Little things make life good

Friday, April 19, at home in Arizona

Three hummingbird feeders in the three arches of the front porch

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A sparrow comes into the house and bedlam arrives with it. 

In a panic to escape, the sparrow repeatedly crashes into the dining room window, into the skylight, and into the little bay window in front of the kitchen sink.

Reggie and Roger go ballistic.

Roger leaps at the window sill in the dining room, upsetting pots of dirt holding seeds and a few seedlings.

The pots of dirt Roger knocked over are in the background (above).  I buy tiny figurines at the thrift store for 25-50 cents and put them in with my plants.

“Roger, NO!”

I holler as I push him away from the sill.  The sparrow is tiring.  I know that Roger, given the chance, would nab that bird faster than a hungry kid grabbing a Twinkie.

Again the sparrow crashes against glass.  I find him in one of the potted plants in the kitchen bay window.

He’s resting on his belly on the dirt. 

Poor thing, he’s breathing hard . . .

“Come on, little one.  Let me take you outside.”

He fixes an eye on me as I carry him in the pot to the front porch.

An Easter bunny with the frightened sparrow

A few seconds after this photo, he flies off to the security of the pine tree.

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I’ve decided to take up rose husbandry.

This property has ten rose bushes and they need care.  A couple of them are spindly and sad.  None of them are in optimum condition.

An early spring pruning helped them somewhat.

They’re leafed out now and their buds are opening.  I fertilized with rose food and followed the instructions to “water in” the fertilizer.  The blooms are abundant.

However, they’re imperfect.  The petals are crinkled and/or have black edges.

I research online for help.

The condition of the blooms may be due to my over-watering.

I also learn the reason why the leaves turn yellow and drop off.  One bush was completely denuded last year.  Amazingly it didn’t die.

“Aha!  Black spot.  That’s what it is.  A fungus.”

See the black spot on the leaf?  And the darkened edges on the bloom’s petals?

This morning I spend a pleasant half-hour or so picking off the leaves that have spots, as advised by rose experts.

Rather than immediately go full military with commercial fungicide, first I’ll try a more natural solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon dish detergent (non-bleach) in a quart of water.   I’ll spray the solution on both sides of the leaves.

“Out, damn spot!”

If the natural solution doesn’t work, I’ll up my game. 

I’m determined to learn how to grow healthy roses.  I can do this!

Imagine —

Roses climbing on the privacy fence.  Wouldn’t that be glorious?  My plan is to set up trellises on the fence and prepare the ground.  I’ll order the roses for fall planting.

When we moved here, I was surprised to learn that roses grow very well in southeastern Arizona.

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More griddling

The previous post generated interest in the Blackstone griddle (Link to griddle available at Amazon at bottom of post.).

For those of you who ordered one or are thinking about ordering one, you might want to watch a couple videos. Youtube has several showing how to season the griddle surface before using and also how to cook up some delicious meals and side dishes.

I got a hankering for a burger.

Not an eater of red meat, I buy turkey patties instead.  When they’re made on the griddle with cheese melted on top and embellished with lettuce, raw onion slices, hamburger pickles and ketchup, all tucked in a bun, well, we ain’t talkin’ turkey anymore.  Tastes like regular hamburger.

Next time I make a burger, I’ll griddle some onions to put on top.  That should be good, too.

That’s it for now!  Be well, be safe, be happy!


“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”  ― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

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The link below will take you to Amazon.  Scroll down if interested in seeing griddles with a larger cooking surface or to shop for Blackstone accessories.

Blackstone Table Top 17 Inch Portable Gas Griddle – Propane Fueled – For Outdoor Cooking While Camping, Tailgating or Picnicking

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RVSue and her canine crew is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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48 Responses to Little things make life good

  1. I had no idea roses did well out there either! Love the lavender one.

    Good to know about turkey burgers, as we haven’t eaten red meat in a few years and I miss burgers a lot! Will try turkey…though I haven’t been successful finding a replacement for good old hamburger yet.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      Well, I suppose I was stretching it a bit by saying the turkey burger tastes like hamburger. But it’s close enough!

      I’ve found the best turkey patties are the Jennie-O brand. They’re available seasoned or unseasoned. I choose the seasoned patties…. more sodium but not too bad and I make sure to keep salt intake low otherwise.

      I put some olive oil on the griddle first and I also cook the patty until almost done before turning it over. I want to make sure the turkey is done. I also like the blackened, grilled flavor.

      Thank God for condiments.


  2. Carlene says:

    I loved Rose’s at my NoCal house… so did the deer… I lost they won… keep the pics CV coming, they are so pretty.
    Happy Easter to you all.

