I had planned to continue on with the next installment of Finn McSpool’s Beastie Tales of Ireland, but a couple weeks ago, as I was sifting through my Traffic Donkey photos, I noticed Tammie Beastie was missing. She’s easy to overlook since she’s kind of quiet and generally keeps to herself, but since we have a lot of hawks in the neighborhood, I thought I better go make sure this wee Me Beastie was okay.

After a quick search around the house, no Tammie Beastie. Then the (horribly intense, hellishly blaring) sun glinted off a head of blonde yarn hair. Oh, and excuse the nudity in this post…it’s been pretty toasty here in Portland lately.

-Hey, Me Beastie, whatcha doing?

-Just making a sketch.

-Oh good, at least one of us being artistic since all my creative time is being sucked up by writing. So, what are you drawing?

This question prompted an impressive show of those infamous Beastie climbing skills.

-Look at this! Can you believe it!!!??

At first I thought, big deal, more leaves. The plant under close Beastie scrutiny is a plumeria. About five years ago on a trip to Kauai, Hawaii, I bought this thing that looked like a 10-inch long stick. Supposedly if you crammed this stick into a pot of soil and kept it warm and in a sunny spot, one day you would have a plumeria tree.

plumeria, tropical plant, maui, flower
A proper plumeria in Maui, and what my stick aspired to.

Let’s just say with a house that hovers around 60 degrees (16 C) most of the year and is in a mostly shady situation (“shady” as in light quality, not “shady” as in potential illegal), buying this ugly little stick was a complete show of egotistical confidence in my gardening skills.

I brought it home, stuck it in the soil, and I did (eventually) get leaves. Lots of leaves. My ugly stick got taller, dropped its leaves, grew new ones, and did this over and over for the past few years, but that was it even though the instructions said it would bloom after the first year of growth.

Well, my house must be in some sort of strange wormhole/timewarp and I should call in the astrophysicists because apparently that one year spread across five years (unfortunately this seems to only be a botanical phenomenon and doesn’t apply to my body’s aging process, nor my writing time), because as Tammie Beastie snarkily pointed out….

-Those aren’t leaf buds, you idiot human! Those are flower buds!!!! Sheesh, maybe they ought to revoke your biology degree.

After this bit of Beastie shaming, I put on my science hat and every couple days Me Beastie and Real Me went out to make our observations. I think Tammie Beastie might need her eyes checked since she seemed to have to get awfully close to make her observations as the buds grew….

And then a few petals started to open.

And the next day, a little bit more…

Until finally….


And sure, plumeria flowers are pretty, but the best thing about them is their scent. Tammie Beastie could almost feel the tropical breezes as she took a deep sniff.

Wooly head full of the floral perfume of the tropics, Tammie Beastie was ready for an island getaway. She stole David Beastie’s Hawaiian shirt, donned a plumeria bloom, packed her bag for Hawaii, and started asking how to make a Mai Tai.

Sketchbook and Sandwich packed. She’s ready to go.

Of course, with all this attention being lavished on Tammie Beastie and a mere stick, Finn McSpool wanted in on the action and began insisting he had something to show off as well.

-Okay Finn, what is it?

-Beastie-sized sunflowers!!

-I have to admit those are pretty cute.

Wildfire smoke makes for excellent lighting conditions, doesn’t it?

This display turned into a floral one-upmanship (one-up-beast-ship?). David Beastie, having gotten his shirt back, then said HE had something to show me. Sigh. This is why I get no writing done.

-Alright, let’s have a look. Whoa, David Beastie! You realize you’re not waterproof, right? Won’t Finn share his scuba gear?

-He said Beasties float.


Beasties do NOT float (without scuba gear) and David Beastie was quickly being pulled under the surface of Mr Husband’s pond. Just before I snatched him from a potentially watery grave or from being eaten alive by the pond’s giant goldfish, I was able to snap a shot of the water lily he’d been trying to show me.

That lily pad won’t hold him up for long!

What surprises are blooming in your garden this summer? Next week, Finn will have his way and we’ll get back to his trip to Ireland with another day on Inishmore. And I’ll be back next Wednesday with book cover news and more. See you then!!

