Bits & Pieces

Life is never static, although it may seem that way during periods of our lives.  The daily ebb and flow of a routine lulls us into thinking that we’re in control of events.  But daily reports of international news remind us that sudden changes can happen to anyone.

Moving my mother into assisted living this past weekend has brought thoughts of the march of time and how important it is to enjoy each moment of life.

autumnThe beauty of nature is a gift from God that prompts me into appreciating my life as well as loved ones and strangers.

The Jackman Clematis vine (Clematis x jackmanii) has rallied with new flowers after the summer heat has mostly passed.

autumn1A new tropical hibiscus was an impulse buy that I don’t regret.  Pink Lemonade Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Pink Lemonade’ ) with ruffled edges on the petals is a beauty.

Of course, it means another pot has to go into the shed this winter.

autumn5As the petals unfurls, there is a subtle change to the appearance of each flower.

autumn2Even though true autumn has not arrived, cooler nights and mornings have revived some plants while others are beginning to change into the rust colors of fall.  Passion Flower Vine (Passiflora alatocaerulea) is perennial here that is a welcome sight in the spring to me and to the caterpillars of such butterflies as the Zebra and the Gulf Fritillary.  It is the only host plant for them, so they can chomp off every leaf of a vine.  It provides both the larvae and the butterflies protection from predators because they receive a toxic compound from the plant.

autumn3Still love the older tropical Hibiscus that I’ve had for years.  The color of the blossoms are lovely.

autumn4On the same day, the plant had the above orangey flower as well as this one that is more yellow.

autumn6The stillness of this dragon fly conveyed a calm and peaceful feeling.  The copper color is appropriate as the season slowly shifts from summer to fall.

autumn7I spotted this rustic cart on a bare patch of soil in someone’s yard.  I appreciated the artistic look and their attempt to improve the looks of their space.

I urge everyone to take a deep breath and just enjoy what you see around you.  The old saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” is still valid.

“Pride is a steamroller.  It’ll clear the path for a while, but sooner or later it’ll shift into reverse, and then…look out.”  The Sea Glass Sisters by Lisa Wingate

Quigley’s Castle

Quigley’s Castle outside of Eureka Springs is one of those odd tourist attractions that makes one curious enough to stop.

quigleyElise Quigley had described her vision for the house, but had to make a miniature model before her husband Albert and an architect could understand what she wanted.  Using lumber from the property, Albert and a neighbor built the house in 1943.

Elise and her children made the bricks for the outside from the collection of rocks she had accumulated since her childhood.

QuileyOn two sides of the two story home are large windows to provide light for tropical plants that grow in a three foot deep gap between the windows and where the flooring begins.  So the plants grow directly in soil.

Quiley2This shot looks up to the second story garden space.  Planks were laid to create shelves for pot plants.

Quiley3This picture was made from the second floor looking down in the growing space.

Quiley1In one corner upstairs is a collection of shells and plants.

Quiley5Some of the plants reach up to the second story.  I think this one is a Hibiscus.

Quiley4On one wall hung a collage Mrs. Quigley created from butterflies and shells.  It looks like some kind of resin was poured on top since it has a reflective finish.

Quiley6It actually works like a mirror:  The window and railing are behind us as I take the photograph.

Quiley7It’s a small house, so it’s amazing that they had five children living there.  Although two sons were serving overseas in WW II, so I’m not sure they ever lived there.

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QuileyaThe kitchen seemed especially claustrophobic to me.

QuileyaaAlthough Mrs. Quigley lived for forty years in this house, it is amazing how much hand rock work was done in the yard.

QuileybI also don’t know if this was done completely by her or if her family helped.

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QuileyccMr. Quigley inherited the 80 acres from his father and continued the lumber business of his family.

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QuileyddHow was she able to get all that cement during the war and the years following it?

QuileyeLook at the size of these rocks.  It makes my body ache to just think of the heavy lifting involved.

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QuileyfAll kinds of trees with intertwining vines grow on the property.

QuileygA sign by this furnace provided the following information. In 1998 the brick chimney in the kitchen began to leak smoke, so this furnace was installed. It heats the whole house, two outbuildings, and the hot water heater in the house. The fire in the furnace burns a little over a half cord from October to mid-April.

Since Mrs. Quigley died in 1984, someone else must live in the house now or maybe it’s heated for the tourists.

QuileyggJust think of the time involved in all of these projects.

QuileyhLoose stacked rock fence.

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QuileyiHens and Chicks growing in this planter.

QuileyiiThe tall slim towers are a puzzle.  There must be some kind of poles inside to keep them upright.

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QuileyjjPyracantha bushes at the back of the house.

QuileykI do like the small rock baskets.  Chrysanthemums and Pansies add some color.

QuileykkPeriwinkle or Vinca flowers scattered throughout the yard brightens up an autumn scene.

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QuileynnNext to the parking area is an interesting tree with a burl.

QuileyoThe bright red tree is a Sugar Maple, I think.

QuileyooThis house and the yard may seem tacky to many people.  But I was impressed with the work behind it all.  It’s important to have a passion about something.  And it’s obvious that that she loved nature, specifically plants and rocks.  So I applaud her for living her dream.

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.”   Lorraine Hansberry