Monday, November 28, 2011

Guinea Pig Puppy Love

I posted this earlier and then was reading through some different blogs and came across Smiling Sally's Blue Monday.  I sat there thinking, "I could participate, but I don't know if I have anything blue."  I came back to my blog and look at that...Hedgie's cage is blue! 

It's really funny to watch Charlie and Hedgie socialize with each other.  He's huge for one thing and she never paid any attention to Goldie, but for whatever reason she will sit in her cage and let him lick her.  He's not hurting her and she's not trying to bite him, so I guess they're fine. 

Hedgie by herself is driving us bananas!  In the last two weeks, she's starting demanding food every time someone walks by.  This is hard to avoid since she's in the front room and she can hear you coming from whatever direction.  Forget the fact that the dogs are all over the place and that will set off her chomping the cage for food as well.  We've all been trying to convince Shelby that we need to find a new home for her to no avail.  I like her, but believe me when I say that this is the last guinea pig this momma's gonna fall for!  The dog's are more than enough at this stage.

She is really cute though.

Let me clarify my mother's comment though before anyone gets offended. I will cry like a baby when Hedgie passes away, I did with the last guinea as well. That said, she's been with us much longer than expected and with two shepard/lab 6 month old terrors, my hands are a little full. My 11 year old can't bear to part with her guinea, but yet isn't a whole lot of help with her either. I'm working on convincing her to let us find her a new home, but in the meantime, I'll have to keep enjoying her until her time comes to an end. Now it's really going to be something if Miss Hedgie decides to be one of those lifer guinea pigs, I won't promise not to complain, but I will keep feeding her.

You can click the link at the top of the post to enjoy more Blue Monday posts.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fairlawn Series - Angela Hunt

I've said before that I'm a book hoarder, right?  I have a habit of picking up a number of books and then putting them on my bookcases for a rainy day.  That's how I came to this next series.  Only I found the first book at my favorite Half Price Books and had to order the following two from Amazon while reading the first because I knew I would drive myself crazy hunting for them around town.

It's an older series, published between 2008 and 2009.  There are three books in the Fairlawn Series, Doesn't She Look Natural, She Always Wore Red and She's in a Better Place.

The series starts with Jennifer Graham who is recently divorced and is living with her mother along with two young sons.  She receives a call from an attorney advising her that she's been named the benefactor of her uncle's funeral home, Fairlawn, in a small town in Florida.  Her intent is to visit for the summer, assess the situation and put it up for sell to generate much needed funds.  Little does she know that she will fall in love with the odd little town and equally odd inhabitants.  Friendships will be developed and Jennifer realizes that there's an entirely different side to life than the busy, non-stop lifestyle she was accustomed to in her previous life.  In the small town, her little family flourishes; not without the expected bumps that come with two young boys growing up into young men, but in time everyone comes around.  Leaving her background of working in Congress, Jennifer feels pulled to pick up where her uncle left off and take on the business of funerals.  She quickly finds that it's got very little to burying the deceased, but rather ministering to their loved ones left behind.  What she once found frightening and unsettling, she learns to approach with a tenderness that is deserved of those whose services are held in their home.

You'd think that being set in a funeral home would set a rather somber backdrop, but it's quite the opposite.  Sure there are tears, but there are more laughable moments throughout the three book series.  These are the first books I've read by Angela Hunt and I'm looking forward to reading others.  I do believe I have several waiting for that rainy day...


Death by the Dozen - Book Review

A newer favorite of mine is the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay.  I posted about the first one, Sprinkle with Murder, read the second one, Buttercream  Bump Off but forgot to share.  So I'll just say that with a title like Buttercream Bump Off, what's stopping you from reading it!

The latest book in the series, Death by the Dozen was fun, fun, fun!

From the back: 

Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are determined to wind the challenge to the chefs at this year's Scottsdale Food Festival.  Taking home first prize will be great publicity for their Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery - and beating rival Olivia Puckett will be the cherry on top.

Mel's mentor from culinary school, Vic Mazzotta - now a Food Channel celebrity chef - is one of the judges, but Mel and Angie will have to win fair and square by whipping up delicious cupcakes with a mystery ingredient.

Though the real mystery is who put Vic Mazzotta on ice, literally - when his dead body is found inside a freezer truck.  Mel and Angie will need to use their best judgement to find the cold-blooded killer who iced Vic, or they may lose more than the contest - they may lose their lives...

My thoughts: 

This is a really fun series, and each book continues to entertain.  The cupcakes sound delicious and the characters are all likable and downright hilarious at times.  One of the girls has a temper and I find myself laughing out loud when she goes at it with their rival, Olivia Puckett.  Of course a baking contest with mystery ingredients just isn't enough without a murder or two to add a little more spice.  This one will have you guessing  "whodunit" and then re-guessing yourself until the very end.  Looking forward to the next one, Red Velvet Revenge!

