Sunday, March 19, 2023

Spring, 2023

Annually the vernal equinox occurs on March 19, 20 or 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. The vernal equinox happens when the sun crosses the imaginary line, AKA the celestial equator, from South to North in the sky above the Earth's equator. Spring, 2023, begins Monday, March 20 and continues until Wednesday, June 21. 

03/17/2023: My dear friend Rosa shared this picture from her place near 
Villanueva, NM, which is mostly East of Santa Fe on I-40.

Does not look like Spring at Lake Tahoe
where Dwight's niece lives.
She sent me this picture taken from
her dining room window.
The almost daily rains has battered 
the white blossoms on
the Santa Rosa plum tree in my backyard.
Hopefully the bees are finding the
flowers so they can produce an
abundance of plums this year.

A few days ago on Shasta's and
my morning walk I took this picture.
Magnolia trees in various colors are
livening up the neighborhood.

   Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Bleeding heart)
Last year I noticed these plants were not doing well where I had
planted them. I believe it was too sunny so
I moved them to shady spot.
They seem contently thriving where I transplanted them.
They are even beginning to bloom this Spring.  

Sisyrinchium  bellum (Californian blue eyed grass)

Ceanothus (California wild lilac ‘Dark Star’)

Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum ( ‘Heart’s Delight’)

A close up picture 

of the lowest hanging flowers

is above.    

and the entire plant on a
lovely sunny day
a rarity these days.

Frequently I notice that the Wild Birds Unlimited  
Woodpeckers cylinder is covered
with Bushtits. I simply love these cute little birds!
I am hoping as the coyote bushes grow
and produce more flowers hence seeds
they will visit those.
At MuRefuge they certainly did.

I have noticed when I am out and about in my sweet little town that the rosemary bushes are covered with bright blue flowers. I have a very small bush that also has has many blue flowers. I have ordered a pink flowering rosemary which I hope to plant in the ground soon. At MuRefuge I had three of these. I thoroughly enjoyed the pink in contrast to the glossy green leaves.

As I survey my garden bursting into Spring I have a frequent big belly

Friday, February 24, 2023

Flowering Now

"As I enter this new space may I see and be seen.

May I touch and be touched.

May I speak and be spoken to.

May I feel and be felt.

May I experience and be experienced

that we both may become whole.”

        by Carol Milligan, radiation oncologist

Recently when I was out and about "running" errands I stopped by the Rohnert Park Library to pick up a stack of books I had requested. As I was crossing the street from the parking lot to the actual building I passed by this flowering Manzanita. These types of bushes all around Cotati and Rohnert Park are featuring their flowers in varying colors from white to very dark pink.  

Unfortunately the lone bush (Arctostaphylos bakeri (‘Louis Edmunds’) I have planted in my front yard is too immature to bloom. Near the driveway I have also planted two Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (‘Point Reyes’ bearberry) but they are low growing rather than an upright bush. Presently I am searching for Arctostaphylos densiflora X Lutsko's Pink

Oh my gosh, it was just raining now it is hailing. Today the weather here at my house is "wonky" as my now late brother would say. We desperately one  need more moisture so I am grateful for whatever form it falls from the sky.

As I sit and look out the North window behind my computer, I have a whole hearted belly

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Stunning Beauty

 “All our efforts are temporary. They borrow from preexisting forces, ride the current of natural events and disappear according to the dictates of the situation. It is best to realize the transitory nature of things and work with it. Understanding the world’s ephemeral nature can be the biggest advantage of all.” 

from 365 Tao: Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao

No leaves on my California Dutchman's Pipevine (Aristolochia californica) just stunning beauty to behold. Each and every flower is shaped just like a bowl of a pipe. The color of each one is just a bit different from its nearby neighbor. Every day I go out and enjoy this stunning beauty only to be had here in Northern California at this time of the year.

I am so looking forward to watching
this California Dutchman's Pipevine expand
onto the two side trellis recently added.

