Monthly Archives: November 2013

91. Naming Things

If you have ever seen Zoolander than you’ll know that this is “Magnum“:

 blue steel

And this is “Blue Steel“:

 magnum (500x330)

If you haven’t seen Zoolander (do so immediately), surely you’ve heard of a “duck face”? A “selfie”? I don’t do Facebook and I’ve even heard names of such things. But if not, mostly all people name at least one inanimate object in their life: a car, a boat, a body part. You can probably think of at least one thing you’ve named.

Here at Spy Garden and the House of Smoochie we take it to an extreme.

This is a stick the Spy “made” yesterday:

DSC_2814 (500x214)

There’s the “Back Nine” in the garden. We have a “man cave” (from whence I write this blog), a “girl cave” (a brighter, more formal living room). And by more formal, I mean, it does not have wood paneled walls. We have a “Boum ba dee dah“.

Boum ba de dum. You know like that western theme music? Happy trails or something. Really slow and melodic. Boo u m ba deeee dyahhhh. The name refers to the whole mise en scene. Fire pit, chairs, wood pile, hitching post:

It's black and white because its an old Western.

It’s black and white because its an old Western.

This next one requires an excerpt from a conversation (from today, Saturday 11.30.13):

Smoochie: Hey, who ate all the chocolate ice cream, didn’t we buy this yesterday?

The Spy: It’s Fat-turday!

A house that we once rented (where I grew my first garden!) we remember as Valley Forge. It was 700 square feet and pretty much everything was broken. There were approximately 7,900 wasps living in the attic and we spent a few months of a very cold winter keeping a wood burning fire going at all times, until our eventual retreat in February (I think it was 2010) when a storm knocked the power lines into the house and both the electrical and the plumbing swiftly became very questionable. Valley Forge, ahhh the memories.

This is Cherrr–okee Peeee-ople:

DSC_2820 (500x438)

and it has to be sung to that song “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” by Paul Revere and the Raiders. My husband bought the blanket at one of those roadside blanket/rug stands. This is a good method of shopping in order to furnish a man cave.

Retailers name things in a non-ironic, unfunny way. The naming of pants seems to increase as the price goes down. Most pants at Neiman Marcus are called by their proper descriptive names, i.e.  “Straight Leg Trousers” in “Sail White” (by Chloe). For $895, I’m sure patrons appreciate a straightforward explanation of the garment. Phillip Lim’s “Pocketed Draped Trousers” ($395) name isn’t quite as transparent and may be a euphemism in disguise.

  I suggest “The Understated Hammer Pant” as a better name for these.

Hundreds of dollars less and you can get Camden, Sloan or Martin from Banana Republic. You can probably get a Camden, Sloane or Martin arm chair from Pottery Barn. The names in retail are somewhat superfluous and almost always tell nothing about the garment/product.  I guess the marketing probably works on some people. People who shop at places so religiously that they actually remember these names. But, ultimately, they’re pants. What’s in a name?

Harem? hmmm…looks more like Hammer to me.

I am beginning to wonder why I have found two pairs of Hammer pants in three minutes of internet searching for “pants”. I fear I’ve missed a memo in the world of fashion. But this essay is not about pants.

It is about names. Silly and ridiculous names for inanimate objects. Why does Spy Garden prescribe to such madness?

Waking up, getting dressed, I mean, what is so entertaining about that? Well, everything, when Smoochie decides to wear:

Black Rain (not pictured)

Or

DSC_2789 (500x223)

The Maroon Marauder

HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAhah

HAHHAHAHHAHAAHHAHAHAH

90. Progress Report IX

I am writing 100 posts in 100 days (and that is the last time I will write that!) Only 10 more to go! I didn’t write yesterday because it was Thanksgiving (everyone knows you can’t blog on Thanksgiving). Everyone (except for retailers) also knows the rule of:

Thou shalt not decorate for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving.

Which means today, Friday, it’s all white lights and sparkling gold and painted glass. Which, quite literally, illuminates a major concern here at Spy Garden. That concern, that major matter that has quietly plagued me for some time, is the matter of indoor photography. I just don’t seem to be able to take a decent picture indoors.