And if you haven’t done so already, PLEASE be sure to cast your vote for my next book cover!! The one-question survey only takes a minute and I’d really appreciate your input.

20 thoughts on “A Beastie Taste of the Tropics

  1. Tammie Beastie! I love her ponytail – I see you have been Beastie hairstyling! I love the blooming flower series of photos with Tammie and she got to wear one of the flowers on her head!

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  2. Your Beastie posts always make me smile, but this time I was also amazed at the beauties they found in the garden. I hope they do their share of weeding too!


    1. Unfortunately, “work ethic” is an option that’s sadly lacking even when putting in a custom order at Crawcrafts Beasties. But they are good at getting up to trouble and sometimes making lovely discoveries during their tomfoolery. I have to say, I was beyond surprised to see that plumeria finally bloom…and it’s still going!


      1. It’s a beautiful plant. Good on the Beastie for discovering the flowers! It looks like the one we call frangipani. They grow well in Sydney, but not much south.


      2. I looked it up and frangipani is a name for plumeria! You crazy Australians with your funny words :)). Plumeria (plumeripani?) only grow in tropical climates here (Hawaii, Florida, etc.), which is why I was so amazed to see mine bloom (Oregon is a far cry from tropical).


  3. Well, I’m now reconsidering my prior envy of you having THREE Beasties in your home. It looks like QUITE a handful, and I’m not sure if I could manage! But I still remain envious of your beautiful garden… as mine remains a fox sanctuary littered with various animal carcasses and rotten apples. And one brown-looking (dead?) rose.


    1. No, certainly not dead, it has to be the rare chocolate rose found only in the most carefree gardens. I wouldn’t mind seeing a fox or two hanging around my garden, but I think they’d have a hard time competing with my cats for who can kill the most rats (I too have the carcass-themed garden decor). As for handling three Beasties, let’s just say only one of them (who shall remain nameless) is a handful. ;))

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      1. Hahaha mmm chocolate roses! That could be lucrative! I’m glad to hear that Tammie and David Beastie are a little more…. self sufficient 🙂


  4. Ha! You think you can shock me with all that Beastie nudity? Trust me, I see a lot of it in my line of work 😂 But look at all those Beastie blooms! At least your heatwave has been good for something… Those plumeria blossoms are beautiful, and so perfectly coordinated with Tammie Beastie’s hair. It’s like she planned the whole thing! Beastie Towers is rocking a more minimal floral display this summer, but I did have some luck with pansies, sweet peas, and I have cultivated precisely 2.5 strawberries! 😆


    1. Yes, you were quite unashamed to start ripping off Tammie Beastie’s dress without any regard to exposing her naked little stripes to all the world! Despite the tropical bloom, the heatwaves (notice the plural) here haven’t been all that great and for the most part my garden is pretty sad this summer. Still, we did manage more than 2.5 strawberries. Ooh, and i haven’t done sweet peas for years…now you’ve got me planning for next year’s garden :)).


      1. Hahaha! Oh, you make it sound so monstrous! Poor Tammie Beastie… Although from all the evidence I’ve seen, Beasties really have much fewer hangups about running around in the nip than humans do. Gotta admire that positive body image thing they’ve got going on! And yeah, get yourself some sweet peas next year… During our heatwave (please don’t laugh) it was so lovely to have the scent of their flowers waft in through the open window!


      2. Well, now I’m also going to have to buy a window box for my sweet peas. And then make Mr Husband put it up. And then get some dirt. Look at all the work you’re making me do! And you’re right about Beastie nudity. After all, Finn’s been running around naked for years now. Well, except for his one day of kilt-wearing. I do notice that David Beastie has a kind pair of shorts…I wonder what he’s hiding :)))


      3. Hahaha! 😂 I really don’t know how to answer that one! As for those sweet peas, you (and Mr Husband, since he was going to be doing the lion’s share of the work) will be happy to hear that a window box probably isn’t required. They get kinda tall, so if you’re the kind of fusspot who likes to be able to see out of windows, the ground is probably the best place for ’em!

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