Monday, May 22, 2023

"California dreaming"


This is a quick post in case you think I've disappeared!
After a somewhat rough start last Wednesday with flight delays,
changes, and even one missed . . . . . . . . we managed to get on
 board for Seattle, Washington which was not the original plan, and
 after that long five hour plus flight with a cup of water and a packet
 of Biscoff cookies, connected with another two hour flight to our
 destination Sacramento, California! Thankfully our bags arrived, 
always a concern with screwed up journeys, and from then on our
 West Coast visit has been close to perfect . . . . . . but extremely hot.

Mt. Shasta still snow covered from my window seat.

Mt. Shasta from our hotel in Redding, California.

Shasta Lake, California.

California farmland - rice fields, almond, olive and walnut orchards.

Tomorrow we'll be heading home to the East Coast.
More on the journey later.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Never ending peony beauty -

One for the scrapbook!
Even in death a peony is a beauty.
I've only one peony bush remaining - it has survived for many years
and each spring presents me with just half a dozen huge pale pink 
blooms and fragrance for just a week or so. A true 'garden moment.' 
A gift from Nature that thrills me and makes me give thanks.  
Other peonies planted over the years just weren't happy in my
 garden and didn't thrive. Spring storms have often ravaged newly
sprouted plants, and oppressive early season heat damages new

Right now the garden is close to perfect. We're leaving for 
California this week and may miss seeing all the hydrangeas in full
 bloom, although they are beautiful right now. As several of mine are
 planted in full sun (a no-no in the gardening world, but I love them in
 front of the dining room window and front porch) the huge blue 
blooms are sometimes burned by the intense sun.

More on hydrangeas another time.
They are always thirsty so I'll pray for rain while away!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Mother's Day USA -

Me with Mum & Dad 
Torquay, Devon seafront - 1944

Leaving home and mother . . . . . October 19, 1962

Heathrow Airport suddenly appeared so small. Knowing she was standing down there somewhere, my father at her side, my much loved mother perhaps was looking skyward where the grey clouds soon enveloped every plane going and coming, but having no idea which one was taking her only daughter so far away. She already missed her own mother so dear to her, and must have wondered what on earth was I thinking, leaving her, father, brother, family, friends, home, and even country, even though I had been given her blessing, and she worked hard to help me in my dream to see America. The plan was to spend a year working and exploring America then going home to settle down. That of course didn't happen and this year I will have lived here for 61 years!

The airplane was El Al. The food was strange. Different, I recall lots of caraway seeds. Scared?  Yes definitely as this was my first ever flight. Travel to date had been in cars belonging to friends with wealthy parents for Sunday picnics on Dartmoor; double-decker buses into town; the old Western Lady ferry across Tor Bay; day out motor coach trips to Cornwall or North Devon with maiden aunts; tiny row boats on herring fishing trips along the Torbay coastline; trains now and then for school trips to London followed by a boat up the River Thames in the rain to see where the Magna Carta was signed. Another major school trip was a memorable endless train ride north to Shakespeare country to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, then swooning over a very young Albert Finney in an amazing production of 'Othello' at the Royal Stratford Theatre  . . . . . . but never an airplane.

Coming into New York was exciting. It still is. Breaking through the late October cloud cover, seeing such a huge city from above in shades of dusty grey and misty blue, two thoughts came to mind. How does one ever find the way around a place so huge, and how does the pilot get this huge plane back on the ground! Of course only first time flyers feel that way. When you’ve done it once you know all the answers for ever more . . . . . . . . .

A tribute to my wonderful mother. 

I "crossed the pond" home so many times to see her, and

 she came to visit me many times in the ensuing years.

I miss her and think of her every day.  

A special lady - Gladys Mary 1911 - 2003

I've shared this memoir with you before. Today I'm repeating myself 

only because I have such a deep feeling for, and still miss, my

dear mother so very much. She was my rock, always there even

when I was so far away for all of my adult life. She made me who I

am. . . . . . . . . . . but I will never be as special as she was.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

What's in your garden today? - Part II

Another glimpse into the garden which is keeping us busy with hot days
 and plenty of rain bringing fast growth.
Here's the promised second part of the May garden goings on.
Sit a while and hopefully you will enjoy a little visit.

Prepared the gazebo and deck ready for summertime dining al fresco
and have already had supper there the past two evenings.........
.....enjoying the heady fragrance of the jasmine now in full bloom, and very 
loud birdsong.

Our pair of finches built the nest in the hanging Boston fern but must 
have decided to try another spot as we've had no eggs.

Birdhouse is busy but can't determine which birds are actually nesting 
as they fly in and out in a flash.

Plenty of cardinal pairs now, many nesting in bushes but still busy
at the feeders.

The front porch is busy. 

Yesterday Charlie gecko returned when we were having a cup of
 afternoon tea. . . . . . . .and he was chasing a second gecko so
 looks like we are definitely home to a pair of these cuties!

Then, not to be left out, 'Chippy' Chipmunk paid us a visit and I
 managed a quick photo before he headed on his way to drink
 from the bird bath.

