Monday, March 20, 2023

SPRING is here!


"Spring drew on. . . . and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps."        ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre ~

Weekend flowers & bunnies 

Black-capped chickadee on front porch 

Grey squirrel on bird bath - Spanish bluebell leaves

If 'Hope" traversed my garden last night she would have perhaps been scared away by 'ghosts!'  Such a very cold night was forecast, 28F.  Concern for plants and shrubs, even the leafing trees, was high. At dusk we went out and covered the hydrangeas in front of the porch, and the peonies which are already showing growth. I keep old shower curtain liners handy for this thankfully infrequent job, they seem to do well . . . . but do appear as ghostly white mounds in the night garden! I whipped them off this morning after the sun had warmed us up above freezing, and thankfully the sun is full and brilliant now and it will soon reach 53F.  One more night of freezing temps and then we'll be over the hump I think. 

Tonight we'll light the last fire. Our hearth served us well as always over winter. Yesterday we started our clean out of the leaves remaining in the front garden beds - we'll be off to purchase mulch soon to freshen them and keep the weeds controlled. As I write the street sweeper truck has driven by - really good to see the cul-de-sac swept clean to welcome the first day of Spring. Wishing you a happy one.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Wearing and eating the green -


 Somewhat of a low key St. Patrick's Day here.
Fighting one's way to the bar in the American version of an Irish pub
is hard enough on a regular day, doing it this evening would likely be an act
of futility . . . . . . especially as it will be raining and any outdoor seating
 for the overflow of patrons unpleasant. 
Instead, I made my usual pistachio muffins. They are also perfect
to bake for Easter.

If you would like the easy recipe click below - 
where I shared my version before and readers tried and liked.

Sending you good wishes for a fun St. Patrick's Day.
I'm off to don a greenish sweater and my only emeralds. They are set in a
lovely pair of silver earrings, crafted by an English jeweler in my brother's
 French village, far from Ireland, a country we truly love and hope
 to visit again  . . . . .  and where Bob will continue the ancestry search for
 his paternal grandfather's family from County Kerry.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Procrastination. . . . getting tasks done!

Happy tea time to my lovely friend Marilyn - an expert on teas from
 around the world -  who celebrates her birthday today.

A while to go before Easter but getting ready to do just a little decorating.
After all, I have rabbits, eggs, assorted bits and bobs which only come out to play at Easter. The cottage needs a good Spring clean but not until we cease lighting the fire - burning wood makes such a lot of dust. Once this cold spell is over, and the chocolate eggs are a sweet memory, cleaning will be done, along with gardening, both jobs requiring a lot of time and bending . . . . . and I am procrastinating.

I admit to becoming rather lethargic since the start of the year. Procrastination was never really on the list of my temperament traits, well not that I can remember. I've always been a busy person who completed what I started. Temperament refers to personality traits that determine how someone reacts to the world.Quiet or rambunctious? Easygoing or apprehensive? The traits of temperament are mostly innate, we are born with them, but they can also be influenced by an individual's family, culture or life's experiences.There is no right or wrong temperament—we are all unique in our style of thinking and interacting with the world.

I read an article about making one's daily work - and yes, even we retirees seem to have a lot to do - much more complicated and busier that it should be. If you feel you are procrastinating and having difficulty taking action, first sit down and do some deep breathing. Once relaxed, focus your thoughts on what's the most important thing requiring attention today and choose that one task. Get going on that task, perhaps telling yourself you'll just work on it for a few minutes. The good thing is you will most likely keep going much longer once started, you may even complete the entire task and can pat yourself on the back!

As you might have realized, the task for me today, after the other tasks of 
 making soup and baking St. Patrick's Day pistachio green muffins. . . . . .
. . . . . . . .was writing this blog post. 
Now, as I close here, I feel really good.

