Saturday, January 19, 2019

It's going to be very cold. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . for the next few days.

Today dozens of robins arrived. 
 I don't think they ever actually leave here, they just don't come to the
 garden often in midwinter. They are non-migrators in the Carolinas. 
They were everywhere in our garden, neighboring gardens also.
Pecking away on the grass for worms, searching for berries,
eating dropped seed under the feeders, and drinking from the
 bird baths and fountain.
They helped cheer up the garden which is rather dreary and devoid of color
 now, other than the pansies, yes the same ones the deer was munching 
shown in my previous post!

American Robin: Turdus migratorius

Do you have many different species of garden birds in winter?
Do you feed and water your visiting birds?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hanging out with wildlife. . . . . . .

Male cardinal in the Magnolia liliiflora tree, already budding.

The weather here is typical for January, rain one day, sunny the next, but always
 chilly with murmurings of possible snow which either never shows or surprises
 us when we least expect it.

Little happenings in the garden excite me. Last evening, in the quiet of dusk,
I looked out the window at three young deer standing motionless on the front lawn.
Then the smallest came and started nibbling at my pansy/tulip pots - a no-no!
 I grabbed the camera - sorry a bit blurry - then tapped on the window and he
 trotted off to join his family.

Northern flicker on fig tree suet treat.

I've been out of commission, and may continue to be, when it
 comes to blogging or much else regarding computers.
Just seem to have lost my get up and go since the holidays.
I still have shoulder problems . . . .  .but I shouldn't complain 
as other family members and friends have much more to be 
worried about where health is concerned.

The squirrels are looking fat, healthy and bushy-tailed. 
The females are now pregnant and should have their babies in February.
This one I noticed this morning, perhaps a mom-to-be.
Wildlife all around lately. The fox wanders through the side garden and
crosses the street to the little wood, same one where the deer hang out.
Today is warmer with sunshine and I've just wandered around, pulling a
 few weeds, trying to decide just where to prune the Japanese maple and
fig in late Winter ready for Spring.

As my little sign outside the front door reminds me. . . . . . . 

"A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever"

Problems with Google, Blogger, and now big changes with
'new' PicMonkey have just caused me to lose interest in my 
computer. I'm too old to learn new tech stuff. I was happy with
 what I had and was used to. Why do they do this . . . . . okay, 
okay I know why, we all know why, but that doesn't help sort it
 all out unless you live with a smart IT person! 
 I used to tell Bob I wish I'd married a plumber or an electrician - a
general contractor would be even better. . . . .I can see clearly now,
 I should have tied the knot with a computer genius!

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying time reading some great books. . . . .I'll
 share those with you in another post.

Love to all. . . . . . . .especially any of you Google+ people where 
I've been unable to leave comments for some time now - sorry!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Perhaps. . . . . . .

. . . . . . a light January snow may settle bringing quiet days over this weekend.

Or it could just be more rain which, with the low night temperatures, may mean ice.
We have a theatre date tomorrow night - hopefully road conditions
will not impede our travel into town.

I noticed this beautiful painting in my neighbor's home when cat sitting this week.
Perhaps I should have asked him if I could share it here, but I'm certain he won't mind.
 It makes me yearn to be in the countryside. A few nights on a farm, or in a little
 heated (of course) cabin near the woods. 
We were driving yesterday, just before sunset, and the western sky was awesome
 in shades of lavender and peach. Later in the evening the waxing crescent moon
 was overhead, sharp in the crisp air and dark sky.

Winter does have a special beauty of its own and I'm ready for it.
I wore a real coat yesterday, and gloves for the first time this season.
Tonight a fire on the hearth again. Last night I sat close by until the last
 embers lost their glow. It was very special and I want more.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Pie in the sky!

The little mince pies of yesterday's post are long gone!
A bowl of Granny Smith apples were calling to be peeled, sliced
and baked into a pie. Let's face it, apple pie is good, and healthy if not 
drowned in sugar. I often find store bought, or restaurant, American pies 
and other desserts so overpowering from the sugar content, I do not enjoy
 them, especially when containing fruit which is nature's natural sweetener.

So, a couple of days ago I baked my favorite apple pie recipe - it was shared some
 years back by my delightful western North Carolina friend, Penny. 
There's a 'secret ingredient' in her recipe which makes it so delicious. 
I admit I did use ready-made piecrust this time - it was waiting in refrigerator 
begging to be used. It's very light and flaky, which is good. I used 6 large
 Granny Smith apples which made the pie quite high and just juicy
 enough - thankfully it didn't boil over, perhaps as I was able to seal
 the edge well! 

Penny and I go back many years and we have shared several wonderful 
get togethers - they are always a lot of fun. We're hoping to catch up again
some time this year.
You can visit Penny HERE at her blog - Enjoying The Simple Things.  

Have you been baking on these early new year winter days, or did you have
 enough of floury rolling pins, baking pans and hot ovens over the recent holidays?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


It was time for yet another celebration recently. . . . . . so of course a 
Holiday Party 
required preparation and a hot oven in the kitchen!

"Bring on the New Year with traditional English mince pies" say I.
Little sweet pastry tart shells filled with sweet, fruity 
mincemeat made from raisins, sultanas, apples and 
spices. Served warm from the oven with melting rum or
 brandy butter, they are yummy. . . . . . . and of course 
don't forget the bottle of bubbly which definitely 
turns any occasion into a party!!!

This is my little piece of 'holiday party' art for this week's theme on

Hoping everyone had a fun time celebrating the arrival of the
New Year.
I'm raising a glass to good health, much happiness and joy, peace and prosperity for all.

Monday, January 7, 2019

'Waterlogue' photos from the weekend. . . . .