This morning is another beautiful one after a brief thunderstorm
last night with a little rain to wash away the remaining pollen and
freshen things up.

Hydrangeas are doing well - opening their always lovely blue
 blooms. Canna lily in pot coming into bloom for a second year - just
 left it out all winter and it didn't seem to mind the cold.

No, didn't grow the strawberries, but these were delicious and so fresh
 from the Farmers' Market, a generous gift from a neighbor. 
Strawberry season is now in full swing in North Carolina.

My garden posts may be missing for a while as we will be traveling
soon . . . . . . .hopefully Nature will take care of things and I'll be
posting new views come end of the month or early in June.

What's going on in your May garden?

Friday, May 5, 2023

What's in your garden today? Part I


I'm on the mend and back in the garden today. It's a beautiful morning, 
bright sunshine and cool but warming up. I need to really work on the back
 bed along the fence where recent heavy rains wreaked havoc. 
Lots of weeds and mini oak trees sprouting, jasmine vines beautiful
 and fragrant from their flowers, but really out of control regarding size. 
The climbing roses need reigning in a bit, so tall this spring and
 heavy with bunches of large blooms flopping everywhere.

Many busy bees on the roses - grand to see this early in the year, and
 I can stand there watching without fear of getting covered in mosquito
 bites for perhaps another week or so, they will arrive soon no doubt!

Grey Squirrel with a Hickory nut unearthed from last Autumn.
Better than devouring the birdseed in the feeders!

Northern Mockingbird : Mimus polyglotto

A favorite of mine, especially young males who sing at night.
Don't you love to listen to birds singing in the darkness of evening, or 
early morning before the sun rises?
Male and female build the nest and feed their young, 2 broods per year, 
sometimes more. Dining favorites are insects and fruit so they stay away
from the seed feeders, but love our fig tree!

Pretty, pale pink New dawn roses are great this year - look at the buds, 
so many blooming. I will cut a few to bring inside for the weekend. They don't
last long but are lovely until their petals soft petals fall quietly.

I was planning to show you more but that will have to be another day.
It's so perfect outside so I've been out taking photos, now I need to go out
 and work!  I must scramble into my gardening gear, put my sunscreen
 on, grab my brimmed hat and gloves and head into the
 garden to work.
Oh, I'm also baking a cake to nibble on Coronation Day tomorrow!

Will you be there?
Will you watch on TV?
If here in the US will you set your alarm and get 
up at 5 AM tomorrow to watch it live - or record
and watch later? I'll be up.
Or, maybe like some, you're not interested.

The pomp and glory of another British coronation, a ceremony
of deep tradition, a time when pageantry is at its best, is 
exciting for me. I was a child when Queen Elizabeth II had
 her coronation. I recall it well in my Devon neighborhood, Mainly the
 noisy, colorful 'street party' with tables laden with food, decorated in
 bunting, music from some source, and on a beautiful sunny day.
Later we watched some of the ceremony on our next door neighbor's
 small b/w television as my parents had yet to purchase one.
Fortunately tomorrow I'll be up before dawn and glued to the color TV

I'm hanging out my Union Jack - hoping it will blow in a nice 
sunny breeze. I know I'll be feeling homesick.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Today is better -


Things are looking up somewhat around here. May greetings to you, a few days late as I've been feeling pretty rotten for almost a week. If you've ever been given one of those terrible antibiotics whose side effects make you much worse than you were before, you will know what I'm talking about!  Right now I'm eating again, much like the squirrel, nibbling little bits of what are supposed to be the best foods to support the human microbiome. 

What is the microbiome? We humans are mostly microbes, over 100 trillion of them. Microbes outnumber our human cells ten to one. The majority live in our gut, particularly in the large intestine The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes - bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses - that live on and inside the human body. The bacteria in the microbiome help digest our food, regulate our immune system, protect against other bacteria that cause disease, and produce vitamins including B vitamins B12, thiamine and riboflavin, and Vitamin K, which is needed for blood coagulation. The microbiome was not generally recognized to exist until the late 1990s.

I've been resting a lot and not doing any gardening other than watering 
sprouting herb seeds, hanging baskets and pots. They've not required
 much attention as we've had plenty of rain. The roses are lovely this spring, 
the hydrangeas are just starting to bloom, the grass is lush and grows so fast. 
The peonies were somewhat battered in the rainstorms.

Recently, my wonderful friend Vanessa visited her family in Brazil. 
She brought me some beautiful gifts including these crocheted runners
 made by her mother.  I met Celia just once some years ago when she
 visited here. So kind of her to make these for me, and in grey and
 cream cotton, perfect for my dining room - I love them.

Most recent flowers have been sweet-smelling white stocks from a
 Trader Joe's stop after a doctor appointment last Tuesday, mixed with
 greenery and a few roses from the garden. Yesterday the roses
 dropped their petals but the stocks are long lasting and still lovely.

Hoping May is already lovely in your area.  If you have a garden you are
 probably very busy now!