Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Love between the Fritillary Butterfly and the Passion vine

              I have been enjoying the Fritillary butterflies that found my passion vine.  There are up to 8 of these beautiful butterflies flitting around the butterfly garden and the passion vine every day.  The passion vine is their host plant.  I go out to my back yard each morning the stand amongst them with awe.  How did they know that I planted a passion vine and other flowering plants they could feed on?  It is a miracle of God in my eyes.  They started mating and then laying eggs on the passion vine leaves, then little caterpillars hatched.  More hatched and the munching caterpillars got bigger and bigger.  I literally have close to a hundred caterpillars of all sizes on my passion vine.

Getting to know each other

Butterflies mating



Butterfly garden at height of blooms in May and June


I just went outside and saw 3 new passion flowers.  One was up high where the caterpillars like to hang out for some reason unknown to me (maybe they like the 105 degree heat).  The bugs and the caterpillars are clustered around it having afternoon tea or social hour!
Isn't this an amazing photo?  Passion flower with bugs and caterpillars

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Out of Town Family visit first time in almost 2 years! Had to take a year off because of the WuHan CCP Virus



Bailey visits!  Our first out of town visitor!

Bailey, Grandma in front of wildflower garden

I can't begin to tell you how great it was to have our first visitor since this horrible covid lockdown!  Bailey is such a joy and so much fun to have around.  She's about finished with her masters in business.  What's next for this beautiful girl? 

Joel and I at Venice beach
I go to LA to renew AU passport and visit Joel and Leah

Joel and I deep in conversation??

 Diane, Joel and his girlfriend Leah were the first to visit in May

It was wonderful seeing them, although I had just seen Joel and Leah when I flew to LA for one day to renew my AU passport.  What a joy to be seeing loved ones again!  I got to see my oldest by 14 months sister Diane.  We were so close we played together, got into trouble together and fought together as kids

Mom, Diane, Paul, Leah, Addison, Joel

Jacki, Larry,Sean, Ashley, Aubree, Airah and Gage visited in June.  It was the hottest time of the whole year.  Our highs were averaging 114- 116 and there were fired burning in the high country.  Jacki and Larry went up to visit his Mom, Dorothy in Payson.  They spent a couple days in a B&B in Pine and got to visit Strawberry before the fires started.  They were lightning started fired fueled by our dry year (not much monsoon last year and little snow).  It was burning a ridge above Fossil Springs where we spent a lot of time when we had a cabin in Strawberry.  I'm so close to my little sis Jacki because we pretty much raised our children together.  They lived in Strawberry while Larry was working on the RRoad then they moved to Phoenix where we saw them a lot.  Our kids played together, went trick & treating together & I helped often picked up Sean, Noel or Kelsea from school when Jacki was working

Home School Science Rocks Starring Jules!


Jules and I continue with our once a week science adventures.  Some of our subjects this year have been chicken eggs and sea shells, science of water (ocean levels in a jar, make distilled water, etc), Bread, yeast and how it fits into  Linnaeus's Classification of all living things, Ireland, Air pressure, potential and kinetic energy, ocean plants and animals and how they fit into Linnaeus's 7 levels of living things: Keep Ponds Clear Or Frogs Get Sick - stands for Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, Polymers (exciting due to love of Slime)

Volcano in a Jar

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Mixed Green Pesto! Yum! Jum!

Mixed Green Pesto 

I decided to make pesto using some of the greens from my garden.  I also didn't want to use pine nuts because they are so expensive!  So I used Cauliflower, Bok Choy, and Nasturtium leaves and cashew pieces.  I blanched the greens first so they would stay green even if I froze some and it turned out so, so good.  I have always disliked how once you pick the large cauliflower head, it no longer produces (broccoli still produces baby broccoli for some time after large head).  So, I used a huge cauliflower leaf, Bok Choy which are both very mild and some nasturtium leaves for a little zing! 

Sunset over Phoenix

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Woo Hoo It's 2021! We're gladly booting out 2020 and praying for a healthier 2021


Jules and I playing a duet
January 9, how well I remember that day when my baby boy came into the world.  I can't believe he is now 44!  Here he is blowing out the candle on his Birthday cake.  The cake a family favorite: spice with brown sugar frosting.  He has been such a blessing to me during this pandemic, doing most of the grocery shopping. 

