Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Burt and Ivy have been running a little behind all season.

 So they've been frantically scrambling to get everything ready for the night of Trick or Treats!

Kibitz made sure there were plenty of candy bars to pass out.
Now he just has to keep from eating all the Kit Kats.

The pumpkins have been carved and are ready to go out on the front porch.

Which is a huge relief to His Madness and me because we were quite late returning from a very big event on Saturday! I'll have more pictures of the happy day and a Halloween recap soon.

Thanks for stopping by and have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Haunted Humpday VII - All Lit Up Again!

Here we are at the last Haunted Humpday for this year and although we're a bit sad the party is over, the skeleton crew is still looking forward to celebrating on All Hallows Eve. We've had a great time joining Marfi at Incipient Wings for loads of pre-halloween fun! This week they have gone to work lighting up the front door so we don't end up with left over candy! How horrible would that be?

Like most neighborhoods, we observe the universal symbol of "at home with candy" by leaving on the lights on either side of our front door. I take great comfort in the fact that when I'm too old to string up lights and carve pumpkins, with just a few (or a couple dozen) bags of candy I'll still be in business! Naturally, Burt & Ivy will always be there to help out.

We don't do a huge outdoor display (at the moment) but it's not exactly a bare bones approach either. Over the years quite a number of people around town have developed some pretty scary front yards, so these days, during October we are treated to an array of screams and howls accompanied by flashing lights. This year our outside decorations are pretty modest but included new garland and Burt has kindly volunteered to model our it so we can see which lights will look the best.

There's always the problem of where to hide those pesky batteries!

In the end they decided to go with our old, traditional orange pumpkin lights.
They go so well with the turquoise door and pink geraniums, good thing it will be dark!

Of course the bug eyes lights are always popular!

Doesn't Burt make a great praying mantis?

His Madness looks a little sleepy,

. . . but Ivy's definitely wide awake!

In the end it's up to His Madness to get the bug lights set up, with the proper supervision of course. He should really quit making faces and get busy, Halloween is only five days away!

There's really no need to add more decorations to our collection but I found these two little guys at the garden center (along with half of dozen pumpkins for carving into jack o'lanterns) and couldn't pass them up. They don't light up and can't go outside but they do sparkle quite a lot.

Thanks so much to Marfi for dreaming up this wonderful event.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope everyone has a very Happy Haunted Humpday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Haunted Humpday VI - It's Pick Your Poison Day!

Here we are at Haunted Humpday VI! Burt and Ivy are joining Marfi at Incipient Wings for some fun leading up to Halloween. The skeleton crew has been having an interesting time.

We had a happy surprise on Monday afternoon, a visit from a Monarch butterfly. When it landed on this plant I have to admit, I got a little worried. It's botanical name is Aconitum napellus (I added that because I originally intended this blog to be about gardening and sometimes I feel the need to throw in some horticultural lingo) but it's also known as Wolf's Bane and Monk's Hood. It's usually the very last of the perennials to bloom in my garden and I'm glad it was around to help out this late butterfly.

My main reason for planting it was because it flowers in late autumn when all the other plants are done for the season and I like to have something to look forward to besides raking up leaves. Having all those awesome names was another plus. This was all before I discovered that not only was knowing it's many names mandatory for Snape's Potions Class but that it's notoriously poisonous. 

Not that the skeletal inhabitants of the backyard have anything to be concerned about, but those of us who are still breathing are wondering why the garden center would sell them in the first place if they were really that toxic. After all, the bees and butterflies manage to survive drinking the nectar.

Apparently, it's only poisonous if you eat a lot of it, particularly the root. It's supposed to taste bitter and most of the documented poisonings have been intentional, not accidental. I can verify that it can produce an itchy rash. According to the Healthline web site it's associated with witchcraft and magic and was said to send witches soaring on their broomsticks. Or maybe they just thought they did!

Hold onto your hat because it looks like Ivy took quite a hefty sniff!

Meanwhile, Burt and Kibitz were indulging in one of their favorite treats. They wait all year for the Bag of Bones Cheetos to return to the grocery shelves. It's really doesn't count as a poison, it's just not very healthy and that's really not something those two are ever going to care about. 

Ivy survived her trip and made it back in time to sweep up after the Cheetos frenzy.

Burt just can't get enough of that white cheddar cheese flavoring!

Much later, it was time to light up the pumpkins for the evening and get into the spirit of  Halloween.

Burt's found something to light up also. Tonight's poison of choice is a bit more conventional than Ivy's. It usually doesn't make you itch all over and the flying part is only a hallucination.

Although, like all good poisons, it can make you a little silly!

A special thanks to Marfi for hosting and all the inspiration from her great gifts!

Thanks for dropping by, I hope you're having a very Happy Haunted Humpday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Haunted Humpday V - Decorating Skeletons

Wow, it's Haunted Humpday V! Burt and Ivy are joining Marfi at Incipient Wings for some fun leading up to Halloween. The skeleton crew and friends finally got down to business this week!

