Saturday, May 26, 2007

Flowers, Flowers Everywhere

We are keeping busy, as usual. I started a new exercise program (new for me, not totally new--haha) and I have really been working at it. I am spending more time than ever on the nordic track and also doing some weight lifting. I am feeling so much more fit, already, and am really enjoying it!

Plans for the wedding are progressing nicely. It is still early days, of course, but we sure hope to keep things moving along at a nice pace and not end up with any last minute messes.

The magnolia tree is looking fabulous! In the past, it has always put out lots of buds, and yet they have tended to open up one or two at a time. Well, it is going wild this year! The other day I counted 12 open or partially open flowers, and that wasn't counting the ones that were open but turning brown. Here is a shot of the whole tree--afraid I cut off the top, but it is a better photo than the one that does include the top!

Here is a close up of one of the flowers. I had to make do with one of the lower ones, as most of them are too high for me to photograph well--as small as the tree is, it is way taller than me.

I got quite a surprise while out checking out all the plants. I had always known that there was this big bush near the corner of Helen's house (next door to us), but didn't know what it was. Don't ask me how I have missed seeing it bloom two spring/summers in a row, but I evidently did. I did see it at the right time this year though, and the huge bush is a gardenia. It is covered with blooms, and between the scent from it, and removing spent blooms from our gardenia, I went back in with a headache. Really gorgeous though!!!!

Back to our yard, here is a lovely hibiscus on one of the plants that Joel and the elves cut back because of some kind of mold or mildew or other miscellaneous plant problem. It is coming back just fine, and has the lovely flowers to prove it!

I didn't get a photo of the jasmine, although the trellis is really getting covered and it is all in bloom. However, the posts holding the trellis up seem to have broken/rotted out, and the trellis is not standing right now. The jasmine is getting quite a bit heavier, too, with growing and spreading so much. It is really gorgeous, and the scent is very evident too.

Now for Mom, in the quest to possibly identify the plant in the back. Here is a shot of the whole plant, well, the larger of them, as there are actually two, or maybe three?

This is a shot from the other day (the other photos were from the other day too). There are little buds, just starting to open up, and I think you can sort of see the way the stems and flowers are situated. It is sort of like some kinds of grass, that put out runners?

Here is a photo from today, of one of the flowers. They are opened up now, all those that were buds the other day, I should say. It has been windy and so between that and sometimes getting white glare from the flash, it has been tricky trying to get any photo that you can actually see detail in.

Here is a side view of one of the flowers. Not very good, but you can somewhat see the detail, etc.

So, there it is. The flowers are really small, not any bigger around than a ping pong ball, or a golf ball, I don't think. They are yellow with brown spotting towards the inner parts. It would be interesting to know just what they are.

Now, one last thing before I go! I have to tell you about a relatively new cut of steak. I had seen something on AOL news about some different cuts, and they were being raved over. Well, I was in the commissary a couple of weeks ago, and saw that they had some of one of those new cuts. It is called a flat iron steak. They came in the vacuum pack, and there were two steaks in each package, although that wasn't evident looking at the package. I got some, and Mike cooked two packages of them last weekend. There was a little bit of visible fat while they were raw, but not a lot. Well, Mike cooked them up, and we each had one. I think I can safely say they were the best steaks we had ever had. Good flavor, pretty darn tender and juicy, and even better, the fat all rendered out and we didn't have a scrap of anything left when we finished them. That is a total first for me, as I am really fussy about fat in meat. There truly was nothing to cut out. I don't know if we got lucky the first time or what, although that really isn't totally the case either, as we had the two left over steaks. Even reheated in the microwave, they were still tender and juicy, and once again no fat. Mike is grilling more of them tonight and we will see how they are this time. I did notice when I bought them, that some of the packages are already seasoned. I didn't get seasoned ones. I did give them a good dose of fresh ground pepper and a good sprinkle of salt, and they were fabulous!

Well, I have to go, take care all and more later.....

Sunday, May 13, 2007


What a weekend for events!

Yesterday was Dad Walters' birthday! How the time does fly, eh Dad? We hope you had a great day.

Today is Mothers' Day, of course! Happy Mothers' Day to both our moms!!

I took some photos of the unidentified flowers in the back. The photos are very uninspiring, but I guess this one is clear enough that someone might be able to recognize the flowers and tell what they are? Here it is:

While I was in the back with the camera, I also checked the gardenia. It had several flowers on it, and this is a semi-decent shot that I got of two of them:

They are so pretty, aren't they? Just a shame that I can't stand the smell of them! They sure are pretty to look at though.

Not much going on around here. Anne keeps busy with school and Paul. She is still going to pt two times a week, too.

Mike is going to grill tonight, and Anne and Paul are supposed to come. I got some steaks at the commissary and he is going to grill those. We might do up the squeaky cheese too.

Well, I guess that is it this time around, I will try to have something else to talk about soon?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Less Than a Week Later....

I'm back! Aren't you surprised!!!????

Not that there is a lot to write about. I am still baking bread for us, and I don't buy any bread any longer. Which is really kind of nice. It freezes well too, so it works out well to slice it all up, put part in ziplock bags, and slip them in the freezer.

Summer is pretty well here, I think. We have had some warm temps this past week, definitely mid to high 80's all week. The humidity level is rising a little bit too. Our county has generally been avoiding being mentioned on the "high fire risk" list, thank goodness. We haven't had much rain though, in ages, and the water level in the area lakes keeps going further and further down.

I gave Mike a hand with some work in the butterfly garden today. The passion vine is going wild. I had noticed before that the vine was working its way all over the place, inter-weaving itself among the other plants, etc. I had redirected some of the vines before, but naturally, it takes constant vigilence to keep up with these things! Mike and I redirected more vines, and Mike gave parts of the whole an assist in its journey over the arch. There are a number of flowers open on it and a ton of buds. They are so pretty and outlandish looking, those blooms!

We then headed to the back of the house, as I had noticed that part of one of the porter weed plants was dead. Mike got to work on trimming that and I put the trimmed pieces into the veggie recycling bin. There is a plant (well, a couple or more, I guess) behind this porter weed---I have wondered if it is an orchid or some kind of lily or iris. Mike took a good look at it today and thinks it is an orchid. There are three blooms on it, they are yellow. I will have to take a photo and post it. I didn't take that close a look, although I have looked at it from inside, as it can be seen from the sun room. I don't think it has the long bloom shoot that most orchids I am familiar with have, but I don't think all varieties have those? I guess we will see.

We gathered fallen grapefruit off the ground and checked the ones still on the tree, which seem like they might still be okay---I was sure they would have to be picked and tossed at this late date. The new grapefruit are getting bigger. A quick check didn't find very many, but I am not too surprised by that. They vary in size from big pea sized to malt ball sized--haha.

As we headed on, I glanced back at the gardenia, which didn't have any blooms on the front. There were some flowers on the back, so it is actually blooming again this year! It doesn't look like it will put out as many as it did last year though.

Joel and the boys had cut back some of the hibiscus, which had some kind of fungus or mold or something on them. They are growning back nicely and most of them have blooms on them--hurrah!

Well, enough for now, take care and I will keep posting more often! I'll try to get some photos on soon.