...so what are you up to?

Midland City, AL

We came from here:
Autumn planting has started. The changing season seemed like a good time to refresh the thread.
I think the bird of paradise was a good score, TTC.
Pix: David Michael, our newest addition. How's the new star in your sky, Carrie? I've been out of it, but I thought I saw that you had a new one of these. Yucca pallida in bloom and Hosta 'Empress Wu'. The Empress bloom is fragrant. The scent reminds me of a Deep Sea Crinum Lily.

Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain Thumbnail by seacanepain
Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

I'm here; hopefully not forgotten....lol

busy preparing for my knee surgfery: winding up this seson early etc. Crazy busy times

Midland City, AL

What sort of goodies do the docs have in store for you this time?
It's already time there to rip out the tomatoes? The vines stopped producing during high summer heat, but we are hoping for a new crop now that it has cooled off a little.
The best thing going on in the garden at the moment though is the white giant figs. It's our first harvest on those. Nummy! These could change the minds of people who say they hate figs.
I think Carrie is down in Mexico goofing off.
You feeling any better, TTC?

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Right now, I'm dealing with a difficult money-hungry jerk (my so-called "primary care doctor" who I trust only with minor stuff like a hangnail or earache). I started looking for a replacement several months ago, when he saw patients (ie me) while he was noticeably under the influence of pain killers, for his VERY recent achilles tendon surgery. It's been difficult to find a generalist who takes my insurances.

My knee replacement surgery is now a questionable WHEN because of him. My surgeon wants a note or letter from him, saying I'm physically ok to have a surgery. Instead of lookiong in my chart (several years I've been "going" to him. . remembrr my hangnail evaluation of his expertise?), he has insisted on a battery of unnecessary diagnostic tests AND his hands-on (ME!) to confirm them. So far, I've had: complete blood panels (CBC and CBC differential; metabolic, hepatic and lipid panels; a special liver function t4est. . GGT; kidney function test . GFR; 2 different blood-clotting test ), an EKG; complete urinalysis; 2 chest x-rays. . . all in the sae day. So when he insisted on listening to my heart (in spite of having the EKG), I had had enough and refused, citing the EKG. He then refused to sign a release for my surgery.

I'm going back tomorrow to try ONE. . LAST. . TIME to get a signed release from him, evern if I have to endure the intolerable to get it.

I have Plans B and C if he still won't sign, as well as my response to his recalcitrance and extortion (I don't get mad - I keep telling myself. . I gert even!). For all Plans: wite a letter to my surgeon explaining the situation and enclosing the results of all the tests and suggest options. . . B, he accepts and my surgery goes on without a delay. . C, he declines and insists on a signed release, so my surgery is postponed indefinately while I find another generalist. . . eanwhile, my surg3eon will have to keep injecting my knee so that I can walk

In any case, I'll continue my search for another generalist, alberit with renewed purpose!

My Tomato Jungle is still producing, although not at the extent it was in mid-July. I've removed all flowers (yes, it seems the cooler weather has stiulated 2 plants to resume flowering and 2 plants never stopped, despite the heat!!) and small tomatoes, restricting watering to 1/4 of their usual. Every other day, my harvest basket has a dozen or so medium to large 'maters to give away. . not to mention my cherry tomatoes!! I've had to start giving away most of my cherries: I can't eat that many!! All this is to trick my Tomatoe Jungle into ripening what they've got and to finish the tomato season 6 weeks early, in preparation for my surgery (if I get that stubborn, useless jerk to issue a release).

My garden helper is coming this Friday to help me finish taking down Tomato Jungle 2016.

Without my care and watering etc, all my flower beds are struggling the best they can. My sunflowers look like offsprings of Audrey from Rocky Mountain Picture Show; since only half my celosias survived my brief hospitalization. . half that garden is bare; the 4 asters (of ~ 120 seeds) that survived to be transplanted: only one survived past the 1st month and the surrounding Zahara Zinnias (supposedly extremely heat and drought tolerant) have struggled to produce more than one bloom per plant, much less grow mature size and cover the bare dirt! In short, this growing season for flowers was a bust for me.

To shut down my flower beds, I've decided to not do anything: let the extreme cold of winter do what it will. . then my garden helper will do whatever is neeeded in the pre-spring. If I haven't returned home by mid-October, she'll have to plant my bulbs.\

Besides all this, I'm co-ordinating with distant last remaining relative, for Granny's 100th birthday party. I still have to finish buying for her gift from me: a Birthday gift bag etc. I'm gonna bake/ice cupcakes (her favorite) and give her a tub of her favorite ice cream (already bought and arranged). The bag is for the heavy-duty ice cream scoop I'll give her at the start of the party.

Plus (just in case my surgery goes off on the date as planned)< I'm buying/collecting the specific post-surgery items specified and clotheds etc I'll need to be gone for an extended time.

To sy I'm busy would be an understatement. So I lurk while resting. . .

Aren't you glad now you've asked??

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi guys :D

Congrats to all on the new baby, the trips and the family get togethers! Sounds like good times and lots of fun. I'm not much fun right now and for that I apologize.

OMG! KILLLLL, KILLLL, KILLLL these quack doctors. Do me a favor please. Research. Be your own patient advocate. Research your condition and look at the possibilities of it being more than one thing including diet, OVER medication, adverse side effects of you Rx and vitamins. Vitamin deficiency as well as OVERDOSE of vitamins.

Tell granny congrats on the b-day. Quite an accomplishment even if she is a PIA.

And I'm soooo gonna miss the 'mater porn. :[ That and my garden is all that is cheering me up right now.

Thank God I am inquisitive, question everything and have no faith in doctors. Better yet bless the power that be that provided me with a brain. My problem isn't menopause it is poison. I discovered---on my own of course that I am being literally poisoned.

Selenium toxicity. Look up symptoms. Could be fatal if not caught.

Had problem with quack neurologist due to overmedicating me. Got that straightened out on my own accord. Had a B12 deficiency. Got that straightened out on my own accord.

Once again couldn't figure out why I was feeling crappy and losing hair after it had stopped (started due to B12 deficiency). New Neurologist who I love said, 'take Zinc and Selenium'. I did. It worked. That was almost 2 years ago.

Of course since I was 46 at the time and now 48 I have had a rare hot flash and the night sweats. *groan*. O.K. to be expected, welcome to menopause.

In addition to this has been excruciating joint pain especially in my knees, numb/tingling sensation off and on around ankles and wrists and in index finger on left hand. I figured circulation due to years of smoking and varicose veins. Brain fog---another menopausal symptom. Forgetfulness---nothing new there. I'm an Epileptic on meds. Memory lapses. Hmmmm...that's new. Incessant mild headache. Hmmm....that's new.

Tired, tired, tired, tired beyond the norm no matter how much I sleep. Menopause? I dunno'? Lethargy. That's new since I am always in perpetual hummingbird mode when not sleeping.

Irritability and impatience and irrational behavior. Pick your day or excuse on that one.

Muscle twitches? Hmmm....that's new. Nausea and feeling like I want to vomit and my stomach in knots? Stress, menopause or something new?

Thing that really flipped me out is that despite the B12 stopping the hair loss and then the selenium and zinc working it has now become pernicious and I am shedding like a dog in summer.

It is also breaking off in pieces and in odd lengths. Interesting thing is that it is not coming out by the root. You know how the hair root looks like a little bulb. So this is telling me my hair and scalp are healthy. I don't have and never did have dandruff. So that isn't a factor. I can't see bald spots but it has really thinned. Not alopecia. Definitely something weird going on here.

Thinking menopause again. Go see the doctor and tote every bottle and pill I pop to show him. Looks at them and shrugs. Puts it down to menopause, need HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and to go see a dermatologist about my hair.

My Neurologist when he made the Zinc and Selenium suggestion did not tell me how much, how long, how often to take it or when to stop. I've been taking 2 Selenium pills a day, every day for the last year and a half almost 2 years. Dr. neglected to tell me that it could build up and become toxic. I didn't know. When he made the suggestion I had never thought to ask. Would you?

So go to my regular doctor and he is chalking this up to menopause. I was surprised by one thing. He did not 'look' at the vitamins: B12, zinc, selenium, iron and my meds. He didn't ask me much about them.

I've learned when docs don't ask that means you should. I went home and started poking around. NO my Epilepsy meds didn't and don't cause hair problems. The B12 deficiency did. Took awhile to correct that. Impossible to overdose on B12 as it is not stored in the body. No interactions with anything else. Also hair improved on it.

Got to zinc...blah...blah.

Got to selenium. Wonderful for you! In everything. Super vitamin. But saw a little asterisk that said beware of too much. So I Looked at this. Toxicity. Selenium is a mineral. As in take your vitamins and minerals. Minerals are metals. This one is typically found in good foods but also in silver mines, and toxic waste dumps!!!

Over exposure or too much of it in the diet for lengthy amounts of times causes all the above symptoms I have. Can cause permanent and irreversible damage physically and neurologically. YIKES.

Now, what if I hadn't done the research and kept up with my vitamin routine AND let the doctor put me on a HRT routine when I didn't need it or menopause wasn't the cause of my symptoms. Yes...selenium poisoning can be fatal.