    Carlene and Corky

  3. Linda in Minnesota says:

    ‘Tis the season for resurrecting the dead. I hope your roses thrive.

  4. I’m not that surprised that Arizona is a hearty home for roses after we moved to Utah (now 7 years ago) and discovered that roses grow incredibly well here, with very little effort (thank goodness!). Although I grew up in Shreveport, LA, headquarters of the American Rose Society, roses are actually somewhat challenging to grow there — I think due to the humidity and resulting fungus problems. Utah’s dry climate seems to be good for roses. Good luck with yours!

    • Haha, ALSO meant to say that when we lived in Costa Rica we often got hummingbirds in the house and just like your sparrow, we would have to wait until they tired enough to “sink” lower where we had the hope of capturing them and putting them outside. We had a large hanging planter on the back porch and would set them there to rest and recuperate. Eventually they would fly off! Glad your sparrow was okay!

      • Becky in NJ says:

        It surprises me that black spot is a problem in Arizona! Here in southern New Jersey, it has claimed every rosebush we have ever had here. They look nice for a few years, but then slowly but surely decline from it. I admit, I have given up on roses. I wish you much better luck with yours!
        Happy Easter to you, and all the “blogorinos” here…

  5. Mugs says:

    If you haven’t seen the Tombstone Rose, you might want to check it out. When I lived in Cave Creek I planted one on a wood pole ladder propped up next to the front of the house (north side). It grew fast and was absolutely beautiful with roses or without.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Glad the little bird was ok…our onery cat in one location would bring them into the HUGE garage and turn them loose…like to never got them out of there!! I thumped his head good when I caught him with one in his mouth…to my knowledge he quit catching them…at least when I was able to see him anyway!! But of course, it IS a cat thing to do!!

    Small good news tonight….It JUST passed in WA state that there is now NO statute of limitations on sexual assault!! At least that small hope. That the kids will one day tell. And then the bully girl who was kicking and hurting my little darling grandgirl a few days ago, today gave her an apology letter!! HOPE that stops that one too!! I happened to walk in just in time to see the whole thing earlier this week when picking up my granddaughter. I told a few adults in charge, and heard that the principal talked to her plus whomever made her write the note. Small bullies will one day be big bullies if it is ignored. I have been most pleased with some of the ways adults in this grade school are working hard to make a difference!! So there are some things to be grateful for!!

    LOVE the roses, Sue…my mom would have been in heaven to have such (well she no doubt does now, as she is in Heaven)…but that deep red!! Wow what a beauty and I hope some of them smell very nice too!! I was wondering if you put down some nice mulch, if that would be helpful to the plants and avoid overwatering? I am not much of a gardener…so I am glad when you share what you learn. I am HOPING we find the next spot will have a bit more room for a bit of growing things.

  7. Barbara from Camano Island says:

    Love that last picture of Reggie and Roger wrestling in the bed. They were certainly meant to be together. Two lucky pups! I’m enjoying you deep pleasure in being a home owner again. Thank you for continuing to share your life.

  8. CherylinLowerThumb says:

    Well, Sue, it appears our part of MI is getting more cold & rain. We have a low lying area in our front yard & w/rain every day for the last few days, we’ve got our ‘pond’ back! We also have a mated goose & gander who have taken up residency on our pond. They’re a bit slow-witted & stick around year round. They float around in our pond ’til it eventually dries up once again. They’re a beautiful couple! I’ve been hesitant about putting my Hummer feeders out too soon, for fear of the nectar freezing! Any advice?

    A week from this Sunday, we’re doing our bi-annual trip to Columbus, GA to visit my in-laws. I can’t wait! My side of the family has severed ties with me…their decision. Seems I’ve become the odd man out due to who I married 40 yrs. ago & they can’t be bothered to let me know of family functions or concerning news ’til WAY after the fact. Sounds like “peachy” people, don’t they? Such is life in rural MI. One of the reasons for the trip to GA. Sorry to complain, but it still hurts!

    Ta-ya for now! Pet the pooches for me! Love ya Bunches! {{Hugs}}


  9. Pookie and chuck says:

    your roses look beautiful…wish mine looked as good

  10. Gail from Buckeye AZ says:

    Sue try the Lady Banks Roses. They do Great in the desert. The Rose Bush that is so big in Tombstone is a Lady Banks Rose bush. It will climb quickly and fill a trellis.

  11. Columbus Calvin says:

    I’ll begin with praise for your header picture. That sunrise (sunset?) is beautiful and evocative. Thanks. Ohio’s not doing those lately.

