Sunday, July 31, 2011

California here we come..........

Reno, Nevada

Jasmin and I arrived in Reno via Dallas yesterday morning. Dear friend Paula jumped out from behind a post in baggage claim and, following hugs and giggles, whisked us away via car to our northern California destination. Yep, getting to California from the East coast involves miles, time, hefting heavy bags, and a lot of walking through airport terminals, all worthwhile though when you end up.............!!!!

This is the road to Lake Almanor in Lassen Volcanic National Park.....and beautiful Mount Lassen was waiting to welcome us back to California.
Wish you were here!

Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm leaving town..................

It's time to get out of town.  
Yes, Summer in the south is far too hot, too dry, and just too much this year!
On Saturday I'm heading west to northern California.
For a couple of weeks I'll awake each morning to this beautiful view after a restful night where a blanket (I have a vague memory of what that is!) may be required.  
I took these photos during last Summer's visit.

I'll keep in touch from Lake Almanor in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer blues...............

We were here last week for a cooling dip............refreshing and quiet in the early morning before the crowd arrived.  Both being Scorpios, granddaughter Jasmin and I love water.......

The pool was fun........the plastic float ring made interesting shadows.......

via Cote Sud

.....but of course this is where we'd rather have been!  

Coming up......where we're headed next to cool off!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 treasure hunting venue

Isn't this an adorable location for a shop selling antiques, vintage, and treasures galore?  

Introducing VIGNETTE.

It's located in the Vintage Village, next to SuzAnna's Antiques.............and the owners are the lovely Gail and Laurie, both of whom worked at, and had booths, at SuzAnna's - so we know them and love them lots!  When this cute building became available, and because they have SO MUCH fabulous stuff to share, they decided to dive in and start their own business. The building owner added the great covered front porch for them and they've been open about three weeks.  

Of course the heatwave has not been fun, and setting up VIGNETTE was hard, back breaking work in the hot sun for the gals, but I just know cooler days in late Summer and Fall will be bringing back the treasure hunters in droves.

Later I'll be bringing more pics of the great things Gail and Laurie offer - currently there's a farm table inside I'd give my right arm for!
Meanwhile, good luck sweet gals - we're so glad to have you in town.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer at SuzAnna's Antiques.............

Yes, HOT is the word used more than any other lately!  No matter what time of day, or where one is hanging out, HOT it is and HOT it remains.
I stopped at SuzAnna's Antiques early Saturday - but it was already stifling in the area where my booth is located. I managed a little sweeping and dusting in between guzzling down my entire bottle of water in no time flat!  

The only air conditioned space is the small check out/office area. How many treasure hunters can you squeeze into a tiny antiques laden space? 
Rather like, "how many people can you cram into a VW Beetle", or "into a bright red British telephone box". We used to do crazy things such as that!

Surprisingly the polite, perspiring customers weren't behind the counter, or climbing up on it, trying to get even closer to the little wall mounted air conditioner!  

Of course continuing business hours after the temperature hits 100 is just about impossible - perhaps they should have written on this fabulous vintage double-sided blackboard..... 

It's cool somewhere!  

....and then shared directions on how to get there!!!

I took a quick whiz around snapping a few pics to share with you...............

............great bookends but forget bronzed shoes, 
cool flip flops only in this weather...... array of old travel stuff, post cards and such, some of places which just have to be cooler than here......

.................and you have to admit that pair of beautiful lamps have people dressed in the perfect outfits for hanging about in triple digits!

This sunny sign in SuzAnna's outdoor sales area says it all though........  

........the spirit lives........

.....and those of us who love to hunt for antiques and vintage will be back, once the days cool off a bit.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday and Moonflowers..............

.....................looking out beyond the dining room window and the front porch, through the steamy windows, before the hot sun burns through the morning clouds................

................the Moonflower (ipomoea alba) vines are climbing and twining.  Their pretty heart-shaped leaves manage to survive with a daily watering.  Moonflowers open at dusk, each flower taking just one minute to unfurl from the tightly curled green bud.  They are bright white and delicately perfumed, remaining open until touched by the morning sun.

On a recent evening I picked one Moonflower to bring inside, something I've never done before.  Pure white petals, six inches across, are conjoined making it feel like a silky handkerchief, held in the prettiest pale green stem extension. I tucked it into a tiny silver vase and placed it on the mantel enjoying the reflection.......................

...................the following morning it had closed and shriveled back into a tiny bud-like flower.