So looked into all the things I can do. No cure BUT all the articles said flushing it from the body as fast as you can is best and avoiding foods that have it for awhile should repair the damage if not too pernicious. It is irreversible. That includes the hair loss and achy joints. Should take approximately 3-8 months. I should start feeling better after 1-2 weeks and continue to improve.

Called my doctor this a.m. to let him know I figured out what the problem was. I told him to 'look' for selenium toxicity and overly elevated levels and I bet he'll see it on the blood tests he just did.

Yesterday was the first day I felt o.k. as I was no longer stressing. I 'know' what is wrong. I believe this can be fixed. I don't need HRT as the hot flashes and night sweats aren't pernicious---just bothersome. I never wanted to start messing with hormones to begin with and would prefer to tough it out unless I had no other alternative.

So today after having a real nice mushroom and cheese omelet, I sat down and called the doc. Waiting for his return call. Also started looking up foods high in selenium so I could avoid them.

Uhh....mushrooms and eggs are two of the highest. *smack forehead* Basically if you can eat it

Casa Grande, AZ

ended it there as the computer looked funky and as if was going to do something stupid.

As I said if you can eat it then it has selenium in it: tuna especially, fish, shell fish (mostly oysters), nuts, seeds, pork, chicken (especially white meat), turkey in any form, eggs, salmon, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli Brussel sprouts (all of those my favorite veggies). Pasta no matter what kind or what wheat. Any kind of bread. Any kind of cereal. Oat stuff is the worse. Cheese isn't so bad. Beef and legumes are higher up but not as bad as the other stuff. Let's not forget yellow mustard too!

To make a long story short I will basically be living off of potatoes, butter, bacon, rice, small helpings of cheese, rare steak, fruit and salad veggies (spinach and soy beans have selenium also) for about 2-4 weeks to get as much of this stuff out of my body as possible and as fast as possible. I'll also be sleeping a lot. I'll also be peeing a lot as I need to drink almost a gallon of water a day. Well....I think so.

Only benefit is those last 4 or 5 pounds that have been hanging around me like a stray dog will drop like a ton of bricks not to mention a few more!!!

Casa Grande, AZ

Once again computer is getting stupid.

So I hope you'll all forgive me for being a little self absorbed and preoccupied with my problem. I'll pop in and out to say 'hey there' and give you updates. Some days I'll feel more chatty than others. Just don't want anyone to take it personal if I'm in and out for a few days or not responding.

I hate to bore people too much with my problems. I still love all of you. :D Can't get rid of me that easy.

I swear to God I get the weirdest crap. Do you know anyone who gets stuff like I do medically? Just bizarre.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

TTC - if you're using Chrome as a browser, go to extension store and add Lazarus form somerthing: if your 'puter meses up or if you accidentally hit a wrong key, (raises hand with a sheepish grin)cauxing your typing to go POOF . . .Lazarus "remembers" and recovers your typing!
I use Google Chrome as my primary browser. All the scripts I used to play a gamre were for Chrome primarily, then firefox secondly (and somewhat unreliably!). Plus, I like the fact that Chrome has a built-in sandbox. . .meaning whatever one might pick up online (tracker, malware) doesn't get out to infect your whole system.
While I HAVE Explorer in my list of available programs for the rare sitge that won't work unless accessed with IE (**coiugh cough** Microsoft,com **cough couigh**), I decline to use as its a data miner for Microsoft.

As for medical doctors, most have such egos that they resent/discourage active input (research) by their patioentsd. I'm NOT a medical doctor, but a doctor nevertheless. I'll stack my education, experience and publications up to most GPs any day! (Once got excused from jury duty because the defending lawyer asked if anyone had experience with "keyhole" abdominal surgery) I routinely research new prescriptions, side effects etc andf before a vist. . reserch my symptoms , causes and treatment! This drives my current doctor around the bend (I think I've found his replacement...whether or not, he's GONE!!)

At this point, there is no alternative treatment aside from a total knee replacement. I've prolonged this as long as I can and I've seen the X-rays (yes, Dorothy I CAN read X-rays.).

Midland City, AL

Good grief, Bets! It sounds like the doc is checking to see if you can withstand a triple heart bi-pass operation, instead of knee surgery. That's more test than they did on Kay to diagnose a mystery disease. Hope you have good medical insurance. I'm not finished yet paying for all the test they did on Kay.
If you can stomach them, try adding beets (the roots or the juice) to your diet. It helps with detox. I did a quick Wiki check and did not see selenium on the nutritional facts list. Of course, you need to double check me on that.
With all the meds you have to take, they should be doing kidney function test. An anti-inflammatory is believed to have done some of the damage in Kay's case and I know of other cases like hers. It isn't a rare occurrence.
Nothing photo worthy today you guys haven't seen already. Some of my daylilies are re-bloomers.
No sauna necessary this time of year.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

The garden is sort of glorious right now. It's some people's favorite time of year. Not mine (I hate the hint of future cold in the air) but some people are rhapsodic about how they love the fall.

The hydrangea are pink and beautiful, the roses are doing their last full measure of devotion, most of the annuals are going berserk trying to prove they aren't really getting ready to die (but they are). After the four jumbo dumpsters of crap Ray dredged from the basement and garage, there is a little extra space in the basement and garage. We are eyeing all the annuals and to figure out what we can keep going in the house. (Not as houseplants, as dormant or hibernating.) Geraniums, yes, you can hang them and start watering in April or so. Caladiums, I forget if they will work as houseplants or if you dig the tubers, petunia is a non-hardy perennial so that might work in the window sill, calibrachoa, I don't know. I had a DG friend in California who had them as perennials in her driveway, so maybe. Vinca, there is Vinca minor which is tiny and cute and perennial and there is another one which is sold with the annuals but it is coming back for us. The problem is I find it a little coarse or brash. I guess it scares me thinking I might buy it for a summer and have it FOREVER. I guess we are all expecting the next kudzu or poison ivy (which we have quite a bit of). But I am apprehensive that if I make Ray's "to-do" list too long, NOTHING will get done.

Also ordering bulbs (which is part of fall up here) and I made some investment in irrigating system parts, which I have yet to figure out.

Best wishes to all on detoxing or even figuring out what stuff it is that's making you sick. Good grief indeed. I am totally over doctors. And Jim, enjoy your sauna.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Over the weekend, my garden helpers and I put my gardensing beds/patio to bed for the winter (I'm going into surgery in ~ 2 weeks). "We": fertilized and mulched my hellibores and tore down, cleaned / sterilized / stored contsainers etc for my Tomato Jungle 2017. I'm going to let the cold/snow of winter deal with all my annuals ('cept for thoser hideous sunflowers, which I pulled up for my helpers to bag & put in the garbage.)

My young garden helper's Ag teacher/FFA leader says she will get FFA credit for all the gardening work; he'll come over to walk around and see my gardens (**wince** they didn't look as good as usual this year as I couldn't tend them properly, plus they're ready for winter so I'm kinda ashamed they're going to be looked at!.)

Today is finally here! It's Granny's 100th birthday and all my planning for her party is going off well (so far, keep your fingers crossed!) Out-opf-town relative is already here, checking into his motel; Granny's friend/neighbor DID get off from work early, so she'll be there; I've got all her gifts bought and "wrapped" (gift bags are a REAL time saver!); I baked / iced / cut / made gift coverd pans of her favorites (caramel apple cupcakes and Meyer lemon bars). . . . right now, I'm sipping my morning coffee and trying to think of what I might have forgotten/over-looked. . . . .

My back patio looks so BARE and EMPTY without my Tomato Jungle!!

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi guys, :D

Wanted to let you know I'm alive and doing fine. Well somewhat better. :D
Detoxing is working as hair shedding is slowing down and not as aggressive but hasn't stopped. It will take approximately 3-8 months to stop. *sigh* . Good news is that the hair should grow back since it is only 'breaking' off a few inches in the middle of the strands to the end or a few inches after new growth from the top to the middle. The root/hair bulb is not coming out so that does mean there is not anything wrong with my hair per se or my scalp or circulation. It is alive not dead and continues to grow regardless of breakage which is being shed. It looks like a lot of 'split ends' all over but is not thinning from the scalp so there's no bald patches like someone with alopecia. It just feels thinner due to all the uneven lengths.

Physically avoiding all these foods is making me feel somewhat better also and I incorporate some carbs---except the highest in selenium once or twice a week now. Still pumping 2 liters of water a day through me. *eye roll* . Decided to buy stock in Charmin. LOL


I found this on my own. I literally saved my own life if anyone read up on the long term effects of Selenium toxicity that will see that. Had I not spent 6 hours a day for 3 days doing research I would have eventually died of 'unknown causes' as all my blood tests came back normal. Selenium toxicity is not something that is normally checked on CMP13s or other things. Since it can affect thyroid levels that is what they blame.

Called the Dr. before he even had the test results back and it was like a light bulb went on in his head..."Start flushing it out of your system asap. Drink tons of water!" I had educated him on something he had never thought about or would have looked for. Recognized it the moment I said it and responded with the above.

So there is my update. I hope you will all forgive me for being a little more than preoccupied with my own problem. For that I apologize.

On the happier side...we have finnnnaly got around to tiling the bathrooms. YIPPEE.
Finished one. Looks fabulous. Started on the second and have that about 1/3 done.
Big project even though the bathrooms are small. Have to take out the toilet without breaking it. Not as easy as it sounds because it has to be disconnected from the plumbing at the base. Then had to rip up the linoleum and scrape up the glue. That took a day. Then had to measure and cut the tile and lay it down and space it.