Tree of Light by Amber Husar

Unique and individual, not one is the same,

A source of nature of which it came.

Strength to grow and remain still.

Through adversities and the cold winter’s chill.

A symbol of knowledge and oftentimes peace.

But with only one branch the tree would cease.

A connection it needs to thrive and flow.

Unity and light is what makes it grow.

An image of family and memories made.

Some happy, some sad, and often some fade.

As we come together to honor those gone.

We look to each other for strength to move on.

If one tiny star can bring light to the dark.

Imagine what the power of love could spark.

Recent years have brought sadness and peril

But coming together we can light up the world!

As we honor our connection with nature and move forward with our lives, may we each partake in a frequent belly 

Monday, February 13, 2023

Happy Valentine's Day

A recent  Hoya kerrii cutting flourishing
on my green table located in my "breakfast nook".

The small heart leaf hoya pictured above is the size I purchased from the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona, oh so many years ago when Dwight and I stayed in the Phoenix area so I could see Spring Training baseball. The cutting was taken from the thriving plant it has become.

Hoya kerrii is an epiphytic plant that climbs and twines as it grows, attaching itself to trees with its aerial roots in its native surroundings.
Unfortunately being contained in a pot with no access to the ground my large Hoya's twining branches just hang loose.

When Dwight and I were relocating back to Sonoma County and looking for a house to buy, I knew this sunny Southern exposure would be excellent location for the above heart leaf Hoya. And it has proven to provide the bright sunlight that was absent in our Santa Fe Stamm home.

Pieces of obsidian: black on the
left and mahogany on the right

Last week my son-in-law came to play with Shasta. He also brought me the two pieces of obsidian shown above. How misinformed I have been! I thought obsidian was black. And as I read the article online (available to each of you if you click on the highlighted "obsidian") I once again was filled with awe!

So I wish each and everyone who reads this post "Happy Valentine's Day". Hopefully you have a "heartmate", as my Molokai friend calls our husbands to whom we are so heart connected, with whom you can celebrate in a heartful, raucous manner! AND enjoy together a frequent belly

Friday, February 3, 2023


Unfortunately I missed heralding the entry of Spring. On the Celtic calendar February 2 signals the start of Spring. It was known as Candelmas or what we now call Groundhog Day.

"I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon

among the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon your

soul to arise and come unto Me.  For I am the soul of nature that 

gives life to the universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me

they must return.  Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for

behold -- all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.  Let there be

beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility,

mirth and reverence within you.  And you who seek to know Me, 

know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you

know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within

yourself, you will never find it without.  For behold, I have been 

with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at

the end of desire."

                                                             DOREEN VALIENTE

Daffodils blooming in my front yard

There seems to be no other early flowering bulb more associated with Spring. Luckily previous owners planted daffodil bulbs all over my property. They are just now beginning to bloom.

Recently I was in a garden center and passed by six packs of Old Spice Mix of sweet peas. I bought two.  The fragrance of blooming sweet peas reminds me of my growing up days in Iowa. My mother buried sweet seeds in the ground as soon as the temperatures warmed. For me no flower surpasses the fragrance of the sweet pea. Perhaps I will save seeds so that I can start them myself next year instead of purchasing plants someone else has propagated.

Now sweet peas starts in my backyard

Green Man is Dwight's last sculpture creation. 

As we rejoice in the changing of the seasons, may we enjoy a hearty

Saturday, January 28, 2023


The previous owner had planted a relatively small Dutchman's Pipevine (the only Pipevine native to California) in front of a metal trellis along the West walkway. For the first few years I lived here I diligently watered the Pipevine. The amount of growth was amazing. In the desire of fostering the process from egg to Pipevine Swallowtail I wanted the Pipevine to have ample room for extending itself. 

Since I was already in Sebastopol yesterday for a 9 a.m. Jazzercise class, I drove the Harmony. Unfortunately, and not very smart on my part, I was negligent enough to go without measuring the trellis in place. Thus the first trip I brought home way too short trellis. Back to Harmony for a second time, WITH measurements, I purchased two six foot, metal trellis just like the trellis that is supporting the Pipevine. 

