Elephants and more elephants

Anyone who knows David and his passion for all-things-elephant will not be at all surprised to hear that we’ve been trunk-deep in elephantness lately. Okay, maybe it’s more like knee-deep or something like that, but nonetheless, elephants-r-us, at least for the moment.

The Pink Elephant in Full Bloom!

Now, the first of our elephantness is probably not so much what you might be expecting, although if you read my last post it might not come as a complete surprise. You may recall that we were amazed to discover these ginormous flowers on our recent trek to a nearby castle and further research turned up a nursery not too far away that carried these new-to-us hardy hibiscus plants.

A couple of weeks ago, Chris and Louise ventured forth and acquired a “Sultry Kiss” plant for each of us—quite spectacular itself with a deep dusky-colored blooms—and now that we’d all caught “hardy hibiscus fever” we made plans to go back there the following week.

Just to help give perspective on the bloom size!

So last Saturday found us all wandering around a well-stocked nursery debating amongst various varieties, when we discovered the “Pink Elephant” which lived up to its name. Not only were the blooms truly dinner-plate sized (whereas our lovely Sultry Kiss boasted something more along the lines of a generous salad-plate bloom) the plants themselves were far bigger than most of the other varieties with multiple buds visible (all for an astoundingly reasonable price) so we each bought one.

We enjoyed ours indoors for a bit after high winds kicked up one evening and we were worried that the pot would be blown over and break the plant, but I finally got it planted a few days ago and, as you can see in the first picture, a LOT of those buds have burst into bloom.  It’s strategically placed to be visible from my all-too-constant location on the living room sofa. (Who needs a desk?)

Oh, but you thought I was talking about real elephants? Not to worry. We have those too.  As our third Davis County Fair was in danger of coming and leaving again without our attending, we finally overcame some complicated scheduling issues and Wednesday evening saw us, Chris and Louise, and Avila at the fair.

We ate the requisite corn dog (yay!), admired the bizarreness (but resisted eating any) of the deep-fried twinkies, ice cream, and so on (although had they had fried green jello I might have been tempted), watched the bears, and then came the highlight—Poppy and Avila rode the elephant.

I know there’s some controversy these days about wild animals used for entertainment, but we were impressed at the care these animals appeared to receive.  They were unchained (actually unrestrained in any way), seemed content, had lovely long grass to munch (along with their several-hundred pounds of provided food), were clearly gently treated, and the program was fascinating.  I hope that if you fall into the “boo-hiss-evil” camp we can agree to just disagree.

And to round out our elephant week, David is currently reading the New York Times bestseller Elephant Company so our days are punctuated by his reading out-loud miscellaneous (and often obscure) tidbits of elephant lore.  Some very interesting stuff there, and he’s noted a number of times how closely the information corresponds to the info we heard at our Country Fair elephant experience, so at least it would seem that the educational portion of their program is accurate.

And what of life beyond elephants, you ask? Well, summer is “winding down” with school starting  in just another week or so.  With Avila’s entering pre-school this year, we’re back into a world where the school year matters. (It took us years in Costa Rica to adjust to their school year, which ran February through December, and we finally had.  But just like the proverbial “riding a bike” that supposedly comes back to you, our U.S. school year is obviously deeply ingrained so we’ve fallen right back into back-to-school planning without even a hiccup.)

In a few weeks, we’re heading off to a few days in Yellowstone, a trip we’ve been looking forward to for several months.  That’ll give us an early taste of fall, although with my tomatoes in full swing and a 92-degree sunny day outside, fall seems like a ways away. We’ve had a remarkably lovely August though (and how many times do you hear that said?!?) with a spell of weather that lasted several days that was cool enough for no A/C at all, and we almost never turn on the air until lunchtime or later, turning it off again overnight, so quite delightful.

Avila has continued to enjoy summer. She finally convinced us to take her to the Rec Center a couple of days last week, where she just had a blast in the “river”, in the play areas, and outdoors on the pirate ship.  The incredibly happy smile on her face as she stomps up the stairs of the play tower to shoot the cannons and slide down the slide is something magical to behold.

But while far less exotic, she also enjoys an afternoon swim almost every day that she’s here in our inflatable pool.  Here she is scrubbing Poppy with her Tinkerbell washcloth.  She is nothing if not a method actor, saying quite sternly to David, “You’re so dirty, Poppy” as she scrubbed away. (For the record, he was not dirty at all, which just shows the power of her imagination!)

Hope that your summer is going swimmingly, and if you have any elephant experiences to share, do speak up!

A couple of closing pix….

Our "gateway drug" plant—the Sultry Kiss hardy hibiscus


Avila enjoying the pink boat at the County Fair. (She loved to ding the bell. Over and over again.)

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6 Responses to Elephants and more elephants

  1. Hi Arden!
    I’m still blown away that we are here in the US for our third summer already!

    You seem to be on an interesting theme thing recently. Can’t wait to hear the next one! I cannot think of any elephant stories to share so I guess I’m done!

    • arden says:

      Well, even without any elephant stories, it’s always great to hear from you! And, let’s face it, how many folks actually have elephant experiences? (Although, funnily enough, David, Chris, and Louise had *all* ridden elephants in the past — David in India, C&L in various zoos over the years — and now Avila is very concerned that Grandma hasn’t had a chance to ride an elephant.) Too funny. ;-)

      Yeah, we continue to be amazed at the passage of time! Very much looking forward to hearing of your RV adventures!

      • Well first you’ll get to here the “getting ready for the RV” stories! No doubt they will feel like they will go on forever! Then, finally, on the road!

        So the real question here is when will grandma be riding an elephant? You need to do it for Avila! Go, go, go!

        • arden says:

          Yep, I’m totally into the elephant ride, just not sure when I’ll get a chance. Maybe next year at the County Fair! And, actually, I’m fascinated by the “getting ready for the RV” stories, so bring ‘em on!


          • You got it! I think I’m ready for one soon! Just need to sit down and get it written! These first steps I suspect will be the toughest since the learning curve is nearly a 90 degree climb!
            I’m so glad we remain in touch. Hopefully we will get to see each other again once I’m mobile!

          • arden says:

            Yeah, would totally love it if you got a chance to stop and visit us “out west” once you’re really moving around. Fun to keep in touch!

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