Then you have to glue the tile in. You have to wait 24 hours for that to dry. Then the next day you have to grout. That takes a day to dry. So you have already used up 4 days (linoleum removal, cut & glue tile, day to dry, grout and day to dry.) Finally you have to put the toilet back on and caulk around the tub and toilet. That's another day. All in all 5 days to tile only 1 bathroom.

Can only do one bathroom at a time because:
A.) You need one shower and one toilet to use---Zoe wouldn't appreciate us taking over the back yard and the neighbor likes us but I don't think she wants to see that much of us.
B.) Floor needs time to dry.
C.) Caulk around tub and toilet dries in 24 hours BUT you can't use it for 72 hours.

Small little rooms that are more complicated and time consuming than one would think! Just thought I'd mention it in case the spirit moves anyone to tile their bathroom floors. :D

Dave wants to do the laundry room some time in the near future. Uh...that involves removing and thus not using the washer and drier for a week. Uh...he wears uniforms to work. Hmmmm. His suggestion not mine. (I will remind him of that repeatedly when we start.) Have to admit though would like nice and the whole house would be completely consistent with the color and floor material. *thumbs up*

My browser is fine it just seems to act up if my messages are long or our weather is wonky.

Like you I am a better doctor than most doctors as I have proven by saving my literal life twice. (Once was quack Neurologist that refused to address the B12 thing and was triple dosing me on meds). I swear they give these people bare bones education NO internships and then let them learn via the "OOOPS...that's not it. Patient died. I can rule out that theory. Let's see....Next patient with same thing, let me guess if it is this. NOPE....that patient got worse. Uh...o.k. is it....? Nah, wasn't that either. O.K. let's see if it's ...." I guess that is why they call it 'practicing' medicine.

I also think they do not read charts and refuse to read research. Did you ever notice how you hear how good things are for you and how you should take more---perfect example vitamins and minerals BUT you never hear what harm they can do you? Ever notice the conflicting diet information? Eat Paleo and eliminate carbs. No...eat carbs and eliminate red meat. No eat a balance and eliminate sugar. Every food is good for you but everything causes cancer. *Sigh*

My philosophy is eat what the Hell you want. We all have to die of something. I'm 48 and I haven't died yet (aside from doctors trying to kill me) so I must be doing something right. Grandfather got up every morning ate 2 fried eggs, half a pound of bacon, drank a pot of black coffee and smoked a pack of Winstons a day. Lived to be 101. Died of natural causes. Maybe he was onto something. Noticed Granny is going to be 100. What's she eating?

I commend you on your ability to do research and the fact you are willing to take the time to do it and put the effort into it. GOOD FOR YOU!!! So sorry about the knee replacement. :{. That stinks.

If I were around I'd give you a hand...if only to steal 'maters. (tee-hee).

Yep, we won't discuss medical bills. Another reason for "Physician heal thyself" and thankfully I believe in the concept of Karma. Brings me some satisfaction when I think of what these people and powers who be that run health care and big pharm are in for the next time around! I can promise these people are not Arharts so they are not fully enlightened. They'll be back. *tee-hee*. Can't wait to see what they get.

Sounds like Kay had some issues with being misdiagnosed and given the wrong meds also. Pity we can't sue these people. I report them to the AMA anyway as it goes on there record even if not available to the public or it doesn't 'stick'. I'm also a biiiig one for Yelp, Angie's List, etc. *grin*.

Can you read your CMP13? That will tell you about your kidneys, liver, heart, oxygen, B12, Barium, etc. AARP how to read a CMP13 and typing in 'how to read a CMP 13" is a good way to start. Also what is an appropriate level for Barium? What does it mean if your B12 is at 326mg/pl? You can pop in these questions and numbers right off your CMP13 line by line. Just request a copy of this test or if you use an independent lab tell them to mail it to YOU first before you go to the doctor.

Perfect example was doctor said my B12 was in range. It was at 280mg/pl. Well 250 is crisis proportions. 'Symptomatic' is 350-430pg/ml. Above is 'just fine'. True... 280 is in the range and above 250 BUT notice how low and close it is to total shut down???? Yeah. Reason why you learn to read your chart and see what affects things, what the numbers are on paper and what they should be for optimal functioning. Very well could save your literal life.

As for the Selenium toxicity go to the AMA and CDC and an actual metal/mining web site for the info. I had to follow a train. Also had to ask, "What is Selenium toxicity?" Popped up a general thing but I followed links when it said 'metal'. That's how I found out it was toxic. AMA cited how much a person needs. Followed more links, etc. etc.

As for kidneys I'd seek a Nephrologist as that is what they specialize in. I basically ignore G.P.s. I concur with Bets. They're idiots.

I have thought of you guys often in regards to the weather and when I see it on t.v. I often wonder if you are safe and o.k. and if your property is still above water (unintended). I mean literally. Ever need safe harbor you're welcome here. Drier than a bone and still hot.

So how's the kids and that new baby? :D :D :D

If it stops raining may want to start up that Apiary again. See all those millions of bees that got killed due to Zikka spraying. In case anyone thinks this is a mild chemical that has slight chances of doing harm in a localized area according to the government and their slaves the CDC. Forget the name but see if you can catch it. Was on world news last night. Similar to----but not, Agent Orange. I'm still waiting to see if I grow a third arm and fourth eye from all that Severn they crop dust on those cotton fields surrounding me. God forbid we use something 'green'.

Your garden sounds so lovely now. I wish I could see it. Love the colors those flowers produce. Even more envious of your encroaching Fall spectacular color extravaganza with the trees. Please take lots of pics for me and post them. I'm looking so forward to the box of leaves my mother will be sending me. We do a swap of things neither of us get to experience or presently enjoy. The leaves are a gift from her each Fall. Every Summer I send her bolls of cotton.

Very happy to say we FINALLY got rain. Nice steady rain today. Hopefully plants are letting out a huge sigh of relief. Never seen Agaves and p.pears so dehydrated and wrinkly and folded in on each other. Others have been scorched and turned brown and look burnt.

Problem here is watering is not the cure as too much water makes the roots rot but does not benefit the plant. They like their water but they like it sparingly. Problem is the little fuss budgets like it on a schedule that no longer exists due to Mother Nature's lack of cooperation. Their own schedule is disrupted as it is so warm they are still growing and flowering beyond when they should instead of resting and being in stasis. They are thirsty but root rot is imminent if you indulge them. Shade tent only does so much.

Finally 92 today. YIPPEEEEE. Yes, that is cool for us. Never thought I'd see the day when I said 92 is cool. LOL. Actually shut off the air-conditioning and ceiling fans and have the doors open. Rain keeps the dust down. (Not that that matters considering the tile and grout dust everywhere).

Whole week should be 92-103. Just wonderful and it looks like cooler from here on out.

Will post some pics of plants later for you guys.

Today is Dave's birthday so we have a busy day and a break from the bathroom. Some friends over, a cook out and I made some home made chili last night. And of course Martinis and wine. :D

I'll check back in with you guys in a little while. Be well all. Have a happy day.

Wise Cactus says there is a reason to celebrate regardless of it raining be it in your personal life or literally. Rain only brings flowers after. And I expect the biggest piece of cake today!

Peace. Out.

Song for the day: Always Walk on the Sunny Side of the Street. (Many versions, you pick your favorite.)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I will post foliage pictures for you, dear, assuming I can figure out how to do it. Today I learned how to change the battery in my cell phone which wasn't that difficult. Instead of buying a new cell phone when the battery stopped holding a charge I just bought a new battery from Amazon. Power to the people! Amazon.com is a whole other ball of wax. If I have the energy, I will rant about that some day. Happy Birthday To Granny! Wow. So she was born in 1917--flu pandemic, Red Sox won the World Series and almost Prohibition.

Articles I have thought about while writing this post:
Leafpeepers for pictures of foliage http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1778
Things that happened in 1918 (besides Granny's first birthday) http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/4052 (It's about Molasses.)

Midland City, AL

Sorry. Computer issues. Kay's system bit the dust and I've been trying to co-op all her data and programs on to my system. Still haven't worked out all the glitches, but we are limping along.
The crepe myrtle is dropping its leaves, but that is the only sign of Fall so far. Well, temps are a little cooler at night. It's still up in the 90's during the day. I still miss all those glorious reds, oranges and gold's. The mellow yellows and purples from the surrounding sweet gums have started to grow on me and the coral and pinkish red foliage of the southern blueberries is delicious eye candy even if it isn't quite the colors that take me back to the autumns of my childhood. I'm looking forward to seeing what my Japanese maple and the chalk maple Kay gave me do in October. I have to give the chalk maple wood ash to keep the soil as sweet as it likes, but it is worth it to me if I can get more fall foliage color.
It's tree and perennial planting time for us. The spring bulbs and cool season annuals go in next month. After this year's bulb giveaway I thought I wouldn't have to worry about bulbs, but Kay wants some hyacinths. (eye roll)
Figs are still producing. The golf-ball size fruit of the unnamed variety is my new fav. It's a variety that evolved locally. I picked it up on the 70% off table at the nursery just because there was an open spot in the fig orchard. It's turning out to be the best $7 I ever spent.
We will be planting artichokes and cardoon tomorrow. This will be our first year growing cardoons. We are handing the reins over to Nadi and food plants will be her focus. Cardoons and opunctia known for their fruit are good food plants for the xeric line, a long bed on the eastern boundary where it is hard to water. I think we should start out with only 8 carddoon plants until we can gauge their potential for invasiveness. We might decide we don't like the taste or that they are too much trouble. since they have to be blanched. Another name for cardoon is artichoke thistle and they are reported to taste like artichokes, but it is the stems that are eaten instead of the flower buds. We grow the real artichokes closer to the water faucet. They grow best with supplemental water.
In spring, we will add Egyptian spinach to the xeric line for summer salads. I associate it more with the desert southwest, but I saw it growing in the vegetable beds last time I visited the DABG, our closest botanical garden. It's in the mallow family and members of that family do well here so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I'm just locating a source of the seed of it for now. It's very much a hot weather plant and won't go in until late next spring. I never thought of using the xeric areas for food plants. Learning that I can is cool.


