The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Coral Snake 

Plant Daddy spotted this Coral Snake tonight soaking up heat from the solar blanket on the swimming pool. It was 30 inches. It was the longest, fattest, and fastest coral snake we've ever seen here.
He'll be warm and peppy for eating lizards tomorrow.
(They're related to Cobras, you know!)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

February has 28 days...use them 

It’s been a really, really busy garden week here at the ranch.

The beans and zipper cream peas are just up.
The zucchini and yellow squash are up.
The corn is up.
The cosmos flowers are up.
The peppers are transplanted.
Two pineapples got planted.
Basil and oregano got transplanted.
Cukes got trellised.
All hungry plants got a dose of fertilizer.
The peas, onions, tomatoes, red peppers, carrots and celery are harvested.


Planting the spring garden, one step at a time.

As for ornamentals, I planted one oak tree.
Plant Daddy planted 6 more this morning.
Plant Daddy pruned the figs. I hauled the branches away.
(Do those count as fruit or ornamental?)

The pollen is terrible.
What’s in bloom today?
Cedar, cherry, wisteria, banana magnolia, osmanthus, grapefruit, oranges, and loquat.
At least the pines, oaks and palms are not open yet or I would be in sinus hell.

I sent my manuscript off to the Southeast Review. That was probably an over-reach.
The photographer for Pulse Magazine has not called yet about photographs. The deadline for that is Monday, but that’s on him, not me.

I realized that I am going to miss the deadline for Florida Writers Association Contest. I thought it was April 1. It’s March 1. I think I will sit that one out this year.

I finished reading The Pearl Jacket, a collection of Chinese short short stories. I have moved back to Janet Burroway’s textbook. She says lack of significant details and shifting point of view are the two most common errors of beginning writers.

Writer friend Nan has invited me to town tomorrow. We are going to get Subway sandwiches. Then I need to go to Lowe’s and get an Impatiens plant to install in the wheelbarrow in the front yard. I planted oxalis and coleus in it yesterday, but it needs a “pop” of color.

The manuscript about fern disease has landed back on my desk. I think I am going to butcher a section out of it this afternoon. I helped Plant Daddy with a manuscript yesterday. He has developed 11 Aglaonema plants. We spent a half hour and finally found all those publications.

I made fried chicken for supper last night. I plan to make home made noodles and spaghetti sauce tonight. Total package.

And last but not least...I started a mosaic project. We need a sculpture to alert the mower to an irrigation valve that got relocated. So I'm on it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Control Alternate Delete 

Today was supposed to be an easy day. The only chore was to go to the accountant’s office and drop off a briefcase stuffed with W-2’s, 1099’s, receipts, etc, etc.
Just drop the briefcase and boogie…

Oh Hell No!

The accountant meets me at the door and says “We cannot access your retirement accounts on-line, therefore we cannot calculate what you owe for tax.”

“Well,” says I, “I was just at the retirement/investment office last week and they said they had that access code fixed. I will call them and see what be the matter.”

I pulled the cell phone out and punched the button. A new lady I had never met was at the desk over at the retirement investment office.
I explained to her that the account ought to be open for viewing. And she says to me…and I quote…”I cannot help you. Here’s an 800 number to call.”

I sez back, “Look, I was down at your office last week and Rhoda the regular lady punched a button and it was fixed.”

And New Babe says, “They will fix it at the 800 number.”

And I sez, “I am coming over to see you face to face now. By the time I get there in ten minutes, I hope you will have called your corporate HQ 800 number and found out which button to push on your desk to free up my account so the accountant can do my taxes.”

And I did arrive at the office of retirement account management and low and behold the regular lady, Rhoda, was back and had punched the appropriate button and I was good to go.

So I go back to the accountant’s to report success. I drive home and I try to log on to see my retirement accountant. Does this work?

Oh Hell No!

So I call up Rhoda and she gives me the 800 number and I dial it and does that work?

Oh Hell No!

I am told the wait time will be over thirty minutes. I try several log on codes. None work. I call Rhoda again. She says she will have HQ call me direct.

And they do call. The nice IT boy walks me through step by step. “Now,” he sez, “Click the log on icon.” Does that work?

Oh Hell No!

IT boy is stumped. We go again. At this point also I was sobbing. “All I want is to get the figures for the taxes.”
We go step by step the third time and at that point it seemed to work.

The accountant will probably call tomorrow and tell me that it is locked up again.

I hate computers.

I think from here on out my strategy for retirement investing will be to put money in a plastic bag and bury it in the yard.

