Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Golden days in paradise -


Some people confuse Ragweed and Goldenrod and blame both for their
 allergic reactions. Ragweed is the culprit not goldenrod. They are
 completely different plants and look quite different. Goldenrod is a
 perennial and ragweed is an annual.
Goldenrod does not cause seasonal allergies. The most likely cause of 
your sneezing and runny nose is ragweed pollen. Ragweed is a rather
 insignificant-looking weed that blooms at the same time as goldenrod. 
It is wind pollinated and disperses large amounts of pollen into the air.

Solidago, commonly called goldenrod, is a genus of several species of
 flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. Most are herbaceous perennial 
species found in open areas such as meadows, prairies, and savannas. 
They are mostly native to North America, including Mexico; a few species
 are native to South America and Eurasia.  Some American species have
 also been introduced into Europe and other parts of the world.

An important source of nectar for so many pollinators
—such as butterflies
 and native bees—goldenrod is especially crucial to the winter survival of
 many honeybees. Its pollen adds considerable amounts of protein, fats,
 and minerals to the late-season diet of the bees.

I know you're wondering where I took these photos of a meadow full of goldenrod.

Some of you already know Jeanne of Tahilla Farm in New Hampshire. 
Many years ago when we were all young, fresh, new bloggers, we followed 
Jeanne on her first blog Collage of Life. Her life as an ex-pat took her and her
 family to live in amazing places - Australia, New Zealand, England, Vietnam
 and China . . . . . and we bloggers loved following along. Personally, I have to
 admit to feeling envious that she was this amazing person who could pack up
 her life, her four children, dog, sun hats, books, and furniture and move
 seemingly overnight to another country in the footsteps of her husband. 
Of course now knowing Jeanne better, and having spent the most enjoyable
 times together since she settled back in the US, I understand that it really 
was a lot of hard work.

Now retired, Jeanne and her very special Mr. H, have made their home back in
New England where they started out, and this is their beautiful farm property.
I feel so fortunate that I have been a guest here in all seasons except winter.
Seeing Tahilla's landscape change colors under the shadow of the distant 
mountain range, in rain and sunshine, has been a true blessing. I just wish I 
lived closer.

You can follow Jeanne and enjoy her wonderful writing and photographs
 on her website ~ tahillafarm.com/tahilla-farm-story

Tahilla Farm, New Hampshire

I was here just over a week ago.
Jeanne very kindly gave me permission to share my photos of the
 farm with you.
Thank you Jeanne - see you next time!

Saturday, August 26, 2023



Do you iron shirts?  After unpacking from the New England trip I had the usual pile of laundry to deal with including Bob's shirts.  He always says "don't bother to iron all those" and I always reply "I'm not allowing you to go out in wrinkled shirts."  

I quite enjoy ironing, it gives me time to think about other things. I park the ironing board - a sturdy metal one I've probably used for at least 40 years - in the kitchen facing toward the large window looking out into the back garden. Currently it's not a pretty sight after one of the hottest summers ever here. The grass is brown, the trees are already dropping yellowed leaves, the bird feeders are empty and the birdbaths dry to keep away the mosquitoes. There has been very little rain and swarms of ants are massing everywhere searching for moisture. We need a break from high temperatures, we need a good heavy rain to wash everything down and to refresh the shrubs. I also notice we need to attend to a lot of work out there in the coming year or so, it's never ending and hard keeping up.

Early morning at Midtown

Thursday was a busy day. I had an early morning appointment to renew my driver license and some shopping to do. We also had to use a complimentary hotel night this week. It would have expired on Friday so we took off on a 'staycation' late Thursday afternoon. Despite just returning from the ten day trip, we packed a small bag and hustled over to the now huge 'Midtown Raleigh' area just minutes from the house and checked in to a hotel there. Sounds somewhat stupid but we had no need to go far. We settled in, watched young people hanging out at the pool below our windows, then decided to go to our favorite Thai restaurant for supper. A lengthy walk followed around the development which continues to grow with massive hi-rise buildings, including the tall 36 floor apartment building in above photo, shops, restaurants, open park/music venue etc. When we moved here in 1977 this area was still partially undeveloped farmland..........how time has changed the landscape.

I noticed that Bob's checked summer shirts mimic the skyscrapers
 appearing all across downtown Raleigh, and now here in our quiet, 
once low profile neighborhood, renamed Midtown Raleigh.
It's called progress. Bob's all for it, I'm upset by it.  