Pix: The package said 'Grandpa Ott's', but it turned out to be a 'Blue Star' morning glory. 2) Schoolhouse Lily, Oxblood Lily ( ). 3) The DABG is getting ready for the Peanut Festival.

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yay, we love morning glories. Actually, Ray loves them. They grow in the spaces between the perennial geranium, so I think of it as a weed. I planted them maybe 5-10 years ago, and they have been reproducing since then. We had a Ray-made container with (among other things) morning glories in it which finally expired this spring, so we bought a new teak box this year and added the old dirt with NEW dirt. The old dirt had MG seeds in it.

When the old boxes fell apart, we put the old wood in the dumpsters and used the old potting soil in a variety of places. Every single place we used the old, depleted soil to fill in around fresh new soil, we got a bumper, unexpected crop of morning glories. He used the old soil under bushes, under some Knock-Out roses we put in, in containers on the patio, all over the place, and that's where we have MGs, under bushes, in containers, and in the roses. Now some of these places (like interspersed with a rosemary in a container) are definitely not well suited for MGs. I asked Ray to wee them out and he couldn't put an end to another living thing, so he's been transplanting them hither and yon. The place looks like a MG farm.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang,
Been thinking about you all. Doing a little better hair wise *sigh*. Now it is only shedding when I wash and just breaking in small pieces every two days instead of every day. Improvement I guess. Living off of water, yogurt, French fries, popcorn and chili and pineapple. Seems to be working for my hair even if it isn't making my butt any smaller. LOL I'm hoping another month or two of this detoxing will stop the hair chaos.

Now I have a cold or some such bug. What evvvvver. Aside from that doing a.o.k. in mind, body and spirit.

Dave's b-day was nice. Nothing fancy. Just a few friends, food, and wine. Good time socializing for all.

I now have my bathroom all unto myself once again. YIPPEE!!! Everything is finished. Sooooo happy. Dave and I did a pretty good job even if I do say so myself. No more tiling for quite awhile. We had plenty of extra tile left over. I suggested we take it back. Dave suggested we keep it, pick up a few more boxes and do the laundry room whenever. So we went with that.

Uh....I nicely told Dearest Dave to remember that 'whenever' gets here and he starts having PTS and flashbacks from tiling the living room and bathrooms that tiling the laundry room was his idea...not mine!

Fall foliage pictures always appreciated. :D Would be nice to see something not the color 'brown'. Japanese Maples......oooooh! One of my true favorites.

Sounds like everyone is going gangbusters still with their planting and garden plans for next year. Looking good.

Jim, glad Nadi is taking on the food plants. That's a job I would enjoy since I love to cook. Hopefully she is always seeking to add to that amazing repertoire of edible goodies. Figs sound great. Could probably find something to do with them. Thing I have a fig, gorgonzola cheese and poached pear desert recipe floating around.

Carrie...the MG's sound wonderful despite their invasiveness. Beautiful trellis plant and can create a privacy screen where none existed before. I always enjoyed them. About the closest we have here are Bougainvillea. If you don't tie them up they go rampant and not in a good way.

My latest gardening projects has been limited to fighting a mini ant invasion. Grrrrrr. Amdro took care of that. Great product. Works!

Other thing I've been doing has been picking up the last of what will be in my yard for the next spring. Right now I am housing them in pots temporarily and letting them winter nice and cozy in those.

Hate giving BB stores a plug but Lowe's had some ultra fabulous sales on those gorgeous ceramic frost resistant pots. Nice middle size that typically ranges from $34-$45 selling at $12.98-$9.98. Needless to say grabbed two of those.

Also had an unbelievable plant sale. Found a 3.75 gallon Agave parryi at half price. It had 3 pups so I separated them and gave them their own home. Also grabbed a barrel for $8.00---gasp! This barrel is 2 times larger than the ones I have and that are already a year old and cost double the price. Needless to say I couldn't pass up either.

So...here's my new kids and their new homes.

Pic #1) I already had the super big red pot that 'mom' A. parryi is in. Pup is in smaller red pot with the ripples. That pot was a whole $9.98. YIPPEE

Pic #2 and #3) Told you it was an unbelievable price for an unbelievable plant! What a PIA getting it out of the pot and separating that mess. Plant for all intents and purposes should have been in a 5-6 gallon pot!

Pic 4) New barrel and new pot. Love the pot. Paid a whole $13.00 for it.

Pic 5) Barrel in new home nestled between a p.pear (1/2 of one I have in front . Decided to divide it and start a new p.pear in this pot.) and the Agave Funkiana v. 'Fatal Attraction' on the right.

AND YES.......still know I owe you some Eve's Needles. *sigh* .
Tile is done. Hair is falling out less. The cold I have won't last forever. I promis when you least expect it Jim...IT WILL show up on your door.

And Carrie...the A. funkiana in the pic below was the plant with the pups I gave that hysterectomy to awhile ago. Keep watching it as it is alive, well but in 'resting phase'. The moment it starts becoming a little pup machine again I WILL send you a few.

Peace. Out.

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Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

I think I already told y'all my garden helper and I: cut down Tomatoe Jungle, sanitized & stored all pieces for Tomato Jungle 2017, fertilized and mulched hellibores and relegated other gardens to the tender mercies of the winter cold/snow.

This week, the focus was on the inside of the hiouse. I discovered there IS an up side to eating all the perishables (with whatever non-perishables are on hand): while I have nothing that'll go bad while I'm gone. . . . . I "HAVE" to go out to eat!!!!! ROFL

Tomorrow, I gots to go to WallyWorld and buy normal to mid-size bottles (not my usual giant economy size stuff) of toiletries and sundries. Then all I have left to do is pack. . . . .

Monday is my knee replacement surgery. (Can y'all hear me chew my fingernails?)

Talk to y'all when I get back.

Midland City, AL

You will be in our thoughts and prayers, Bets. Just keep thinking how much better life will be when the pain is gone....and learn to cuss in a foreign language to get through the rehab.
Hope Granny and Dave had great birthdays. What kind of cake did Dave Get? I've requested an ice cream cake for my 55th. Nadi likes that idea. A quick trip to Dairy Queen, instead of hours making a German chocolate cake from scratch. The combination of Reese's peanut butter cups and ice cream can't be beat.
Love the pottery! I've never found a way to use it in a woodland setting that looks natural, but that never stops me from drooling over pottery at the nursery. As Nadi's Mediterranean theme takes shape, it might look more in place. An old nickname for the north Florida coast is the Redneck Riviera and this area is more like north Florida than the other parts of Alabama. I guess the generation Y's are on to something. Kay warns that our soil is too acidic for most Mediterranean plants and keeping the soil sweet is an ongoing job. I can vouch for that from my experience keeping my chalk maple alive. Melinda has an ongoing love affair with Greece, Tigger loves the look of Southern California and Nadi likes cooking Mediterranean. It is the one thing they can all agree on. Finding that happy medium is the hardest part of sharing a garden space. Since Nadi is the one on the scene all the time, no doubt she will keep her Japanese garden as is. She can embrace the contradiction. The eggplant we had for dinner last night was cut up fine and smothered in a sweet and sour sauce. She says she likes eggplant parmesan, but the oriental version is much easier and faster for a harried cook.
Carrie, I thought the cold there would keep morning glories under control. That will teach me to think. :-) I became a bit of a morning glory addict, but I am in recovery. I planted what the seed package said was 'Grandpa Ott's', 'Scarlet O'hara', 'Milky Way' and 'Heavenly Blue'. I ended up with 'Blue Star' and an unidentified pale pink variety. I will never buy seeds from the big box stores when I want a very specific variety.
To their credit, the morning glories are blooming now in cool colors when I am experiencing yellow overload. So many autumn blooming flowers are yellow! I'm looking forward to the spider lilies, Lycoris radiata. There is another flush of oxblood lilies blooming, but they are not in any bed. They must have propagated from seed. I can't imagine how bulblets could have gotten where they are growing. I will need to rescue those from the lawn mower Monday.
We haven't been planting in-ground as planned. We've had some real deluges lately. I bought some potting soil and am putting the greenhouse to work early. Not for it's warmth. I take the door off in summer and haven't put it back on yet. It works just as well for protecting seeded flats and pots from the rain. It's been raining hard enough to wash the light potting soil completely out of flats and pots. Kay's method of topping flats off with sand doesn't always work. I've heard aquarium gravel recommended, but it is easier to use the greenhouse and monitor the temp. Even with the door taken off so it does not accidently close and the ceiling vent open, it can still get too hot for germination.
The olive cukes finally bloomed. The Dutch lady we got the seeds from warned that they would be late. I am looking forward to harvesting them so I can rip the vines out. I definitely put them in the wrong place. The plant is arched over the door of my workshop and I have to cut or tie it back almost every day. It grows like kudzu! I was initially disappointed that the seed on the south side of the door didn't germinate. Not to worry. The one plant quickly arched over the door, grew to the ground on the south side and rooted. Thankfully, it is an annual and only one plant. If I make sure to pick all the fruit, it should not become a problem. It isn't actually in the cucumber family. The fruit just taste like cukes. I may try it again in infertile ground to see how it works as a groundcover, but, again, I will grow only one plant. The flowers are insignificant, pale yellow and tiny. The leaves are edible and the roots are medicinal. It might be worth the trouble of constantly riding herd on it during the growing season. The fruit will be the deciding factor for me. It is definitely a groundcover and not a trellis plant though.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Well, Jim, the morning glory dies back every fall, but it has this self-seeding job totally mastered. Ray wanders around collecting seeds and spreading them hither and yon (crocosmia, balloon flower, daylily, BE Susan) while I dread any of them will actually come up where he has planted them. Maybe a new bed that is daylily-crocosmia-BE Susan and balloon flower). And yes, whiie I am delighted to see forsythia in February, by this time of year I am SO over yellow. http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/4967

