Flora, Fauna & Another Harmonica

Building a living doghouse out of vines and more

Restoration Diary, ,


When we purchased our house we also become the proud owners of
one yard plant.


Exhibit A) This is one of the earliest photos of our new-to-us house.
When I look at the asbestos siding, vinyl windows, less than stellar
paint job and collapsing front porch I have to wonder, “WHAT were
we thinking?! Why did we agree to pay the full asking price?”
Oh, that’s right, we live in Los Angeles…

The photo captures the lone plant that came with our house (outlined
in pink). I had brought over some pink azaleas and a hanging plant
from our apartment, not that they made a big improvement.


Exhibit B) This is our house today. Boy, what a difference some
paint, our life savings and a few plants can make! I am training a
passion vine to grow up over the open beams at the end of the


I have been completely surprised by these $3.99 climbing roses
from Home Depot. I was never a “rose person” and probably
wouldn’t have picked these up if they hadn’t been priced to sell
on triple mark down. I’m now a full fledged rose convert.


I wish I knew the name of this yellow rose. The blooms are huge!


This nameless pink rose is starting to intertwine with the purple
flowered passion vine. The result should be lovely.


My solution to our ugly, rusting chain-link fence until we can
afford to replace it. This vine was also on sale at Home Depot.


Comments { 21 } May 3, 2005

Hidden Within These Walls

Does finding a harmonica in the wall mean good luck?

Restoration Diary,


Yesterday, while cleaning out 92 years worth of dirt and grime from inside the wall I saw an odd shaped piece of wood. I reached my hand into the wall all the way up to my elbow and fished out the curious piece. I gave it a good shake and dusted of a large amount of lint. It wasn’t a piece of wood. I dusted it off some more and saw it was a harmonica.

For many, many years this harmonica has lived underneath the pocket door, becoming slightly warped as the door opened and closed. The harmonica was made in Germany by the M. Hohner company. The year is barely legible but if you hold the harmonica at a certain angle and the light shines on it just right, a faint impression of the year becomes visible, 1897.


Comments { 2 } January 30, 2004

1912 Los Angeles Examiner

We found an old newspaper

Restoration Diary,

We replaced the mirror from the back of the built-in bench in our living room. We discovered an old newspaper placed behind the original mirror. The first thing I did was look at the year – 1912. Then I looked at the date. January 13, 1912. A little chill ran up my spine. Was this some kind-of sign from the house or just a strange coincidence that we discovered a newspaper 92 years later with today’s date printed on it?

The dual headlines read ‘All Californians for One California, Battle Cry of State Boosters’ and ‘North and South Grip Hands in Pledge to Share Future Prosperity’. The North and South the headline refers to are Northern and Southern California.

Also on the front page is First Lady Taft’s chicken salad recipe which, according to the article, had gained vogue with Washington’s smart set. This salad was made under Mrs. Taft’s personal direction:
Equal parts of white meat of chicken and hard boiled eggs cut in dices, sprinkling of celery and white nuts, the whole being covered with mayonnaise.


Comments { 2 } January 13, 2004