Sentenced To Death - Book Review

Lorna Barrett does it again in the latest Booktown Mystery, Sentenced to Death.
From the back:  It's Founders' Day in Stoneham, and the whoe village has turned out to celebrate in the square, including Tricia's friend and festivities organizer Deborah Black.  As everyone watches Deborah give the opening speech, a small aircraft crashes into the village gazebo, killing both Deborah and the pilot.

While the Sheriff's Department is convinced that it was an accident, Tricia has a feeling that there's more to the story.  And when she reads between the lines of the case, what she finds is worse than the most sinister whodunit...

My thoughts:  From the first few pages, I was hooked.  What should be an enjoyable afternoon for the people in the small village town of Stoneham quickly turns into a nightmare when a small plane crashes in the middle of the festivities.  Tricia refuses to dismiss the accident and is determined that it's anything but.  As usual, her determination causes irritation with local law enforcement as well as a few others who are more than content to have it written off as an accident.  This is one of my favorite series and as expected, this book didn't disappoint.

Happy Reading!

A Crafty Killling - Book Review

I just realized that there have been a number of books that I've read that I've neglected sharing.  Maybe you care, maybe you don't...I do, so here goes.  Plus, this helps me when I'm looking or thinking back about a particular book.  If I've got it listed on one of the book pages, then I know that I've read it.  I'm still working on getting all my books entered into my Library Thing account, so this is working for me now.  Another bonus is that I might just introduce you to a book series and/or author that you fall in love with and that's a good thing.

A Crafty KillingA Crafty Killing is the first book in Lorraine Bartlett's Victoria Square Mystery series.  Lorraine is already one of my favorite cozy mystery author's under her other name, Lorna Barrett.  I've read all her Booktown Mystery series and knew going into it that I would enjoy this new series. My mother read it first, and then it sat on my bookshelf for a while; it was well worth the wait.

From the back:

The last thing Katie Bonner wanted was to become the manager of Artisans Alley.  But when her business partner, Ezra Hilton, is found lying at the bottom of a staircase, bludgeoned to death, she has no other choice.  A collection of booths for artisans and craft sellers in a renovated apple warehouse, Artisans Alley is the main attraction in the quaint Victoria Square shopping area.  But business under Ezra has been faltering - enough to provoke someone to murder?

Katie has had more than her share of death - her late husband (and Ezra's former partner), Chad, died in a car accident six months ago.  but as she digs deeper into Ezra's murder, her husband's death starts to look suspicious.  While the cops are proceeding by the book, Katie is investigating by the booths - for the answer to the killer's identity lies in the hidden secrets of Artisans Alley itself.

My thoughts - I enjoyed all the quirky personalities that came along with Artisan's Alley and it's variety of shops.  It was someplace that I could see myself wandering through on a Saturday afternoon.  Katie isn't afraid to take charge and that's exactly what she did, first with stepping in and taking over the shop and then in not giving up in the search to find the killer.  The yummy reading recipes were an additional bonus.  I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series; hopefully it won't take me as long to get to!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kalanchoe tubiflora 'Chandelier Plant'

I was trying for record heights with my 'Chandelier Plant' this year.  Note the key word "was" trying.  Everything was going quite well until the dynamic duo fell into it Wednesday this week and well, let's just say I'll be starting from square one again.

This is the most recent picture I had of it, not too tall, but it was getting there.  I thought I had another picture, but this is the only one I can find.  It's the one right at Molly's ear, the stalks were starting to curve under it's weight. 

This is what I found when I walked out to get them for bedtime in the kennel...grrrr!

The pot was upside down and everything in it strewn all over the porch and carried over to the yard.  I must be mellowing or finally accepting the fact that this could happen more frequently than not for the next year and a half with the dynamic duo because I was actually pretty calm.  I just stood there and breathed for a few seconds and then reminded them that , "good puppies don't knock down, play with or eat mommy's plants".  I think they're getting the picture, or maybe I'm just more delusional than I will admit!

The good thing with this particular plant is that it's quite invasive and all I need to do is break apart some of the rescued pieces and stick them back in the dirt.  I would have cut it back for winter storage, but that would have been on my own terms. 

Today, after getting into it and having to be sprayed with the hose to let go of each other's faces (all over a bone disagreement), I discovered they had also managed to knock down my Texas Sedum that I had on the top shelf down in the ruckus.  I'm guessing one of them hit the shelf in their argument and knocked it down because it wasn't mauled necessarily, just snapped in half.  In addition to their hosing down, they got popped on their backsides and received a stern lecture on what was accepted behavior and what was not.  They also lost their bones for the day...silly little giant puppies!

Friday, November 25, 2011

To Catch a Leaf - Book Review

Finally...I finished the newest installment in Kate Collins' Flower Shop Mysteries, To Catch a Leaf. 

From the back.

Flower Shop owner Abby Knight is aglow with happiness now that she's officially engaged to her longtime beau, Marco Salvare.  Nothing will dampen her joy - not a new dent on her beloved Corvette, nor her future mother-in-law's micromanaging of her wedding.