Oh, the Covid pandemic is very bad in Phoenix right now.  I think we have the highest number of new cases per day in the world right now, 121 per 100,000.  I know 7 people who are currently in recovery in Phoenix.  None of them had to go into the hospital, thank God, and they are all past the worst and no longer contagious. I am taking Mom age 97 on Tuesday to the Cardinal Stadium to get her 1st covid vaccination.  I will ask if they will give me one also.  I hope they will since they just changed the age requirement.  However, they are not opening appointments to my age group till Tuesday.   

Alex, Helen and I had afternoon tea in the Fall with Mom and Daphine on the front patio.  We kept our distance, but cannot drink tea with masks, too bad.  Daphine lived in a retirement home and gets so lonely.  This was at a point when our AZ numbers weren't so high and they were allowing Daphine to leave as long as we didn't take her to any public place.  Now she lives further away and they don't allow her to leave or anyone to visit unless you have a current negative covid test.  She is really, really lonely. I think we have a light somewhere because of the Christmas miracle of the vaccine. 
Part of my butterfly garden a passion flower vine

This was a amazing cloud formation on the way to Flagstaff.  We haven't gone much recently because Gary is working and I'm trying to protect Mom.  This time Gary and I went up and Mom stayed home with the kids available to help her if needed while I was gone.   She doesn't need much help actually, still cooks her own meals and does daily living things well.  She is still riding her 3 wheel bike around the neighborhood!  She is very steady on her feet.  Amazing for 97! 

These are my new sliding barn type doors in the great room.  This room is the TV room, office and school room all rolled into one.  Behind one door I have a map of the good old USA and a Periodic Table colored poster.  With these doors it can become a guest room if I have company who wants to stay here. 

Here is Jules as an Egyptian Princess during our Ancient Egypt unit.  Note the jeweled collar, so stylish!  We learned about hieroglyphics, made our own Egyptian buildings and pyramids, made and played a popular board game from the time called senet, learned about the river Nile and Jules made her own reed boat.  My boat was a failure!  Jules had to redo it!


The Christmas tree with unopened presents
Christmas certainly was different this year.  There was no church, no choir, no Christmas eve service.  It was the first time in my life that I didn't go to Christmas Eve service.  Some churches are meeting again, but not my Methodist church.  So sad.  However, we made the best of it.  We started having family church here each one of the Sundays leading up to Christmas.  My Mom, Ryan, Faye, Javier, Jules and I meet here sang hymns, prayed, lit the advent candles, read and discussed Bible verses.  On Christmas eve Mom and I watched the live stream service which is just not the same and then on Christmas morning our family church gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  It was very touching. We like this family church and feel like the early church.  Faye and Javier brought and cooked breakfast.  All I had to contribute was orange juice from my last years crop.  Then in the afternoon Paul, Addie and Alli came over for dinner.  I realized later that I forgot to get out the Christmas crackers, so no silly hats and I forgot to take any pictures.  

On to something totally different. Here you see some of my worms who reside in a plastic box in my bedroom.  I feel them scraps.  Their favorite food is cut up banana peels!  I open the lid, greet the worms and put the fruit scraps around the box. Why do I have worms for pets you ask???  Well, every 6-9 months, I separate the worms from what is now mostly castings (their poop, but looks like rich dirt).  I put new shredded paper and coconut coir and add the worms.  Then the castings I put in a  plastic bucket which I've poked little holes and put it over a bigger bucket and run water through the castings.  I then have liquid gold fertilizer for my garden!
Here is my vegetable garden

It is January so I'm pruning my roses.  Since we got a rain and 2 irrigations a month or so ago, they are blooming their heads off right now.  So, I have a house full of beautiful roses and am also taking some around to neighbors to share the bounty.  If I don't prune them every year they will not be very big and beautiful after a couple of years.  My Mom taught be everything I know about roses, so thank you Mom.  Here is a picture of my roses in full bloom.  I also dry the pedals and use them along with orange peel in my special Carol's tea mix.