 It was a LOVELY weekend, especially Sunday when it warmed up to the mid-sixties.
I sat with Ms. Nala next door for a while, allowing her to spend the sunny day
 out on the glass-enclosed back porch of my neighbor's house. She watched the crazy
 squirrels and chirping birds, but must have missed her 'dad' as she snuggled up to
his sneakers left on the floor.

Blue skies, still a few wrinkled oak leaves hanging on to branches
in the garden.
Camellia bushes budding and blooming profusely in the winter sunshine.

Have a pleasant week wherever you choose to relax.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday chores and then. . . . . . .

A really beautiful sunrise this morning and a busy day ahead.
Sunday is not a day of rest after a week of rainy days - lots to do prior
to more bad weather returning soon.
Muddy conditions have dried up a bit so we will soon be outside taking down
 and storing the Christmas lighting, the tree in the gazebo, the wreaths,
 and miscellaneous decor on the front porch.
Yesterday we packed away all the inside decor, minus things going to the
thrift shop. . . . . .we really needed to downsize the Christmas decorating.

I'm kitty sitting (Ms. Nala) for my neighbor again, just a few days, so must
 pop over there soon.
This afternoon, planning a sunny woodland walk with my daughter and
 a coffee at Starbucks before coming back to spend time in the kitchen. . . .
an apple pie is waiting to be baked.

Camellia bushes are blooming and a few cut for indoors bring a splash of 
color. The house always seems rather blah after the decorations are down.

Note my 2019 Planner is at the ready and I need to start filling it in!
How are you doing, making any exciting plans for this new year?

Friday, January 4, 2019

No one sees but me. . . . . .

. . . . . . the elderly German neighbor on his early morning walk.
A red scarf round his neck, a cap, comfy walking shoes.
He looks down mostly, perhaps afraid of tripping. . . . or
slipping on wet oak leaves continuing to fall and float
in rain puddles.
The empty, damp morning doesn't phase him, just as the heat
 of July brings him up the street and back, several times
each early morning.
We admire him. We are not so dedicated. 

I was up early today - dull and wet yet again. I switched on all the lights
before seven to brighten up the rooms while the coffee pot gurgled. 
I unwrapped our annual Italian Panettone sweet bread, sliced it open
and admired how it was studded with golden raisins, candied orange
 and citron peel.
One tall, slim wedge on a pretty china plate was all I needed. 

Yes, I know, the decorations are still here and will remain today.
Tomorrow and Sunday, sunshine is promised and our efforts to put things
 away from both house and garden, will hopefully be a bright and cheery job.

See them? My two amaryllis bulbs from last year are at last coming to life! 
One has three leaves growing fast - I've already had to push a few twigs in the pot
 to steady them. The other one I had given up on until yesterday when there it
was. . . . . . .a tiny green point pushing up, trying to catch up.
I'm excited!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A wellspring of ideas. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . but not much energy to get going on them!

Let's blame it on the weather. Again.
How can you 'take down' outdoor Christmas decor when it's constantly 
raining, unseasonably warm and humid, muddy and messy underfoot,
and just being out of the house is unwelcoming?

I have ideas for this year. They involve the garden, the part named
the back yard here in America. The front garden is not bad. Come 
Spring it might be just about manageable for two aging gardeners
who have time, tools, gloves by the dozens, and now kneeling pads!
 Energy, flexibility, and non-painful limbs are hoped for as I continue 
physiotherapy on my right shoulder.
Our back garden is a disaster and requires much TLC in the 
coming months. Much of the damage is due to that heavy, wet
snowfall just before Christmas, breaking boughs on many shrubs
 and small trees which I agree we should've pruned earlier.
 My 'Secret Garden' of the past years is no 
longer calming, it's become more of a nightmare!

 So this is what I'm doing too much of lately.
Watching old movies and Outlander on TV.
Hanging out with throws and pillows, heating pad on the bad shoulder
after stretching exercises. Going to PT twice weekly.
Making soups - new favorite is curried sweet potato - recipe from
of all places Better Homes & Gardens magazine.
Sipping hot chocolate in my new big mug, eating chocolate,
nibbling snacks and leftover mince pies from the parties - then disliking
 the numbers on the bathroom scale. 
Re-reading a pile of last year's magazines before tossing or sharing.
 Thinking a lot about taking down the decorations, seriously
 sorting through them, downsizing, and then packing away just the
 ones to pull out again eleven months from now.
Oh, did go walking a few times on the drier days - the nearby school track
 and around the neighborhood - it felt good and made 
me forget how much my shoulder hurts!

Indoors, thoughts of projects to be addressed this year are overwhelming me. 
Most important -- big, messy and expensive -- will be replacing our entire
 heating/cooling system. The original system is now 34 years old and
is no longer happy running with band-aid fixes. I'm living on the edge with
 fingers crossed the heat or air conditioning will respond when I flip the switch,
 or will I be making the phone call and putting on another pot of coffee while
 awaiting our HVAC guy. . . . . . he's a very pleasant man but I don't want
 him visiting so often!

Then there's cleaning out the attic, painting walls, scraping ceilings, 
cleaning carpet, replacing furniture - all making me wish even more that
 we were instead selling up and moving to a brand new, or newish, easy to
 manage, one level condo, where just locking the doors behind us, and we
 can travel here, there and everywhere, whilst we're still able.
 Sounds like a good plan to me. . . . . . just need to get a certain other
 person on board!

What are you doing on these somewhat depressing 
January days?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year's Day 2019 -

Morning has broken and a new year is here.

This morning the Eastern bluebird - bringing happiness - was the first bird
 I saw when I opened the dining room blinds!  What more could I ask for!

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