I hammered one trellis into the ground on either side of the original trellis. I then began the tedious process of untangling the Pipevine and extending it from the old onto the two new trellis.  

Dwight created this sculpture for one of my past birthdays.

My dear and longtime friend who has taken care of the Butterfly Lady's bust had her power washed. I then picked her up. Before settling her in her new home I reglued a butterfly that had become unattached. Once the glue was dry she was set in her PageRefuge site. Perhaps, I certainly hope so!, she will bring good vibes for bringing the targeted visitors to the blossoms. These visitors will put into place the cascade of events to bring Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies to my garden.

Blossoming of the Dutchman's pipes are just now beginning.

Hopefully Pipevine Swallowtail eggs will follow

Then very small Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars

A stunningly beautiful Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar

This was the lone caterpillar from the eggs 
my friend Rob shared with me last year.
Unfortunately this caterpillar "disappeared" during one night. SAD!

Pipevine Swallowtail chrysalis

Dutchman's Pipevine fruit

Unfortunately I possess no pictures I have taken of this beautiful butterfly but you can be view hereYou can also check out this informative article written by a Master Gardner.

During the picture taking at PageRefuge as well as reviewing pictures from MuRefuge, searching the web and writing of this post I enjoyed a frequent hearty belly

Saturday, January 21, 2023


Today, the day before the beginning of the 2023 Chinese New Year of the Water Hare (Rabbit), all is ready at PageRefuge. This week, Wednesday through Friday, Travis Hatton sent 3 skilled painters to paint the outside of my house. 

The front extremely small porch looks more attractive! It now boasts a white ceiling, green door trim and post as well as rain spout.  

The back Northwest corner of PageRefuge
including a very convenient shed,
fencing along the West side  
and an exit from the back addition to the original house.

Once all these wooden structures, including the screen door on the front door, have completely dried out Travis will have his employees treat the wood. This will extend the life of the wood. He cautioned me that this was probably not going to be until some time in midSummer. Hopefully not since we certainly need an extension of our rainy season.

Travis has an outstanding eye for taking in the whole picture. He is also a stickler for detail in both paint color and overall ascetics of the entire project. He had the person who mixes his paint come by and match exactly the green paint on the medal framed living room windows. I LOVE the color which I find richer and more eye popping with its contrast to the white stucco.

One can barely tell
where the metal ends
and the wood begins.

He orchestrated the painting of the inside of my house when Dwight, Shasta and I moved in. After that was completed, he talked to both Dwight and I about the need for painting the exterior. So many other projects took precedent.

Several week ago when I got up (early like 4 a.m.) I discovered the oak flooring beneath the two kitchen windows was flooded. I asked my neighbor to take a look but he could not see where the water was coming from the outside to the inside. The following morning I found a repeat of the water issue. I called Travis who came over and caulked around both of the front kitchen windows. No rain came inside the kitchen after that. When he was here, he reiterated the need to paint the outside of the house. Soon thereafter we picked out time that worked for all of us. 

Today the sky is a vivid blue just like in the first picture. With no cloud cover overnight the temperature dropped into the mid 30's which was not nearly as cold as to what my friends in the Santa Fe area awoke to though. The frigid temperatures there are in the teens at night and only warming the low morning temperatures at PageRefuge. I remember Shasta and I taking our morning walk in those temperatures! No worries for Shasta, she still wanted extended playing time with Hobbes at Lopez Park. 

Lopez Park in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
No snow but it was cold I remember.
Shasta has not found another
beloved playmate like Hobbes.

All in all I am fully prepared for the beginning of the Chinese New Year.
Unfortunately I have not found a great Chinese restaurant in the area of PageRefuge. Dwight and I use to go to San Francisco but alas when the pandemic shuttered businesses this restaurant closed it doors permanently.

I will, and invite each and every one of you also, partake in a hearty belly