Thursday, May 22, 2008

Visual Updates

Ug. The complications.

So I bought a wee little external card reader drive that I can use to get my pix from my memory card to my computer. So I don't need to buy a new camera--hurrah!

But now I'm adrift in a sea of other troubles. My software is being a pain--I no longer have Photoshop, so I have to do my editing in two different lame-ola apps that come with Vista, then upload via (gack!) Internet Explorer, between whom and myself there is Very Bad Blood. (Long story short: bastardly program allowed Matt to get a particularly nasty trojan horse that operated through some back door in IE--and Windows wouldn't let me uninstall IE in order to thwart the trojan horse. Had to call in professional help. Still pissed about that.) For some reason, the new Firefox 3 won't let me upload or publish in either Blogger or Picasa--not sure if it's a settings problem or some unholy interaction between my firewall/AVG/Windows Defender (whatever the hell that is)/Firefox3. So the uploading of the pix has been slow and laborious.

'Nuff whining. On to the pix.
Our cottonwood is beginning to bloom. Not (so far) as much fluff as last year, but then the season is just starting. Last spring, the air was thick with cottonwood fluff.

Cottonwood cotton

Here's the rose garden, doing its thing:
Rose garden

We really need to start planting tall things along that big wall, don't we? Looks all bare and blank. I just learned about a short, skinny, columnar baldcypress called 'Peve Minaret' (why "Peve"? What kind of word is that? Answer comes there none.) That might work, and I'm very, very fond of baldcypresses. Or maybe a 'Forest Pansy' redbud or a Bauhinia.

Our Sprekelia formossisima, which had been in Mom's custodianship in Houston since my undergrad days, popped into bloom. They have the most extravagant, implausible, gorgeous flowers, and look very much like a fleur de lys.

Sprekelia formissisima (which has the bizarre common name--common among whom I wonder?--of "Jackobean Lily"). It's tilted at a goofy angle, for some reason.

Our last unphotographed mystery rose finally obliged, as well. It has these pretty deep pink globes for flowers--very unusual. The buds are so round, you'd assume it was densely petaled, but it's actually only semi-double. I don't even have an educated guess to make about this one. It's obviously not a hybrid musk (which are huge, woody, sprawly beasts) or a Noisette (they're usually climbers), but beyond that, I'm stumped. Anyway, it's a dear of a shrub, and I'm delighted to see its ducky little flowers again.

Charming mystery rose with pink globe-shaped flowers

And 'Graham Thomas', our David Austin rose, finally bloomed, but unfortunately, I only thought to snap it after applying seaweed extract, so it's got brown droplets all over it, which is none too appealing.

David Austin rose 'Graham Thomas'

Also, in celebration of family coming into town, Matt tore down more of the hurricane fencing--this on the west side of the yard. It was in front of our neighbor's privacy fence, so it formed a haven for unsightly outlaws and carpetbaggers. Now it's gone, we're edging ever nearer to gentility.

That greyish streak in the lawn is the defunct hurricane fence.

We've also got some citruses just starting to fruit.

A striped pink Meyer lemon (it will be pink on the inside. Assuming it reaches maturity.)

A tiny baby grapefruit

In addition, our last amaryllis of the season (unless 'Spotty' puts in a very belated cameo), 'Liberty,' has finally bloomed.

'Liberty' Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)

We had a lovely visit with Mom, Dad, Aunt Pauline, Big David, and Granny Babe last week. I was very tickled to be able to show off the house, and they were gratifyingly detail-oriented in their appreciation (Aunt Pauline took the time to admire our glass cabinet pulls in the bathroom, for example.) We didn't have the pond running for them, but we had at least caulked the cracks, so it was holding water properly. Granny brought barbecue, and this time we had enough matching glasses for everyone. Still not enough chairs, but we're working on it. My everyday flatware wasn't entirely clean, and it's missing some pieces, so we ate our barbecue with the fancy silver, which made an interesting change from the usual BBQ accoutrements of plasticware and paper plates.

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