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April 7, 2015

Every once in a while Paul and I will be struck by the beauty of our surroundings, exclaiming to each other how lucky we feel to live where we live. This is not to say that everyone would feel the same; we understand that many of our neighbors would find the Rancho a strange place. Unlike many (most) homes in our town we have no lawn, roses are extinct here, and sprinklers don’t come to hissing life morning and night. Maybe it’s because this place is something we’ve created that we appreciate it so; the same way the parents of an odd looking child look upon it and smile. Still, visitors do proclaim its loveliness, its charms. The intent of this post is to exhibit via photography some of what makes our outdoor spaces so special. Think of them as moments from a sunny spring day, Rancho Reubidoux style.



Our palo verdes are in dazzling bloom and I love seeing them contrasted against weathered wood and deep blue sky.


A sunny day is an invitation to doze for our chihuahuas, Frito & Inky. Usually camera shy they insist on accompanying me on my photo mission.



Unexpected spring blooms have appeared in my vintage water heater planter. Their intensity is not easily captured although this is a close approximation.



Our honey locust has exploded in yellow-green foliage that would rival a Vegas show girl’s plumage. It shimmers in the breeze as a nearby agave proudly extends a new stalk.



My suspended terra cotta planter allows its acrobatic succulent inhabitants to roam freely.



I love Frito against a sharp background of pebbles and concrete; the arabesque of stones behind him a striking visual counterpoint. His look of concern suits the newsy black-and-white style.


birdA bizarre found-art bird was welded of steel rings and features a spot at the tail for a potted plant. I enjoy its curved beak, single eye and flat-footed stance.



This sun was a project using table legs and tin can lids . . . in disrepair now, I can’t bring myself to toss it. I love the inadvertent smaller suns pressed into the ol’ Chevy hubcaps.



Displaying the same blankness I’ve seen in line at the unemployment office, these mostly-metal elements await their turn as part of a project or scheme.



Following me around began to wear on Frito, the warmth of the sun inviting him to nap. I follow suit.



I awake to the full brightness of the afternoon’s sun. My agave’s shadow competes with the shapeliness of its sinuous leaves.



Beneath the eaves my collection of metal grates and grills shows off its graphic good looks.



A mirrored garden orb bounces the afternoon sun back at me . . . it’s so warm I’m tempted to reprise my earlier nap.



This large metal spider’s web was once the grill of a large oscillating fan. It, too, awaits a new use, or a new life as a blog star.



Now both poochies follow me, but when I turn the camera on them they become agitated. Here Inky licks at her sibling’s face to avoid the lens.



Hot, it’s very hot out.



A collection, including a potted cactus, a gifted euphorbia, a whimsically tiled plant stand and a trio of ballcocks sizzles on the deck.



Frito’s back. I had just finished yelling at he and his sister for digging at a poor defenseless lizard’s lair. They tag team the reptiles, kill them and present their corpses on our kitchen floor.



My octopus agave has bloomed almost fully, only a foot or so remains free of blossoms. Already the parent plant’s leaves are beginning to shrivel and dry.



I’m ending with a photo taken much earlier in the day. A jet’s vapor trail streaked across the sky and seemed to confer upon my tanked cactus the look of a flying saucer.


Sometimes I think the neighbors must think I’m a lunatic, walking around the yard and taking photos the way I do. I don’t mind, though. I’m more concerned that I might miss something, some fleeting, singular moment that I’d like to share here, with you.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Guida permalink
    April 7, 2015 4:20 am

    I love how you see things, people, plants, yourself, the sky, the weather, life…….you are very inspiring……thank you xo

  2. vickie perez permalink
    April 7, 2015 5:01 am

    I agree with Guida! And I would hope that you would always get your neighbors to wondering! It’d be way too boring to live life in any other way. You are just a delight!

  3. April 7, 2015 1:23 pm

    Of course I love photo’s that display your vision of the Rancho, but I also love your commentary below each picture and laugh out loud at many of them. I just love how your mind works… (still chuckling).

  4. April 7, 2015 3:57 pm

    Gotta keep the neighbors wondering! I think the same when I’m out there with my camera. The stories they must make up! I do love your odd looking child…

  5. April 8, 2015 1:09 am

    LOVE your pix!! And i’m storing it all away for when I begin converting to succulents and cactus! You have a great eye and the composition is wonderful! Thanks for sharing…

    • April 8, 2015 1:30 am

      Thanks, Linda … Glad to be part of your succulent “conversion” — I’m here for you! 😉

  6. April 8, 2015 1:57 pm

    So in order to Reubenize our spaces, we first must try to see with Reuben’s Eyes? (sorry – apparently I could NOT resist…).

    My immediate neighbors are immune to the sight of me clambering around with a camera, but it is the folks innocently driving by I wonder about, especially as I lean waaaaay in to get a close shot. I try not to give them a potentially emotionally scarring temporary “view” but some days – whatever it takes!

    PS – I love the (inadvertent?) self portrait in the gazing ball! Hallooo there!

    • April 8, 2015 2:05 pm

      Thanks, TDeb, and you’re right! Passersby have been treated to the sight of me lying on my back — on gravel — to shoot an agave in bloom. Granted, that was before the back issues, but I can still remember someone at the stop sign staying stopped as they tried to figure out what I was doing. Always a pleasure … R

  7. Dave in Toronto permalink
    April 8, 2015 5:03 pm

    Fantastic, as always. Making me miss the desert spring all over again. And I think I need more metal in our yard! (But please tell me the ballcocks aren’t from toilets…)

    • April 8, 2015 5:43 pm

      LOL … Well, if you’re asking whether I removed them from unsuspecting toilets, Dave, the answer’s no! Actually I bought them all at a tag sale, thinking I’d seen them somewheres before but couldn’t remember where … tells you how long it’s been since I looked inside a toilet tank … As for metal: YES! It’s amazing once you start looking where you find it, in all its rusted glory!

  8. Dave in Toronto permalink
    April 8, 2015 5:04 pm

    Also, I’ve been reading about California’s water problems. You are on trend!

  9. Faye Carter permalink
    April 8, 2015 10:06 pm

    Love your talent! The landscape design, Amazing creative art, ingenious photography, artful written copy, love, love it all! If you haven’t been featured in Sunset mag, you should! How joyful for you to live in your paradise! Thanks and please keep sharing with us!

    • April 8, 2015 10:51 pm

      You really made my day, Faye. And now I’ve added poetry to the list; thanks for commenting! 😉

  10. April 10, 2015 4:41 am

    Thanks I really enjoyed the tour of your garden; Jane Block

  11. April 14, 2015 7:36 pm

    Rancho Reubidoux has what the vast majority of gardens don’t have: creativity and uniqueness. That’s what I, like all your other fans, respond to so strongly. The photos in this post are perfect vignettes :-).

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