carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

I’ve just been busy

Guest Post: By Guppy, The Lucky Dog 3

She Who Must Be Obeyed has been fussing at me because I haven’t written any thing for a long ole time. Well, I have just been sooooo busy.

Here I am watching dog tv at the front. See, that is the Broughton High School Homecoming Parade passing by.

Then I need to run to the back and check on what’s going on out there. And now that it is not so hot I sit on the deck a good bit. Those squirrels have been running wild. It’s my duty to watch for them.

Then I need to spend time with my Ben.

Then She made me help her set up a bird table. Like I know what that is…. now She’s all excited because we have blue birds.

That bird table is real ugly. Doesn’t seem to matter to those birds. A free meal is free meal… You know, sometimes my dinner is late. I have to act up to get She to make my dinner. Anyway, I need to take a nap now. I’ll have a big surprise soon to write about.

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Piante in carrozza

Getting the garden ready for winter seemed to take forever this year. I might be trying to save way too many plants. I dug and dried the elephant ears bulbs. There must be at least 10 pounds of them. After three weeks of drying and cleaning them up they are finally tucked under the stairs for the winter.

The asparagus ferns moved into Ben’s shower and are trying to take over.

The spider/airplane plant that I started last fall from two little babies that I picked up from the sidewalk in Cameron Village is HUGE! It also moved in to Ben’s bathroom. Before it could do that, I had to trim the babies off. What to do with them?

We don’t have a lot of room for plants. The front and back windows do have nice wide window sills. Guppy interacts with both those sills. She stands on them. So any plants on them would be knocked over. In the front, the things on top of the pieces of furniture are moved off when we leave the house. Guppy climbs up on the lower piece to the left and then sprawls on the wooden piece watching out the window until we return. About all the space that is left is above the window.


The perfect place for the airplane plant babies. It took a while to mount the black bamboo rod. I used leftover brackets that match the other shelves in the kitchen area.

It took a while to figure out the how to make the carrozza ( ‘carriages’) for hanging.

I thought of macrame but all the books about it in our library were checked out. I hit upon using tissue boxes. Cutting them in to strips, weaving them together to make a base and then tying them up for hanging. The real issue was hanging them from the pole so I could reach them each week to fill them up but not too low that Guppy gets irriated with them while she is sitting up there. (The lamp in the picture at the top bears the scars of battles with Guppy.) So far they are okay. Guppy has sat under them one time and there was only a small amount of drips. We’ll see if they make it to spring.

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At last, Wegmans

Today’s the day. To much fanfare the store opened at 7:00 AM this morning. Did I say much fanfare….

Above the fold, front page of Saturday’s paper. Feature segments on many local news stations. Rented signs on the highways leading to the store advising of traffic delays. A food ad in Wednesday’s paper

And they have mailed coupons….So excited! We won’t be going until the end if the week. After last week of traveling to my high school reunion I have had my fill of moving Ben about and in crowds.

When we were considering where to land as we planned our move back here, Wegmans coming to Raleigh helped tip the balance. I am glad that it is finally here.

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How’s the garden looking?

Well, thanks for asking. It still looks pretty good. Here, Hurricane Dorian was no worse than a thunder storm. We have had some thunderstorms this summer that caused some damage to the garden but nothing awful. And we have had some well spaced rain, but still I felt like I had to do way too much watering.

The tomatoes are still producing although the plants look rather sad.








I did finally get some green beans

The front needs some work. When the weather finally changes I will be moving some things around. I hope to plant daffodils in the new bed where the crepe myrtle is. It has done well and even managed a bloom. Next year should be a good year for it.

That’s how the front looks. Look for a later post about the deck.