Theatre date tonight. A lively sounding production titled 'CURTAINS' - advertised
 as "a witty, hilarious, musical whodunit".  I'm ready for a laugh and looking
 forward to it.

Friday, August 25, 2023


"One day we will remember how lucky we were to have known her love with wonder, not grief."

Many a chair stands empty in homes where a loved one was taken far too early.
When I go home to England in October to see my family and friends, 
one dear person will be missing, the lovely daughter of my dear cousin.
Denise passed this week after such a long battle with health issues - MS for 
many, many years, breast cancer a couple of years ago, then a severe stroke
 a few weeks ago. 
She was a fighter. She was stoic. She remained positive in her outlook.
She kept a sense of humor. She was loved by all, especially her husband, 
parents and brother. . . . . . and we three second cousins and our families.
My family is not large compared to some but we are close and get together
as much as possible. For me it's harder being so far away, however I do try to
 get home to the UK annually to see my loved ones.
Denise was so special and much loved. 
May she now rest peacefully in a good place.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Home again -

Have to say going away in summertime is not the best idea when it
 comes to maintaining a garden.  
Granddaughter did what she could with some visits to check the house
 and drag the hose around in close to 100F. Not easy when we have
 such a vast amount of shrubbery and plants all calling out for a
 much-needed drink as the sun beats down day after day from that
 'Carolina Blue' sky. . . . . . . .and hardly a raindrop fell in the ten
days we were gone.


More stories from New England visit to come, meanwhile I'm off to turn on
 those hoses and do some serious watering this morning before it gets too
 hot. As you can see, the jolly golden sunflowers have passed their prime,
now look baked and dry. One can say that there's still a kind of beauty 
in the shriveled petals and leaves, aging brings patina and wrinkles to
 everything. . . . . . one has to accept this and know there's always
 next spring and early summer when at least the garden
will be renewed!

It's good to be home.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Hello from New England -

Just a quick post!
As most of you know, the New England states are not strangers to me.
I lived in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for 12 years when first
 married. Bob took me to live in his hometown, Manchester, NH. 
I spent summers on the beautiful beaches of Maine, time in Vermont 
enjoying the countryside and mountains. Boston was the place when
 city life was required for a change of pace.
Almost every year since moving south to North Carolina, 46 years ago,
we've returned here to visit family, friends. . . . . . and favorite places that 
remain in our memories. There's nothing like 'the old days' and, although
the city is not the same, we still enjoy rambling around!

Our trip to the coast of New Hampshire and Maine is always the best. 
We had a wonderful time in perfect weather, around 80F and no 
Look across the beach and you can see Cape Neddick with the lighthouse.

Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, York, Maine.
A really beautiful spot to sit, relax, and just look out across the water,
grateful for so much in life.

Enjoying this trip, as always.
Eating good seafood. . . . . . . in fact just leaving the hotel now for
another favorite restaurant in town. I can already taste a fresh broiled 
 haddock dish which I'll enjoy as I haven't eaten since breakfast!
More another day.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Time away -

The storm of Monday evening arrived so suddenly. 
It was a scary hour of terrific winds driving heavy rain, west to east.
Thunder so loud and close made the house shudder, art, foxed mirrors,
 sconces on the walls chattered and slid sideways.
The lightning was blue and made the night sky almost as bright as day.
The power popped on and off briefly but then stayed on in our area.
I ran out to move the cushions and decorative items on the porch
 but realized it was too late and not safe outside in such elements.
Thankfully they were still there, though tossed about, in the morning.
No trees down but Bob spent time picking up small branches, 
twigs and leaves scattered around the garden.
The storms of summer can be brutal just like the storms of life.

It's a bright morning.
We're packing again today and will be gone for a while.
Heading north is always a good feeling, especially in
 summer where we hope to enjoy some cooler weather, 
fewer late day storms, seeing old friends, the vast ocean,
the green mountains, the places where we lived so long ago.

Time goes by, often too fast, and we try to keep up.
This world spins. Life brings joy and sadness and this week
I'm experiencing both.
More stories another time. I sit here listening to gentle music
 for the ear, for the soul, but I must away. 
Early to bed tonight, up very early tomorrow for the airport!