Then wealthy dowager Constance Newport is killed, and Abby's assistant, Grace Bingham, is left a hefty sum of money, making her the prime suspect.  But while questioning Constance's relatives and staff, Abby and Marco find that everyone has a shady past and wants a piece of the fortune.  The plot thickens when they stumble upon mysterious stolen art and a missing cat - all part of an elaborate heist.  Before Abby can throw her bouquet, she'll have to throw a killer and a thief in jail...

This is the 12th book in this series, and I don't see how she does it, but each one is better than the one before it.  There's a gap in the books that I've posted, but trust me when I tell you that you need to run to your closest bookstore or library and get busy reading.  Abby is hilarious and her inquisitive, need to know personality proves for never a dull moment in her snooping investigating the murder of a wealthy lady when her assistant is pinned as the number one suspect.   That's all I'm going to tell you because if I say more, I'll say more than I should, the book, you won't be disappointed!

Happy Reading!

Succulent Withdraws

It's been a while since I've shared any of my succulents, and I think I'm having withdrawals from the lack of sharing.  The first one isn't a succulent, and I really intended to share it before Halloween...better late than never.  I stumbled on these Candy Corn Vines back in October and thought they were so darling that I needed two.  I've got the one in the hanging basket in the backyard and the one growing up the trellis in the front. 

Candy Corn Vine

The flowers look like candy corn with their yellow tipped blooms.  Their botanical name is Manettia inflata and they originate in South America.  Another reason I picked up two was that I figured I could at lease keep one alive over the winter and make more in the spring since it promises to propagate easily.  The only thing that would make the plant better would be if the blooms were edible and tasted like their look-a-likes; yummy!!

This next one is one of my favorites, mostly because of her stinky, stinky bloom!  I'm not sure if I caught any flies in the open blooms with my camera, but they're generally not far from this stinker.

Stapelia gigantea

Stapelia gigantea

Did I say the previous one was my favorite?  Oops, this next one is always at the top of my list.  The mother plant died after blooming last winter, but a few of the babies that I didn't give away are growing steadily.  They didn't give me any new babies this year, but I'm sure they'll make up for that next year.

Kalanchoe Gastronis Bonnierfi 'Donkey Ears'

And another favorite.  I looked everywhere for this and then a blogger friend offered to send me some of hers.  What's crazy though, is as soon I got my package from Florida, I started seeing them in local nurseries.  Where were they the two years I searched high and low!  I've really got to move her to a new home for the winter this year.  Besides the fact that she's the only remaining plant in this planter due to Charlie's need to pounce and dig, she needs protection from the freezes that usually come on unexpectedly during the winter. 

Kalanchoe diagremontiana 'Mother of Millions'

My Huernia hystrix is still putting out the blooms.  I can't believe the amount of blooms that have been appearing, but you'll hear no complaining out of me!

Huernia hystrix

Huernia hystrix

Today, my friend, Amy, noticed this next bloom.  I have no idea what the plant is, but I absolutely    A-D-O-R-E it!!  It's a totally different bloom than anything else in my collection.  The tangerine color had me running for my camera.  If you know the name of it, please share.  I searched for a while tonight on the internet, but came up empty needed!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Puppies

Charlie and Molly are closing in on six months, which means we've had them for three already.  There was a good couple of days not too long ago when I was threatening to send them to boarding school!  I'm not sure why, but Charlie loves anything fuzzy.  That means that any fuzzy Kalanchoe he can get his mouth on is history; you can imagine my irritation with him and his attraction to my favorites.  The trainer at puppy training suggested this great spray and I went to town! We haven't had an issue since except the morning I left the chair next to the plant rack and wouldn't you know it, Charlie found the only fuzzy one there!

Charlie is very found of Daughter #2, actually they both are, but we won't tell Daughter #1 that! She can get them to do just about anything.  Charlie is definitely the stubborn one of the two, so she's got her work cut out for her.

Molly is a trip, she comes out of the kennel with a toy in her mouth and out the back door usually with two.  She snorts like a horse, but refuses to come out of the house any other way.  Molly is our fetcher.  She loves to chase and is pretty good about bringing it back to you.  That is of course until Charlie decides he wants the toy and then you can forget about getting it back.  He's much more into tug-a-war as long as he's winning.

This weekend, we picked them up two new beds for their kennel.  The plan was to get another kennel, but we're going to hold off for a while longer before we separate them.  They both loved them!  This was the first night since we've had them that they just chilled in the living room for longer than five minutes. 

Charlie really likes his.  He took about an hour and a half hour nap; again a first out of the kennel! 

Daughter #1 is trying to grow on Charlie.  Molly is hers, and Charlie just likes to scare her.  He doesn't give anyone too much trouble but her...I'm thinking it's because she squeals like a girl!

My big baby!  I did not want a boy dog, but I love my little guy.  He loves to cuddle unlike Molly who just likes to jump and terrorize you with her tongue...gross!!!

How can you not love these faces!  Last week we weighed them...  

Charlie is at 29.5 lbs.
Molly is at 26.5 lbs.