Season of Peppers 2017

I’ve let this go.  I’m never home!  But when I am, it’s precious time and it’s usually spent with mom and/or a turtle.  So nothing much on the house front to report other than the garden.  So here you go – an update for the first 10 months of 2017.

The grapevines have made a miraculous comeback from being completely chopped down last fall.  But the only other thing I had time to plant this year was a single Asian Eggplant – which, to my amazement – bore fruit!

Mom, on the other hand, basically took all the seeds from the various peppers in her Bicol express that she made for Kuya Michael over the course of the spring/summer, and threw them in the ground.  And lo’ and behold – a ridiculously bountiful harvest.


Life will find a way.  We persist.


Leaky Radiator!

This past December, we took mom to Barcelona, Zaragoza, Dublin and Edinburgh for her 75th Birthday.  I turned the heat down to 65F, to just, well – not heat an empty house.

When we got back, we cranked it up again, and mom’s radiator just wasn’t heating up all the way up.  So I wiggled the little valve hoping to increase water flow.  Well, I did just that.


Such that it leaked…and overnight, the water damage was apparent on the ceiling downstairs.  And it took almost a full week to get someone to come into fix it!

This picture wasn’t the worst of it, but it the only picture that I managed to take. I couldn’t schedule a plumber!!!  I contacted FIVE companies about this, a realtor and a contractor. Some didn’t have open appointments, others just didn’t want to touch pipes from 1925. Two didn’t even bother to respond.

But James J. Madden replied!  And I am now a loyal customer.  And infuriatingly enough, the guy came, and turned the lower valve about a quarter turn and VOILA.  All that water damage for such a small adjustment.  Lesson LEARNED.

Thankfully, the plumber went around the whole house double checking the radiators. Probably to feel better about charging us for such a minor act…but hey, education is expensive.  And peace of mind and a dry house aren’t things so readily bought anyways.

Sergio and Tony came by and did the cosmetic repairs, and now you can barely tell anything happened.  All back up and running –  and since we strategically placed plants under the leaking ceiling, some plants even got some extra iron.  🙂

I’m afraid I haven’t been keeping up with this blog – but one day soon, I promise to post about going solar!  That was the largest project to date…and I should be getting my first SREC check soon, so stay tuned!

Plant Migration 2016

Brought the plants in for winter. Inventory/Role Call:

Ricardo the Avocado
Lucy the Avocado

Little Ricky the Avocado

Moana the Ti Leaf

Drake the Dracena

Susie and Mike’s Gardenia

Athena’s Spirit Plant Red Ti Leaf

Multiple Baby Ti Leaf Plants for Gifting

Two Fig Seedlings

Kumu’s Cast Off Cactus


Also moved some upstairs:  

Another Ti Leaf from Kamaka, which keeps sprouting burls, effectively producing all my Christmas presents this year.  And the old standbys – my ZZ and my poor Paddle Plant.

Hope they make it thru the winter!

Crabfest 2016

The weather gods were kind – this year’s crabfest fell on easily the most beautiful day of the year.  Sunny, but a light breeze.  The theme this year, as increasingly with every year, it seems, was kids.  We have Helena visiting from Houston.  She was very helpful with set up and overall child control:

Prior experience indicated that most would gather inside and in the front porch, then slowly move their way to the back.  Of course the exact opposite happened this year, but it didn’t seem to matter to anyone either way…just to me who had to set up the delicious Whiskey Mango Foxtrot cocktail in the usual bay window spot.

Of course I never got around to taking pictures, but here is a cute one of Patrick Pennington, taking a break out front.

Margaret and the twins came late, so while I ran out of crab, I did manage to take a picture of the “leftovers.”

Winners of the day: mom’s spam musubi.  They never made it to the table, people kept taking them as they were being made. 😝

The fresh caught mahi-mahi, care of Will and Jessica was out of this world.

Margo’s chocolate rum cake was excellent as ever.

Homemade cassava from Ate Vi also made a strong showing, with half of one going to Taeko for her own consumption at a later date.

Kaipua stayed in her basking dock for most of the day. Seemingly unphased by the over 50 people invading her usually quiet world.  We closed out with kanikapila.  And the headache I had since Tuesday magically went away.  An all around perfect day.

Parking Pad One Year Later

Mom added extra bricks around the perimeter of the pad we put in.  They’ve since sunk into the ground, and they definitely add a rustic quality to it. 😉

I cleared out the back patio as well, hosed down the coolers, patio and folding chairs.  Just gotta prep the grill and we’re ready for take off!

Wish list: install the shade sail and patio bulbs. Maybe in August. 

Next Year: Trellis for grapevines so they don’t take over Ms. Jean’s chain link fence.

Tapchan at the Ready

(Re)stained, sealed, delivered – it’s mine!

Counting down to the 2016 Summer crabfest…which means mom is freaking about about the backyard. Power washing, leveling the yard, cleaning out the gutters, do we need to paint the roof? How is that compost soil coming along? We’re going to need chairs. Lots and lots of chairs….

Well, it gives me a chance to put in some much needed house work.  I’ve been rather neglectful of that lately.

Restained and sealed the front porch rocking chairs as well.  Floor could use another coat, guess that’ll have to wait until my brother gets here in August.  Until then, we literally have:

2 rocking chairs, 1 church pew (seats 2), 2 directors chairs, 2 black ikea folding chairs, 2 rattan folding chairs, 4 new folding lawn chairs, 6 vintage metal folding chairs, 2 stools, 6 dining room chairs, 2 living room chairs, and a sofa that seats 3. In the basement – a vintage beast of a couch that seats 3, an horsehair sofa that seats 3 and a love seat that can seat 2.  In the backyard, I have 2 white plastic lawn chairs and 1 recliner.  Are you keeping count?  Because that’s 44 seats.  And then there’s the tapchan.  That seats 4 comfortably.  

Upstairs, I have two vintage molded wood chairs and a sewing chair.  Oh and a yoga ball.  I think we’ll be fine.


Got up bright and early today to staff my local polling station – Truesdell Elementary School.  See you at the polls, and again in November!