What Greets Me Every Morning

Posted on July 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm | No Comments


This was shot from my bathroom window while leaning way out and freaking my dogs out. Click on the image for a much larger version.

It’s a view that never fails to start my day with a smile. I’ve recently photographed my backyard gardens and will be posting those photos soon. There’s been numerous setbacks over the last few years. The summers of 2011 and 2012 were brutal to this newly planted paradise, and then there was the drip irrigation system that took a couple of years to adjust and learn what each plant required. Then there was this last winter’s extended freezes that killed my Blue mist flowers, Pink Skullcaps, and most of the Zexmenia. My entire backyard is planted with Texas hardy perennials, but not many of them can survive multiple long periods of time where the temperature never gets close to or above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. And then with an extensive cooler-than-usual spring, plants were late in growing and becoming available to buy at local nurseries. It took forever to acquire the replacements I needed.

Hopefully this view will be given a chance to survive for a few more years, because the constant heartbreak with our Texas weather extremes and the constant labor of rebuilding has worn me out. On a positive note: I have planted Texas tough plants and have installed drip irrigation, so the current water restrictions will not be a problem.

Landscape Architect: Michael Parkey

Fireworks of a Different Sort

Posted on July 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm | No Comments


My Spring Spider Lilies and ornamental grass are blooming simultaneously.

It’s a show that can only be appreciated when viewed from my house. I can kick myself for not thinking of taking this photo and posting it here on the blog in time for the Fourth of July. Instead it occurred to me a day later. It’s been three years since the lilies were planted, and they have now become established and will be even more spectacular in the years to come.

Hymenocallis liriosme (Raf.) Shinners — ‘Texas Spider Lily’
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’— Dwarf Maiden Grass

Hell’s Angels (1930)

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm | 2 Comments


Even though this entire blog post is about the use of color in this film, I needed an introduction image.

Hell’s Angels is a 1930 American war film and one of the first sound blockbuster action films. Directed and produced by Howard Hughes and starring Jean Harlow, Ben Lyon, and James Hall, this film had been originally conceived as a silent film. But after completing the silent version, Hughes decided to scrap the film and reshoot most of it with sound. By 1930, the production had cost $4,000,000, an unrivaled amount until 1940, when the final cost of Gone With the Wind was tallied. The plot is a bit lame, but the visuals are mesmerizing, making this film a must-see.

Read the rest of this post >>

Neglected and Almost Forgotten

Posted on May 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm | No Comments


If I hadn’t needed to enter my garage through the greenhouse, I would have missed this one-day beauty.

My greenhouse cactus collection is in dire need of some TLC. But my poor greenhouse is last on my list of green thumb to-dos. Because of the loss of my neighbor’s eighty five year old oak tree, one half of my front shade garden needs to be replaced with perennials that can endure full sun, and the few shade-loving plants that did survive will need to be transplanted to a shadier section. But that’s not all.

There’s my backyard gardens that were also in desperate need of first-aid. Between the dog damage, drip irrigation problems, and several extended winter freezes, a third of my plants meet an untimely end.

I’ve had to provide local nurseries with my list and followup with a call to each of them weekly. Availability was much later than usual because of a long-lasting winter and cooler-than-normal spring. A lot of the perennials on my list were only available at a nursery located way north of where I live. And since my car isn’t large enough, numerous trips were required—each being a three hour excursion.

So far, I’ve managed to install/replace all of the damaged and/or dead plants. But the hardest job is yet to occur, and that is clearing out the English ivy in the parkway and planting, according to my landscape architect Michael Parkey‘s drawn plan, six new sun-loving varieties: 20 Sun Drops, 36 Bugleweeds, 3 Gulf Muly, 72 creeping Liriope, 15 Hard Plumbago, and 6 Giant Leopard plants. This job will be done in phases over the next two weeks.

The greenhouse and its occupants will have to wait.

The Other Kind of Pest Control

Posted on May 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm | No Comments


The homepage for Eco Friends Pest Control with a supersized slideshow.

Eco Friends Pest Control has a new website! I designed this site a year ago, but my client needed time to work out their copy and other details. I spent the last couple of weeks implementing all the changes, and now it’s ready for public viewing. These last two weeks have not been easy. In the past year, the developer and WordPress had issued numerous upgrades that caused a lot of problems with my original design. I basically had to rework everything. Most of the drama occurred in the backend — things that the public never sees. Perhaps that’s why they use the term “backend.” I still have some bugs to work out (no pun intended), but for the most part, it’s finished, and I’m happy with how it plays.

Check the site out and seriously consider using this wonderful little company for all your pest control needs. They will only use products that are natural and completely safe for your home, garden, and business.

Sunday Afternoon Time Waster

Posted on May 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm | No Comments

Want to waste some time? Then just click on the center play arrow. Please note that the creepy sound effects are an additional bonus.

I hope you weren’t expecting something profound and beautifully designed. You see, I had this itch to scratch, which was to film this crazy gizmo. Never mind that I have never used my Canon Rebel T2i for video before. Instead I skipped that basic step of using the usual EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens and went straight for the fancy macro lens. But dadburnit! Nature and the neighborhood were not cooperating. With a lawn mower, air conditioning unit, and snorting bulldogs as background noise, the recorded sound was not what I had envisioned for my experiment. So what you’re hearing is a scrappy soundtrack found on Vimeo that I chose to replace the original audio.