It will be easier to access than via computer!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Windy Day 

The golf cart battery died.
So I volunteered to drive it over to the Golf Cart Repair Shop in Eustis for repairs. It needed a new post drilled in to the case to create a new terminal.

Traffic was bumper to bumper inching along on Hwy 19 by the Taco John’s Bridge. I did not see a wreck.
Traffic was bumper to bumper on 441 all the way to the Post Office. I did not see a wreck, but I heard an ambulance.
I decided to turn on Lakeshore to get out of the crush…as if that helped…I was in a train of cars and crept along at 30mph all the way to Eustis.

Got to the Golf Cart Place and the repair did not take long. I sat in the car. The wind was howling coming across the lake. Haven’t felt wind like this in a long time, but it’s roaring out there.

On the way home, I stopped at Sonny’s BBQ and bought some Sweet N Sizzlin’ sauce. Yum. Can make some ribs and chicken BBQ now..in the oven…I wouldn’t risk any open flames out doors in this wind.

I had thought I might drive the tax data over to the accountant today, but I cannot lift the golf cart battery out of the trunk. It seems heavier than a regular battery…or maybe it is just that I can’t lift it up and over the rim of the trunk…anyway…PD can unload it later and I will go to the accountant tomorrow.

I watered the garden. The wind was howling so hard, it blew my hat off. I had to chase it across the back yard. This is not good for the small tomatoes and cauliflower transplants. I hope the beans and peas stay under the soil surface for a few more days so they do not get desiccated.

My eyes are itchy from the pine and cedar pollen. I have to find a good project this afternoon that will keep me indoors.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mosaic Rocket Ship 

Living in NASA's backyard, every landscape just has to have a mosaic rocket...

This was an old, empty welding cylinder that was hanging around the Z shop and got converted into art.
Note all the little space ships hovering around the "mothership".
Mosaic Rocket started life under these trees but this week got moved south towards the Loquat grove. It now warns the lawn mower not to run over the adjacent irrigation riser stub.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


This little fella was burrowing into a new tunnel by the swimming pool pump when we spotted him and snapped his photo.

Usually we find the moles in the greenhouses where the soil is wet (and firm) because of irrigation water. Otherwise the soft sand collapses as he digs the tunnels.
But the pool pump is leaking hence the moist soil over on the west side of the house. Hmmm, better get that fixed.

Anyway, at least he is now in my garden eating off the plant roots. Grrr.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring Planting 

The last 48 hours have been Florida spring!
Don’t blink, you’ll miss it…so out to the garden we go.

In the last 2 days, I opened up the back garden and planted a row of Zipper Cream peas, a row of Contender green beans, 2 rows of Texas Grano onions, and a row of 12 Cauliflowers (hope these don't bolt in the heat).

I opened holes for 10 tomatoes…we will have 5 Early Girls and 5 Romas. Also I planted three 2-gallon patio tomatoes that PD had in the greenhouse to the bed outdoors (hope these aren't caught by a late frost).

Blackie the Black Snake was prowling those tomatoes when I went to lift them in the greenhouse. ZOWIE! I didn’t need those underwears anyway!

Plant Daddy helped set up trellises for the tomatoes and we hung a new mosaic birdhouse. We also moved a mosaic rocket ship to a new location. I’ll post a photo of that one soon. It was a back breaker.

Plant Daddy is moving some irrigation lines over in the grove and unfortunately broke a line that fed the blackberries. Repairs tomorrow.

PD also started seeds of Zucchini, yellow squash and corn. We developed a strategy for summer so the crows don’t steal all the figs this year. Grrr.

On the writing front, I am working on a paper about fern disease. Very important if you like a little fresh greenery with your Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day flowers! But it’s slow going. Once I get through it, back to tax work…get those 1040’s in…find out how much we have to pay. Sigh.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just Another Bird At The Feeder? 

Plant Daddy cleans his catch on the back tailgate of the Chevy. Sometimes fish guts and skeletons fall off.
The crows and buzzards usually come to clean up the mess, but this is a Bald Eagle who happened to be in the neighborhood and dropped in for a meal of whiting.

What a great back yard, yes?

Anyway, PD and I ate the whiting with mashed potatoes and cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. Fresh from the garden of course!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


This popped in to my mailbox yesterday...made for a great Valentine's Day surprize!

March 28th
Monday night 5 'ish-7 PM
@ the Pisces Rising Restaurant
upstairs room ...
239 W. 4th Ave….Directions
Mt Dora

All three finalists in the Pulse Magazine/Pisces Rising Contest will be asked to read their stories. And we will then announce the 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners.

Light bar bites provided, cash bar (Happy Hour prices all day)...

