Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Garden chores with professionals. . . . . hopefully!

If the rain stays away - unfortunately it's possible it will come later - I will be outside 
a lot today.  We've hired help to get the back garden cleaned up and of course I need
to keep an eye on things so the guys don't whack down the good plants, such as my
 climbers on the back fence. . . . jasmine, roses, honeysuckle etc.

It's very humid at present and out front, in the hot sunshine, the hydrangeas
 are already starting to fade. I should have some lovely heads to cut and dry
 later. . . . . . they seem exceptionally huge this year!
The dill seeds have grown, in pots, to several feet in height, and are so pretty
waving in the breeze, when we get one! I snipped tasty feathery leaves 
yesterday to add to egg salad.

The first morning glory blooms are opening. Planted seeds in a large pot and
 I'm training them up the front porch. In another pot are moonflowers with plenty
 of leaves but too early for flowers yet.

I'm seeing problems on Blogger this morning - mostly with importing photos!
Realizing this is the day they are probably facilitating their NEW platform for those
 who haven't already changed over (thank goodness I got that out of the way a
 couple of weeks back). Good luck to all who have yet to get up to speed with 
New Blogger - it's not so bad after all. I did accept help from blogging friends
and am grateful they were there for me. Anyone needing help be sure to 
ask and I'll help if/when I can.

Enjoy your day.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Run rabbit, run. . . . . .

We love them when they're tiny and cute, 
then find them extremely annoying when they
 grow bigger and destroy the garden!

Today's early morning visitor!
This little fellow is probably in between, can nibble without mother around any longer,
but only small amounts of grass and plants as he's still a youngster.

Good morning.
I stepped out early today, the grass still wet, the sun yet scorching.
However, a full sun day ahead with high of 91F - baby bunnies 
might need to eat early then find a cool spot under the shrubs until evening.
Bob and I each grabbed a hose and had everything watered by 8:30 am,
 but even so, by early afternoon blooms will hang their heads, appear wilted 
 for several hours, then by "it's time to relax, let's sit on the front porch" 
hour arrives, it will start to cool off, the flowers will take on new life, look 
stunning, smell fragrant as l'heure bleue arrives.

Another day in the neighborhood.
Have a great weekend - stay well and be safe.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The old ways. . . . . . . .

This used to be my life.  A good period in my long life.
Things were so very different then from now. I really miss those days.
I spent a lot of time with great friends, vivacious, younger than me friends, 
who shared my love of the 'old ways' in many ways. . . . . .the best of which was
 becoming a lover of antiques and vintage decor. 
Our shopping forays were fabulous 'treasure hunts' to places I never knew existed. 
Our finds were often extraordinary. 
Little treasures from years ago. 
Holding history in your hand is a wonderful feeling. 

The loss of my antiquing friends who have moved away, and my last ten years
 of travel which took me afar, have changed me and my life. I no longer take time
 to treasure hunt, to meet up with people who love the old, and I miss that. 
This time of surviving a pandemic has kept me at home. Looking around at 
things I care about, things which bring back special memories, are helping 
 me through this time.
Meanwhile, to those who are wanting to erase history with acts so 
unbearable to watch, I say please stop. Think more deeply about what
you are doing before tugging that rope or spraying that paint can.
Whether a larger than life statue, or a tiny glimmering crystal dangling from what
may be your grandmother's chandelier, history is our past and it is so
important to hold on to it.

Are you well, managing your life, and finding happiness in small things? I truly hope so.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

What's become of fashion?

It's Summertime and the living is easy.
Extra easy for many of us perhaps.
My type of Summer clothes - casual, comfy, linen and cotton.
All from Poetry.

Are you getting dressed?
You know, dressed as in going through your closet, picking out an outfit, 
accessorizing same with cute shoes or sandals, perhaps a summer straw bag, 
a hat, snazzy sunglasses . . . . . . and of course a coordinating mask!
If you are, I admire you. . . . . and I am trying to do better, getting out of
 gardening gear, cooking aprons, lounging in old leggings, and doing grocery
 runs in yoga pants.  I do enjoy a good hat often - see why below.

Have you bought any new clothes for Summer?
I haven't, and probably won't this year.  
I did dash over to J.C. Penney when I heard they were closing before the
 pandemic hit, to stock up on their $7 classic cotton tees in black, white
 and navy, because I've always found them to be the best, and can replace
 them annually without feeling guilty.
Why anyone would pay $70 for a plain 'designer' T-shirt I've never understood.