I know how to say the word for poop in German and French, but I think you're better off with "your mother had an incestuous relationship with a camel" or "sacred reproducing excrement" than using expletives as expletives, they sound so dirty. It's all about the rehab, though, yes.

Oh Armagia, if rain washes away the soil from your seeds you need to try winter sowing! You make a tiny greenhouse type object out of a milk carton and punch holes in it for drainage and rain. There are lots of resources online now. But the best part is that rain cannot wash away your soil and birds cant' eat the seeds. The only trouble is that you do have to transplant them. In the north, winter sowing is amazing because outside where it is actively snowing, little sprouts are growing in a winter sowing container. http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/148
Give it a try! You can do everything all at once (she talks about starting with trees and perennials).

This message was edited Sep 18, 2016 9:34 AM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

This is what Ray got me, my new favorite thing!

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Casa Grande, AZ

Hi guys, :D

Bets...... :[ on the impending surgery. As Jim said though, the end results will be worth it and I'm sure you will feel better. And if your busy swearing at your physical therapist you won't have time to cuss granny out. Granny being granny, I'm sure will take advantage of your full incapacitation and down time to misbehave and drive you crazy. Good for her. LOL. Keeps you going.

And how much sugar and Chinese food did Granny get for her birthday? *grin*

Just a tip. Instead of buying travel size products buy tiny and small plastic bottles. They're super cheap. They have them right around the travel sized stuff and where the cosmetic bags and brushes are sold.

I use the bottles to pour my own products in (except toothpaste and deodorant of course) or scoop out some of my creams and put them into. They come in all shapes and sizes and have saved me a bundle on having to buy a bunch of travel sized stuff that sit around endlessly after I've only used them three times and go bad before I ever need them again.

And.... :[ on the demise of that wonderful 'mater jungle. I'll miss it terribly.


Have to confess I was so exhausted after all the tile work I did not bake. Instead I went to Safeway and picked up Dave's other favorite cake. That being their luscious carrot cake that has the golden raisins and walnuts in it and the heavenly buttercream frosting. Have to admit their cake is pretty darn good for grocery store stuff. As close to home made as you'll get without making it. I give them an A+ on it for store bought cake.

Made Mexican food. Put the crock pot to good use the day before and made beef in red ancho chili sauce. My famous Spanish rice and simmered whole black beans in orange juice, cilantro, and red onion and some home made salsa were all done the day of the party. Sounds fussy but isn't. Good and plentiful 'party/buffet' food.

As for the pots, no woodland setting wouldn't work BUT... the flower garden area and the Mediterranean areas would be lovely.

Amaryllis or tulip of Narcissi bulbs planted in them and lined up in a sunny spot along the house. The Mediterranean garden would be a great area to have a potted plant selection of Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Cilantro, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemongrass (a.k.a. Coriander), Fennel, etc. Even the hot Jalapeņo and tiny super hot Thai chili and Serrano and Anaheim chilies will grow in larger pots.

All of this stuff is used in both So. Cal and Mediterranean foods. Both girls would be happy *thumbs up* The pots would make a real pretty border along the edge of the garden or grouped on a patio. Your sunshine and temps would be ideal.

Succulents are also great in these pots. Sempervivums, Sedums, Chicks n Hens, Aeoniums, Kalanchoe, Jade, Echeveria and even the Aloe vera. Works well with both the Japanese and Mediterranean themes. Nice rock garden, border and ground cover plants too. :D :D

So there's some excuses to go buy and fill up pots! I love succulents. They don't love AZ. They shriek in horror and disgust even in our so called version of 'shade'. Reason why I don't grow them with the exception of A. vera which likes it here.

Makes me envy all the more the fact you guys can grow those glorious lilies and tulips and daffodils and 'vegetables'. I love balloon flowers too. So cool. Nadine may like a similar plant called Chinese Lanterns. Really cool.

Sorry I have nothing intelligent to add about keeping rain away and providing warmth. Two problems I don't deal with here----obviously. Can anyone send me some shade and rain on a regular basis? You know rain. The thing in between spitting mud for three seconds or creating flash floods for three days?

As for drainage we use big handfuls of 1" x 1-2" rock we scoop up out of our yard and just toss on top of the potted plants (see pics above) or our entire yard IS rock so the in ground plants are already 'well drained'.

Weird weather out here still. Temps 'cooler' in the 90's- low 100's but the sun seems so intense still. Hard to explain. Not hot from the temperature but still this laser beam effect when you are out in it.

As for me I shoveled dirt out of a huuuuuuuge pot (like the one the 'mom' A. parryi is in) yesterday. Hoping Dave will take it to the back yard for me. The back yard is my 'project' now as the front is pretty much done and not another thing can be squeezed into it if I want to account for the size and diameter that these Agaves and p.pears grow to.

Also pruned my neighbor's 15 year old Indian Fig p.pear yesterday. Oh....that was a real treat. (Hear the sarcasm). Makes Bet's 'mater jungle seem like a joke.

Anyhow, need to go and start the day and change all the Band-Aids on my arms, and hands and knees and shins. LOL

Peace. Out.

In honor of yesterday's p.pear activity the Song for the day: "Hurts So Good" by John Cougar Mellancamp LOL

Yesterday's visitor to my Agave americana variegated. A cool Mantas. Look close. He's hanging upside down and right in the middle of the pic.
Also a dragon fly decided it wanted to come and visit my Agave sisalana. :D

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Casa Grande, AZ

Hi guys,

Carrie......V.P. Joe Biden is on Law and Order S.V.U. tomorrow. Thought you would enjoy catching that. Hint...he's going to be working with the detectives in regards to a crime issue he has always supported and been concerned about long before his V.P. career and before anyone really knew who he was.

Very nervous today. Getting a hair cut. *eye roll*. Hair is shedding a little less each day. It is starting to look more like a 'normal' daily shedding but not quite. Almost there. Means the detox thing is working. *YIPPEE* Still breaking here and there randomly though but that has slowed down too. I'm hoping by next month or so it will be much better in this regards.

Going to keep my hair the same but just a tad shorter I think since it has shown improvement.

We'll see how much of it stays on my head once I color it. LOL. Those 'natural highlights' are becoming more plentiful and more obvious than I like and I can't avoid not coloring it at this point.

Wise Cactus says, "Never fear the haircut. Just look around. The short, spike-y look is always in style and everyone is wearing it ! "
Here is Wise Cactus's top 5 pics for "some do-s" for me.

Short with layered , 'feathery' razor cut ends as Option #1;
Haircut #2 long and short pieces mixed;
Hair 'do' #3 Short and sassy with trendy pink dye job;
Idea #4 Comb it up and back .Amazing what some sculpting gel and hair spray can do!
#5.) Worse case scenario. *Sigh*

And they say Wise Cactus has no sense of humor!

Song for the day: "Don't Worry. Be Happy" by Bobby McFarrin

Peace. Out.

Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1
Casa Grande, AZ

Haircut turned out fine! *Phew...Yippee**! Hair shedding is slowing down more and more each day and breakage is less. New guy who did it (Miguel) said it was healthy and growing and confirmed there were no bald spots anywhere. Cut about an 1.5 off of it so I have the same haircut just shorter to get rid of some of the frazzled ends. He's very, very, good too. Glad I thought of giving him a try. My other hairdresser was in my old place about 45 minutes away and it was getting harder and harder to line up schedules and becoming more and more of a pain to go see her.

So all is well that ends well. Now...I have to color it. *bite nails*. I'm sure it will be o.k. We'll see.

Tomorrow is my and Dave's 11th wedding anniversary. Awwwww (most of the time---LOL) . He's off. We're going to go for dinner and do something during the day.