Get the word out to your friends so we have a good crowd for March 28th!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Busy Busy Weekend 

On Saturday, Plant Daddy's buddy came over and the two of them worked on the laundry room remodeling.
Little Mind Escape departed for South Carolina.

On Sunday, Plant Daddy's Z car buddies came over and the four of them worked on oil changes, brake lights, etc.
Aunt Mobile Babe and Uncle RT visited from South Dakota.

I have been in the kitchen since Friday night!
Of all the various stuff I have created, tonight's Sweet Potato Casserole was the best, the primo of the season! Yummy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Change in Format 

Lately, I have been getting north of forty junk e-mails a day over at the old hotmail address. I suspect the source was that scammers and spammers could click on the link provided on this here page.

Therefore I have turned the link off. If you want to reach me, you'll have to decipher the address and type it in manually.

I hope this cuts down on the junk.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ain't she sweet? 

The sink plumbing is all repaired now.

All clean. All fresh. So nice...

For $300 that I had to pay the plumber it damn well ought to be nice! Sheesh!

That's the typical do-it-yourself story around here anyway.
I should just call for assistance at the first signs of trouble. Do-it-myself doesn't work out the thrifty way usually.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


The drain elbow under the sink rusted through and started to drip.

It had only lasted 35 years. But when you rust out, you rust out.

Duct tape gave me a temporary patch while I went to Lowe’s for parts.
Plant Daddy, being brilliant, took a photo of under the sink to make parts shopping easier.

I was not going to call a plumber and pay a fortune for such a minor repair.

Over at Lowe’s, I found the plumbing section. I found two men employees stocking shelves. They didn’t help me but took me to man employee #3.

“I want this stuff,” I said and showed him my photo.
He took me to the shelves and withdrew the parts.

I looked at the parts. I looked at the photo. I could tell he hadn’t got it right. “The bend on that waste arm is not long enough. I am going to need an extender.”

“No,” said Red Shirt Man customer. “You only need an extender for a dishwasher. This is a disposal connection. You don’t need it.”

I curved my lips in over my teeth and bit down. Regaining composure, I directed my statement at the employee, and said, “The photo clearly shows an extension.”

The employee got me one.
Red shirt man Harumphed!

“I’ll also need a third 1 ½ inch nut with washer,” I said to employee.

“No,” said Black Shirt Man customer. “That will reach just fine into the disposal unit.”

Black shirt man and Red shirt man and Lowe’s employee were now all in a discussion about how to fix my sink. What a bunch of Butinsky’s!

A. I hadn’t even asked them. and

B. They were wrong.

I don't even have a disposal!
I had a photo and I’ve done a lot of nursery irrigation work…okay, mostly I’ve watched PD do the actual hands on work, but I have a good sense of direction and these clowns were ridiculous.

While they yammered on, I laid the parts out on a counter top, matched them to the photo and satisfied that I had a fit…left!

When I got home, I easily removed the first metal nut on the left side of the waste arm. So far so good…

However…the right nut was rusted on.

No Problem. I sprayed with WD 40 then waited 10 minutes.
I applied the pipe wrench.
I pushed.

I ripped the cheap pot metal that held the whole sink drain works together.

There is no way duct tape is fixing this one.
Pat the Plumber will be here between 10AM and Noon tomorrow morning.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Yay Green Bay! 

Yay Cheese Heads!
Way to go Green Bay Packers!

While we were watching the Super Bowl, Plant Daddy and I had some snacks. We usually do not get to eat this stuff, but what the heck…it’s a holiday, right?

We ate Fritos Spinach Dip out of a jar…and that necessarily implies that we were eating salty potato chips, yes?

We ate Entemann’s Raspberry Danish.

I ate a couple of handsful of sunflower seeds too, but I don’t think PD ate these.

About 2:00AM….

I dreamed that Plant Daddy had caught Rough Ralph the rat.
PD was holding the rodent by its tail and was bringing him through the house to show to me. Ralph was alive and wiggling.

I woke with a start.

I stayed awake for about a half hour listening for Ralph’s footsteps in the attic, but apparently the poison pellets we put in the attic last week are working. No sign of Ralph.

I went back to sleep.

I dreamed that a semi-tractor trailer loaded with sand crashed into our front yard.

I woke with a start.

I stayed awake another half hour listening to traffic driving by. No sand trucks. I went back to sleep.

I was dreaming that I was eating green beans in curry sauce when PD got up and left for work.

Forget it!