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Accepting the reading challenge

On Facebook, I was recently challenged to posting for seven days about books that I have read and enjoyed. I use Facebook to interact with folks that I don’t get to see everyday. I don’t click on things posted on Facebook. I don’t watch videos. I don’t “like” posts. I don’t use emojis. So I wasn’t about to participate in a seven day challenge. But I did like the idea of talking about the books that I have read and enjoyed. I figured if I was going to talk about 7 books I might as well get a blog post out of it. So here Ann, in answer to your challenge, are 7 books that I have enjoyed.

I don’t get much time to wander in the library to search out new titles. To make book selection easier I tend to read books that are part of a series. (carry over from Nancy Drew days?) So many of these are series and I am somewhere in the series.

Miss Julia Takes the Wheel by [Ross, Ann B.]

The Miss Julia series by Ann B Ross. Why I like these: Set in North Carolina. The main character, Miss Julia is a strong, intelligent Southern woman who gets things done. There is always one laugh until you pee moment in the book. I don’t understand, why someone like Reese Witherspoon hasn’t snapped the rights up and made these into movies.



From the Bruno series by Martin Walker. Why I like these: Set in a small bit of the French countryside where Ben and I spent a lovely vacation several years ago. I can “see” everything that is written. Not too violent. Not too many characters to try to keep up with.

If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by [Lende, Heather]


Sometimes, if our lives are really busy, I find it easier to read a collection of essays. No need to keep track of characters or a plot line. Just pick up, read for a bit when I can and then put it down to come back to later. This is a good one of those. So are these.


You Can't Drink All Day If You Don't Start in the Morning by [Rivenbark, Celia]



Southern Lady Code: Essays by [Ellis, Helen]

Ben and I both enjoy graphic novels. Especially her works.


Displacement by [Knisley, Lucy]

We would especially recommend this one to anyone who is traveling with older folks.




By  Fabien Grolleau  (Author), Jeremie Royer (Illustrator). This was a beautiful work.

That is seven writers that I have enjoyed. I think having the time to read what I want is one of the best things about being retired. I know living close to a well funded and well maintained public library makes that so easy. And I know this is a privilege that not everyone has.

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Elephant Ears Again

We recently suffered through our second long stretch of 90+ degrees heat. Finally it was broken by some rain.











Needless to say, I was fasinated by the water collecting on the leaves. I am also fascinated by the size of this leaf.



It measures 28 inches long by 22 inches. Not as big as this one that we saw in the greenhouses at NC State.



That is my friend Roy standing beside it, to give you an idea of the size of the leaf.

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The Corpse Plant

When we still lived in Italy, I started following this blog. https://arthur-in-the-garden.com/. The writer, lives about a mile from where we are now. Following his blog gave me a good idea of what to expect garden wise before we moved back. Now that we are back I have just kept reading it. I was tickled when on Tuesday, he posted about a corpse plant blooming at nearby NC State University. It wasn’t until Thursday AM that the newspaper picked up the story. This was a case where being connected on social media paid off. Thanks Arthur!


Wednesday, at our exercise class I talked with our friends Roy and Marcia about going to see it. And we agreed if I could arrange tickets, we would go. It was free but, online reservations were required. Accessiblity for Ben and Marcia was an issue. Parking on campus can be difficult. Accessible parking even more so. Viewing slots were for a 15 minute period. After weighing the hour needed to get Ben ready to go somewhere, the logistics of finding two handicapped accessible parking spaces and the fact that Ben was not nearly as excited about seeing this plant as Marcia and I were, I decided that he might just not go. Roy was dragooned to be the driver allowing us to be dropped off if no parking was available.

Well, our after 5:00 PM viewing time on Friday meant we could get on campus and park fairly close by. So after a bit of standing in line we got to see the much hyped Corpse Plant.







This will give you an idea of the size of it. It was sitting on greenhouse table.

The bloom started to open on Thursday. It was already wilting by the time we got to see it, which is normal. It is very short lived. As you can see from the newspaper photo the center part had been erect but on Friday was now folded over.

If you are able to read the poster about the heat you can see that the plant heats itself up to attract pollinators and produces a smell similar to rotting flesh. By the time we were there it was more like a fish shop smell. Really not that strong. Some close ups.