Moonflowers are annuals and very easy to grow from inexpensive seeds - definitely a 'bang for your buck' garden beauty!  Soak the large seeds overnight, then nick before planting about one inch deep. In late Spring I plant several in a very large planter next to the front porch.  I use nylon fishing line for them to twine and climb, reaching as high as 15 feet to the roof.  They make a curtain at the end of the porch, their beautiful large leaves providing shade from the afternoon sun as it heads west across the sky.  I also mix in some purple Morning Glories for extra color during the daytime.

Perhaps next year you will enjoy growing these beauties around your home.

Moonflowers 'curtaining' my front porch, closing in the early morning sunshine......fresh ones will open this evening though!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

To market, to market.........

I only planted a few herbs, such as basil, this season after returning from England.  Being away for the usual Summer planting of vegetables, and then returning to daily temperatures already in the 90's, we just gave up on vegetable gardening.  Rain has been almost non-existent - playing 'farm chick' was not a priority this year for me.  Do I feel guilty? YES! Am I missing fresh from my garden veggies?  You bet I am.

 Sadly, my lush green lawn has turned into a hay field. My pretty Italian parsley has gone to seed very early.  I'm leaving it for the butterflies to lay their eggs, and then feed the hungry caterpillars later as they crunch ravenously along the stems.
I think the parsley flowers are pretty. Anything that will battle the heat and stay green, or at least greenish, is welcome in the garden.

I'm really missing growing vegetables this Summer
so this is where you'll find me 
headed to local Farmers' Markets and roadside farm stands.........

............for Swiss Chard, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cukes, eggplants, haricot vert, zucchini, and Summer squash..............all those fresh, wonderful veggies which aren't outside the back door this year.

How are your veggies doing this Summer?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The birds and the bees, butterflies too.........

Know I've complained and griped about the garden during this torrid Summer in the southeast.  Know many of you in other areas of the USA are suffering rain to speak of, temperatures hovering in or near three digits daily, nights requiring even less than flimsy nighties or a loose cotton 
t-shirt…...... because it just won't cool off!

Although Nature struggles there are still some lovely surprises in the garden every day.  I always have a camera morning last week three goldfinches arrived on the dying sunflowers in a large pot in front of the porch.  As they pecked out the black seeds I just managed a quick shot through the dining room window.  Such beautiful little birds. 

I mentioned recently that the bees were busy on the fading Stargazer they are feasting on the phlox buds and blooms.

Having a good supply of large bumble bees for pollination is always a good sign.......this hot Summer they appear to be thriving in the heat.

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtails left the lilies and moved on to sip their nectar from the buddleia bushes.  Quite large with 3-51/2 inch wing spans, these beauties are a joy to watch.

The heatwave fact the national weather map shown on tonight's news reports was quite frightening with heat indexes showing as high as 131 degrees!  Here, we are expecting 100+ through the coming weekend................I'll continue to be out there with my camera when I can.  I just know there are more surprises in store in the garden.......sweet smelling moonflowers, twining morning glories, and ripening figs.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Crowned at last..................

My Santo de Bastidor has a pair of beautiful golden may have seen them displayed during the Christmas season.

Christmas 2010

A few weeks ago while 'treasure hunting' with friend Vanessa, she took me to a favorite antiques shop in, of all places, a shopping mall.  It is a smaller mall, older and full of one off shops, not a lot of national retailers.  This shop has some wonderful treasures and on a table there were several Santo figures, some larger than mine, all wearing beautiful crowns. I've been searching so long for a crown to fit mine and was thrilled when I spied just one small one, made of metal and set with tiny glittery stones.  

Of course I had to have it....................I think it's perfect.  My serene Santo with the friendly, calming smile is crowned at last.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Faded beauty.................

The Stargazer lilies...........................

.............are fading now.

The heat, and lack of rain, are taking their toll........they've been watered with the garden hose almost daily in this hot weather, but what they craved was 'pennies from heaven' or 'cats and dogs' type raindrops.

The butterflies are now moving on to the Buddleia davidii (butterfly) bushes........funnily enough though, the bumble bees still seem to be enjoying the fading lilies.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bastille Day......en France

14th of July, 1910 - Rue Daunou, Paris 
F. Childe Hassam, American Impressionist


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Winners - world adventures........

