Saturday, August 8, 2015

Just a little 'Body and Soul'

This Saturday, since August drizzle kept me away from a beach walk, Lisa and I decided to check out the 'Body and Soul' Festival. I have never been to a psychic fair before, so this was a whole new experience for both of us!

Tarot card readers, astrologists, psychics, nameologists and experts in magic and alchemy were all well represented. I completely enjoyed the warm, welcoming, and friendly atmosphere. I can easily see why this festival has been popular for 8 years!

I learned some things from a couple of experts and indulged in this wonderful gazing ball you see in the photo. No, it is not crystal, and it is not for seeing into the future. It is for meditation and just for plain ole coolness! It is made of clear leaded glass instead of cost-prohibitive crystal. I have always been fascinated with rocks and crystals; this was a great opportunity to not only see a lot of interesting crystals, but to hear what is understood about their healing powers.

A little alchemy for the Star Child
I could say quite a bit about what I have heard about people who are interested in these types of spiritual beliefs. However, I found this festival to be lighthearted and fun. No demons or devils laying in wait here...only smiles, information, and help for those who attended.

The Oregon Coast...because.

On the deck at the Embarcadero

Chuck and I had a wonderful time enjoying the summer weather down in Newport, Oregon. Three days and two nights of sunshine, blue skies, unique shops and good food makes for a nice addition to my summer vacation!

This view is the best in Newport

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Sunday, July 26, 2015

More Summer Snaps

one of the very attentive gull parents keeping track of where we are

in remembrance of my favorite prof, Despina, who had a lovely
Greek oregano bush on her balcony in Athens

the pallet herb garden

good wishes sent out on the wind

vintage bottle mobile

re-purposing these beautiful bench armrests

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Photo Tour through the Garden

Welcome to our garden!

Re-vamp of an old, tired bed -
the lovely butterfly bush is now accompanied by a new cement bench,
some creeping myrtle and a lovely autumn fern.
Across from this space is the new garden swing  - who doesn't love a swing?

Two wonderful Greek-inspired columns are topped with more myrtle; in the background,
you can see my idea of a bird bath made from an antique pan and tray.

A giant bird-perch for all my feathered friends! The songbirds are frequenting it now,
especially since I fill the clam shells with birdseed. Come Fall, I am hopeful that
the kingfisher will be at home at the top! The three signs face the deck and say
good reminders!

one of the miniature gardens with thyme; I added white rocks collected on the beach

we have planted a LOT of lavender, in many varieties - Lisa made special
garden signs for a lot of our different plants in the garden

oh my gosh, Jack...we are NOT going to hurt the babies!!

The Fern Grotto - a shady area due to the neighbor's beautiful cedar trees; in this pic you can see one of the cool
columns, a wind-chime made by Connie & Len out of silver flatware, a new trellis to disguise some fence
damage, cool driftwood re-purposed from other parts of the yard, and LOTS of new ferns!
When they all grow up, it should be pretty awesome! We have sword ferns, maidenhair ferns, Japanese holly ferns and another generic type that we picked up locally. I would love to add a licorice fern, but more research is needed.

I have always wanted to have a rock garden, and here it is! Decorative grasses and succulents
provide color and texture to all the rocks that were left from a defunct water feature. We have tried
to re-purpose much of what was here when we bought the property, like the rusting chiminea

Lisa's patio - peace and serenity; we thought this sign was perfect!

the procession of ladies up the stairs with their bounty

We are becoming experts on deer-resistant plants, and here are two of them:
a corkscrew willow and an elderberry tree. We are also quickly learning
about the pests that like to eat them, like willow aphids :-(

We are not going to do much in the front, since we are not out there much...but want to
keep some curb-appeal. We added a sweet oriental lantern and some red decorative
grasses to add some texture and variety to the massive sword ferns already in
residence. Then, we made our own unique form of yard art:

Cool Additions

Chuck has been hard at work creating some great additions to our living space.