The only times I've been out, as in away from the house and garden, or along
 our street, for three months, is for the weekly grocery shop, a few Sunday
 afternoons in my daughter's garden, and a trip to nail salon and hairdresser
 when they re-opened because I looked and felt quite horrible! 
I am now a reddish brunette with a couple of inches of grey silver (sounds better)
 hair. No more hair coloring, I'm going cold turkey with the growing out while I don't
 have to travel.  Keeping hair professionally trimmed and in good condition is
 a must, and although it's not going to be easy I'm thinking it's now or never! 
I really don't fancy myself as a redhead once I reach my eighties!!!
 I'm also somewhat curly/wavy now, and have grown out my bangs - no more
 blow drying whilst "locked up", just a little scrunching with a gel product - it's
 easy, takes no time, and does help disguise the roots a little better than
 a stick straight bob. . . . . . and I'm ready to go right out of the shower - except
 of course there's really nowhere to go!

The most 'dressing up' I've done was for Father's Day out in the hot garden - my
 cool and comfy zebra print caftan, wide-brimmed hat, sandals, and elephant
 print mask. . . . . . and I actually remembered to wear earrings.

Being 'fashionable' really is the least of concerns these days, after all who even
 knows who you are behind the mask, sunglasses, hat brim, let alone if you are
 wearing makeup or have curled your lashes.
Have you tried red lipstick with a mask, not a good idea!

We are no longer perfectionists trying to impress. Now we just want to show we care, 
both for our own health, and for that of others who bump into us in the snack foods
 aisle because they didn't see the directional arrow, or still insist on standing too close
 in the check out line, sometimes without a mask which is really pushing the envelope.


You are trying new snacks aren't you?
Healthy ones of course such as quinoa and black bean tortillas - so good
with olive tapenade hummus. . . . . . and of course a chilled aperitif 
these lovely late afternoons on the porch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Sneaking out in search of. . . . . . . .


How are you doing with your reading choices these days?

I've found some more bargains at the local Dollar Tree shop - a quick stop

whilst doing that grocery run on Thursday. 

Four books caught my eye, and four dollars were all they cost. . . . . .

. . . . . . just can't beat those prices!

I was not familiar with any of these authors, but a quick look

and I realized these books might provide interesting reading.

First - tucked in here is the book I've been reading for a while and completed last night.
In Patagonia - by Bruce Chatwin - "an exhilarating look at a place that still retains
 the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land."  
I visited Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego two years ago so really enjoyed
 reading more about its history.  

"The masterpiece of travel writing that revolutionized the genre and made its author 
famous overnight."


A Whole Life
Robert Seethaler

Over the weekend I read this short book.
Loved this book. 
Very simple story, often sad, but with immense depth to it, beautifully written.
I would encourage everyone to read this book which tells of a whole life
 in terms of satisfied and complete.

The remaining books in my pile will be read as these summer days progress.


This morning, up early again. Birds singing as the sun rose, already 75F and reaching 90F later with showers possible.
Writing from the gazebo while watching parent cardinals search for breakfast for their offspring - the three loud
 chirping babies who fledged yesterday from a nest in my neighbor's shrub.
Familiarize yourself with the sounds of your
 bird community. . . . .the restorative benefits of birdsong
 are many and lovely.
I hope you tune in.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Monday meanderings -

This morning I awoke with a start and looked at the wall clock with bleary eyes - 6:45 AM. 
Crawled out from under the duvet (do you use one year-round? I do) pulled off 
the bed linens ready for the wash and carried them downstairs to get them going in
the machine.
Funny thing was when I looked at the kitchen clock it said almost 6:00 AM!
I misread the first clock and got up an hour too early. It was OK though as
I got a lot done before Bob was even awake!

By 8:00 AM I had deadheaded the petunias and geraniums, and accidentally snapped
 this piece off - tucked it in with rooting basil for a pretty window sill display.
Then I watered much of the garden, especially the pots as they dry out 
quickly - and today it hit 90F by early afternoon, phew!

This morning the peonies continued to smell divine, some now open full but
a few still in bud, I think they'll last through the end of this week.