Kibitz was very upset because he couldn't get Burt and Ivy interested in decorating for Halloween. They kept ignoring his pleas, and with the holiday less that three weeks away he was beginning to get very worried. In fact he was in a panic about what to try next to convince them to get to work. In a desperate attempt to move things along he decided to confide in Spenser and ask for his help.

It really wasn't a big problem. Burt was simply up to his old tricks, surprising Ivy and making her laugh. They were just having too much fun to bother with unpacking all the decorations.

Eventually, with a little encouragement they finally managed to get to work and in no time had arranged the haunted houses in the curio. It looked spooky enough but they were quick to point out that there was a sorry lack of skeletons among the village accessories, in fact there was only one!

By coincidence, Kibitz and Spenser came across a box of skeletons at the exact same time!

They moved on to the piano and decked it out in black candles, tarnished silver and glittery gourds. Burt and Ivy couldn't keep their noses to the grindstone for very long however, especially since neither of them actually have much of a nose, so they decided to take a little break.

There's nothing like some spooky Boogie Woogie to gets your toes tapping and bones rattling!

Unfortunately Spenser was becoming more and more indignant. He had been trying his best to think of ways to incorporate this newly discovered cache of tiny skeletons into the decor but between Kibitz's constant pestering and Burt's silly antics he just couldn't concentrate.   

Next, the skeleton crew focused their attentions on the mantle where the centerpiece is this wedding photograph of two of Burt's long lost relatives. This cherished piece was a gift from Marfi and has become a favorite among all the Halloween decorations. 

The only other thing it needed was a couple of ravens, for a touch of black. 

Spenser decided all this creative thinking was way too much for his brain to handle. He put off deciding on how to use the little skeletons but now it looks like he has another issue to deal with! Poor kitty, maybe he should just stick to eating, sleeping and looking out of the window.

Burt and Ivy put the finishing touch on the Halloween decorations by hanging up the haunted mansion mural, yet another gift from the generous Marfi. She is definitely the Queen of Halloween!     

Then they got busy working on their costumes! Who said they aren't into the holiday spirit?

Here's wishing you all a scary Happy Haunted Humpday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Haunted Humpday IV - Better Haunts & Gardens

Are you ready for Haunted Humpday IV? Burt and Ivy are joining Marfi at Incipient Wings for some scary fun leading up to Halloween. The skeleton crew has been very lazy this week!

Now that October is finally here, you would think that Burt and Ivy would be totally excited and ready to get into the spirit of the season. Unfortunately, that's not been the case. It's been unseasonably warm here and although that's nice, it's been very hard to get them to take their Halloween roles seriously. It's also very frightening to realize our nice weather is probably due to the devastating effects of climate change but that's a different kind of scary story for another time!


It seems like all they want to do is hang out on the patio with the kitties, doing nothing and enjoying the balmy weather. No late night walks through the cemetery or leering out of the windows at people walking their dogs for those two. They don't wander too far during the evenings since the temperatures haven't been cold enough to wipe out the mosquito population, which has become more blood thirsty than ever. Nope, there is not so much as a hint of spookiness from either of them!

All this rain and heat has produced a bumper crop of dahlias. There was a huge selection on display at the Farmers' Market and Ivy couldn't resist bringing home an armful last weekend. So she's given up rattling around in the dead of night, moaning loudly and slamming doors for creating flower arrangements and finding places to show them off. The house does look a little like a funeral parlor.

She even decided to spruce up the patio with some autumn leaves. While she got to work adorning the mirror, Spenser was busy creating a tangled mess. At least he didn't knock over the flowers.

  Lazy bones Burt snoozed through it all.

Sometimes it's a struggle to give up on summer and embrace autumn, mostly because in our part of the country there's a long, deep freeze on the heels of all those pretty red and yellow leaves. It also doesn't help that most of our late flowering perennials bloom in summery colors of pink and purple.

Not that anyone actually seems to mind, especially the butterflies!

Burt did finally decided to wake up and tackle a couple gardening projects. Those fall flowers won't plant themselves, usually. Hey Burt, how about putting a little effort into digging that hole!

 Apparently he decided it was easier just to ask someone else to do it while he went to get some potting mix for Ivy's new rose. Good thing His Madness was there to help out.

Although he will never admit it, Burt avoids setting foot in our creepy garage because of all the spiders and he's not very fond of their cobwebs either. He also doesn't care much for bats and other creatures of the night. There's even a rumor going around that he's frightened of his own shadow! To be fair he's always cheerful and happy to lend a helping hand or shoulder a heavy load.

Until he slips up! Oops, our rainy September apparently left things a bit slick. He'll be fine.

Maybe sitting around, enjoying a few lazy days and arranging flowers isn't such a bad idea after all. As the nights grow longer and the temperatures plunge, eventually a cold rain will lash at the windows and Burt and Ivy will return to their usual business of haunting the neighborhood.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope everyone is having a wonderful Haunted Humpday!