Somebody has been eating the blueberries

Somebody, or some thing, has been eating our blueberry crop this year. I have only tasted one and even that one was not quite ripe. So it has been a little disappointing this year thus far in blueberry land. I suppose I should get some sort of netting installed. I don’t think I will be motivated enough to do this before blueberry season is over. Perhaps it is a project I can take on next year?

Leaves as mulch
This is our second season of using dead leaves from our oak as mulch in the backyard. I love the multicolor look of the leaves on top of the mulch. Hopefully it will assist keeping the weeds at bay.
Drip irrigation
Drip irrigation helps keep these herbs hydrated so they can be of use culinary wise.

 Broccoli is Bolting
We say goodbye to the broccoli for now. It has decided to flower.
Trying to bring spring to the backyard

Palm Fronds
I use newly trimmed palm fronds to help shade fragile plants from the harsh sunny days.

Mimosa strigillosa
Mimosa strigillosa is in bloom again and filling in nicely in the areas where the grass has died. Perhaps one day the whole backyard will be covered in the pink flowers.

We will have many grapes this season. I have been working on training the grapes so they will provide shade as well.

My Garden Oasis
My garden retreat is almost complete. It should be a nice shaded area to rest from the hot summer sun once the grape vine has fully grown.

What I love about boutique hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs

I am a bit of a travel freak. I try to use up ever little hour of vacation I get on an out of town getaway. Mostly I like to leave the country. My last few trips have been in Europe. When I first started traveling for fun (not work trips) I was secure enough in employment that I could afford nicer accommodations but I refused to spend the money. Partially because I thought the money had better use for something else and partially because travel companions would be on a tight budget. I have stayed in a good number of crappy hostels and a surprisingly high number of good and cheap ones.
Now I try to stay in two star hotels, cheap boutique hotels or nicely priced b&bs. At times I will stay in fancy places due to my friends who work in the service industry that can get fantastic deals. Additionally a few of my friends have champagne taste so I end up staying at nice places with them. When I am traveling alone with my husband I pick the cheaper places.
My requirements are location and cleanliness. I feel there is personal attention given at these places. They have character. Often an interesting continental breakfast is included. And usually there is a comfortable room where there are tourist information and a book exchange for those of us who love to read. The hotels are not as new but typically have something different about them. Additionally the people who seem to work at these places tend to be a lot more personable and tend to remember you. I have had staff go out of their way to help me (sometimes that doesn’t even happen in fancy hotels ). The staff seem to enjoy what they do more.
One of my favorite memories was in staying at a B&B in San Jose Costa Rica. The owner offered to drive us to the casino herself. She even stayed and gambled with us. In our trip to Bayeux France we competed with honey bees for our breakfast outdoor. I found it charming. We never see bees in the states.
There have been a couple of bad choices – like the hostel in Amalfi that was moldy and the “boutique” hotel we stayed at in Barcelona that was in a sleepy neighborhood and was not too comfortable. All in all one can usually find a good cheap place if you put in the time to research (tripadvisor) and book far enough in advance (many of my first choices were booked full already in Barcelona because I waited too long).

Cute Hotel In Sevilla

Great Room in Madrid

Hostel with Character in Cinque Terre

Bunnies at B&B in Normandy