Father's Day was fun and we spent several hours celebrating Bob, a truly great Dad,
but not appreciated enough by some family members. I will not go into details here, 
just take my word for it!
Are you finding being 'locked down, or up", makes it easy to dwell on sad 
bits of your life? I guess it's because we have so much time on our hands. I have to
 hold myself back here because I don't want my blog to be a pity party or full of negativity,
there's enough of that going on all around us.

So back to the garden, that place of solace, beauty, birdsong, color, fragrance,
 and relaxation after a lot of hard but mostly enjoyable work.

The day lilies are coming along well now. I'm really not a fan of orange flowers except
here hugging up to the Nikko blue hydrangea, they work well. Each bloom lives up to its
 name, blooming one day and then fading.

Sunday morning I made another batch of basil pesto, so delicious.  I had enough to share
for Father's Day with my daughter's partner - he does most of the cooking - and my neighbor.
I'll be making plenty of this fresh 'taste of summertime' over the next few months.

Just so you know - I'm feeling quite comfortable now with the New Blogger and am
using it without having to revert to the old legacy version.
I thank all of you for your assistance with this, your tips online, and by phone, were such
 a huge help.  I do think Blogger still needs to fine tune the platform, and I do think
I preferred the old version. Maybe it will improve in the coming month - maybe I'll
like it some day!

Here's to a good week everyone.

Friday, June 19, 2020

For the weekend -

Yesterday I left the house with caution, as is the norm these days. 
Masked, I went in search of food, plus some needed cleaning supplies and
a few odds and ends.
Most things were available without much trouble, and I found others not on my list. . . . . 
. . . . . these gorgeous perfumed peonies! Two bunches from LIDL - and added the unusual large curved antirrhinums (snapdragons) and gypsophila from another grocery store.

Antirrhinum is a genus of plants commonly known as dragon flowers or snapdragons because of the flowers' fancied resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed. They are native to rocky areas of Europe, the United States, and North Africa. 

I recall naming these 'bunny rabbit' flowers as a child in England - my mother grew them annually and
they were always one of my favorites.
I'm writing this post in New Blogger this morning but having several problems. One huge one seems to be my entire blog layout (side bar etc.) keeps disappearing!  Anyone else having that problem today? I think Blogger must be working on their new system . . . . or fooling with us!  It's really tiresome and I'm signing off for now in hope things will work better later today, or tomorrow, or one of these crazy days!!!!
BTW, regarding the masks, here in our county of North Carolina, mandatory wearing of such 24/7 when in public goes into effect today!  Apparently you won't be arrested without one, just stopped and warned by Police. Let's see how that works out.
Have a great weekend . . . . . . and Happy Father's Day on Sunday to all the really dear and special dads hiding behind their masks out there!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Wonderful Women. . . . . .

I've met all these women during my travels and I'm betting not a single one of them is losing sleep or pulling out her hair because of NEW Blogger!  Each is a special woman of the world. Their countries, Japan, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Botswana, Zambia etc. may be different in many ways, but beautiful ladies working hard, smiling big, enjoying life, are probably not sitting around for hours wondering about how to post on a blog, right? Hopefully they are well, happy, and getting on with their lives.

Now I'm beginning to wonder myself as to why I'm doing just that. . . . . . .sitting here frustrated, wasting time, angry, and wondering why there are people out there, somewhere, making decisions to change what has been so easy and successful for millions of people for so long.

They even call the old and apparently doomed version, 'LEGACY Blogger' - shouldn't a legacy
 remain, be always available?

This was an eye opener when I looked up the meanings of 'legacy' this morning - enough said!

      adjective : COMPUTING 
                                                      denoting or relating to software or hardware that has been superseded
                                        but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.           
For me, blogging used to be because I thought my family would some day enjoy reading what their mother/grandma/great grandma got up to in her later years. That they would gasp or grin over her travels and adventures, enjoy seeing her photos - some of which are quite good - and many from far off wild places around the globe where most people don't visit. I thought they would have a giggle over me being tossed by a rogue wave into the bottom of a Zodiac boat. . . . . while my ship had to up anchor and sail away to calmer waters before picking me up again. I hoped they'd stare in awe at me standing on Antarctic ice surrounded by half a million penguins - after all I was in awe myself and brought to tears by such an experience. Washing an elephant then riding it bareback into a Thai river; sipping afternoon tea in Dubai at the top of the tallest building in the world; photographing the 'big five' in Africa; being picked up by a helicopter (one mode of transport I said I'd never do!) then flying over the amazing Okavango Delta in Botswana because our little plane couldn't land on the flooded runway near our safari camp; standing on the very edge of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, clinging to Bob, while the Zambezi River flowed around us.  Now I wonder if they will ever really find any of that interesting with life changing so drastically.

