Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Does Anybody Know What Bugs These Are?

Here is a fly up close. Down a bit I said he was pretty, but here you can see that he is.

This one has a smiley face on his derriere!

I know what this bug is - a pesky fly - but he's still pretty!

Here is one that looks like a fighter jet:

Does anyone know what this bug is? He's not only beautiful, he matches my kitchen!

These were all in Southwest Florida. Anybody got a clue? I don't!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Today I went to Ruth's Memorial at the nursing home. They have one every month to remember those that passed on in the previous month. I thought there would be 2 or 3 maybe. There were 13. Friends and family gathered in the chapel, a woman sang some beautiful songs and a minister prayed, read scripture and spoke "words of comfort." There was a time to share memories of your loved one, and I took that opportunity to remember Ruth, and to thank the caregivers that had helped make her final year so wonderful. Several of them told me how much Ruth had meant to them as well. Afterwards there were refreshments someone had taken the time to make, and we all visited. I met some of Ruth's friends from "the lunch bunch." I was very impressed once again by the staff. They obviously consider their job a ministry. Actually quite a few them are volunteers. What they do is such a blessing. Every time I've ever been there, they are invariably cheerful, efficient, kind and compassionate, and professional all at the same time. It would be nice to be so well cared for, and then remembered, by such a group when it is my turn to be old!

In getting ready for the memorial, I sorted through Ruth's pictures so I could take some of her for the memory table. Of course, I walked right out and forgot them on my own table! But the process made me thoughtful. It is really weird going through someone else's memories. Some of the pictures were of our mutual family, but many were of people I didn't know, but who were important enough for Ruth to keep their photos all these years. It would be nice to know who they were. One thing I have begun doing as a result is to organize my own photos and label them clearly. The other thing is sorting through everything I own, deciding what is really important enough to keep. After all, some day it will all belong to someone else. Do I really want to dust it until then? And there was one last result of all of this. As the minister said today, how do I want to be remembered? After listening to what people had to say about their beloved departed, it seems we write our own eulogy through lots of small, thoughtful things that we do day by day more often than by one monumental achievement. The one characteristic most people seemed to admire about their loved one was some variation on the theme of, "She was old and sick and blind and alone, but she never complained!" Something tells me that takes a lifetime of practice through smaller hardships, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Portrait of Four Sisters

(And now for a poem of more recent vintage...I wrote a picture! This poem is meant to be a portrait of four young sisters I know).

Annabelle is a red, red rose
Heart-shaped face
Small, straight nose
Petite in stature
Dainty dreamer
Quiet with a sweet demeanor

Nancy, All-American Girl,
Long, blond hair
Exquisite pearl
And rose complexion
Tall and graceful
Vibrant look of intelligent reflection

Miranda, mischief in her eyes, and
In her glance, romance
Snub nose, artistic hands,
Laughing lips
Tossing back her chestnut hair,
Her eyes dance

Serena, small and blond
With large, expressive eyes
Vivacious, fond
Of giggling, of playing,
Bubbly, effervescent
Little dimpled darling

Four sisters form a sweet bouquet
Rose and Pearl
And Mischievous Girl
Little One so full of fun
Blossoming forth, together they
Dance with joy in the warmth of the sun

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I was looking through some things and found this poem I wrote when I was a kid, maybe 13. I thought I would share it - hope you like it!

Trees...big, gangly, shy trees,
Little, gutsy, green trees,
Tall, old, wise trees,
Friendly trees, Mean trees
Trees that tower, trees
That shower leaves upon a
Dreamer who loves trees, trees, trees!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Planting and Growing Roses

For those of you who have always heard that roses are too hard to grow, I have good news for you! They really don't take nearly as much work as is rumored. I plant roses in Florida and have had very good luck with them. I thought maybe I could share a few tips and possibly increase the rosebush population! I think the most important thing is getting the right kind of roses. In Florida, the best kind is fortuniana root stock roses, grown in pots. They are grown specifically for Florida's soil and climate conditions, so they are hardy year round, regardless of rainy season or dry. A garden center or nursery is more likely to carry the right kind than the local hardware store is. At our local garden center they cost about $20.00. This may seem high, but they are guaranteed for a year, and I can attest to how beautifully they grow and bloom.

Once you've decided on which rose bushes you want, you've got to find the perfect spot to plant them. They really need at least six hours of sunshine a day directly on them. If you plant them where they will be shaded all morning by your house, or half the afternoon by a tree, they won't do as well. Ours went crazy once the tree in our front yard was taken down by Hurricane Wilma! I miss our tree, but one of the roses is about 8' tall by 8' around now, so it is practically a tree itself! Also, your roses need to be 4' apart. That way they get air flow, plenty of sun, and they don't share any mites, mildew or black spot as easily!

Water the rose thoroughly with root stimulator. Next, dig a hole 12" deep and 24" wide. This is very important. The roots get lazy and won't grow in to the surrounding soil if it is too tightly packed. If you dig a big enough hole, the roots will have room to expand easily and will be strong enough to go further. Mix the following ingredients well, in a wheelbarrow: One cubit foot of of organic compost, one cubit foot of Black Cow Manure, one cubic foot of the soil you are planting in, out of the hole you dug, one cup of bone meal and 1/4 cup of super phosphate. Mix well with a shovel or hoe. Fill the hole half way with the mixed soil. Place one hand across the top of the pot and turn the rose upside down. Place the other hand on the bottom of the pot and remove your rose carefully. Put the rose in the middle of the hole and make sure the soil around the rose is level with the top. Don't cover the stem and graft. Fill the hole with the mixed soil. Water slowly, then fill again if needed. Now you may want to place a mulch mat tree ring around the rose to help with weeds. On top of that, you can put decorative rocks if you like. We put paving stones around each rose in a pattern as well, as more protection. We like mulch or a pretty ground cover between the roses, but of course you can always do rocks all around as is popular. If you don't want to do these things, at least make sure you don't let mulch, grass or weeds get up close around the bottom of the rose. The rose will like to drain well and not be smothered with anything.

About three weeks after planting, you'll want to begin fertilizing. I use Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower Care. It is a fertilizer and insecticide all in one. I pour a capful of the granules around each rose bush every six weeks or so, and it works really well. One time when things were very dry, I got some mites on the rose leaves, and I had to spray a fungicide on them, but that killed them and I've never had them again. Other than this, I water them if it isn't raining enough, and deadhead them. And of course, pull any adventurous weeds that get past all my barriers. As for deadheading them, the old way of cutting back to the first branching out isn't necessary. I snip off the old rose right behind the neck, and the bushes bloom much more prolifically then they ever did in the past. If there is ever a cane growing under the graft, I snip it off right to the root, but otherwise I only prune to shape a little. If a branch grows out across the path, I prune it at an angle so the new growth will go up, for instance. Sometimes the bush will be covered with roses, then they will be spent, so it kind of ebbs and flows that way, but different bushes bloom at different times, so I truly do have roses year round. I hope you'll try it too. The world can always use more roses!
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