    I particularly like the dog pictures in this one, especially the one of Roger (could be Reggie; I’m bad at names) looking at the rose.

    Your roses are very pretty. Your diligence is bringing you a nice reward. (Roses are beyond my gardening horizon and also feel more like “putting down roots” than suits my spirit today.)

  12. rhodium in sw va says:

    It’s amazing how many kinds of roses there are, if you want some more. They all want sun and you are lucky to have lots of that. The hummingbirds just got back here a few days ago just behind the whiperwills and goldfinches. With all the dogwoods, pear, apple and trees whose names I do not know it is so beautiful. Plus the calves were delivered about a month ago so we can see them kicking up their heels and running everywhere. Speaking of beef, if you want to try some plant based stuff the Gardein brand is our choice. I go 50 miles to get their Chickn Scallopini.

  13. Rob, in northern Alabama on the Tennessee river for another few days says:

    If it was me writing about grilled onions I’d be off to the grill to try while the thought was still fresh!
    I’m like that when I think of bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwiches… A BLT makes a great breakfast! On GOOD sourdough!! WOW!

    Once I’ve had my fix I’m good until the urge hits again…the last time was last summer in Maine, I’d picked some fresh tomatoes & had to go get the rest of the fixens.

    Good luck witht the roses!

  14. Suzi says:


    Your griddle post made me want to go buy chicken today to make something similar. Looked so yummy. Last night we had breakfast for dinner on the griddle; potato hash using baby reds and sweet potato, onions, red bell pepper, chopped up jalepeno pieces, and Smokey seasoning, two eggs over easy right on top, with a side of left over refried beans and sweet green Ortega chilis. Warmed tortillas, some salsa, and avocado chunks on the side. It was yummy!! We are enjoying our griddle, Sue. We ended up with the 17”, and it’s just perfect for us!

    As I type, I’m making coffee as fast as I can for some CDT hikers who camped in the meadow near us overnight. We are camped just South of Silver City, NM, at one of the CDT trailheads, and crossings. Whenever we have the chance, we like to be “Trail Angels” for the hikers. It’s fun! Cold fruit, water, fresh brewed coffee in the mornings. . Basically whatever we have on hand that sounds good to them.

    Life is good on the trail Sue and Crew- blogerinos. So far we haven’t “kilt each other yet”. Today is our 163rd consecutive day on the road since leaving Vancouver after my hand surgery. This doesn’t count last Summer when we made the 5K mile trip down to Rice and back, with 12 states in between.

    Aloha for now! “Chop chop Lambchop, the hikers are waiting!” 😆😆

  15. Sharon B says:

    Hi Sue,

    A native AZ gardening friend of mine taught me to let the rose beds dry out for a few days then give them a really good watering, spraying them all over as well.
    Keep repeating. I tried it all year & Oh my golly GOSH, they are fAbUlouS this year.
    BTW, I bought them all in the discount area at Lowes. They looked terrible but now ~~~
    Y’all probably know to dead head the old blooms along the way.

    Blessed Easter !

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Ha! I came in the house two minutes ago after a stint of ruthless dead-heading!

      The watering advice has me puzzled. Every source I’ve come across says to water at the base in the morning. Every one of them says NOT to spray water on the plant because it encourages fungus. I’m beginning to understand why rose culture is considered challenging!

      Blessed Easter to you, Sharon, and to all the Blogorinos….

  16. Linda in Oregon says:

    Hi Sue, a while back you got a cordless weed eater from black and decker that you recommended. Now that you have had it for a bit is it still working good? I find myself with yard and house chores for the first time in years, so I have had to buy things like vacumn cleaners to pruning shears. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda,

      I know what you mean about having to buy things for yard and house chores… starting from scratch.

      Love my weed eater. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

      BLACK+DECKER LST300 Weed Whacker

      Browse all the Black and Decker string trimmers for a good deal. Another blogorino bought the 40 volt model and is very pleased for her uses.

      • Linda in Oregon says:

        well, I ordered it along with extra string and an extra battery. Thank you for your help. I used the link so it should give you credit.

  17. Cinandjules🌵 says:

    Great save!
    Pretty roses! Just the colors itself can brighten up the area.
    Always wanted to try the non meat burgers…..haven’t yet.

    AO had her tooth extracted yesterday. We took the opportunity to drive up to Sedona for breakfast. Jules has never seen the red rocks…as we came around the bend in the road…and the rock formations became visible..she was in awe! AO feels better this morning…reminder folks..take the hard chews away!

    Happy Easter to all!