Friday, August 4, 2023

Let's take a summer break -

We're preparing for a little trip, our first since California in May.
Right now I would go just about anywhere to get out of
 North Carolina's ongoing heat and humidity.

Next week, an hour and half flight north will see us 
back in New England where, hopefully, it will be much 
cooler..........but still sunny for the coast and mountain
visits we are planning.

Our base, as always, is Manchester, New Hampshire. Bob's home town, 
and my home for several years when we were first married.  We have no
family there any longer but a whole lot of great memories, old haunts,
favorite restaurants, special nooks and crannies, and some special friends.

A quick look at this week now that Friday is here. At last we have a
 cooler day and some light rain fell this morning which is needed badly
 in the garden. 

Speaking of drinking and refreshing liquids - this is my latest find in the
Rosé wine department. I love a chilled glass on a summer's eve.
We were introduced to a new to us wine bar recently by friends. 
It is also becoming a favorite retail store for buying wine to bring home.
The congenial owner knows his wines and sells them at good,
discounted prices. Cheers!!!!

This was my favorite find to date.  Many French Rosé wines are way
 beyond my budget this year - like everything they have increased
 drastically. I like the screw top, the label is beautiful, and the wine is all
the label states and is delicious. Who knew notes of black cherry, quince
 and liquorice could taste so good.

This wine actually comes from Pézenas, an interesting medieval town
 in the region between Montpellier and Beziers, not too far from my brother's
 home. I recall visiting there several years ago.
Pézenas was important in the 15th and 16th centuries, being the provincial
 capital of the Languedoc region, and receiving visits from the court of Louis XIV. 

Old-fashioned Blueberry Muffins

Drinking requires eating of course!

When given too many blueberries baking muffins is necessary.
Everyone likes a muffin so I shared some with family and Bob and
 I split one for breakfast each morning as they are jumbo sized!

This week I cooked a lot. Mainly savory meals using tomatoes - a great
 soup from oven-roasted tomatoes and homemade basil pesto; sheet-roasted
 tomatoes, peppers, shallots, garlic and a block of Greek feta; and a good old
 basic summer tomato sandwich using 6-grain bread, a dash of mayo and
 black pepper - no extra sodium here.

I've been blessed with the harvest from my neighbor's garden and as he's
 away I get to pick anything turning red on the plants!  Also green, 
as you can see a few more cukes found hiding in the tangled
vines this morning. Not sure what type of cucumber this is -
very different from the earlier ones which were longer, so perhaps
 he planted two types. 

Just cut one open, quite nice with few seeds, but skin needs
removing as it's rather tough.  Will most likely make green Gazpacho 
with these over the weekend.

Books and reading. Anything of interest to share, I'm now at the bottom of the 
stack by the bed. Dug up this one which I started a couple of nights ago - found
at the Dollar Store (which is now $1.25 for most items) but still great
 bargains, especially for brand new hardbacks!

So far I'm liking it and have learned a lot about an animal I really knew
 nothing about - the wolverine. Reviews say it's a stunning thriller, a 
mystery and a survival story set in Montana. The author is a wildlife 
sanctuary monitor and a geographic information systems specialist so
 I'm certain knows her stuff.
I'll review it later when completed - meanwhile it's literally a cool book to 
be reading in this hot weather!

Lastly, how about this book to take on vacation next week?
I purchased it a long time ago but have not read it yet. 
Like the size and light weight for my 'personal item' bag for the
 plane, and again the setting is in WINTER, so it should be perfect.
It won The Guardian Best Book of 2018.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.
Stay cool if in a hot place, hang on to that umbrella
if in rain and wind.  

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Sad Loss of a special blog friend -


Remembering a special lady from the State of Maine, Vee.

Vee's blog, A Haven for Vee, was a favorite of many of us who
started blogging in the early days of social media. 
She continued to share her life with us until May of this year when
 her illness became more difficult.
If you've been blogging for some time you may recall and were
 perhaps even a part of Vee's fun monthly Note Card Party
circa 2013.
Vee has left us now after several years of living with cancer.
I know she is now now pain free, in a place of comfort, 
surrounded by love and her dear ones who passed before her.
She will be greatly missed, both here in the vastness of the online
community, and by her special loving family and many friends in
Maine and many other places.

Many thanks to blogger Abby who, in the link below, notified us of 
Vee's death (July 23, 2023) and included the link to her obituary.


Vee, a lovely lady who will be missed but never forgotten.