Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall colors from the yard...

Trail around the Big Red Oak tree in the backyard

Fenceline in backyard

Baby Crabapple tree in the front yard

Big Crabapple tree in the front yard w/ filtered sunlight

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Greek Optimism

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cakes, Cakes, Cakes

My oldest daughters are taking cake decorating classes and have already created some beauties. Their inspiration is the 'Cake Boss' program on cable that shows an italian family who makes out-of-this-world-one-of-a-kind cakes for just about any occasion. Here are a few cakes my daughters have made recently. They are considering running a business soon and I highly encourage it:
Christian Radio Station Promotion

For my wife and my 22nd Wedding Anniversary

For a baby shower

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Love's Charade

Serendipity, shine your lovely face and reveal the place of far off dreams.
For it seems that I stand in shifting sands as a man with plans that tempt even fate.
Love and hate can not relate yet are as entwined as poison mixed with wine.
A fine line for even dreamers who catch the streamers that fall from life’s grand parade.
Melancholy madness mixed with sadness; the material of which tragedies are made.
From cradle to grave we play love’s charade with boldness despite the coldness of hearts.
We briefly play our part but soon depart out of the spotlight of lifes center stage.
And as we age the questions that linger shall point their fingers towards the elusive truth.
The proof at last presented but much is resented as we come to grips with choices once made.
Yet the price was paid on that pivotal day that is set in stone where demons still freely roam.
And hope remains in this foolish game as love transcends even our darkest hours.
For even the powers of darkness shall retreat against the starkness of the victim that stands in our stead.
And as the seed does fall and in the ground remains yet in that hour shall blossom and flower.
The awesome power of Love shall at last be revealed and forever sealed...
With an eternal kiss

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Road not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost

An unexpected surprise

While working up in the heart of the lion's den, Washington DC, for over 7 years I met some truly wonderful people. One of them became a very good friend of mine and his name is Cesar. Cesar and I had some good times in DC after work and I especially remember the time that we stayed out to the wee hours of the morning in Georgetown, bar hopping and people watching. I can't go into the details but it was a night that I will never forget!

I also have a fear of flying, especially in commercial airliners. Cesar is a pilot and is the only person I ever trusted to get me up in a Cesna Nighthawk 3 seater. In fact, the airport we flew out of had to close down temporarily because another plane had made an emergency landing on its belly but nobody was injured. While we were waiting for the airport to reopen, we had landed at another airport nearby and had some dinner and soon, it was night and pitch black. We had no other option but to fly back but, to my surprise, the flight back was quite peaceful and scenic and liberating. I owe it to him for helping me to overcome my fear of flying and to step out beyond my normal boundaries.

I've been working closer to home for over 2 years now and I fell out of touch with Cesar because we live so far apart and because I've been focusing on higher education but he called me out of the blue last night and we have made plans to get together during my upcoming time off. He also sent me a photo of his 1 1/2 year old son (above).

It will be good to see him again because good friends are rare indeed and good for the soul.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gardening in Scripture

The Parable of the Sower

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear."
The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"

He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:
"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand." In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
'You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

Blast from the Past

circa: 1988
A rare pre-kids dating photo that I just discovered hidden in an old book. This was a celebration party thrown by Lenscrafters for attaining $100k worth of sales in one week. Those eighties were some high flying times! ;)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mommy Dearest

After my father passed away two years ago, I took in my mother. I completed my basement and made it a full mother-in-law (in my case, mother) suite complete with full kitchen and bath, dining area, living room, washer and dryer, huge bedroom and a spare bedroom for her overnight guests. I did everything except the drywall myself and even passed the rough in inspections.

She seems to be content with us but I know it must be hard for her without her husband of 55 years of marriage. I miss my father, especially the little things like hearing the same old jokes over and over again and watching him laugh as if he had told them for the very first time, his sweet tooth and how he was always sucking on a piece of hard candy or eating ice cream with a slice of my mom's homemade apple pie. Things like that.

She is a breast cancer survivor and went through chemo and radiation treatments while living with us. Those were tough times for her as well but having family around helped her through it all and now she is well.

Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy 21st Birthday to my Firstborn Baby Girl

They grow up so fast

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Nature Pics...

Another hummingbird pic. I love these guys

A view of my backyard in the unkempt area.
"The woods look lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep..."

"The wood(pile) looks lovely, dark and deep..."

Mammoth Sunflower
I am harvesting the seeds for next Spring.
This was one of my summer season favorites
This one grew to be about 12 feet tall

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Can you spot the Hummingbird in this photo?

I took many pictures but this is the only one where you can see the hummingbird approaching the feeder. They are very cautious, fast and territorial. As one comes to drink another one chases it off and I've seen five to six hummingbirds fighting over the same feeder. I don't believe that the world's finest engineers could create a mechanical hummingbird that could rival the real thing. They are truly marvels of nature.