  18. Susan in Dallas says:

    Your roses look great! I’ve tried to grow some several times and failed, even Knockout roses which are supposed to be indestructible (except now for a new fungus which kills them.) Guess I was ahead of my time! LOL. I would love to have a Peace Rose. They are my absolute favorite.

    • Barbara (Nashville) says:

      I had knockout roses for several years but the fungus got them. It is incurable according to my landscaper. I had him remove them this year and replace them with Chinese Flowering Fringe, which are supposed to bloom spring to frost. We’ll see how that goes.

  19. Poor little sparrow!

    Love all the beautiful colors in your roses.

  20. Naio says:

    Hello Sue and blogorinos :-).

    I have read the entire blog from the beginning, although not all the comments. But I haven’t commented before.

    I teach gardening, though, so I couldn’t resist this time :-).

    The baking soda will work fine for your black spot. But no matter what you use for black spot, your roses will probably still drop all the leaves they currently have. Treatments for black spot work by preventing it on leaves at haven’t grown yet. So if you keep spraying every two weeks, the next batch of leaves will be much better.

    Do your roses lose their leaves for a while in the winter? Even if they do, keep spraying. It’s especially important to spray when they don’t have any leaves. Spray the stems and the thorns and everything. That’s where the fungus spores hide.

    Roses are very drought tolerant, and they probably love that Arizona climate! A good way to water them is to give them a deep soak, with a hose trickling a pencil thick stream of water for several hours. I do this once a month in cool weather, and you may need to do it every couple weeks when it’s hot.

    Deep soaks and less often promote deep root growth, and are the way to go with desert plants! And nice thick mulch :-).

    I have loved following your travels, and the ups and downs of life. I am an RVer myself — partly inspired by you. I hope I have found a small way to give back!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Welcome, Naio! I’m glad I finally wrote a post on a topic that brought you out of the shadows into the light. After all this time, you are now a blogorino. Congratulations!

      Thank you for taking the time to send me advice for my roses. I will follow what you say. Today, after dead-heading and removing more black spotted leaves, I put down landscape fabric and lots of mulch on top. I ran out of mulch and will get more.

      I appreciate knowing that all the leaves will drop off and then new ones will replace. With this knowledge I won’t be depressed or discouraged. 🙂

      Another big thank you for reading my blog from the beginning. Please don’t wait another 8 years to comment. (My blog’s 8 year anniversary was last Friday.) Any help you can give as I bumble along learning about roses will assist me and other gardeners who read here. Being a former teacher, if you’re “all taught out” and don’t feel like writing more advice, I’ll understand.

      Best wishes for RVing!

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      Welcome to Sue’s blogorino family, Naio!! 🙂

    • Diann in MT says:

      Thank you. Your expertise will be needed, far and near. It seems Sue attracts “experts” in many endeavors. She has an occasional wild plant expert who chimes in. A birder, too. You are among her growing cadre of people who love what they study.

  21. Naio says:

    PS: I absolutely love your thrift store and decorating posts!

    It seems like your house has plenty of roses, but if you end up wanting another one, Rugusa-type roses are immune to black spot. They are also wonderfully fragrant.

  22. Naio says:

    Aww… thank you, Sue and Denise, for such a warm welcome!

  23. Cynthia in San Clemente says:

    I guess I’m not much of a rose perfectionist – I think yours look pretty darn good. I only had four rose plants and I just ripped out two of them because they looked horrible. I think we get too much humidity because we’re within two miles of the coast. Where I grew up, in a suburb of Los Angeles, it was hot and dry and our neighbors’ roses did really well. We always had camellias – in fact when I was in Camp Fire Girls, we marched in the annual Temple City’s Camellia parade!

    I laughed my fanny off at the thought of Roger and Reggie gong crazy over the sparrow, and Roger knocking over the plant pots. Lucy races out to the backyard every morning for her first pee of the day and flushes the mourning doves out of their spot under the bushes. I’m not sure who startles who more. Did I tell you my hummers have hatched? There are just two and it’s been almost a week – I can now see their tiny beaks peeking and pushing up over the edge of the nest. I try to check in on them just once a day so the nosy old crows don’t see me and come down to see what all the fuss is about.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful Passover and Easter, celebrating the wonder of our salvation.