First up: a side table for the deck that drops down when not needed.

Next is a loft bed for the guest room. In order to make room for bookcases to house my library (when we eventually do move down permanently), we talked about a bunk-bed scenario. I really don't want to lose my space for 2 guest beds. However, after further consideration, we decided on a sturdy loft bed suitable for kiddos and adults alike.

Most excellent! The rail and ladder are left, and they are in the works.
I am so grateful for Chuck and his ability and motivation to create awesome additions
to our dream home!

The Rescue!

This is not the first time we have rescued a baby gull. The first time they were crying in the gutter - who cannot answer the cry of a baby?? Well, after Chuck gave me a heart-attack climbing up the ladder to get the fallen youngling out of the gutter and back onto the roof, all three of the babies looked at him, then jumped back into the gutter! Ugh. Needless to say, after that we left them in the gutter.

But today was different. Early this morning I discovered one of the babies on the floor in the breezeway (the covered walk from the front door to the garage). When the little one sensed me coming, it toddled out into the yard and hid securely under an azalea bush. (Why does this sound like Peter Rabbit?) All day that little one was fumbling around the yard, with its rather loud parents following and protecting it from us by screeching and swooping. Finally, Tay found the little one back in the breezeway this evening, and we were able to scoop the scared thing up and deposit it back onto the roof. Yes, the ladder was involved again.

Before returning this sweetie back to the roof, though, Tay snapped a pic. Not so great of me, but that baby gull is so cute!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Seagull's Nest

I love seagulls, especially the iconic Western Gull. As it happens, we have a nest on our beloved beach house.

(From Wiki) The western gull is a large white-headed gull that lives on the west coast of North America. The western gull ranges from British Columbia, Canada to Baja California, Mexico, and, because of its convenient colonies on the coast of California, it is well studied. Despite being a well-known bird species on the West Coast of the US, it is of some slight conservation concern given its restricted range (for a gull).

The western gull is a large gull that can measure 22" to 27" in total length, spans 51" to 57" across the wings, and weighs 1.8 to 3.1 lbs.

The western gull has a white head and body, and gray wings. It has a yellow bill with a red subterminal spot (this is the small spot near the end of the bill that chicks peck in order to stimulate feeding). The western gull typically lives about 15 years, but can live up to 25 years.

Actually, they can be quite annoying if they think anyone, be it human or animal, is getting too close to their younglings. We are getting to know their amazingly varied language, and our neighbors have named the pair Jack and Martha. In looking at them, the male is only slightly distinguishable from the female due to size (he is a bit bigger overall).

first shots of the babies - there are three total

The western gull is rarely encountered inland or away from the ocean and is almost an exclusively marine gull. It nests on offshore islands and rocks along the coast, and on islands inside estuaries. Western gulls feed in pelagic environments and in intertidal environments. At sea, they take fish and invertebrates like krill, squid and jellyfish. They cannot dive and feed exclusively on the surface. On land they feed on seal and sea lion carcasses, as well as cockles, starfish, limpets and snails in the intertidal zone. They also feed on human food refuse, in human-altered habitats including landfills, and taking food from people at marinas and beaches. At times some western gulls can be predatory, preying on the young of other birds and even adults of some species.

A nest of vegetation is constructed inside the parent's territory and 3 eggs are laid. These eggs are incubated for a month. The chicks, once hatched, remain inside the territory until they have fledged. Chicks straying into the territory of another gull are liable to be killed by that territory's pair. Chick mortality is high, with on average one chick surviving to fledging. On occasion, abandoned chicks will be adopted by other gulls. (wiki)

We have seen three plodding around on the roof. This one surprised me this morning by exploring the skylight! They like to fall into the gutter, and it would seem that they prefer to hang out in the gutter, as it were, to escape the intense sunshine we have been experiencing.

They are so very cute! I had never seen young seagulls before, nor had such close interaction with these beautiful gulls. It will be interesting to see if they return next year!