...................a path less travelled

In October I will be adventuring to the other side of the world.  The little guessing game was fun and I thank those of you who gave it a shot.  Several of you came pretty close to naming four of the islands I will visit, one of you actually got all eight islands but requested not to be entered as a contestant - well done Betty.  Meanwhile, Emm guessed five islands and Vagabonde got seven - good work ladies.  I think you will all agree that both of them deserve a prize. 

Orion expedition ship.........image from their brochure

On October 24, Paula and will I depart Auckland, NZ after a long flight from Los Angeles.  We will be two of no more than 100 passengers, and 70 crew, aboard the Orion expedition ship for the Exploration of The Antipodes adventure. We will cruise for 15 days through the isolated, windswept, fragile sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia on what is called 'a privileged visit'.  These five island groups were honored with World Heritage status in 1998 - only 500 visitors are permitted annually.  Weather permitting, we'll be taken in zodiac boats to explore these remote islands, to photograph, and learn about, the flora and fauna - nature in all its raw beauty.

To read more about the cruise go HERE to watch the amazing video, also, if you're interested, the videos about the fabulous Orion ship itself, and other expeditions it takes to special places in the world.

The cruise will terminate in Hobart, Tasmania and from there we fly to Sydney for a couple of days, then on to Brisbane - visiting Paula's friends in both cities.  This will be my first time in Australia and New Zealand, two great countries I have longed to visit.  

So, Vagabonde and Emm, please e-mail (address on my Profile page) your mailing addresses so I can send you each a little memento.......when I return in November, hopefully none the worse for wear after such a wild adventure!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Still reading.............................

.....................but will take time tomorrow to pick the winner of the guessing game.

Meanwhile I'm gathering more good reads shared by friends, including the two books left in my mailbox today.  Sara in Long Beach, California who writes one of my favorite blogs, 

.......sent two I know I will enjoy, First Darling of the Morning by Thrity Umrigar, and Out of India by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. 
Thanks so much Sara.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Books and blogging.......

Nothing beats sticking your nose into a really good book.  
Summer reading days have arrived.......and I may have to take a bit of a blog break.

Instead of sitting here posting about life and playing with photos, though I really hope you enjoy what I write and photograph, I feel the need to sit in a favorite spot - front porch, gazebo, love seat in the bedroom - quietly turning pages and reading other people's powerful words.

I'll be off traveling before I know it.  Prior to packing that darned old suitcase yet again (actually I've just bought a new one which looks less weary and worn), I need to focus on some reading..............that much too tall pile of books is calling out to me.  I'm also in the midst of cleaning out my book shelves which include a ton of scrap booking paraphernalia - and that's a job and a half!

If I don't post for a little while know I'll be back's called addiction!  Seems I always have something to say and share, I know I'd find it hard to quit blogging.  Meanwhile dear friends, continue to enjoy Summer wherever you are and whatever you're doing..............

.........and don't forget to stop by and join in my guessing game on this post no later than July 10. Come on, I'm loving your guesses.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cooling it, hanging on, and a birthday......

July days are in full swing.........big holiday over, leaving on a vacation end of this month. Today is DH's birthday - seems there were great firework displays in his honor last night, lol!

Happy Birthday dear Bob, and here's to many more - fireworks guaranteed.

  • Reviewing past magazines before sharing with friends.  
  • Loving Fifi O'Neill's beautiful book.
  • Checking blogs, of course!  
  • Sipping Trader Joe's pink raspberry lemonade with the addition of fresh raspberries.
The gazebo has a great overhead hour or so in the afternoon, out of the direct sun, despite 95+ degrees, is bearable and pleasant.  A few hours later, as the sun drops lower, with a glass of chilled rosé and a salad, a Summer supper is enjoyable.  Early morning with the first coffee works for me too!

Meanwhile, tucked into my front steps, a tiny purple viola is still surviving in the torrid heat!  Somehow this sweet flower seeded from a plant in the nearby flower bed, amazing!

We're far from the blue ocean, at least two hours driving on the hot, hazy highway. Perhaps a sea of cool green ivy will be the closest we get to water for a while. Will be off to the West and my favorite blue lake later this month.  
Plenty of ivy in my garden - impossible not to keep that plant down.

Red hot bricks and mortar.  Each day a bloom fades and shrivels, then another opens.  Definitely a lesson in tenacity for me.  

Discover the small things tucked in the corners of every day.

I'm enjoying reading your guesses regarding my cruise to somewhere!  
If you haven't entered yet be sure to return to this post and give it a try - the more the merrier!