GARDEN: Phase II completed

Schmedly the Gargoyle finally has a new home.  He adorned an exhibit at Phipps Conservatory before we purchased him in 2009, mossy patina and all, for our own Pembroke Cottage garden. Now surrounded by freshly planted greenery, he stands watch over the alley.

The new back garden bed took a long while to complete. BH and I aren't spring chickens - the only thing we're good for is soup these days.  What was to be a weekend project turned into a month-and-a-half saga of digging, whining, more digging, and frustration. The grass (two layers of sod atop each other) was indeed our biggest nemesis.

We finished it (and dropped in the first two bushes) the day my father returned to the hospital. Mum and I stayed a week at Family House Neville to be close to him in Pittsburgh, and that put the gardening off for a while.  I resolved to complete it before Dad returned home. After all, we have a deal: I promised him that the plants wouldn't die before he returned, and he promised not t…

GRAPEVINE BEETLE: Pelidnota punctata

Longtime readers probably remember my occasional foray into the realm of entomology (not to be confused with my passion for etymology). It's been a while since I've felt motivated enough to look closely at nature's unexpected critters. After all, we didn't have too many guests before we started gardening at Toronto House.

A lovely grapevine beetle was one of our first visitors this year.  Might as well document him here and add the observation to iNaturalist.


OTHER NAMES: Spotted June Beetle, Spotted Pelidnota
BINOMIAL NAME: Pelidnota punctata
IUCN RED LIST:  Not evaluated
ADULT SIZE (Length, not including legs):approximately 2.5 centimeters but can reach 3 cm IDENTIFYING MARKS: off-yellow or auburn red with three black-spot-patterns on each side. The elytra are divided with thin, black lines.

 KINGDOM: Animalia
  PHYLYM: Arthropoda
   CLASS: Insecta
    ORDER: Coleoptera
     SUBORDER: Polyphaga

Greyhound Dogs: The Second Race | The Brothers Riedell Have A Field Day

A reminder for those looking for the perfect pet: you can't go wrong with a retired racing greyhound!

"The Brothers Riedell, YouTube filmmakers, wanted to spotlight these  friendly and beautiful dogs and shed light  on the organizations and individuals  who are fighting to give these dogs a second race in life."

Allies for Greyhounds
Colorado Greyhound Adoption
Fast Friends
Friends of Retired Greyhounds (FORG) - the org and a list of vets for your Colorado dog
Grey2K USA
Greyhound Pets of America, Greater Cincinnati
The Greyhound Project
National Greyhound Adoption Project
Paws on the Mountain Greyhound Rescue
Wheeling Island Greyhound Adoption Center

To see a larger directory of retired racer adoption agencies near you, please visit Adopt a Greyhound Org directory list.


If I facepalmed any harder, my hand would slap the wall behind me...

Trump announces plans for Pentagon to create 'Space Force'

If you do not understand why I would have this reaction, then you may not be up to speed on the United States Air Force.  I'm beginning to think Trump played Traveller 2300 in the 1980s.

As I am member of the USAF auxiliary, and part of a group that teaches STEM (particularly aerospace education) to youth, I feel Trump's uninformed decision is unnecessary and a waste of money.  We do not need a new "branch". We have a branch that covers this field.  What part of "aerospace" is misunderstood? 

Per a partially tongue-in-cheek article on Vox, "If it’s officially created, the Air Force would likely give up all of its space duties to the space force, including preparing for war in space and protecting US satellites from harm."  Sounds legit.

Look, Trump, just change the USAF name. Stop wasting tax dollars.  You are no…

DAD: Allegheny General

Just a quick entry before bed to keep people updated.

For those out of the loop, my dad went to the ER yesterday. He was behaving oddly - more confused than normal, unable to walk, a bit weak on the left side. His neurologist (well, mine, technically) insisted on an MRI. It allowed her to diagnose bleeding in his brain.

They sent him up to Allegheny General to the neuro ICU (via Life Flight - he was so excited and nervous about the flight).  It was critical that they take him off his thinners to stop the bleed, thus he would require better monitoring than what's available in Steubenville. The risk of stroke is very real, but we're hoping for the best and keeping positive that things will turn out all right for him.

Mum and I are staying at Family House Neville. It's a lovely and comforting facility.  Alas, no photographs - wifi is free, but limited.

We'll head over to the hospital in the morning.  Tests are on the schedule, but we won't know more until we speak wit…

FLOWERS! (and stones)

We made the journey to Lewis Country Gardens in Calcutta this afternoon, but nothing really jumped out at us.  It's better to visit them in the spring, perhaps.  The selection will be larger.

Having some time to kill, we next drove past Paris and stopped by Iannettis. We were not disappointed. Though too late in the season to find a large mixture of perennials, we did pick up different varieties of daylily, a small shrub, some heliotrope, and other assorted annuals.  They also had a lush tomato hanging basket. 

Afternoon and evening rain kept us from doing much in the yard.  I snipped the iris to liberate three hosta (these will all be transplanted), and Better Half finished a bit of grass removal in the main bed.

I'm afraid I won't get much more done this season. My kidneys are flaring up - stones or an infection, can't tell - so movement is extremely painful.  I've been sucking up the pain just to get things done but I think it's about time I made a trip to …

GARDENING: Ferda's Garden Center just a memory now

Better Half has returned from MER SAR College.  Nothing left to do tonight but relaxing and pondering where we'll start our plant quest.  It's late in the season, but not too deep into the hot months.  Our aim is to recreate what we had on Pembroke.

My garden on Pembroke existed due to three sources: Iannettis Garden Center, Ferda's Garden Center, and Phipps Conservatory. The conservatory served as inspiration, but the garden centers made the dream possible.

Gardening became my passion.  I was damn proud of my green thumb, and of the yard I painstakingly crafted. I spent more time photographing it than I did working in it - which is to say I did nothing but embrace nature from April to November.

I haven't had the opportunity to garden since 2014. Sans therapeutic activity, I've found myself slowly withdrawing.  This year, finally, we've worked to turn the lackluster back garden (lawn and more lawn) into something pleasant to the eyes, ears, and nose.  The main…