Monday, August 30, 2010

It's HERE!!

My beautiful mixer arrived today and I just LOVE the colour. It took 10 business days to arrive but that’s because it came from Las Vegas and I’m sure a little gambling may have been taking place. It blends in with my pumpkin canisters and, yes, even a little pumpkin from the garden.

I’ve already played with the switches and have found it to be quite a quiet machine. The paint is like a factory finished Ferrari, well okay, I guess that might be a little over the top. Oh well it’s just down right stunning.

It's found its place of honour and I will post later (maybe much later, the weather is fantastic) about how it is to use. Right now it is too darn hot to cook or bake. I can’t wait to post my first creation!

The Witch is over the moon right now!!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gazebo Progress

I'm sorry to have missed posting last week but the weather has been just too nice here on the Witch's Island to spend my weekend typing at the computer. Instead, I have been puttering around the yard and garden and just enjoying being outside. Last weekend I scrubbed down the front porch and half of the back deck and then sprayed on a new coating of water sealer. It was a lot of hard work but they turned out looking great and I'm pretty proud of my effort. Now that I have part of the back deck done I can rearrange the furniture onto the completed part and then tackle the lower part. Now if I could only convince Hubby to hurry up and get the cedar boards off the upper deck and onto the gazebo floor...

Speaking of the gazebo, he has been making some progress this week but it has been tough getting any build time now that his vacation is over and he is working overtime most days. That said, he did finish installing the plywood sheathing on the lower roof and the pine facsia boards on the upper roof. The soffits are all installed and he has actually started shingling! He had to make a small wooden stage to get up to the peak because the ladders just won't handle the shape of the roof. It looks scary when he is standing on it but he says it is sturdy and solid. It seems to be working, too. Yesterday he completed two triangular segments but had to stop when a thunderstorm blew in. Besides, it was Friday afternoon and our 31st wedding anniversary so we sat in the gazebo on some temporary plywood flooring and had a drink to toast ourselves. It was fun and surprizingly dry!

The pine facsia boards are installed on the upper roof.

The stage will be screwed to the lower roof and clamped to the soffit of the upper roof to provide solid footing.

Finally, the first shingles are getting installed.
I got a big surprize for my anniversary. I have been mentioning to Hubby for the past couple of months that I would like to have a KitchenAid stand mixer. They look to be very sturdy and well made and the model I'm interested in comes in a bunch of great colours. We had looked at them quite a few times in the store but they're expensive and I could not convince myself to spend the money. So on Tuesday this week Hubby told me that he had to go to the Big City to get materials for the gazebo and after work we drove down to get them. Instead of going to the lumberyard, the first place we stopped was the Bed, Bath & Beyond. "We're here to get a stand mixer for your anniversary present." he said when I asked why we were there. He had checked prices, colours and models at some places already and had only this place and Sears left to look at. At Sears there was only a few colours available in the store but the price was $499! Right next door the same machine was $379. Guess where we bought? The only drawback was that the colour I wanted, tangerine, wasn't available in the store and would have to be ordered in and would take up to 15 buisness days to arrive at the house. Valerie in the customer service department was very helpful in submitting our order and processing the sale. She even pointed out that by signing up for e-mail offers from the store we would receive a 20% discount coupon online. That little hint was worth about $80! Thanks, Valerie! I can hardly wait for it to be delivered!

This is picture is from the website.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Moonflower, I Think I Love You!!!

MoonFlower, Ipomoea Alba

I’ve finally done it all on the Witch’s Island, at least out in the flower garden. I have been trying for over 20 years to grow this flower, hoping and wishing for it to produce and that wish has finally come true!

The Moonflower or "Ipomoea alba” has proven to be a tough plant to grow here. The Flower Expert website describes the plant like this:
Moonflower is a beautiful twining vine which grows fast in really hot weather. It is a tender tropical perennial but it is now growing popularity as an annual vine even in colder areas. Planted near a deck or porch, the heavenly fragrance of moon flower permeates the air in the whole garden. Hence, Moonflower a great choice for anyone who loves evening gardening.

I have planted the seeds year after year and sometimes they didn’t even germinate. But I stuck with it and tried again. When I did get the plants started I would baby them as best as I could only to have the plant produce nothing or just wither and die. There was a lot of dying going on with these Moonflowers .

This year all the stars seemed to be in line because not only did I get one vine to take off in a planter on the back deck but I also got a second one to grow in with my Scarlet Runners. Both have now produced their first flowers and there are a ton more coming along.

The MoonFlower  on the back deck very early this summer.

I was so excited a couple of days ago when I went out to check the one on the back deck just before going to bed and found this bright white flower staring back at me! I went screaming back into the house to get the camera and I got some really nice pictures. I’m really happy to share these with everyone so you can all marvel at just how beautiful this flower truly is.

The flower starts off as a surprisingly small bud on an offshoot from the vine. After a few days the flower starts to emerge from the centre of the bud almost like the second set of jaws on the “Alien”. Sort of like this picture:

The Alien extending its second set of jaws. Very much like the MoonFlower bloom.

The extending spear has a tightly bound spiral at the tip that contains the actual blossom. It takes a couple of days to fully extend and then it burst open in the late evenings or just when the moon is out hence the name Moonflower.

The blossom starts to extend from its bud.
The blossom spiral the day before it burst open.

You can see it happen in the following YouTube video:

This is my very first MoonFlower bloom just as I first saw it.
The MoonFlower is an amazing plant.
As the The Flower Expert described it has a wonderful smell which will attract moth’s to pollinate it at night. I haven’t noticed the smell through the whole garden yet but maybe their garden is smaller than ours. The blooms don’t last very long unfortunately. The first one I saw was dead the next morning but the second one lasted slightly longer. Just the opposite of its relative the Morning Glory.

A closeup of the MoonFlower blossom.

I have also just added some more beautiful flower pictures from our gardens for everyone to enjoy.

Go and grab a coffee, relax and smell the flowers..

You can see the MoonFlower peeking out from amongst the Scarlet Runner vines. They seem to get along just fine.
Just one of the many, many lily blossoms in the front garden. They look almost plastic-y.
The Cosmos like the front garden as well.
The Total Madness collection of petunias are doing great  on the potting shed’s deck.
These are the first Zinnias I have ever grown and they seem to be doing very well.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gazebo Roof Is Almost Done!

There hasn't been an awful lot to say about the gazebo lately but we are still making some progress. With Hubby back to work last week he is only getting a few hours a day to build. That said, he has the secondary roof complete except for the fascia boards and the primary (lower) roof would be at the same point but he ran out of plywood. The new truck is out of commission for a few days meaning he can't get any more so he is working at some of soffits on the lower roof and putting in some more of the spindles.

Almost all the plywood is down for both roofs so shingling should start soon, I hope.

You can still see the missing panels at the back of the primary roof.

Now that the roof is overhead he can install the spindles even on rainy days.

The budget for this project is still under control. It seemed for a while that he was bringing home hundreds of dollars worth of materiels every day but we still have about $1500 left of our original estimate and most of the major components have been bought including a nice wooden entry door. It would be great if we can't make the scheduled completion date to at least come in under budget. If he wants any more projects from me he'd better keep that in mind!