I'll post pic of me, my new 'do' and one of Dave dressed up a bit later.

Monday is the debates. I'll get with you guys by Tuesday at the latest.

Hugs to all.
Peace. Out.

Songs for the day: "At Last" by Etta James; "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green and
"Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Happy anniversary! I am pretty much in favor of marriage and weddings and anniversaries. And I am really happy your haircut turned out well. You know how women are about their hair. I used to REGULARLY cry after haircuts. Then I started cutting it myself and then I cut it all off. So I very much identify with the fear of a new haircut/haircutter.

I am also a big fan of short hair. I think every face can be flattered by a fairly short, easy-care hair do. I hate all that styling gel-hair spray-mousse stuff. It makes my normally itchy head even itchier. I am mostly happy with my ultra-short hair and it never makes me miserable.

Midland City, AL

Happy Anniversary! Hope you had a fun and romantic day!
Fingers crossed I am able to finish this post. I think this is about the seventh time I've sat down at the computer to chat with you all. Something always happens before I can click "Submit Post". Kay's computer bit the dust and we are sharing mine. About the time I got our programs to merge without interfering with one another, Windows did an update. (eye roll) There is always an adjustment period while programs figure out how to interface. Sometimes, you have to wait for the programmers to create a patch.
There isn't much activity in the garden. I had time to do the final demolition making room for the new, enlarged bathroom. . A closet in the center of the space that once housed the central AC unit had me so frustrated I considered taking a sledge hammer to it. lol. It must have been the sturdiest built thing in the whole place. It's finally gone and I didn't go caveman on it. . . much.
I did some demolition in the garden too. Took down a Chinese privet hedge. The plants were variegated when I bought them, but reverted to straight green in only a few years. I should have done the research before purchase. It is a common complaint with variegated Chinese privet according to the web. Think I can talk them into installing Y5 at the nursery so I can Google plants before making an impulse buy? :-)
I took on our immortal calorie pear while I had the electric chainsaw out. I've been trying to kill that thing for years. No luck yet. It must have been the rootstock of a Bradford pear or an edible pear. I manage to keep it from producing seed by cutting it down every year about this time, but it lives on despite the fact that I burn the debris atop the roots.
Carrie, I have winter sowing forums on my "watch" list on several gardening websites. It has long been something I wanted to learn more about. I never get around to actually reading the threads, however. I plant seed at the dates recommended by the state agricultural service for the coastal part of the state, but I think it is too hot for good germination. Kay goes by what flowers and native plants are in bloom. She just planted her carrots in the CanDo Container Garden because she waits until the cotton rose (Hibiscus mutabalis) blooms. That means she will not be harvesting until mid-November at the earliest. That sounds late since we usually have frost by the last of Oct. or the first part of Nov. She says the plants know better than the Ag Service. We will see.
Once upon a time, before Nadi became Queen of the Kitchen, I started plants in the kitchen window. Growing plants are banned from the kitchen under her dictatorship. She says the flats take up too much of HER counter space and the hanging pots "pee" on the clean counters when watered. lol.
I've been thinking that winter sowing might be the way to go with some butterfly weed seeds. I know they are considered good candidates for the method. I guess it is time to actually read some of the forums. Winter sowing sounds simple enough even for me.
Pix: Spider lily (Lycoris radiata) gone native, but looking good. #1 & #2.
Cotton Rose (Hibiscus mutalis) Some critter is using the flowers, but it doesn't look like whiteflies. They are the only destructive pest of hibiscus mutabalis and H. syricus (Rose of Sharon) I am aware of. Don't want to declare war on the pesky little guys until I positively ID them. I would not want to destroy lace wings or some other gardener's friend. I can't see any damage to the plant. They just hang out in the flowers in disturbing numbers.

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

The premise behind winter sowing is that perennial seeds "know" when to germinate. UP here they need freeze-thaw cycles to loosen the seed coats and enable the plant embryo to swell and grow into a germinated seedling. The vented soda bottle keeps it warm and protected from everything: critters and winds and floods and losing it. The 4" of dirt means you don't lose the seeds and the germination rate is way higher.

If you look at germination instructions for some seeds, it says "keep it at 50 degrees for two weeks then 20 degrees for two weeks then 70 deg. for 10 days then 50...." and I for one couldn't keep track of all that nonsense. I realize you folks are planting in the ground, but when I do that, I forget where I planted it. And we never have flat, cultivated, nice friendly dirt, we have disgusting, hard, sandy/gravelly, poor dirt. It's been dry for a long time here. Not Arizona dry but....

We have a patch--we laid it out in a wedge-shaped bed 10-15 years ago--so we call it the Iris Pie. Anyway, it has irises and LOTS of white daffodils 'Thalia' and camassia. Mostly all shades of white and purple-blue. Every few years we add to it. However it seems to be fewer and fewer irises AND more and more poison ivy. So Ray dug it up to divide the irises and try to get rid of the PI. (And plant the Armagia irises.)

We have divided daylilies before but really we divide the dirt the daylilies are growing in. This time we are actually sifted through the dirt sorting through roots, plants and PI. Lots of PI, but many more bulbs, daffodil and I don't know what. He wore long sleeves and gloves but still got PI, which he is extremely susceptible to.

This message was edited Sep 25, 2016 10:30 AM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Jim, your #3 up there is really pretty. Reminds me of our Geranium 'Rozanne'; very beautiful. I believe it is too cold here to plant that.here.

Ray has been admiring Rose of Sharon at the people's house down the street. They put in a nice little ROS hedge that's about 24-30" high. I keep saying to Ray it will be 240-300" high before they're done.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

OK, Jim, I looked that up. Yours CAN grow up here, or a version of it at least, but the one we have around here is HUGE. Blooms as big as plates, they get darker throughout he day, but then they get brown and fall on the ground? They die back all the way (at least up here) and you cut them way back and then they grow back next summer (like Butterfly bush)? I am familiar with the version we have up here. Maybe I would like them as a landscape plant, but around here, I only ever see them planted as specimens and there's nothing to do but stare at the brown bloom. Also, I heard from a local friend at a Roundup that they get Japanese Beetles. or maybe we were talking about Oriental Lilies. Anyway we don't have space for another large scale plant.

Ray just came in, all ache-y and grubby and triumphant and tired. We had talked before about how he has been putting this off for years and years. I said "do you think you could do this again in two or three years?" and I got a look of death. I gather he does not wish to do this again in 2-3 years.

JACQUELINE, can you send some warm breezes this way? It feels REALLY cold to me already.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi guys, :D

thank you for the kind anniversary wishes. 11 years. Made it past the first milestone of a decade. So I guess the fact Dave and I have hit double digits is a sign of successful mate selection. Or it proves all successful marriages are based on the fact that neither spouse owns a handgun. *LOL*

We did have a very nice time. It was great to literally wipe the dust off my heels and put on some of my work clothes from my former Neiman-Marcus days. They still fit!!! Hooray!!! I always feel better when I wear something that doesn't have old paint, grout or cactus needles and dirt on it. Dave looked good all dressed up. He cleans up well and looks great in something that is not a uniform.

We went to a really nice restaurant here locally. Food was average despite the outstanding presentation and wonderful ambiance of the restaurant. Best part was the drink, the appetizer and the desert. But I would have been happy with a Happy Meal. It was just nice to sit and 'look' at each other and talk about other things than work, family, health, money, etc.

So we had the best time ever and enjoyed our day. Dave surprised me in another way. I did not know this but the restaurant had some history to it as it had been there from the 1930s. Looking at the outside it had the appearance of some local-yokel, low brow chow kind of place. Inside was beautiful. What was even more spectacular was the patio and garden. WOW. It was built around some cacti over 100 years old and many rare, unusual and exotic species were imported by the original owner and now the new owner.

The sun was going down but I managed to get a few pics. The owner gave us a tour as he is as big a cacti nut as I am. Dave endured patiently as he found the cacti interesting but on a surface level.

I posted some pics below.

As for plants envious of everyone's' activities. Things have pretty much slowed down here with the agaves. Aloes still going strong and a few little plants but for the most part things are heading towards a stasis period. I am hoping the shriveled, wrinkly appearance my agaves adopted all summer will go away since the sun is kinder and weather cooler.

Basically they are dehydrated despite the fact their roots are wet. Kind of like you having enough water in your body but your skin looks like a raisin. Pouring more water on the roots won't help. Constant wetness only causes rot on agave and desert plant roots. Sounds counterintuitive but desert plants are weird due to their shallow root systems.

I have been topping off the soil in my potted plants when I can. The sun has the most amazing way of transforming any rich, healthy soil into literal dry, dusty, nutrient void dirt that is powder like in texture in a matter of 6 months. So I go around to all my potted plants that I can manage and take them out, scoop out half of the old dirt and pour in some new soil and repot the plant.

When the end of fall-start of winter hits I give the plants their final watering and fertilize. Winter I water about every 5 or 6 weeks depending on rain/lack of. The shriveled appearance of the plants and agaves has been due primarily to surreal heat of June and July and the lack of August rain, and the ground's inability to retain enough moisture for the roots to suck up the water and distribute it and circulate it to the leaves and keep them hydrated regardless of the fact the plants' roots were wet. See, that's why constantly overwatering the agaves would not have been helpful. Make sense?

