Sunday, June 3, 2018

Spring Has Sprung...And Gotten Out Of Control

We have had a damp, cold, foggy spring this year. And the plants are all going crazy.

The view from our back window, of the neighbor's climbing roses -- such a beautiful sight in the bright sun. Definitely starting to take over his deck, however:

The plants in our own yard have become unruly monsters, roaming a foot or more outside the bounds of the beds:

Close up of the California poppies, which are usually dainty little things, but in our yard have become  bushes sprawling everywhere:

Close up of a completely unreasonable dahlia:

The poppies at the entrance to the yard are a little more controlled, but are still creeping way beyond their beds:

They're such a pretty color, though, and the bumblebees love them.

Elsewhere, these bushes we planted in 2016 are having a great time:

They're so doing so well -- and Pickles was so fond of trying to eat them -- we planted a memorial one for her in one of her favorite parts of the yard:

Meanwhile, there is some kind of creeping clover breaking out all over, making the rock succulent planting look very nice:

As well as making the tiny table next to the tiny grill on the tiny patio look nicer:

Lastly, in Mars fauna news, we have new roommates: a squirrel family has moved into the attic. Need to call someone to come get them out before more babies (called "kittens", as it turns out) come in August. No freeloaders allowed.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Rest in Peace, Dr. Zoey Pickles

Sad news today: we had to let go of Pickles last night. She had a brain tumor, and her quality of life was starting to slide quickly. We are broken hearted, but relieved that she is at peace. She was a special, funny dog, and will always be part of the fabric of our lives on Mars.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Six years on Mars!

Today is the sixth anniversary of when we moved into this house.

It's hard to believe it's already been six years!

We marked the day by drinking eggnog and enjoying our Christmas decorations:

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree sent by Mama O'Brien, surrounded by various paper cutouts, mementos, & presents.

Momma Arave's Christmas Bough.

Mama O'Brien's stockings.

Pickles' stocking, plus we hung the stockings for the mice again --
they're not upstairs this year, but we know they're never very far away.

It was a nice ending to an eventful weekend, full of champagne & oysters, and happening to be at City Hall when the mayor's body was lying in-state in the main rotunda. Never a dull moment!

As for Pickles, the test results did come back clean, and she's having her stitches out first thing Monday morning. She is preparing by resting up in a pile of clean laundry:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Poor Pickles!

Poor Pickles had to undergo a medical procedure this week.

A few weeks ago, we found a lump on her belly. Our regular vet did a needle biopsy that was inconclusive, so we had to bring her to a special vet on Monday for a lumpectomy.

They sent her home with this satellite dish cone:

Cone? Or is she picking up radio waves from space?

It's made of a heavy paper with a plastic coating. It's nice that it's not rigid, so that she can lie down comfortably. Also, she doesn't get stuck on things like door frames, because the collar gives when it hits things.

Unfortunately, that has also been its downfall. Pickles likes rubbing on furniture and walls -- particularly when she's wearing something she doesn't want to be wearing. Two days in, she had managed to get it to flip the wrong way:

Cone? Or dashing dental x-ray cape*?

That in itself isn't a problem, because even with it inside out, she still can't get to her stitches. But now, four days in, it's been folded and unfolded and bent and unbent so many times, it's just a floppy piece of paper.

We woke up this morning to this:

Cone? Or infinity scarf*?

I'd give it 24 more hours before she figures out that she can get to her stitches. Definitely wouldn't make it the next 8 days before her stitches are scheduled to come out.

To keep her on the mend, AJ went out to the pet store today for a new collar. This one is much smaller and stiffer, but is still comfortable for sleeping:

It also features little windows to allow her to see what's going on around her. And, of course, we get the benefit of seeing her cute face:

She's back in to the vet on Tuesday for a check up of her stitches. We should also get a full report on the biopsy on Monday. We got a preview from our regular vet yesterday though, and it sounds like we're going to be getting good news.

*Thank you, Jon & Amanda, for these very apt observations.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Year of Finishing Things: Finished!

Earlier this year, I declared 2017 to be The Year of Finishing Things: this would be the year I finished up a few lingering projects, clearing the decks for new fun in 2018.

I am happy to report that all unfinished projects are now finished, with the completion of some odds and ends in the kitchen!

Over the past week, I refinished the wood counter, painted trim, and fixed some peeling veneers on the china cabinet drawers. AJ put the icing on the cake by adding an important detail into a section of door trim that had been cut away to accommodate the lip of the old counter tops:

Now on to the fun of planning new projects!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Among other boring maintenance things, I have been refinishing the back stairs. After two weekends of sanding and sealing, the work is finally done and ready for the winter rain to start.

AJ captured an action shot:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

 Happy Halloween from Greta Pickles, of Greta's Junk Removal & Hauling Service!

No job too big or too small. Will work for chicken. Dial 1-800-DOG-BUTT for an appointment.