Monday, May 19, 2008

Bleuberricous Butterballous

A few years ago I bought two small blueberry bushes. Before I bought them I looked up blueberry bushes and found they have pretty spring flowers, then blueberries (for the birds), then beautiful red leaves in fall. You needed to get two different species of blueberries for best results. I planted them and they never really took off--pretty spindly and few berries. Then, one died. I've kept the one lone bush but it was clearly lonely and not doing well. It did produce blueberries but only one little cluster of about 6 or 8 berries a year that the mockingbirds got always a few days before they were ripe.

In April, my friend and neighbor Stephanie surprised me with a blueberry bush in honor of Butterball. I have yet to plant it but I put it right next to my lone blueberry bush and exciting things started to happen! Bees were coming by and I watched as they would fly between the two bushes pollinating each one. My one lonely little bush produced many more leaves and flowers. Here, take a look for yourself...

I know it still looks spindly but it has at least 7 clusters of berries. Maybe I might even get to taste a few this year before the catbirds and mockingbirds get them all. I've named this plant Sunkist.

Here's my new plant, Butterball.

It has been two months on Saturday since Butterball left me. I've been under so much stress at work lately and this time of year the yard is growing out of control. It ain't easy being a single homeowner with a good-sized yard. I really think the reason I've not been able to shake this stress is that my main man is no longer around to calm me down. The rest of the cats, God bless 'em, can be a constant source of stress with all their allergies and issues with one another. I told a co-worker that as much as I love my other cats, it is always like they are saying "Feed me, play with me, love me, leave me alone, let me out, let me back in, would it hurt you to clean the litterbox?" With Butterball it was as if he would look at me and say "What's wrong mom, you look a little stressed. What can I do for you?" Oh, I still miss him something awful.

Butterball and Apu just hangin out

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Meet Willy Mo

All right, I know I should be chasing these guys away and I usually do, but this guy was just too cute. I almost didn't post this video because of my geeky background talking but hey, that's me. I talk that way to all the animals here, the cats, raccoons, possums, birds, tent caterpillars, etc.

My friends Paul and Joy treated me to a Washington Nationals game a few weeks ago (in their new fancy schmancy stadium I might add). I was telling them when the time came to get another cat I had to think of a good name. We started going through the names of the Nationals. Joy wanted me to name it "Lastings". There is a Nats player with the first name of Lastings! What kind of a name is that? My favorite was Willy Mo! Now that's a name. And, since I won't be getting a new cat anytime soon, I decided to name this little visitor Willy Mo.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Flower Mart and a Shout Out!

I just realized I'm going to talk about a flower mart without any photos of flowers! Oh well.

One of the jewels of Washington, DC is the National Cathedral. Make sure the next time you visit to put the Cathedral on your list. It is an Episcopalian church with its own parish community but the community shares it with the nation as it is named the Nation's Cathedral. I LOVE this church and its surrounding gardens. This Church is a uniter in every sense of the word. They bring in wonderful speakers such as Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.

Most former Presidents have their funeral service here as well as services for major events like right after 9/11.

There is a wonderful little book that was published years ago called "A Soul in Balance: The Gardens of Washington National Cathedral." The introduction states that early designers and supporters of the Cathedral "foresaw the creation of gardens suitable for a fourteenth century Gothic cathedral: ancient, walled gardens appealing to the five senses, filled with plants of historic interest, plants of biblical myth and legend, and native plants. Tranquil, permanent, and timeless; hallowed yet real, set in the midst of a bustling capital city."

Every spring the guardians of the Cathedral gardens, the All Hallows Guild, put on a Flower Mart festival to raise funds for the upkeep of the Cathedral close. The Cathedral is a quick ten minute drive from my house, so my sister and I have made it a tradition to attend almost every year for close to 10 years.

The festival is always on a Friday and Saturday. We have always gone on Saturday and, while fun, it is extremely crowded. This year with my sister recently retired I decided to take the day off and go on Friday. The crowds weren't nearly as bad. They have plant and herbs for sale as well as wonderful crafts and delicious food.

Every year the festival showcases a different country. This year was South Africa

As soon as I saw this group dancing I thought they were performing a Zulu dance.

And I was right! Sometimes I amaze myself!

It got up to the mid-80s on Friday so my sister and I were quite hot when we returned home. I had told her about my latest discovery--Edy's Coconut Creme fruit bars. If you love coconut, these are heaven.

They're even "Woody approved"!


Now onto the Shout-out! I just need to publicly state how much I love and appreciate cartoonist Patrick McDonnell. He created the comic strip "Mutts" about the adventures of a dog, "Earl" and a cat "Mooch". The comic strip is a delight. I even named one of my strays Moochie. But the thing I admire most about Patrick McDonnell is his commitment to the environment, animal welfare, and especially the plight of shelter animals. Every year he devotes a few weeks to telling shelter stories. Now, I don't know if I will get in trouble for copying this cartoon here, but I just wanted to share it with those who may not get his comic in your paper...

A few years ago he was on a discussion chat sponsored by The Washington Post. I wrote in telling him how much I appreciated his work and asked him if he could write about the plight of older animals that always seem to get overlooked at shelters. He wrote back thanking me for my volunteer work and said he would definitely work different animals into his shelter stories. And, he was true to his word...

I could not have said it better myself.