Of course I did do other things today including -
Pulling weeds along the driveway
Feeding and watering the neighbor's cat 
Writing e-mails
Rearranging flowers
Cleaning out the freezer
Making supper - off to do that right now

If you're up north in New England and digging out my thoughts
 are with you, especially those of you who received up to 35 inches
of new snow yesterday. Dear Jeanne in New Hampshire, we are
thinking of you . . . . . take care, leave that task to someone with a plow!

Monday, March 13, 2023

March madness!

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: 
when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."


Saturday was a beautiful day and really felt like spring had settled in. . . . . 

. . . . . . but Mother Nature, often fickle, surprised us early Sunday morning
 with the first, and probably only, light fall of snow of winter '22-'23.  
It was fun watching the flakes fall for about 30 minutes.
The birds arrived and we scattered extra seed along the porch rail and
 on the ground. It was all over quickly, the remainder of the day doused
 with a dreary, cold drizzle.
Our winter in this area is now officially the third warmest ever according to
records. I had missed snow and really cold days, however have to admit it
was enjoyable not having to deal with bad weather.

I started this post a few days back mainly to share the weekend flowers 
brought home on Friday, however was distracted by other happenings. . . .the
 story of my life lately. 
Easter decor needs to be attended to - the white rabbits are out of the attic 
waiting patiently in their boxes. I will get onto that job this week . . . . . following
 a few bits of green going up for St. Patrick's Day of course!
 The cute fuzzy green bunny was a gift from granddaughter Jasmin last
 week. I added a couple of new felted bunnies - one shown here - 'acquired'
at the lovely shop named ACQUISITIONS where I swoon each time
 I set foot through the doorway.

Shop, showroom and warehouse ~
Raleigh, North Carolina

I'll be sharing more on this awesome shop soon.
Have a fantastic week wherever you hang your Easter Bonnet . . . . 
or cold weather beanie!

Monday, March 6, 2023

Pink Tones, Blue Skies and Moonlight -

Yesterday the sky was an incredible blue - what we call Carolina Blue in
 North Carolina. Cloudless, no wind, brilliant sunshine, and by mid-afternoon 
the perfect, for me, temperature of 70F. I sat on the porch just to breathe
in the air. It felt hot through my too heavy clothes. Wandered the garden
 taking photos of new shoots poking up, a few blossoms already on
 the azaleas, leaves unfurling on the hydrangeas, tiny frilled buds on
 the fig and Japanese maple trees. 
Thoughts of a damaging frost come to mind these early pre-spring days.
 It will get chilly at night, down to around freezing on Wednesday and 
Thursday - fingers will be crossed.
Please be kind to our gardens Mother Nature.

........... and then last evening, as the sun went down, the bright moon
was framed in the branches of an oak tree, lighting the magnolia's
pink blossoms, turning the sky to different shades of blue.
A perfect afternoon became an even more perfect early evening.

We are all like the bright moon; we still have our darker side.
Khalil Gibran

Friday, March 3, 2023

My pre-Spring garden today -

Thankfully the light rain showers, with very little wind, of yesterday
 and early this morning helped rather than hindered the garden blooms.
So, sharing many of the current colorful blooms outside the windows today,
all of which are definitely ahead of recent years when our winters were
 much colder than this one.

Thanks so much for all the generous comments on my previous post about 
reaching my sixteenth anniversary of starting my blog.
You are the best of friends.

Hugs - and have a great weekend.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Sixteen Years of Blogging!

Today, in 2007, I became a blogger and it changed my life! It made me see more clearly the corners and colors of the world close-up, often through a lens.......and gave me the wonderful chance to write down my thoughts. . . . . . . and get to know you. Thank you for always stopping by to encourage me to keep blogging. I love to read your generous comments and, when possible, meet you in the real world. Knowing each one of you, and being gifted with your friendship, whether in person or online, has been a very special part of my life which I will always treasure. This year I will be traveling again, perhaps not to such as exotic faraway locations as before, but I still hope to bring you stories and images from some special places. Hope so much you'll continue to come along with me.

