Monday, April 30, 2018


Alright, so we missed on the albino carrot. How about an albino squirrel? Back from California, taking a stroll along West 7th in St. Paul, I saw this fellow in a tussle with a pigmented partner. Don't know if they settled anything, but they added some interest to the walk. Just how rare is an albino squirrel anyway? If he mates with his brown friend, will there be gray ones?  I just don't know my squirrels. . . or carrots, it seems.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Blue Bells

We're back home from sunny California, not expecting much after the April in Minnesota. But on our first walk today, beside Snelling Avenue in St. Paul, we saw these brave spring harbingers, Blue Bells pushing their way through the leaves, a week after the last flakes from winter disappeared. There's always hope, they say.
(These may not be Blue Bells. If they're not, sorry, somebody correct me.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Contemplating the abyss

bee gets ready for today's plunge into the sticky pollen waiting in the center of this poppy. Observations were interrupted by a brief earthquake today at Hotel California. Nothing to locals, a bit of a thrill for the photographer from Minnesota.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Yesterday's hike...

Jennifer is hiking near Sedona, Arizona, and texted me her favorite picture from yesterday's batch.

Such a lovely place, (such a lovely place)

Welcome to the garden at Hotel California. Spring has finally arrived after sustaining a battering earlier in the year. All the varieties have recovered during my stay here. A single bloom greeted my arrival a month ago. All that has changed, total rebirth. There's more out front.
I'll be checking out of the hotel Friday, for a return flight from San Diego to St. Paul.
(You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave!')

Monday, April 23, 2018

We have a jumper. . .

A 10-day old nestling, judged too young to make it on its own, was returned to the nest with a minimum of fuss today, except for this brief photo session. The chick was disturbed by the proximity of its human neighbors and made a premature leap for freedom. It was tracked down in the garden and now has a tale to tell its nest mate, who had the wisdom to just stay home. Mom and Dad Dove observed the interaction.

Meanwhile, a Hummingbird tended to business, undisturbed by today's activity.
It has been gathering spider webs for nest-building purposes.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Poppies... et cetera

Those jesters' hats noted earlier have burst into an explosion of yellow, dwarfing the previous blossom.  Lower left. Some of the yellow roses have a tiny blush of red, homage to a common root.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Jesters' hats about to burst into more of the same. Or are they Hershey kisses?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Nest Builder

A lazy morning spent watching a new dove nest under construction. Hotel California seems like the perfect place to stay. When do we put out the No Vacancy sign?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Springtime celebration

After a false start, spring finally arrived at the gardens of Hotel California. Here's a date tree making its bid. A nasty frost killed all the buds this year, so this is a second start to the season. Looks good.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Dove chicks

We have Twins! 
Just in time for the baseball season, two dove chicks made their way into the bright sunshine, cracking their way into this big world. Under the guardian eye of a fierce plastic hawk, the doves should have no interference from outsiders, save the occasional peep from a prying photographer. Proud parents stood by as this photo was made.
These chicks were born at Hotel California, but we're sure they'll be Minnesota Twins fans.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Next phase

Work continues on the nail-spa art work project. Seven of ten columns have been laminated white, and for the first time today two were joined three feet apart. When complete it will be a 30 foot sculpture of plants separated by white columns. Long way to go. Keep on trucking'
Piece will be moved in 4 foot sections for final assembly at the spa.
We're hoping for some one-of-a-kind drama in the nail-spa.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Albino carrot discovery!

Today's snack was dumped out of a sealed bag of carrots, crisp and cool,  cleaned and ready for casual munching. But there in the center was something we've never experienced: an albino carrot! Goodness. An omen? A sign of good or evil to come. What doth this portend?
"Nothing!" scoffed the good wife. It's just a yellow carrot that got mixed in. Haven't you ever seen the yellow carrots at the grocer's?
Never mind.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Playtime in the morning mist

Calm, gray skies brought out the hot-air balloons in the morning mist today. They'll be down soon. Expect highs in the 80s or 90s today.

The lifeless American flag demonstrates the wind speed and direction. 


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Lamination Station

White laminations are applied to piers.
Ten piers. Router used to cut and smooth edges. Figuring drying time and limited number of clamps, should be done Monday.

Friday, April 06, 2018

First one

After a killing frost in February, roses are in short supply in Hotel California's flower garden in Menifee. Everything is later than ever. So when the first blossom appeared this week, a busy bee wasted no time in gathering its nectar. Light rain tonight.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Phase One Done

Phase one of the artwork for the new nail salon is done. These piers are on their sides. There are ten of them in all. Lamination next phase. Goal is best looking salon in California. We'll keep you up to date.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Happy Easter from the ladies. . .

Deadly plastic hawk guarding dove nest

Look to the right and you'll spot the eggs. It won't be long now.

In an effort to keep the patio clean, Hai erected this plastic hawk atop the gazebo at Hotel California. It worked. For a while. Then apparently a pair of doves saw the utility in placing a nest just in the shadow of the fierce plastic hawk, providing vigilant nest protection (the hawk never sleeps) from intruders not so wise as our pair. The mama and papa doves are sitting on the nest now (they moved to give the photographer a closer look) and soon we will have an even greater mess underneath this secure, happy home.

Happy Easter!