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

Monday, February 13, 2023

February Rain and Garden Birds -


The rain pelted down most of yesterday.  The birds came nonstop to feed and then find sheltering places to dry off - on the front porch, under the eaves of the potting shed etc.

There were a lot of Eastern bluebirds whom we haven't seen during the winter but always welcome back. Others were the usual suspects including Blue jays, Carolina wrens, Cardinals, finches, sparrows and of course the woodpeckers.

Songbirds have always been the most pleasant addition to my garden. It looks like the feeders are going to need refilling often with so many who will soon be searching for nesting sites.
Today the sun is back and it's warming up. I need to get outside soon with rake and pruners and start some pre-springtime prep around the garden. I have to admit it gets harder each year.  We are now past adding much new in the way of shrubs and plants, but determination, effort, and a little hard work to at least keep things neat and tidy will pay off and bring a sense of satisfaction.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Fading beauty -

The Amaryllis Chronicles are over once again. The photos above were of last year's blooms which I had photographed but never posted - but this year the blooms looked similar and were enjoyed so much during the dreary days of January.
Come late spring the bulbs will once again be planted out in the garden. One year they surprised with gorgeous blooms in summer, other years just tall bright green leaves waved in the hot summer sun, somehow surviving while awaiting yet another potting shed rest in September and October. Potting up again came in November ready for blooming in January.

All this may sound like work!  It rather is but is so worth it.  I used to chuck my bulbs out into the compost thinking they were done after one blooming, but thanks to my dear friend Gina in Utah ~ Art and Alfalfa I learned how to keep them going year after year.

Will they bloom another year? Who knows. Patience and TLC is required and I'm willing to try again.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Fashion forward thinking . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . a long overdue 'fashion post' of sorts!

Today I planned to post on the cold weather but when I saw how warm it actually is here compared to what others are dealing with in the Northeast, I decided warm clothing might be a better subject.

Last Saturday we had a theatre date in town. I dressed up and wore my now almost vintage chocolate velvet coat. Bob said I looked really nice, and the woman scanning our tickets at the theatre immediately commented on my 'lovely coat.' I too love that coat and will never give it up. 

That said, once again I'm making what hopefully will be some easier to manage wardrobe changes. This winter I decided to start on minimizing my overloaded closet. I've not completed this project by any stretch of the imagination. . . . . . . but I have made some changes and am definitely working on more. When I pack away my cold weather clothes come spring I plan to donate many items I didn't wear if they've been hanging about over two years. At my age I don't require so many clothes in closets, folded on shelves, stacked in drawers, or in storage boxes under the bed!  I have some favorites I will never part with. I have many items of the past few years working perfectly for my lifestyle, but I also have a load of lesser loved clothes which have run their course for one reason or another. 

This doesn't mean I'll never not shop for anymore clothes, shoes, bags etc. Let's face it, I'm only human and admit to being a woman who loves fashion, but I will be more picky in my choices. This year I will enjoy my eightieth birthday! This past year I managed to drop 18 pounds, my general health is good, my back/leg issue is being managed and I can walk quite well with less pain. After the COVID lockdown years I'm enjoying getting dressed up a little more.

What I'm wanting for my lifestyle when it comes to dressing at this time of my life, is a plan where less is more. It's going to be hard but the outcome looks promising. Traveling, especially sailing on ships where I've been limited to keeping my clothing at a minimum, I've discovered life is a lot easier when you have less to choose from, and even more exciting when your creative side has to be addressed. I plan to follow the mantra of 'Fewer, better things.'  This embodies essential pieces for the modern woman made from premium materials, well constructed, and timeless classic design. 

Sharing a few fashion photos from several years back. I think you will agree the styles being classic and the fabrics gorgeous, they will stand the test of time and I would love any of them to be in my wardrobe . . . . .especially as it's freezing here today and warm clothing is on my mind!

Any exciting plans for your spring wardrobe?  A new season will be here before we know it! Are you planning clothes closet makeovers, clearing out things you no longer really love, lightening your load so to speak?
Let's have a little fun chat here about our clothes . . . . . . . . meanwhile stay warm, bundle up in sweaters, especially up there in New England! Having lived there I recall just how bitter cold weather can feel, brrrrrr!

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Fickle February!


It's raining again today. I have to admit that the month of February has never been near the top of my list of favorite times of the year. It's not so much the ever changing weather this month seems to bring to the southeast, but more like the days are often veiled in gauze, not clear or crisp such as around the holidays - now long gone - or the busy thought provoking January days at the beginning of a new year.  

This past week or so it's been annual medical check ups with prods, scans, tests etc. Throw in the usual grocery runs, a long day of furniture hunting with granddaughter, and cat sitting for my neighbor. A few chilly wanders around the garden were not exciting, so much looks sad this month. The deer have been by at night nibbling any signs of green, and stealing the bird seed, however there are a few daffodils opening along the back fence. My later blooming camellia has blooms opening in the higher branches however below freezing night temps are expected over the weekend which may impact them.

Ms. Nala - next door cat!

Then of course comfort cooking in the warm kitchen has taken over. I like to think of myself as being an innovative cook of sorts, pretty good at making a dish out of whatever is hanging about in the refrigerator or tucked in the back of a kitchen cabinet. I clipped these recipes from an older UK Country Living - always my favorite magazine for so many reasons, especially food!  Both were really perfect  for cold and dreary night suppers . . . . . . . . . . . .

Potato, Caramelized Onions and Gruyere Galette
Very tasty hot from the oven, and a cold leftover slice with 
a bowl of soup and a salad made another quick good meal.

Rustled up a tasty Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie yesterday. 
This time I made the mash topping with a mix of yellow and
 sweet potatoes. . . . . . . . . the recipe called for lentils but I
added a can of black-eyed peas instead, and finely chopped
 a jalapeno pepper for a little heat. It was delicious. . . . . .

. . . . and served up for supper in front of the fire while watching 
season two of VIKINGS!  We're currently addicted to this
 Canadian created series (2013-2020) - a historical drama
 made for the History Channel.  
A really interesting show for chilly nights.

Frost damage to the early blooming camellia . . . . . .

. . . . . . but the first daffodils for the kitchen window!

Female Eastern bluebird on the front porch rail.

Male Northern cardinal in the rain.

Female Northern flicker in the fig tree.

Carolina wren on front porch seed bell.

Yes, still plenty of birds around, perhaps even more this coming
 weekend with such cold nights. We will scatter additional seeds
 and have the feeders full.

What are your thoughts on the month of February?