Washington State University Alumni Magazine

February 6th, 2018

I received my MFA from Washington State University in Pullman, WA. While there, I was using cuttings from trees and plants in my mixed media work. I became a bit familiar with some of the folks in the Horticulture Department when I was looking for potential sources for art materials. Not only did I find great materials, I also found starts of numerous plants that I grew in my studio.

While I was traveling over the weekend I read the Washington State Magazine Summer 2017 issue. The magazine is full of interesting information about folks at WSU and alumni. Since I have been caring for Monarchs in my gardens, I specifically wanted to read the article about Monarchs.

After reading a number of interesting articles, I read an article on the Newsmedia page about Linda Chalker-Scott’s book, How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do (Science for Gardeners).

How Plants Work Book

I read the excerpt available on the amazon site and decided to purchase the kindle version of her text. Even though I love books, especially beautiful Timber Press books, I didn’t want to wait 2 days for delivery.

Linda Chalker-Scott also posts on the Garden Professors blog. After reading a couple of posts, decided to subscribe.

Patina Gone Crazy

February 5th, 2018




After a short time this occurred–




What was the patina used for? I strung together 3 kinds of shiny steel washers in code for a 3-bunny gravemarker.

Memorial Piece

This is what the washers looked like when they were removed from the solution.

Memorial Piece

And now as part of the grave marker–

Memorial Piece

Memorial Piece

Eventually the piece should become rustier, more aged, a bit more similar to the oxidized bunny marker.

This is another memorial for a bunny burial space.

Mr Smith Memorial Piece

Used the same washers to make the coded memorial piece. I suspect that they have oxidized because the area of the garden gets watered frequently and the little inlaid ceramic cup does not have a drainage hole.

How many bunnies do I have buried in my courtyard? Eight. That sounds like a lot of bunnies. Eight bunnies have lived with me during the past 25 years. My oldest bunny lived a long, but not long enough 13 years.

The simple rust promoter formula found online.

Patina Formula

Sweet Essence of the Magnolia and Brugmansia

February 1st, 2018

The small Magnolia in the back garden is in bloom. Last evening I noticed the fragrance of the Magnolia was combining nicely with the delicious fragrance of the Brugmansia.

Magnolia Bloom

Magnolia Bloom with Bee

Magnolia Bud with Pod

The tall tilting tree is actually a Brugmansia.

Brugmansia Tilt

The Wisteria covering the deck was quite heavy last year, casting shade. So the Brug is growing toward the light. When the flower cycle ends, I will cut it back.

I grew the Brug from seed several years ago. I have taken cuttings and harvested seed pods to make more plants.

Brug Pod

A recently harvested Brugmansia seed pod.

I remove Brugmansia and Datura pods to prevent anyone from snagging them to use inappropriately.

The Brug was grown from seed purchased from Seedman.com. The site has seed for a variety of plants and a great place to find seed for unusual plants.

Time to Retire My Rabbit Mug?

February 1st, 2018

This has been an annoying allergy season. Had been taking loads of antihistamines, now on Sudafed and Aleve. Symptoms often wake me in the middle of the night. Sometimes I need to take addition doses of Sudafed.

Tuesday evening I left my rabbit mug half filled with water on the bathroom counter, the top covered with a kleenex. Wednesday night the mug was still waiting to be used. As I removed the kleenex I noticed the exterior of the mug looked odd, stained.

Rabbit Mug Exterior

When I looked inside the mug, the glaze looked stained.

<Rabbit Mug Interior

And what happened to the water?

<Rabbit Mug Interior

When I held the mug it felt cold. If water can be pulled through the small fractures in the glaze surface, what else might the mug contain? Was the glaze fired to maturity? Is it possible that some of the glaze ingredients are toxic? What have I been drinking with my orange juice?

Yep, time to retire the mug.

Datura Pod

January 29th, 2018

Datura Pod

Last Datura Pod of Volunteer Plant #2 in Succulent Garden

Bees Buzzing and Brugs

January 6th, 2018

When I was painting shelves in the backyard, I heard a constant buzzing. I looked up at the Brugmansia in bloom above me. Bees were everywhere.

1 Bee

1 Bee

2 Bees

2 Bees

3 Bees

3 Bees

3 Bees

What were they doing???

Pet Red Eye and PS Express on iPhone

January 2nd, 2018

Elliot with Red Eye

Elliot with a Bunnicula Eye

Bunnicula Eye Corrected

In PS Express–Click Red Eye, Click Pet Red Eye, Tap Eye.
Bunnicula Eye Corrected

Elliot is our rescue bunny. We put concrete forming tubes on the sofa to prevent her from tearing up the sofa.

Shredded Tube

Now she shreds the inside of the tube rather than the sofa.

01012018 Moon and Night Sky

January 2nd, 2018


Happy New Year from Shell Beach!

January 1st, 2018


Gorgeous day at the beach!


Field Seen on Drive to Beach


A Little Bit Closer
What can they be?
Trees? Grapevines?

It was high tide, very few stones on beach that were not under water. Not a holey stone to be found. Does that mean it will be an unlucky year? If I were superstitious, maybe.


About the frames on the images–I am trying out some of the frame options available on the Snapseed app. Seem awfully fussy, drawing attention to themselves. “Hey look at me, Look at me!”


Another example of Look at Me. Bob popped over to check on me.
She often carries stuff around in her beak–a chip, shredded paper, a whole Kleenex, hay…

A New Little Project–Monarch Caterpillars

December 27th, 2017

I was away for a few weeks. When I returned, the first garden task was to cut the milkweed plants to the ground. I cut the first one. And just as I was about to cut the second plant I saw a small monarch caterpillar. Shouldn’t really be here in December. The temperature was to drop to the high 30s, so I cut some milkweed leaves and placed them and the caterpillar in a small jar.

Cat in Jar


Every day I clean the jar. Then replace the dried milkweed leaves with fresh cut leaves.

The caterpillar is still small, but I suspect it is twice the size it was when I found it.

I hope that it completes the caterpillar part of the cycle before I run out of milkweed leaves.

2017 December 29 Update
When cutting leaves for the little cat, I found another one. I brought it in. Now there are two.


2018 January 02 Update
Ran out of Milkweed leaves to feed to the Monarch caterpillars. Google search found several Monarch sites suggesting the use of slices of squash, pumpkin, and cucumbers as an alternative food source.


Sliced Squash

Jar Set Up

Squash in New Jar Set Up

Cats in Jar

Caterpillars in Jar with Squash

Cat on Squash

An Hour in New Home
Caterpillar Tasting Squash

2018 January 04 Update


2018 January 05 Update

Squash Eaten

Caterpillar Eaten Squash

Fresh Squash

Fresh Squash and Clean Room

Texas Butterfly Ranch

Butterfly Fun Facts

Monarch Grove Pismo Beach, California/a>