Friday, July 25, 2008

weed garden aka my backyard

I spent a little time this evening out evaluating the backyard. It's a pretty big space, with absolutely no grass. Instead, I have a healthy crop of weeds coming along nicely. the larger ones (spanish needle and poke berry) are waist high. There is virginia creeper and stinging nettles along with mimosa trees and a very prolific vine I can't identify. I think tomorrow I am going to try and hold back the invasives. There is a lawn mower shared between me and the other half of the duplex, so I'm going to do some bush hogging (I don't think mowing is the appropriate word for it).  I'm also going to see what kind of hanging baskets they have at Lowe's. 

also while we were outside, Ruby tried to exit through the gate - while it was closed. She is small enough to fit between the gate and the post, and she knows it. As she was trying to slip out, she looked back at me (because I was scolding her) and continued on. So I blocked her way with some extra pavers that were in the yard (you can see them in the picture above). She didn't think that was very sporting of me. Hopefully this can keep her contained when she is outside, at least for a little while. As soon as she realized her hole was plugged she started walking the fence line looking for another. She even got up on a log and looked like she was judging the distance over the fence. She is going to be a handful! I don't usually let her outside by herself, because she is so little, but occasionally I let her explore without me hovering over her. I think it's good for building her independence. She is also usually very good about coming when called mainly because she is rewarded with treats, but it works!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

photography on the road

I just stumbled across a great website with advice for novice photographers who are interested in travel photography. Needless to say, I not only want a new DSLR camera, but also a trip, somewhere, anywhere!
the abcde's of travel photography

5 essential tips for the budding travel photographer

How to take better photos of landmarks

These are some photos I took in Taiwan last spring that I'm pretty proud of...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Puppy Vs. Plant

Who needs goats or a lawn mower when you have a vicious herbivore puppy? The weeds don't stand a chance- I think I need to buy hanging baskets for any flowers I want!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Arachnid Memories

Emily's recent post on Garden Living about a spider we found on her porch had me recalling arachnid stories from my not-so-distant youth.

Spike the Spider

I spent the first half of my childhood in a house that was ancient by Florida standards. It was 100+ years old, built in the cracker tradition, meaning it was lifted 3 feet off the ground, had windows for cross ventilation, a nice wide porch, a tin roof and was built from pine and cypress. It also had no heat or AC.

The house had plenty of character, but unfortunately, this also meant there were plenty of cracks and crevices for creepy-crawlies to get through. We constantly had visitors and learned at an early age to just ignore them. Our mother taught us that spiders (especially wolf spiders) were our friends, hunting down and eating the nefarious cockroaches (Mom also instilled a slight panic in me when it comes to roaches. Thanks Mom). So we learned to live with our friends the spiders. One in particular sticks out in my memory: Spike.

Spike inhabited the corner of the living room behind Dad's chair. He was probably the same size as the palm of my hand now, so just imagine how giant he looked to a 6 year old girl. He would climb the wall and hang out right above the paneling, where the wood was painted so you could see him really well. It seems like he lived there forever although it probably wasn't very long. I just considered him another one of our many pets, and he contributed by eating bugs. It seems like we eventually figured out Spike was a girl because of an egg sack. Which brings me to another encounter...

Bathing with babies

Another memory that is pretty vivid is my experience with a mother spider and her young. I don't know how old I was, but I was taking baths by myself so probably around 8 years old. I went to fill the bathtub, and there was a big spider in it. Showing the values my mother instilled, i went to shoo it out of the tub. Well one behavior of wolf spiders is that they carry their egg sacks and their young. This spider was a particularly good mother and very productive. babies started streaming off of her, what seemed like thousands. They went EVERYWHERE, and really surprised/scared me. That is a shocking sight, if you ask me! Remembering still makes me shudder. Here is a good mother with her babies:

Mom is probably groaning that I'm telling the world that we lived with spiders and all sorts of things. Next on the memory parade: The snake and the bathtub.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I've told myself since I graduated high school that I would get a puppy once I was out of school and somewhat settled. Well that time has come. When I started looking for my new apartment in Gainesville, one of the requirements I had was the ability to have a dog at some point (along with a washer and dryer). I've been scoping out the rescues in Gainesville to see if there were any dogs that really caught my eye and my heart. I had decided that I wanted  a dog, not really a puppy. I also wanted to get it from a rescue. Well fate had different plans and I found the cutest puppy on craigslist. 
It was a very shady deal. The puppy was located in Jacksonville, meaning I had  to drive an hour and a half to get her. At this point I thought she was a he and eight weeks old. well it turned out she was a girl, most likely not eight weeks old, and both people I talked to (one on the phone, one in person) seemed to have different stories that didn't quite match up. I felt so bad for the little darling that I agreed to take her, even though she didn't have her vet papers, toys or anything else. I just didn't want her to go back to wherever she came from, and it seemed like they would give her to whoever had the money. We have a vet appointment for this afternoon, so they will be able to tell me how old she really is, and if she has any major issues.
So now I have a very cute, very little girl. She is supposed to be a border collie/aussie mix, which might be correct. She absolutely HATES being separated from me, even when she can see me she still whines and carries on (like when I took a shower this morning). She also has an odd habit of talking while she eats her food. Maybe she will grow out of it.

UPDATE: We just got back from the vet and she weighs in at a whopping 5 pounds. She slept through her entire appointment, even her shot, and everyone was worried if she acted like that all the time. If only they could see her racing around the house biting feet and shoes! She seems tuckered out from her first day in her new home. 

AND I am still taking suggestions on names...  

Thursday, July 10, 2008

a fourth like none other

For July 4th Caro and I made our way to Pensacola to spend the weekend with our good friend Sam. Sam just got back from a 2 month wander around South America, and we were very happy to be able to reunite some of the college gang before we all go our separate ways in the real world.
Sam's family lives on the sound in Perdido Key, so the water is literally a few steps from their back door. In addition to eating delicious food all day, we played in the water. The neighborhood association set up a giant slip'n'slide which we adults warmed up before the kids got there. Here is Miguel going down. It ended in the bay, and like all concerned citizens we diligently asked about the soap they were using to make it slippery and slidey. It was eco-friendly boat soap, so no harm was done to the bay. We checked the traps on the neighbor's dock and found a couple of these rather ugly crabs.

The water was beautiful and on Saturday Sam and I used a seine net to see what we could catch. Some little pin fish and a baby sheepshead were all that got scooped, but we were accompanied by a group of stingrays zooming around us. They seemed very curious and got really close.

It was a very relaxing weekend, filled with good friends and laughter. We didn't really do much, but it was one of those times that you will always remember and will be telling stories about when you get together 30 years from now.

As we all go our separate ways, I have to wonder how often we will get to do this in the future. As we move away, start careers, get married and start families we will see each other less and less. But I know we will always have a bond to keep us together. I was lucky to find such a wonderful group of friends to make my college years special.