Friday, May 25, 2007

My flower garden

It's really coming along! The sunflowers, scarlet flax, and bachelor buttons (transplanted as seedlings) are really quite big now. And most of the seeds planted actually germinated (phew! glad that PhD in you know, plant ecology, was not for naught!), so there will be zinnias, cosmos, calendula, safflower. I also bought some small Silene, Mimulus ringens, black-eyed susans (which I tried to grow from seed but got only a couple of really tiny seedlings, they are in there too), and blue vervain. It's all very exciting. Flowering won't happen until late July or so for anything, but I wanted to keep a photographic record of the garden so I can see how it changed over time...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Soon-to-be new addition to the Menagerie

It's a kitten!

He'll be joining the Menagerie in a couple of weeks, once he's had his shots and perhaps been neutered.

His name is Vasco and he's named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. Daniela came up with this name because he seemed to be very inquisitive, exploring all around the room.

He's very cute and we're excited to have him here. Moose and Lucy's reaction to be determined...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Moose and a bunny

Moose loves rabbits. Loves, that is, to chase them. When he sees one, which is not too infrequent, he goes into his stalking mode. You see, Moose seems to believe that if he moves slowly, carefully, setting down one paw gently in front of another, the animal (be it rabbit, squirrel, kitty, etc.) will not notice that he is a big white dog.

In this particular case, the bunny stayed still for quite a long time (barely visible in the video from my cell phone), then moved a few feet, then stayed still again, until Moose was barely a foot or two away. He's never been so close to a bunny. He was very excited. I hope the rabbit was not too traumatized by the experience, but it was awfully funny.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Please welcome Clare!

Clare is the brand new pug puppy who has joined the Minneapolis branch of the Menagerie (headquartered at Mamita's house). She's quite adorable, as you might expect.

We had lots of fun playing with her.

Which of course tired her out. Puppies need lots of sleep.

Even more than grown-up pugs, who need a heck of a lot of sleep as well...

Big brother Rudy is the only one impervious to Clare's puppy cuteness charms. He remains quite annoyed that his calm life has been made more complicated, and steadfastly ignores little Clare, even when she tries to get him to play. Poor Rudy...

Our Lawn

The other day, I mowed the lawn for the second time this season. It had gotten a bit too long, believe it or not, so the mowing with my manpowered mower was a bit tough. I spent much of the time I was mowing thinking of ways to get rid of the grass. I have no love for grass. I would prefer if our yard (small as it is) had none of the damned stuff. We did remove a substantial amount this year in the form of our lovely vegetable garden plot--

and the previously-depicted garden area on our "boulevard" in front of the house. That's progress.

If we eliminate the same amount of grass each year, it won't take long before there's only a few minutes' worth of mowing to do.

What is the grass good for, anyway? I mean, our yard is not big enough for our future children to play baseball, say, or much of anything else. Mind you, it would be bigger if not for the jungle gym the twice-removed previous owners left us (visible in the far background of this picture)--

but still. Wouldn't flowers beds be much nicer? Ah well. In the meantime, I will mow the damned stuff every so often. But there won't be one drop of water applied to it-- if it gets dry enough to want to die, it's welcome to do so. I will not contribute to environmental degradation for the sake of having a lawn that looks like a damned golf course. I think the previous owners used fertilizers and/or herbicides-- another thing it won't see a drop of. My compost (which is decomposing nicely in its Envirocycle bin, thank you) is for the good stuff-- vegetables and flowers.

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to rant on this subject, but there you are. Any experiences you have to share about landscaping or the lack thereof are welcome.

Doggy hysteria

If you've ever visited the Menagerie, you know that our dogs go a bit bonkers when people show up. But you may not know that they also go quite nuts when WE show up after having been gone for a few minutes or hours. This sometimes begins when we park the car, sometimes when we enter the front door; sometimes, they manage to wait (sleeping? not noticing? biding their time? dunno...) until I reach the top of the stairs. But then the madness begins. My attempts to get it on video before have been unsatisfactory-- usually, the greatest hysteria is at the very beginning, and by the time I start recording things have died down a bit. This is true of the following video as well, but it's not a bad representation of what happens every day here. This was recorded while the dogs were waiting for Daniela to enter the house, the madness having begun when they heard her car pull up (you might hear me encouraging them to howl like they were at the outset)...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Since the last picture of the outside of our house was from the middle of a snowstorm, I thought we'd show how lovely it all looks now that spring is here. Note also our snazzy new wooden door... a big improvement over the old fiberglass white door.

It's been fun to discover what annual plants the previous owners had put in the yard. The tulips are particularly nice.

And the new owners-- specifically, Daniela-- have started putting their own stamp on things too. In front of the house, on what's called the 'boulevard' around here (that is, the space between the sidewalk and the street), Daniela has planted a bunch of things, including sunflowers. We'll track their progress in the coming months!