And this bit of history, lifted from the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden website.

When it was discovered in the rainforest of central Sumatra in western Indonesia, by the Italian botanist and explorer Dr. Odoardo Beccari in 1878, the stories caused quite a sensation and disbelief among European botanists. Not until the first specimen flowered in cultivation at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England in 1889 did the world take notice. During the Victorian era plant hunting was at its height and unusual specimens were enjoyed by a discerning and curious audience. It was also an era where governesses protected young women from such an indecent sight. Whenever the Amorphophallus titanum, which grows only in western Sumatra, has flowered in cultivation it has attracted an enormous amount of attention. The 1998 bloom attracted more than 5,500 visitors to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and worldwide media attention as the first documented bloom of this species in the United States since 1939. A 1996 bloom of this species attracted thousands of people to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as did a 1970 two-day flowering in Java which attracted 34,000 viewers. It was introduced to the United States in 1937 when the New York Botanic Garden and the daily press kept the public informed of the progress of the gigantic bloom grown from an imported tuber. The spectacular event so impressed people that when a second specimen flowered (from another imported tuber) two years later it was designated as the official flower of the Bronx, symbolic of the largest and fastest growing borough of the City of New York. The discovery of this species must rank as one of the greatest highlights of natural history exploration.

So I was very tickled to get to see this. Thanks to the owner of the plant, a Doctorial student at NCSU, Brandon Huber. And thanks to NCSU for allowing the public in to see it too. It really was cool!

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Tomato Update

It has been a good year for tomatoes. Unfortunately, I did not pick tasty varieties or varieties that appeal to my taste. My plants are producing though.

These are the plants on the front porch. Taken 7/10/19. The far left plant is the one I am growning for NC Tomato Man. Those are green beans behind the tomato plants. The green beans are on pots below the porch. The early and long heat wave effected the green beans. Pretty plants but no beans.

Close up of the ‘experimental plant’.

That is a teaspoon. The three yellow ones are from the trial plant. The big (Yes, BIG) one is Bendigo Drop. And the little ones which are smaller than blueberries are Mexican Midgets. They have the most flavor. The Bendigo Drop might have a good flavor but I can’t leave them on the vine to ripen because the city wildlife keeps sampling. At least I don’t have to deal with deer!

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Ben’s Birthday

Ben’s birthday was July 1. We celebrated on the 30th by having brunch at Poole’s Diner in downtown Raleigh. https://ac-restaurants.com/pooles/

We were a big group so we had to wait for a table. So we had a drink while we were waiting. It was not hard to get Ben in and out of the restaurant. Food and service were good. Sorry no food pics. I felt like it was a nice size meal, without feeling stuffed and without dragging home left overs. I would certainly go back.

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How’s the yard looking?

Very well, that is so nice of you to ask… Except for a difficult 10 days of 90 degrees plus dry weather in MAY, it is been a fairly decent Spring. A good bit of rain. Sometimes too much. But more or less spread out.

The bee balm is being a little pushy, but the day lillies held their own. I’m real pleased with them and the blue salvias.

The butterfly bush has finally gotten settled in (only took two years!). It is doing well this year.

This is where the ramp from the deck ends, at the back of our condo. The hydragenas in the pots were $5 half dead ones from Lowes. They have perked up and are about to bloom again. My friend, Jim, gave me the vinca in the two pots in back.

Here’s the deck. Doesn’t it look great! It is so nice to sit out there. Guppy now sits beside me in the blue chair. I’m waiting until she starts expecting her own glass of wine….

I finally figured out something to do about the ugly telecommunications post.

I relocated some of the elephant ear forest and the flamingos… much nicer looking than the ugly box.

I am aware that we are fortunate to have this space, the time and the means to be able to indulge in something that is just pretty. It does provide me with a huge amount of enjoyment and the activity that I look forward to every year.

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