school at recess time and in the park in the afternoons.  She stayed close, but never got too close.  She was obviously used to kids and being around people, looking for scraps at local restaurants.  A small group of us decided we should try to catch her to see if she was micro-chipped.

In the end, she was not, and I took her home because my yard is fenced in.  Hunting season starts this week, and it is a dangerous time of year for animals to be loose.  We got in touch with a greyhound protection association, and my husband took her over this past Saturday.  She cried, and so did my heart.

I feel bad that this sweet, eager-to-please animal was lost, and I feel horrible that there may be some children out there missing her.  But what I cannot forgive is some owners who did not care enough for their pet to micro-chip her.  In Spain, micro-chipping is the law, and you cannot get a rabies shot for your pets without a microchip and pet passport, at least not from a reputable vet.

In two weeks time, Spaghetti will be sent to a new family in Belgium (there is an association there that plays to people's heartstrings by telling them that Spaniards torture their greyhounds, but that's a story for another day), so perhaps she will be re-named Noedel.  Either way, she will be dearly missed.