Wednesday, April 29, 2009

En la Casa verde

This String of Hearts plant, also called the Rosary Vine, needed repotting. I naively took it on, only to find that heart strings get entangled very easily. But with patience and tenderness, they were gently disentangled. The ceropegia woodii is native to Zimbabwe and South Africa, likes full light and moderate water.

Below is adenium obesum, commonly called Desert-rose, native to eastern and southern Africa.
This one is beloved of the mealy bugs, and lost it's leaves after an overzealous application of (eco-friendly) ultra-fine oil in the full sun. So it's in the infirmary where we've been picking the mealies off individually, and spraying it with a 25% solution of 70% rubbing alcohol, which it tolerates quite well. Now it's about to bloom, so I'll post another picture later on.

Our mystery plant, which I'm dubbing the AKA plant (also known as). Just a few possibilities:
ctenanthe; stromanthe, cordyline tricolor, calathea triostar, prayer plant, never never plant. It was not doing too well until I started misting it daily and shaded it from direct sunlight. Now it's blooming. One of my favorites, I'd love to see it flourish.

Behind the coffee tree, I planted this split leaf philodendron, monstera delicioso.

We divided up this calathea rosiopicta into four different pots. Another favorite.

A fan palm repotted into a tall square pot is making a comeback.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Big Sur International Marathon

The winner: (congratulations!)

also ran: (congrats!)

also blew: (cool! thanks!)

what they all ran by:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We were watching the sun set

There's this one ceanothus branch that's kind of barren and dead looking. "We should prune that off", I thought. Then, looking closer, I noticed someone else watching the sunset with us...

I realized I'd seen this hummingbird many times hovering there or at the nearby Pride of Madeira, often perching on this outpost, taking in the view.

Note to self: don't trim away that twig just yet. Often the seemingly barren things in life are still giving support and a place of perspective to the living. With that, the moment was gone and the sunset flew away.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth moth
the Ceanothus silkmoth, also known as hyalophora euryalus, as an egg, hatches and feeds on the California lilac (ceanothus) of which there is a profusion here at Searock. This one was huge, a wingspan of over 4 inches, although some of her relatives are even bigger.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

The "heritage" rose rambling above the cottage got a haircut and a spritz with neem oil for the aphids. I sprayed all the roses as well with neem, which is an amazing oil from the neem tree native to India, but also growing in Africa and other countries. Safe for ladybugs, bees, birds and mammals, it disrupts the appetite and reproductive cycle of many harmful insects. Only the insects that ingest plant tissue are affected, so butterflies and other critters that are nectar-gatherers are unaffected by it. For mammals, it is naturally antiseptic, antifungal, antihelmentic, anti-diabetic, antiviral, and sedative. In India it is known as 'the village pharmacy' because it is used in Ayurvedic medicine for so many conditions.

While I was up there I noticed this aeonium growing on the garage roof:

Those things grow anywhere and everywhere around here. That's a good thing.

They say it was in the 90's today in Carmel.

The sunset lingered and left a serene rosie hue behind.


surprising how fast these things minute I came around the corner and there it was....the next minute, it was gone.

Friday, April 17, 2009

soliciting ideas....

...for getting the rocks at the bottom of the stairway to the top of that ravine...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sun was sinkin' in the west...

when something caught my eye... two otters were diving for dinner:

This tree clings to an edge of rock, somewhat like that house...

it can be seen in three of these photos.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

captions wanted...

"You mean, that fish is NOT edible!? : ( " (ht to SB)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

passion flower

fortnight lily

sorbet rose

wind flower

protea of some kind

Pride of Madiera


Friday, April 10, 2009

Nice pipes

I know it's not pretty, but these are the things we all depend on to bring life flowing out of our faucets anymore.
I noticed a drop in our water pressure 3 days ago, about the same time the creek outside the cottage began flowing with a happily gurgling bubbler of fresh-looking water, which it never does unless it's raining hard. A call was made to the local water company...2 days later the water was still flowing and our pressure was about 60% of normal. Another call brought action; first one water company employee, then another, but they couldn't find the source. Then today four trucks filled our driveway and they all went trooping off up the hill across the highway with shovels and boots. When the water completely shut down at the tap, I knew they were onto something. A short time later the water pressure was back to normal. They found a 2 inch pipe that was corroded through at the threads in 2 places of different fittings, and which had already been patched once before.

I hope to have a water catchment dam built for the next time, and I do miss that gurgling sound of water. What will we do if the pipes run dry and no one comes out to fix them?

the hawk moth, hummingbird-look-alike

We found another one of these hanging around.  Meanwhile, Jeannette was describing a teensey-weensy hummingbird we thought we saw to my brother-in-law, and he explained to her about a certain moth that looks like a hummingbird in flight and feeds on flowers.  She looked it up on the web, and this is what she found.

the least shall be the greatest

We have paths that are lit by low voltage landscape lights at night for visitors who may find it difficult to navigate our circuitous earthen paths in the dark (like me). The voltage is modulated down from standard line voltage(120 volts) by transformers located at various places around the property. These transformers include a tiny fuse mounted in a holder in the transformer box. I had a string of a dozen lights and 4 motion sensors that quit working and a houseful of visitors on the way. Our local electrician helped me troubleshoot and brainstorm over the phone and set me to checking the fuses. That tiny little coil of wire around a white insulator inside the glass tube had burned through, disabling the whole system. A $1.50 part later, there was a light that shined in the darkness.

Mr. Lincoln ably (no pun intended) proves the point of the post, his image being on the coin of least value, just as Mr. Washington's is on the smallest bill.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

the aforementioned shelves go up

In a large walk-in storage closet there is a irregularly shaped corner that is hard to utilize efficiently.
Using a cardboard template, I shaped 3 shelves to mount on the wall, and solved an overcrowding satisfying!

White lined Sphinx

This moth was moping around here this morning: hyles lineata, also called a hawkmoth.  He (or she) was very lethargic, so I placed it carefully aside.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


This snail was munching on a kale leaf:

Found a caterpillar scaling a stalk of romaine lettuce:

And another bull snail seasoned with garlic:

There were so many of them, there are so many more...but there are many fewer out there tonight than there would have been, had I stayed inside.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

incongruity happens...

We had an inexplicable water pressure drop this morning, and the creek was full-flowing suspiciously. It usually is dry unless there is a significant rain. I think there is a break in some water main up the hill across the street. So, after calling the local water agency, I went across the street and up the hill to see what I could see. I met a neighbor in his bathrobe taking a walk whose picture I wish I'd taken, who told me about a turkey he saw. He rambled on a bit and we wished each other good day. Then I saw another turkey.

Then I was arrested with this:

How'd you like to see that coming to scoop you up?

I didn't learn anything about the water, but it's still flowing and the water company is sending out a response crew to investigate. It's a drought, ya know! Gotta get my water catchment dam built! There's free water flowing!

On a different note, I proudly harvested our daily asparagus (alright, belatedly a day late) and show it off here before we ate it all up!