As for fall-winter blooms the barrel and hedgehog cacti will get going and the Ferocacti. Pretty blooms in their own right and quite stunning.

Still envy all of your bulb planting and planning and anticipation of a color explosion for the spring. We won't discuss my lack of glorious fall foliage. :[ Pictures please!!

Our weather has been great. Low 80s to low 90s, little humidity and several overcast days. Yes...we enjoy NOT seeing the sun on occasion. I've actually had the doors open and turned off the air several times now. If the air does kick on it is due to the fact the indoor temp is at 81-83 degrees inside.

As for warm breezes........we got them. Only problem is they're more strong winds than breezes. I'll send them your way BUT you have to take it with all the dust that goes along. Non negotiable on that one. You'll be warm but you better stock up on the Pledge and the Windex and plan of keeping yourself busy with the vacuum cleaner!

Can you send me some rain? You know 'rain'. Not three seconds of spitting dust laden water that turns to mud the minute it hits the car or a three day non stop deluge that becomes a flash flood. Real 'rain' would be much appreciated.

Home improvement........sigh. Little jealous and not at the same time. Jealous in that you are able to and have the time to continue with your projects. Not jealous in that I don't miss the grunt work and constant clean up for two weeks after.

Dave and I had originally planned on putting laminate flooring in all of the bedrooms. The more we looked into it the 'fussier' we discovered it to be and the more problematic. If your house was built on a concrete slab you have to level that off to make it even prior to laying it down. Uh...what's the time, cost and effort involved in doing that. Then there is the glue used to make the laminate stick and the fumes. Then there is the time to let the laminate dry prior to putting any furniture on it which is about three days. And where exactly does one put their two bedrooms and third bedroom now office furniture while all this is being done?

Then in regards to the furniture its self and the floors you have to put pads on the bottom of all the feet so the laminate does not get scratched and if it is big or heavy furniture the weight could sink into the floor and leave dents. Oh...did I mention special cleaning products as some of the regular ones will ruin the finish?

This is laminate!!! Not bamboo or hardwood flooring. Seriously??? What a major PIA.

We so do not want to bother with this insanity. We also don't want carpet. We found what looks to be a compromise. Tile that looks exactly like a wood floor. Comes in a multitude of tile sizes, and wood shades and grains. Grout line is imperceptible at 1/8 an inch. Best of all we know how to do tile and can do it ourselves!!!

So that is our solution to the bedroom floors and will be our next project. Oh not to mention doing the laundry room 'whenever' to match the rest of the tile throughout the house we already did. We still need to paint but again that is a 'whenever' project and not a priority. Our walls are white which is fine. Also it can't be a million degrees outside because we need to open the doors for fumes, we don't want the air running 24 hours to cool the outside rather than the house, and it can't be humid. Looks like another fall-winter 'whenever' project for us.

Talk about shooting the 'look of death' at each other. Who wants to start taking bets Dave and I make it 12 years. *LOL*

So without more delay here are a bunch of pics from our anniversary and some of the interesting cacti to behold. Sorry don't know the name of a lot of them.

Me looking all purty. Phew...hair turned out o.k. with cut and color.
Dave looks great all dressed up. He's 6'6" and the cacti, I dunno. This was in the garden at the restaurant.
This is Angel he is a chef at the restaurant (which is how Dave found out about it) and also happened to be our neighbor across the street for awhile. He and his wife just recently moved. :[
Needless to say Angel hooked us up with a free appetizer and dessert. *thumbs up*. Owner gave us a free drink. *even better*

More pics to come of cacti.

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Casa Grande, AZ

Some really cool cacti in the garden. The fading sun and the heels were not conductive for going up and down the 'rock' steps and wandering around the winding flagstone paths. Next time we go it will be for drinks and appetizers and flats...so I can explore in earnest!

Cacti, some kind of organ pipe well over 100 years.

A very, very, very rare and unusual tree. There are only 54 in AZ and this guy has 4 of them. They came with the property. Age unknown. Owner said the botanical gardens have been pestering him for them and some guy with his own garden and extensive collection offered him $50K for each one!!!

Bizarre tree again and some lovely Ferocacti starting to bloom in front. Those Ferocacti take forever to grow and reach that size. Approximately 60+ years old.

Just a hodge-podge of plants. Wonderful Trichocereus that have been left to their own devices to snake and crawl along. Some pole cacti and a few others I do not know and couldn't travel around the path to see.

This is also a very, very, very rare and unusual plant. I was fortunate to see it in bloom. Only problem with this little 'gem' is that the flower smells like rotting meat and attracts flies. Ewwwwwww! That is how it gets pollinated. Ewwwwwwww. But the plant is worth a fortune. One man's junk is another's treasure I guess.

Few more photos to go.

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Casa Grande, AZ

Another one of those weird trees.

Close up of the weird tree. I dunno...I would have been tempted to unload at least one of them for $50K as he has 4. How about you?

Have seen a few barrel grow 'arms' but this is not a real common sight. His barrels are huuuuuuge and if you notice have gotten a little tall. They are probably well over 50 years old.

I love a picture of anything with Dave next to something that makes him look short. *LOL* It's kind of like, "Welcome to my world of being vertically challenged."

And just another one of me at home. I was looking at a lady bug on my aloe vera. I wish Dave would have came close and zoomed in on the bug instead of getting one with my big butt in the air. Nothing like catching your best side. Typical guy!

Have a great day all.
Peace. Out.

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Midland City, AL

Now that is a beautiful cactus specimen in the pic with Dave, for that kind of money though, I could bare to part with one.

Carrie, The biggest Rose of Sharon I have ever seen is around 12 ft. tall of course, when you are a kid thy look taller. RoS was one of my dad's favorites.

pic: We call it an elephant ear flower. Lots of plants go by that name, but this is probably an Alocasia.

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Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang.

Sorry for the absence. You guessed it. O.K. Just doing a lot of sleeping. Feel more like 'me' now. Set me back on yard projects and house work. I'll have time to catch up.

Dave is goo. Just tired also. Working a lot of O.T. as they are short handed now Sept-early Nov. is typically vacation time here as the weather is cool enough to do something. Then everyone will have 'holiday-itis' or some problem with their kid/s due to the holiday school let out.

Also his one Captain has been asking for some favors. I told Dave absolutely do not refuse the guy. He had been so very, very good to Dave and I when I had cooked up my hand and Dave needed all that time off and even when he went back to work the guy 'fixed' the schedule to Dave's advantage. He never fails to ask about me on a regular basis. Very kind of him. In all honesty we do owe him as Dave for all intents and purposes according to wonderful AZ law, could have 'self terminated' his job by missing more than 60 days in a row.

Zoe went to vet. Her back legs shake just a tad off and on and she gets up a lot slower. Vet said nothing to worry about. Arthritis (she was a racer for 5 years) and she is old. 12 years old now! Wow. Where did the time go with her. Over all she is in excellent health and better than the majority of dogs her age.

Jim...plants looking good. *Thumbs up* Keep the gorgeous flower pics coming. Amazing for a RoS. Aside from the deciduous trees I wasn't aware a whole lot of shrubs got that big in your neck of the woods or back East. Or maybe I just forgot. I guess I've gotten used to Saguaros, Ocotillos and some monster Agaves with their towering stalks out here.

Hope all is well with everything else at home.

Carrie...how you doing? What's new?

Bets...looking forward to hearing from you.

Gotta go. Just didn't want anyone to think I fell off the Earth.
Have a good day.
Peace. Out.

