Cuban Hat Upgrade

While we were in Cuba  both Charlie and I purchased sun hats from a street vendor.

There I am in the hat.

We wore them on the horseback ride.  Mine didn’t fit well so it flew off my head.  Our wrangler, William, retrieved it for me.

The hat in this photo got all bent up during the Grand Canyon trip.

This hat would be  much more practical with a string to hold it on like I had on my cowboy hat that I wore on the mule ride at the Grand Canyon.

The chin strap on the cowboy hat was simply a pair of shoestrings.

I decided to take the chin strap from one and put it on the other.

A figure-eight stopper knot keeps the sting from pulling through the holes.

I poked the tip of the showstring through one of the holes created by the weave and tied a stopper knot to hold it.

The “E” bead has no special meaning.

I threaded a bead onto the strings so I could tighten the cord.

I plan to wear this hat on Smith Island at the end of July.

And tied a another knot to hold the strings together.

Do you have a favorite hat?


The Doggie Elimination Area

The east side of the house where I am cultivating a hydrangea hedge has been designated “the elimination area”.

The elimination area is behind the dog run in the east side of the yard.

This is the place where we take Dash to “do his business”.

The east yard is away from the main part of the back yard.

Charlie has come up with a system to help us avoid stepping in the remnants from earlier visits.

The markers are kept in a nearby urn with an olive tree planted in it.

When the dog has a successful outing we mark it with a skewer.  Charlie felt the plain skewers were not visible enough so he spray painted the tops red.

A marker in place.

Every couple of days Charlie polices this area.

Do you have a clever pet managing device?

My Blue Hydrangeas

I have always wanted a blue hydrangea hedge at the side of the house.

The hydrangea cuttings are planted.
The hydrangea cuttings were planted in September, 2015.

We have the perfect spot where hydrangea flowers turn a vivid blue and last a long time.

The hydrangeas were merely one-leaf sprigs a year ago.
The hydrangeas were merely one-leaf sprigs in 2015.
This year the blooms are profuse.

Now, not quite 3 years later, each leaf has grown into a full-fledged bush.

Looking down on the hydrangeas from the second floor deck last year, 2017.
The change in annual growth is exciting to witness.

The view from the upper deck shows great improvement. The space between each bush is filling in nicely.

This year’s blooms are slowly turning from cream to blue as the weather warms.

Surely we will be using some hydrangeas flowers in arrangements to brighten the house inside.

Nikko Blue hydrangeas.

And maybe giving some away.

I visit this area numerous times daily.

Turns out that I see this far side of the house often. So does the puppy.

What’s growing better in your yard: cultivated plants or weeds?

Trying a New Mail Order Service

We have a new puppy who is almost 4 months old.

Puppy food has extra calories and extra-small pieces.

His first food was NutriSource which was recommended by the breeder. NutriSource must be purchased at a local pet store because the manufacturer does not make it available online.

This is an enormous bag of puppy food.

I bought two 6.6 pound bags at a local pet store but have decided to change to AvoDerm which I ordered from I ordered a 26 pound bag that was delivered to the door.  I’m happy not to lug dog food from the store.

Dash is very active.

I think this bag will last through Dash’s entire puppy stage after which I will order grown dog food also from because of the convenience and the reasonable price.

Do you have a favorite online service?

Recent Purchases

I’ve been ordering a few new toys for Dash.

The little green monster in front of the basket is history.

The only toy he has been unable to chew to pieces is from Nylabone.

This toy is supposed to help clean teeth.

Nylabone Puppy Chew Toy, Petite (above)

This teething toy seems to be a favorite.

Nylabone Just for Puppies Extra Small Pacifier Bone Puppy Dog Teething Chew Toy (above)

Ezydog extra small camouflage harness.

And I discovered after taking him to work everyday for almost a month that he would probably be safer if I got him a harness and tether for the car.

Dash in the box in the car. (That’s a pen from the center console in is mouth.)

He has been riding in a box but it takes him a long time to settle down. I’m hoping the limit of the tether will give him both security and freedom.

Do your animals like to ride in the car? Do they behave?

Looking for a Sweet Deal

I  wanted to give some gifts of dark chocolate so I did a little research on what is considered the best.

A very chic package and a lovely chocolate.

An old article from the Los Angeles Times listed Valrhona “Le Noir Amer” as the second choice after Michel Cluizel “Noir de Cacao”. “Valrhona “Le Noir Amer” 71% cacao. This pastry chef favorite has a pretty sheen and a strong raisiny-chocolate aroma. Exceptionally balanced, it’s smooth, satiny and creamy on the palate. Flavors of black cherry are edged with a pleasant bitterness.”

I found this chocolate bar near the checkout at Trader Joe’s.

You can order it from Amazon at $8 per bar. Or drop into a nearby Trader Joe’s and pay $2.99 per 3.5 ounce bar.

Do you have a favorite chocolate for eating? Giving?

A Ceiling Light for the Master Closet

I had rewired a vintage hanging light to use in the master closet.

Painted, rewired and ready to install.

I painted it and cleaned it up. Unfortunately Charlie (ahem) broke 2 of the glass panels so I just threw it away.

This one is a 12-inch square and hangs 4.75 inches from the ceiling. $219 — Acrylic shade with Satin Nickel

I was looking through the Shades of Light catalog (where we bought a lot of fixtures on a road trip to Richmond, Virginia) and decided to choose a ceiling fixture to replace the trashed one.

This light is a 13-inch square and hangs 5.5 inches from the ceiling. $149 — Glass shade with polished nickel.

When I checked the website I saw something similar at a better price point. Now I don’t know which one to choose.

Pros and cons?