  24. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    Glad you were able to rescue that poor sparrow. I am sure that word is starting to spread in the local bird community that you are a kind-hearted lady who provides food, water, and help when needed. 🙂 Your roses are very pretty! My favorite is the platinum rose. I bet they all smell heavenly! If you are interested in a rose shrub, the Knockout roses are hardy, self cleaning, and bloom their heads off! I planted the double red variety in my front beds. They pop against the white siding and are softly fragrant. 🙂

    A Crazy Walmart visit…
    Early this morning, I went to one of the smaller Walmarts in the area to pick up some dry and wet Swiffer refills. Hours later, I found I had mistakenly purchased refills that were scented with Febreeze (sp?) lavender & chamomile. I am very sensitive to fragrances. Without even opening the packages, the scent was bothering me.

    At 5pm, I went to the large WalMart to return them. “Maybe it won’t be too busy, as it is close to dinner time…” The good news is that even though the customer service line was OMG long, it was moving fairly quickly. Also, I found unscented dry refills and the original scent wet refills. The checkout lines were long and slow. Saturday and the day before a holiday, it should be expected. I was chatting with the couple behind me in line, when a man a couple rows over started angrily shouting, “CAN WE GET SOME HELP HERE??!!” We exchanged worried glances. I said it was a good thing that we each only had a few items to pay for. As the three of us were walking towards the exit, the man started yelling again.

    This is the second time in the past year that this type of situation has happened at Walmart. The last time, a man purposely cut the line in front of a woman and her young daughter. When the woman called him out, he got verbally abusive. It is just a matter of time before things escalate and someone gets hurt or worse.

    I am sure there are folks losing their ish in other places, too. With stores cutting staff and pushing self checkout, order pickup, and home delivery, long lines are becoming the norm. I shop primarily at Kroger, and then Target for a few items. The only reason I went to Walmart this morning is because it was on the way home. I had just left Target and realized that I forgot the Swiffer refills. That’s what I get for not having a list with me! 🙂 I should have taken my refund and went back to Target! 🙂

    Twenty minutes of crazy did not sour my day. It has been sunny with a cool breeze. Absolutely beautiful! 🙂 Gracie pup has been doing a good job supervising me while I am doing a bit of Spring cleaning, sorting and organizing. We are watching PBS Lawrence Welk reruns of Easter shows. I remember watching them live! 🙂

    Sending you, Reggie, and Roger lots of love and hugs from me and Gracie pup! Have a blessed Easter! xo 🙂

  25. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Love your roses. The colors of them are so pretty, I hope the solution works. Naio seems to know the way to go about it.
    Whatever the fungus is that takes over the Knockout roses is, it is airborne and once it here hits your neighborhood, they all get is. Almost all of my neighbors have had to take them out.
    Thank goodness you were able to get to the sparrow and safely remove him. Angel would have gone ballistic. She wants to get all the birds, not matter what they are, geese, ducks, turkeys and regular birds. We have 2 mockingbirds that swoop at us when we walk in the am. They seem to like to tease her.
    Think I told you we have a Canada Goose that is nesting in one of my neighbors flower bed. She & her mate get down right hateful if you get anywhere near the nest.
    Hope you, the pups and all the blogorinos have a Happy Easter or Passover.

  26. Deena in Phoenix says:

    Glad the sparrow stopped to rest so you could give her transportation to a better location.

    Your figurines for the plants reminder me of my maternal grandmother’s violet plants in bone china teacup. She had very small tiny figurines hidden under the leaves…as a small child, I would tell her stories about the little plant people hiding in her teacups…Grandmother always listen so intently; taught me patience for my many siblings, nieces and nephews when they want to tell stories of their little fantasies.

    I miss growing roses…we had many types growing in our Phoenix home for over 40 years but apartment living with a north facing patio hasn’t been very beneficial for growing roses…cacti and succulents are now my friends. Sure do appreciate your stories of your adventures in gardening, finding your treasures, birding, griddling and photography.

    My great nephew just left…was here for the evening, his one wish for naptime story was to hear about the two little doggies in the RV…he told me that he was allowed one blog’s story and only 4 bolgorino tales then he had to settle down for his nap…so precious! He got so excited about the little sparrow in his very own plant but he did settle down and dropped off for about an hour, his dad arrived to take him home…Nick had to promise to read some more comments for his bedtime story.

    Take Care Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deena,

      Your Nick is a sweet boy. I’ve written a children’s story. I hope he likes it!

  27. tamra says:

    hiya Sue & crew
    just caught this post, hope you will get this comment – its about roses.
    i scanned other comments and did not see anyone mention this so here goes.

    did you know you can take rose stem cuttings, stab them into a potato and it becomes the perfect starter for a new rose bush? just google ‘starting roses in a potato’ and you will get lots of hits.
    much cheaper than buying rose bushes! great if you have friends/neighbors who will share you a stem…
    happy gardening!

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