There is so much more, so many wonderful memories, so little time left. . . . . and now perhaps compromised to the point where I may never travel on an expedition again. My wild wandering days may be over. I can't even get home to England this year unless things really change by Autumn. 
But I do have you, my always kind and gracious blog friends.
You keep me going - ladies and gentlemen - I like sharing
 life with you.
I have loved meeting many of you in person, and hope
 to do more of that if/when possible. 

Meanwhile, let's struggle along together - thanks so much
 to all of you who've offered to assist with New Blogger issues. 
I'm still toggling between legacy and new - hoping
 the powers that be will get it right soon.

With love -

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Trying again - New Blogger

Ripening soon!

My daughter Kim is growing this hanging basket of cherry tomatoes -
what a great idea for anyone who doesn't have a garden area for 
veggies.  Who doesn't love to pick a few ripe red tomatoes right
 outside the kitchen door for a salad! 

Meanwhile, my next door neighbor, known as Bob 2, has his annual tomato/pepper/basil
 patch in his front garden. 
As you can see, they are growing really tall as they receive a lot a sunshine!
Did I say sunshine - well we were getting plenty but none this week - just rain and

Well this is my first time to hit PUBLISH in the New Blogger format. . . . . . 
. . . . . . here goes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

June Garden. . . . . in New Blogger? NO!!!!

The garden this past weekend.

Yes, as always, I have a garden To Do list but, as of right now, 
there's nothing to do because it's raining again and will continue for days.
'Flaming June' has disappeared - today feels more like winter!

 I tried very hard to create this post in 'New Blogger' but gave up and toggled
 back to old and much loved original Blogger. 
I had a lot of problems and such a slow response to
 anything I was trying to do. . . . . .I gave up. 
Will try again later. . . . . . . perhaps!

Instead I'm off to make pesto, a large batch from the first basil picking.
Sounds like much more fun than blogging!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Peregrine Falcons. . . . . .

Above, meet Woodsie & Maddie - the last two brothers to fledge (preceded by
 brother Hank, and sister Xander who accidentally fledged when she fell off
 the edge a few days too early when exercising her wings - but thankfully 
was rescued from the parking lot below, rehabbed and is fine).

Confession time!  Much of the last couple of weeks, and this weekend, 
were spent glued to my laptop screen.  
I've been addicted/watching the hatching, growing, and then fledging of the four 
precious Peregrine falcon chicks from their nesting area on a 13th floor
 window ledge of an office building in Manchester, NH.

This building was actually where my husband worked for a few years early
 in his career - and visited many times on business for his company in the years
 following when we moved away from Manchester, first to Massachusetts and
 then in 1977 here to Raleigh, NC.

This pair of handsome falcons have raised chicks on the ledge with the sheltering
 box, perch, cameras etc., for many years and the annual springtime process has
 a large following of birders and bird lovers from all over.
Watching those tiny balls of white fluff grow and thrive, and with such caring
 parents, has helped me with the stress of being self-quarantined during all
 the sadness of the current time in our country and around the world.

Maddie & Woodsie enjoying their time together - they were 
exceptionally loving toward each other, once even lying next to each other 
and Maddie putting his wing over Woodsie, which was very sweet to see.

Woodsie - last to fledge on Sunday evening. . . . . . . .

. . . . . after several hours of mom and dad bringing food, dangling it
 before him but flying off with it and not allowing him to eat - cajoling him to
 fledge and meet back up with his siblings on a lower roof where the real 
training in flying and feeding would begin - Woodsie, flapped his wings and
took a leap of faith from the perch!
Parents assist their youngsters with finding food for another month or so,
 then the babies are on their own and fly away to find a home elsewhere.
Apparently these parents will return to this nesting site throughout
the year. . . . . hopefully they'll have another family next spring.

Mom telling Woodsie last evening, "it's time to fly away baby boy."

Second confession - I took hundreds of screen shots and videos of the 
falcons - just sharing a few here before I head off to work on learning
 how to use new Blogger today. It's pouring rain and dark and dreary so
 no garden chores required - a good day to stay in and focus on
 something I've been putting off for too long!

Here's to a good week ahead. . . .I'll be watching my garden birds only.