Today I just want to thank every one of you, my friends who are my 'blog family', who visit here from around the world, share your lives, ideas and tips, support me when I'm feeling down, and have stuck with me for so long. All I can say is thank you so much, I hope I can continue to take photos, post them, and add, words and stories you will enjoy.

No new photos today but a few from those last 16 years which have flown  
  by so fast . . . . . . . . 

Around the house. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . and garden

Wildlife (really wild!) on African safaris. . . . . . . . .

Wonderful women met on my travels . . . . . . . .

Coastline and mountain solitude . . . . . . . . 

. . . . . . . I'll hopefully continue to go places, meeting special people, 
and writing
 about it here for someone who may take time to read my posts in the future.
If not, just know I've enjoyed it all, even when just being here at home.
YOU have made it all so special. Thank you with love.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

We're having a heatwave!


Cut the first little bunch of flowers from my garden yesterday - it really is looking
 and feeling rather like Spring around here. 

Living in North Carolina we are not having the winter weather conditions currently keeping much of the USA under wraps right now!  We are at the opposite end of the spectrum, no chill, no snow or ice, no way below freezing temperatures. . . . . . . and are experiencing a most likely record breaking spell of hot weather. February rarely hits 80F and higher days as it has done this week. Nights staying so warm that leaving the windows open, or even turning on the air conditioning as we did last night, was the only way to cool off and get some comfortable sleep . . . . . . . . plus hunting for a pair of summer-weight PJ's and kicking off the duvet!!!

Stay warm and safe if you are dealing with severe weather conditions now and through the weekend . . . . . . and of course we have cooler weather returning soon!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Late Winter Walks and Nature's Gifts -


Spring is still far off, but little teasers, perhaps more like tiny treasures, 
appear daily in the garden. The early morning sun brings a new light to
 the tall leafless trees behind the house, while the akebia vine clambers up
 the walls of the old potting shed, lively and bright with green leaves shooting
every which way like stars.

A walk in the park to breathe fresh air. 
Pleasant. Colorful. Serene. Placid.
There are no water fowl right now - although the Canada geese probably
 come and go having become a constant in the landscape. The turtles and
 fish were in deeper water away from the pond's edge. Dogs were being
 walked. Perfect catkins dangled, golden in late afternoon sun.
Bundled up in boots and cashmere 'woolies' as it was still chilly, I loved
 the day and seeing Nature busily at work.

Wishing you happy late Winter walks.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Time for gardening. . . . . and chocolate!


Took some some photos of this early flowering Magnolia liliiflora
 in the garden yesterday.  One of the earliest multi-stemmed
 flowering trees in our area of the USA, it blooms from late winter
 and is a beautiful first indicator of Spring, with flowers opening 
before the shiny green leaves appear . . . . . . . I think you will 
agree it's lovely.

Today we plan to take down the birdhouse and clean it out ready for 
nesting birds this coming Spring. We were outside in balmy high 60's 
yesterday making rather a slow start cleaning up the garden. 
This week has been a busy one but we managed to squeeze in a little
 work around the front beds, mainly pruning shrubs and fertilizing the
 Spring bulbs scattered around and poking up through the leaf litter. 
Cleaned up the porch area and the small fountain in front of it 
which is now a bird bath since the motor died some years ago!  
Squirrels and chipmunks also drink there so like to keep the water
 refreshed. Took down the Valentine flag and hung this colorful
blossom and cardinals welcome flag.

Late afternoon we ended up here on the porch with a peppermint 
hot chocolate and the last of the yummy Trader Joe's choco-peppermint
 Joe-Joe's from Christmas - guess the calories worked off in the garden
 were soon replaced! Oh well that's life.

Off to the garden now, high will be 74F by early afternoon.
  Rain coming back tomorrow so we must . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . “Make hay while the sun shines"  An old saying that's considered a proverb. A proverb is an old, usually short saying that communicates good advice or something true. If you make hay while the sun shines, it means that you take advantage of the chance to do something while conditions are good.

Happy day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023