Hemaris thysbe

hummingbird moth

One of summer’s highlights is sitting in the yard and watching the antics of our resident hummingbirds.

Two summers ago, we noticed a hummingbird that was, well, to put it bluntly, ugly. And a little freakish. And perhaps a tad creepy.
hummingbird moth closeup
It wasn’t long before it dawned on us that it was not, in fact, a hummingbird, but a hummingbird moth, or Hameris thysbe.

Neal emailed me this picture on Saturday while I was at the yarn store. I’m easily creeped out; all I could imagine is what happens if the hummingbird moth decides it likes to chomp wool? My fiber closet would be a disaster.

These are the dark thoughts that sometimes occupy my mind.  Really.

Sentimental Gardener

Reception Flower

The adorable little restaurant where Neal and I had our wedding reception brunch had a fabulous garden with meandering paths out back. Sadly, the place closed a year or so after our wedding. We bought all sorts of vintage plates, platters, glasses, and pitchers when it closed, and Neal surprised me with a dozen plates the owner had bought for our party. I love that we use so many pretty items from what used to be our favorite place.

When final closeout sales were happening, Neal asked the owner if we could buy some of the plants from her garden for our yard. Like most gardeners, she insisted that we take what we liked. We didn’t want to abuse her generosity, but this was the plant we had our eyes on. It blooms each year right around our anniversary (which is next Wednesday). I enjoy looking out the window and seeing it. Even more, I like having little bits of a place that meant a lot to us at our home now.

Do you have any sentimental plants in your home or garden? Tell me about them, will you?


The view from my desk is filled with flowers. Perhaps my yard looks like chaos from the road side, but from here, the yard has been transformed into a meadow of swaying flowers. Next year we plan to take a section of the meadow and move the kitchen garden there so the veggies can take advantage of the extra sun. My current kitchen garden will become an herb and cutting flower garden.

I have five thriving lavender plants, and I've been looking at things to do with the flowers.  I may have let the flowers go too far to make lavender wands, but surely I can dry the flowers and make sachets.  There's always lavender sugar, too, which may be nice with lemonade.  Any other ideas for my bountiful crop of lavender?

Progress is being made on the kitchen.  We picked up our dishwasher this week and made a final selection on lights.  I have a handful of paint swatches (my favorite part) to play with, too.  Last night Neal made great strides on the first cabinet.  I keep telling him that HE should be a teacher and get the summer off…what he couldn't do with three months straight to work on our little house!

I hope you have fun plans for the weekend.  Tomorrow I'm going to see The Tempest with friends and nephews and eat lots of yummy picnic food. Today, though, I'll hop on my bike to clear my head for some late morning novel writing.

Sure Sign of Spring

Two years ago my girlfriend Cae gave me a cutting from her pussy willow. It seems to be thriving. I can't wait until it is big enough for me to cut a few branches to bring inside.

The weather is beautiful today; after a visit to my nephew's art show, I wandered into the garden.  The lavender that looked beat up–nearly dead–from the living room window is actually doing pretty well.  I trimmed back a lot of the old growth to give the new leaves a greater chance for success.  I was also surprised to see that my oregano has made it through another harsh winter.  Tough stuff, that. 

Neal and I walked around the front to see where we might put in an asparagus plant.  Norma has encouraged me with her advice on the Garden Along board, and I'm looking forward to a feast of fresh asparagus next year.

How goes your Saturday?

On Composting

112707_001About 18 months ago Neal and I decided to start a compost pile.  After a lot of debate about how to collect our compost material in the house (he wanted a bucket outside by the door; I wanted something inside), we settled on a medium sized plastic bin kept by the kitchen sink.  We figure we’ve cut the amount of garbage we send to the dump by at least two bags a week by hanging on to our veggie scraps, egg shells, and coffee
grinds.  It ain’t pretty, but here’s how it looks.

When the bin threatens to overflow (with all of my soup making lately, that’s often), one of us takes it out back, behind our shed. 

112707_006There Neal has set up three piles.  While it would be better to have an enclosure around the piles, we haven’t had any problems with critters, and the dogs aren’t allowed behind the shed, so they don’t scamper off with carrot bits.  At this point, one pile is simply leaves from our yard.  The second has a crater in the center, where we dump the kitchen waste.  The third is our own version of black gold.

112707_003 Neal moved a pile of our first compost to my garden, where it will be used to enrich the soil.  It is so satisfying to know that all those bibs and bobs of organic material that we might have put in the garbage are instead going to help me to grow more food for our kitchen. 

Do you compost?  If so, what tips do you have for me?