I have a vision of making all sorts of lighted decorations and a Christmas village in each of the rows of the garden and then you can walk through it and it will be a Christmas lighted wonderland of garden delights. This vision is not happening this year. So in order to share the magic of Advent and the coziness of Christmas, I need to learn how to take a decent picture indoors. So one goal for the next 10 days is to actually look up some photography tips and share what I find out with my readers.

I really enjoyed my “Never Underestimate the Possibilities of Paper Series”: snowflakes, paper stars, origami, and a grand finale on books including the revelation that I would put all of the Spy Garden 2013 content into book form. It had it all. Then things slowed down a bit at #86. My favorite sort of writing is silly with some obscure references thrown in. Jokes about modern art, bad poetry, with some good art and (occasionally) decent poetry thrown in. What I have discovered is that it is sort of difficult for me to make jokes about gardening. So another goal is to try and make my garden planning talk a little sillier so that it will be entertaining even to people who don’t care about gardening.

Below are some pictures from our non-traditional Thanksgiving celebration of thankfulness yesterday. Soak it up because they’re the last brown, orange, ochre, fall-ish-looking things you’ll see in Spy Garden until Fall 2014!

Baby examines an acorn.

Baby examines an acorn.

Tree. Love that curving branch

Tree. Love that curving branch

Smoochie and the Spy cleaning up the brush-y area along the road

Smoochie and the Spy cleaning up the brush-y area along the road

They removed all of the invasive honeysuckle and only left this stuff:

Does anyone know what this plant is?

Does anyone know what this plant is?

Here is the foliage.

Here is the foliage.

It stays green most of the winter.

The Spy working hard

The Spy working hard

Growth on a little sapling (I think this one is a mimosa sapling)

Growth on a little sapling (I think this one is a mimosa sapling)

 Its all red and green and gold and sparkling from here on out!

Staghorn Sumac

Staghorn Sumac

Tastes like lemon and vinegar!

Tastes like lemon and vinegar!

Festive! I ought to make a wreath out of this...

Festive! I ought to make a wreath out of this…

WAaa HOO Christmas time!!!

89. November 27, 2013

It was a very cold day. Long shadows and bright late afternoon light make for good photos.

Knockout rose bush, pruned by deer. (Garden in background)

Knockout rose bush, pruned by deer. (Garden in background)

The Spy

The Spy

He’s sort of into The Terminator (the 1984 movie) right now, so this is his take on Terminator-style.

Baby

Baby

Row of Violet de Provence artichokes and yellow wonder wild strawberries

Row of Violet de Provence artichokes and yellow wonder wild strawberries

Dexie's Devil Horns

Dexie’s Devil Horns

Facing south/southwest. The sun has moved so far south!

Facing south/southwest. The sun has moved so far south*!

*Technically the sun hasn’t moved. The earth has titled. (but you know what I mean)

Woods

Woods

Driveway

Driveway

House and walking sticks

House and walking sticks

One can never have too many walking sticks. These were all made by Smoochie (my husband).

Backyard/Captain Ship

Backyard/Captain Ship

Deer skull hanging above the captain ship

Deer skull hanging above the captain ship

This was a found skull (we didn’t kill the deer). It used to have antlers but the squirrels gnawed them off.

Panning out

Panning out

Two plum trees

Two plum trees

Sun setting earlier and earlier!

Sun setting earlier and earlier!

New hat

New hat

Why do I need a hat?!

Why do I need a hat?!

Alas, I’m not really able to get philosophical about clear winter light today. Maybe I need to watch Kung Fu Panda again. I also don’t have 300+ words to share about Thanksgiving. This year we are breaking the mold and going WAY non-traditional for turkey-day. We gave away our turkey (my husband got one from work) and we are NOT cooking. Anything. I’m hoping for Chinese takeout. I mean obviously I’m thankful. Everyday. Happy children, nice yard. We’re very blessed. That is sort of the whole point of Spy Garden website. Simple pleasures. Kids and puppies are cute, etc., etc. My husband and I have had 10+ years of textbook traditional Thanksgiving dinners, so we figure there’s no harm in shaking things up a bit this year.

He asked me a few minutes ago, “So what’s the deal for tomorrow? What are we doing?”

I replied, “Whatever we want.”

And for that, we are thankful!