Midland City, AL

Hey! We haven't fallen off either. September, October, and the first half of November are just our busiest time of year outside. It's hard to find time to do much beyond work, eat, and sleep. The weather is absolutely gorgeous and we want to take as much advantage of that as our bodies can handle. I honestly hate working outside in the summer. I don't deal with the heat well. Winters are laughable compared to Pennsylvania winters, but cold enough to make my joints ache a little more than normal. Spring is great, but someone keeps hitting the fast-forward button. Spring is too short. Summers too long. This is when I enjoy living on the Gulf Coast the most, despite the long to-do list. It's when we do all the things that it has been too hot to do.
I've been raking and generally cleaning up the neglected NE corner, burning broken limbs and pine cones and using the ash to sweeten the soil for the plants that prefer alkaline conditions. The soil is naturally acidic and using wood ash is as simple as applying lime. We need thyme to keep the honeybees healthy and thyme requires sweeter soil than we have naturally. Nadi snags the leaves I rake up for the compost bin and the pine straw is used for mulch to reduce the need to weed. There's something to remind yourself of when the temp outside is a 3-digit figure. You don't have to rake leaves in fall.
I found a source for the grape hyacinth Kay wanted and I'm in the process of getting those in the ground. Remind me not to wait so long to buy bulbs next autumn! I also ordered a pack of especially fragrant lily bulbs. Here's hoping the lilies do okay. I've always planted lilies in spring. It may be a good thing Kay can't see the lilies. I just learned they are lemon yellow with a green throat and spotted with red. Sounds like a lily Dr. Seuss would love. The kids think it is cool looking. The rest of us will close our eyes and breathe in the beautiful fragrance.
Kay's been busy getting the elephant ears under control. I thought they were a good candidate for shading a south wall. My biggest complaint about EEs is their large leaves get tattered by wind and storms. I thought they would keep their good looks better sheltered against the south wall since winds usually come out of the northwest. It worked. The only problem is they may like their new space a little too much. They grew so large I asked Kay if she somehow goofed up and planted the giant kind. She says the big guys are in the tropical house at the botanical garden for a reason. They aren't winter hardy in our area. There was no mistake. I like the look and they made the south room cooler, but I will have to keep them cut back better next summer. They multiplied like mad via their roots in addition to being over-sized. If you want to freak out your apartment manager the way your neighbor did, Bets, I have enough EEs to start a revolution if you want. ;-) You're still in our thoughts and prayers.
Aww, poor Zoe. I can sympathize with getting old and achy. Give her a belly rub from me. She's probably doing more for your garden than you realize.
I need to read up on dog-free ways to handle garden pest. The crab cactus you sent is okay, but something keeps digging it up and munching off the root tendrils. Kay thinks opossum because the garden raids come at night, but my money is on an armadillo. Possums are woodland creatures. What would they know about cacti other than our native prickly pear. The raider had a specific target. The containers holding other cacti were not touched. The crab cactus was better armed than any of the other cacti in the collection. Maybe the reason crab cacti have such impressive defenses is because their roots are tasty. I can't see how a strictly woodland animal like a possum would know that some cacti roots are good to eat, never the less which cacti roots. It's not hard to believe that kind of information might be stored in an armadillos ancestral memory. Besides, there was no blood. lol. I can't see an opossum making it past the thorns. Of course, that isn't an issue for an armadillo. I've sat the crab cactus up on a bench. The cactus collection was sitting on the ground around a quince. That should be enough to keep it safe if I'm right. I've never seen or heard of an armadillo climbing. Of course, if Kay's right.... Grrrr.
I wish I had other colors of Rose of Sharon. Mine is white with a purple throat. My Dad had several different flower colors. I guess you are right, Carrie. RoS are colorful and unbelievably easy to keep in top form, but they do take up too much space in a suburban garden. Have you checked to see if hybridizers have developed a dwarf version Ray would like? Making plants smaller for city and suburban gardeners is a major focus for plant breeders.
Can't find my SIM card from the camera. I'll try to post some photos tomorrow. Good night, Everyone.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I wouldn't be surprised, Jim, if it isn't more trial and error than you're imagining, maybe at least for each generation. Maybe the crab cactus sends out UV or UHF signals that are inaudible to humans. Is it literally a cactus? (Not Thanksgiving or Christmas, which are not cactus.) [Note, I see they ARE Thanksgiving cactus, which means they are not a true cactus.]

This "transitional weather" is always difficult for me. I can see that it's a beautiful day, but I get chilly so quickly. I never leave the house without a pair of gloves (my fingers get cold first) and a sweater at this time of year. We are going to attempt to winter over geraniums and maybe impatiens this year.

Oh, by the way, you won't be able to find bulbs earlier in the year. I once wanted to plant daffodils in the spring or summer.....they are unavailable until fall.

This message was edited Oct 5, 2016 3:17 PM

Midland City, AL

Photo #1 below is the plant I was calling a crab cactus in the last post. Either we are having one of those multiple common name confusions or I'm simply wrong about the name.
I know Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus....sort of. My SIL has an incredible Thanksgiving cactus that is in bloom whenever we have our holiday get-together at her house. I liked it so much I purchased one of my own, or thought I did anyway. Kay tells me what I have is the similar Christmas cactus.
There is not much in flower at the moment, but some seed pods and fruit make up for the lack.
Photo #1: What I have mistakenly been calling a crab cactus.
Photo #2: A white version of the more common neon purple fruited Beautyberry. It obviously needs to be sprayed for the fairy infestation.
Photo #3: Jujube

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Hahahaha Jim I don't know what your #1 is! I typed "crab cactus" into plant files and what came up is "holiday cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, Christmas cactus" which apparently IS a real cactus so shows what I know.

Beautyberry reminds me of our dogwood which is looking fabulous at the moment, I will try to remember to grab a photo.

Jacqueline, I am sad to think of you not feeling well. Hope you're at least feeling less sleepy by now.

Casa Grande, AZ

I'm here. I'm well. Caught up on sleep. Now trying to catch up on all the things that got neglected while I was playing sleeping beauty. *LOL*
Thanks for all the touching thoughts and concern.
Definitely will get with you guys tomorrow or day after.

Many hugs.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I'm sleepy too, but just because it is grey and rainy here. I am loafing around watching Ray scurry around.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi gang, :D

Back and have some time. I envy you guys getting out to do the Fall projects and planting.

The lilies sound amazing especially the yellow one with the green throat and red spots! Now that's one I'd love to have. It would die here in this heat. The neon plants are fun too. See, you guys get all the good stuff. Boo-hoo for me. Oh well, everything here is a lovely shade of brown and/or sickly yellow right now. *LOL*

Let's see: The weather men are lying to us. They say it is 90-97. Nope my and others in my area have thermometers reading 95-103 right now. Everyone's Agaves are shriveled and closed tight on themselves despite being watered and the lower temps. Yes these temps are a respite from 110+ and 118, and 122 all summer long.

P.pears have shriveled pads. Both P.pears and Eve's Needles are 'bending' and 'waving' like algae under the sea. A lot of the Agaves have thin and elongated leaves, and Trichocereus and Chamaelobivia have developed an elongated 'onion' dome shape or are tapering to a very narrow point at the top instead of maintaining the normal columnar shape.

By now these plants should be reveling in the nice sunshine that isn't hitting them like a laser beam, the humidity, the lack of rain and just hanging out being happy. Even the cacti gurus and experts with obscene encyclopedic knowledge are having the same issues and are perplex as to what's going on as their plants look the same.

It has been such a long, hot, stressful summer and such bizarre, A-typical weather that none of us or the plants know how to respond accordingly. Water is not the answer as it does not solve the appearance problem and plump them. Too much water will only rot these desert plants' roots.

As far as anyone here can ascertain they are just in a state of shock and being catatonic. My worry is these temps will persist and not give the plants the 'cool down' and rest time they need to acclimate and transition into our winter and chilly nights (by our and our plant standards). It seems as though it will go from summer to winter with no fall. We are all hoping this is not the case. *sigh*.

Carrie........feel bad about your fall doldrums. I remember that. As of right now I'll trade you. You can come here and be in the sun for awhile. I'd relish a few gray days and a few days in super crisp outdoor temps. I long to put on some boots and a sweater and go look at the leaves. Cold enough to just see your breath and need gloves and a mid weight short coat but with no snow or frost on the ground or where your teeth are chattering so hard you feel as if they'd break. A nice fire to sit in front of. Ahhhhh....I am so jealous.

As it is I'm sweating my butt off, still wearing sun hats and shorts and alternating between running the air and not, Sounds like paradise until you realize there is no beach and no relief!

Jim......sorry the critters are at your plants. :[
Not sure why. I'm fortunate in that I don't have that problem as I now live in a suburban-urban area. A lot of people out here in different areas with lots of trees in their communities or in more rural areas have problems with squirrels, chipmunks, and prairie dogs getting at the plants' roots and rabbits eating the p.pears. I still don't know how they get their faces around the spines or avoid getting the glochids in their noses.

As for your crab cactus, hmmmmm. Austrocylindropuntia subulata monstrose if it is the one I sent you. I called it a crab cactus because in the summer the new growth has little tips that turn red in the summer and look kind of like crab claws! It could be a variety of that or another Eve's Needle. To abbreviate the Austro subulata is a type of Eve's needle that stays small about 1-3 feet and just clumps. Regular Eve's needles will get taller and branch.

Also if you look at the word Austrocylindropuntia you'll see Opuntia in the last part. That's your p.pears. Don't know how this plant got associated with that family but could also explain why the critters are finding it so tasty. I'd say put it in the green house or in a pot in a higher location they can't get at.

BTW the plants in the pics from our anniversary...yes, the pole cacti is amazing behind Dave. That is a Totem Pole cactus or Lophocereus schottii forma monstrose also sold as Pachycereus schottii variety monstrose. It is a common, not rare plant out here. It is zone 9B-11 specific and hardy to only 9B. Most of them now days are grown from cuttings. Its roots will not take if it is below 70 degrees! Definitely a sun lover and one for my climate. May make a good greenhouse plant for you.

The super rare one was that freaky looking thing in the first and second pics that looks like a natty half dead tree. It is called a Cirio. Proper name is Fouquieria columnaris. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. *shrug*

Aside from being set behind on weed mesh removal from my back yard (shovel rock aside, pull up weed mesh, shovel rock back and rake to make pretty) due to temps and other things I am now dealing with bugs.

Grrrrrrrrrrr. Let's see. We already have fire, flood and drought. Then we had ants. We presently have moths. The newest thing is crickets. My neighbor's pole cacti is just covered with them. Ewwwwwwwwwww. Since it is my neighbor good chance it may be my pole cacti next. *sigh...eye roll* I don't think they're harmful to the plant but they're nasty and who knows what they're doing? Laying eggs? Attracting other bugs? I dunno.

Oh well that's what...6 out of 7 plagues? Only one more to go! LOL

Talk to you guys later.

I think I'm going to make this my new Avatar. It is from the Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson. (sorry, gotta turn your head sideways)

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