Tonight we are having chicken soup for supper so I can get some sleep!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Church of the Holy Spirit, St. Thomas and St. Edward Episcopal Churches 

Maybe the local Episcopalians around here would be interested in this article I read at Catholic News Agency…

Washington D.C., Feb 4, 2011 / 01:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said in an interview that the Catholic Church has sent out questionnaires to learn more about U.S. Anglicans who have expressed an interest in becoming Catholic. A sufficiently large response would mean the creation of an Anglican ordinariate in the U.S.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has named Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, as its delegate to assist Anglican groups who want to become Catholic through the ordinariate, a special church structure similar to a diocese.

“We’re hearing from those Anglican communities and those Anglicans who wish to explore more fully what the ordinariate will mean and who wish to be a part of it,” the cardinal told CNA in a Jan. 31 interview.

The first step is to respond to all U.S. Anglicans who have indicated an interest in the ordinariate and to learn more about them.

“Questionnaires have gone out asking them to identify more clearly who they are and what the nature is of their current community,” Cardinal Wuerl explained. “The goal is to determine whether there is a response substantial enough to warrant the establishment of an ordinariate here in the U.S.”

“We’ve already seen how the Holy See, at the request of Pope Benedict, has established an ordinariate in England, Our Lady of Walsingham. And that would probably be a model for what we would do here in the U.S.”

“We’re a little ways off yet,” he said.

Anglicans entering the Catholic Church will need faith formation, and the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults, prepared by the U.S. bishops, will be “at the heart” of that process, Cardinal Wuerl reported.

“That much we can say. We already have the tools.

“Our next step now is to have the Holy See determine whether there are sufficient numbers and sufficient response to establish an ordinariate.”

In recent decades the Anglican Communion has suffered division over theological and moral issues, including the ordination of women as priests and bishops and sexual ethics.

In November 2009, Pope Benedict XVI issued the apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus,” which allowed the creation of ordinariates for Anglicans who want to become Catholic while retaining aspects of their heritage and liturgy.

The ordinariates are similar to dioceses but can be led by either a bishop or a priest. Members of an ordinariate are under the jurisdiction of its leader, the “ordinary,” even if they reside in another bishop’s canonical territory.

The Vatican established the first Anglican ordinariate in England and Wales on Jan. 15. The Catholic bishops of Canada, under the leadership of Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, are currently reaching out to Anglicans in their country

Friday, February 04, 2011

Snap Peas 

I'm only days away from the first harvest of snap peas.

I think I will pull a few beets and Voila! A meal.

I watched the Baba Wawa Special tonight about heart disease. I am more encouraged than ever to eat healthy veggies.

Tomorrow is the Mount Dora Arts Festival. 250,000 people will compete for 3 parking spaces downtown. I will not be attending.

I will be helping Plant Daddy with planting trees and doing post freeze irrigation pipe repairs.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings 

Little Mind Escape and I drove to Apopka yesterday for a consultation at the accountant’s office. We turned her tax package in and her work should be done before ours. Plant Daddy and I have yet to get all our paperwork.

The accountant gave me the bad news about unemployment taxes.

As a business owner, when I write checks for an employee, I pay a percent to the State that goes into the Unemployment Fund. Well, that used to be the case.

Since there are fewer employees in Florida, due to the crappy economy and layoffs, the money going in to the Fund is now much smaller.

At first the State borrowed from the Feds to cover the deficit, but the layoffs got worse, so now, the State is coming after all businesses. Instead of paying a percent, we now have to pay a flat fee.

They made it retroactive!

This becomes a disproportionate tax on a little micro business like me.

I might actually consider closing my business.

Anyway, on the drive back home, LME and I spotted a hooker and pimp (Bonus points for the pimp!) in the parking lot at Robin’s Restaurant in Apopka.
I think that’s the name of the place. It used to be the spot for lunch for all the Green Thumb Executives. Woo Hoo!

Then we cooked a sweet potato casserole which LME took over for supper at Anabel’s.

A manuscript came in for some revision work and I was so busy, I forgot to cook anything for poor Plant Daddy. He got a combination of leftovers and a Bologna sandwich. I’ll have to do better tonight.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Loquat Or Not 

Yesterday I trotted out to the grove and picked a nice bouquet of Loquat blossoms.
I put them in a vase and set it on the dining room table. It looked really attractive and the fragrance did not overpower dinner.
Loquat Blossoms

About 9:00PM, my eyes started to itch. As time went on, even Plant Daddy started to complain about the heavy, sweet fragrance...and all he can smell is gasoline and turkey.

I ended up having to take antihistimine since my eyes were very irritated. So Plant Daddy had to take the arrangement out to the shed. There is such a thing as too sweet.

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