Mother Hen

I am enjoying raising chickens!

The mother hen, seen coming down from the roost here, rules the nest. She promptly returns to the roost around 7:30 am and comes out shortly after 8am each morning and when she is done there is a nice fresh egg waiting for me. I save them up all week long and then serve them at our family brunch on Sundays. Yummy :)
The other three will start laying eggs in about another 3 months or so.
That will be 4 eggs per day X 7 days a week = math I can't even do without a calculator!

The poop makes great fertilizer too so, about every 3 or so days, I open the side of the roost and clean out the poop ladened sawdust and add it to the composter bin for future compost for my secret garden.

In God's ultimate design, nothing is wasted

Morning Glory

I found a Morning Glory vine growing on my property and I didn't even plant it myself. I love when flowers appear out of nowhere (I am sure that a visiting bird pooped out a seed) and just starts to grow.
It's a nice little surprise :)
I even let what others consider weeds to grow, such as clover, which naturally adds nitrogen back into the soil as well as provides a low growing ground cover and pretty white flowers that look like faint stars on a moonlit night.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Simple Pleasures, little Treasures...

'Give us this day our daily (homemade sour dough) bread'

This little being has taught me so much about true love and joy

Monday, July 5, 2010

A few pics from the 4th of July weekend

Ruth and I

My youngest daughter, Maria or 'Mia'

My oldest daughter, Anna

My 3rd oldest daughter, Cecilia
An old friend, Johnny, and I

My oldest son Jajo and I

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Chicken Coop

We now have 3 chickens and a chicken coop that I built last Saturday in 98 degree weather :)
It is almost complete. I just need to enclose the front and put a door that can be opened or closed via a pulley system from outside of the coop when the chickens go into their roost at night.

I live in a subdivision but I never saw anything in our covenants that restrict poultry, although I am sure some of the neighbors would frown on it if they knew we had them (only a matter of time, I'm sure) but I say 'Neighbors be damned!'. I owe twice as much on a mortgage that has lost half its value due to the market crash so I might as well get some use out of it.

The chickens are contained and out of sight so there shouldn't be any issues but with some of my nosey neighbors, you can never be too sure about anything.

We'll see how the experiement goes over time ...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I just love a summer garden :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Container Gardening

Cherry Tomato

Containers and Trinity garden with Sunflowers, Tomatos, Peppers, Gladiolas, etc...

Blue Hydrangea

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A few pics from today...

The prettiest flower in my secret garden :)

Ruth and Mia

Roses, Verbena, Grape Vines

Pink Flower (name unknown)

Pink Roses, Climatas, Grape Vines

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My new profile pic

Since this blog is mainly about the joys of gardening and landscaping, I decided I needed a profile picture to reflect just that. My daughter snapped this photo yesterday as I was trimming my needlepoint hollies. White clover is in the background. I prefer clover to grass anyday. You can walk on it without killing it and it naturally adds nitrogen back to the soil where grass requires and consumes large amounts of nitrogen. Clover needs less water too.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A morning visitor

I was sitting on my front porch one morning last week sipping my morning cop of joe when I see a huge bird swoop in and land on a red oak tree in my neighbors yard right next door. My wife just bought a new Canon Sureshot camera and I was able to zoom in and get this picture of this stunning mature bald eagle.

I've seen bald eagles in the wild before but never this close and this guy stayed for quite a while perched up there just taking everything in. We live near a natural area called Caledon which protects the Eagles natural habitat next to the Potomac river so sometimes they decide to take a day trip and visit our neighborhood. Caledon has miles and miles of walking trails close to the Eagles nesting site but they close parts of trail during the Eagles mating season.
God forbid that we humans interfere with any Eagle lovemaking activities!

I hope to visit the park again soon before it gets too hot but I was glad that they made the effort to come see me for a change :)

Friday, April 23, 2010


Growing on horse poo under my Leyland Cypress trees.
I wonder if I eat them if I will die?
It would be like playing Russian roulette with shrooms
Um, I think I'll pass...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More pretty things...

I love irises

New raised flower bed.
This will be my masterpiece when it is completed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Side garden - Porch View

This area gets full sun from morning to sunset. This picture was taken just before sunset thus the long shadows. I am trying to have various ground covers fill in the cracks between the flagstones and slowly making progress. Most of the ground cover is strawberry plants.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Late Sunset from the backyard

The moon and stars...
How many can you count?
Somewhere in fountain blue
Lies my secret garden

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More scenery...

Home sweet home

Sedum and Azalea

Verbina and Bleeding Hearts

Friday, April 16, 2010

One Fine Day...

I love my new composter :)

Trinity Garden - bottom of steps

Trinity Garden - angle

Side Garden - Bottom View