It always starts out like this- KayaDog staring at me with her big brown eyes, holding a toy, wanting to know why I don't love her enough to take her outside.
And so we go outside and explore our little mountainside. Here is what we see-
The roses in our front yard that some evil bug is determined to eat alive.
So I cut the biggest ones off today and finally had something pretty to put in the vase I brought back from Cambodia.
On both sides of our house there are wild raspberries growing. On the left side of the house (our property) they grow along a very steep hillside. Lately there has been considerable evidence that a bear lives just below the raspberry patch. Therefore, I do not frequent this patch often.
On the right side (shown above), there is a very large patch. It is about 10 ft away from my driveway. However, this would be our neighbor's yard. It is about 2 acres away from his actual house.
My neighbors are quite peculiar people. And I am about to mock them. You have been warned. When we moved in our other neighbors told us that they were strange people. In spite of the fact that technically they are our next door neighbors (just down a very steep hill, around a bend, and a few acres away, where we can't actually see their house), it only took 9 months to finally meet them. And when I did finally meet them, the first thing they said to me was that they can't stand any of our neighbors. The second thing they said (I was wearing a Mitt Romney t-shirt at the time) was that Romney seemed like an interesting man, but they don't trust Mormons. He then spotted the Utah license plates on my car and said, "If you're from Utah, I'm sure you understand." When I straightened him out, and let him know not only do I support Romney, but I am also LDS, he didn't apologize or even flinch. Ridiculous.
This would be my peculiar neighbor's driveway. It has been like this ever since the day we moved in. They have not done any repairs on their driveway in that time. They just really do not want anyone driving in there. Why? I have no idea. If you look closely, you can even see that they have put reflective strips on the sticks and buckets. They mean business!
Back to the raspberries-
One of the perks of living on top of a mountain, away from civilization is the ability to walk your dog in your underwear. No one can see my house, and I can't see theirs. So if I want to go outside in nature in my most natural outfit, I do so.
You can only imagine my total shock and surprise TWICE this week when I stepped out my front door to find my neighbor's car in my driveway, and the two of them picking raspberries! AT 7 A.M.!!
And me, not so decently dressed.
Sure, the raspberry patch is pretty far away from their house, and up a steep hill. I don't blame them for driving to get to it. And yes, it is on their side of the property line. (Which they have ever so kindly put stakes up to indicate.) But seriously, the people who keep up a year round barrier in their driveway just park in mine?! Grr...
Back to the walk and more of what we see-
This random weed grows in the culvert that runs down our street. The red bow is litter that got caught on it a few weeks ago. The weed has shot up since then, and it amuses me to no end that it looks like it all belongs that way.
Why, for the love of all that is anything, would you (true story coming up here) map out where the halfway point is between you and your fiancee, pick Southwest Roanoke to live in, and move to the top of a lush, green, forested mountain, just to clear all of the trees off the land, put down a pre-fab house (in the middle of half-million dollar houses), and plant hundreds of cacti?!
These people spend HOURS every single day out there tending to their cacti.
I have no idea what this flower is called. Until this week it was just a bunch of green shoots that were about knee high. Then BOOM! This week they suddenly shot up and got bulbs on them! As you can see, they are almost as tall as me! A few have bloomed already in my neighbors' yards (not the peculiar cacti people though- they prefer to raise cacti, and not species more native to the area), and they are quite pretty. I think they will fully bloom in about 2 more days. I'm excited to see them.
On my back porch, safely away from bears, deer, and raccoons, I am growing tomatoes in a "Topsy Turvy" planter, a green pepper plant, and what I thought was cilantro. Now I am not so sure about the cilantro. I fear I may be growing a weed instead. Does anyone know if that is what cilantro should look like?
My tomatoes have not been growing very rapidly. According to the guide, they should be bearing fruit in about 2 weeks. But instead they are barely bigger than they were as starts 60 days ago. I've been tending them quite obsessively, so this was very disappointing to me. I love growing my own tomatoes! This was my first time to use a "Topsy Turvy" (its too dark outside to take a picture right now, but I'll try and remember to do it tomorrow and update this), and I was about to blame that method. I noticed that even though I had filled it to the top when I started, it had shrunk down to about halfway. I wondered if they were getting enough sunshine (I have 4 starts in it, 2 on top, 2 on bottom). Yesterday, I VERY carefully pulled the dirt aside and put more dirt beneath the top plants. I raised them back up to the top of the bag thing. Overnight they grew several inches! Hopefully this means I will actually get some tomatoes now.
My green pepper plant should also be producing in about 2 weeks. It is growing plenty tall, but so far, no sign of an actual bulb or fruit. The raccoons climbed up on the deck a few weeks ago and pulled the pepper and cilantro out of their pots. I fear they may have killed them off. They look like they are still alive, but only time will tell.