Saturday, September 23, 2023

Sunflowers, seeds and squirrels at Summer's end -


Some days back, in heat, but not too hot, in sunshine shaded by clouds in the Carolina Blue sky, we gathered our garden tools, put on gloves and hats, and went on a mission in the garden. Taking down the last sunflower was quite a job. Even with the last couple of feet bent and bowing to the earth, this fading beauty was still quite a monster, the huge head of seeds very heavy. The stem required the big loppers, no basic pruners could make a gash in it let alone cut through it.  Bob is almost 6 feet so I'm guessing the sunflower was around ten feet.  Why I never thought to stretch it out on the ground to measure it before cutting it up I don't know. Blame it on two older gardeners' just wanting to get the job done and the mess cleaned up! After all, there were other things waiting, the fried hydrangeas to clip, potted plants to toss, bird baths to clean and replenish, feeders to fill, and watering to do.

I've saved some of the seeds from this huge sunflower.  I made sure the seeds were clean and dry and have stored them in a glass jar.  There's no way I desire to plant an entire field of sunflowers next Spring. . . . . . . so I will be sharing these seeds with neighbors and friends who might enjoy them.

The sunflower head I left tucked into the garden bench - as I did with the former ones we cut down - and of course it didn't take long for the squirrels and birds to discover a feast!

We are currently under a severe flood watch here in central North Carolina.  Early this morning Hurricane Ophelia made landfall at the coast. Winds have been gusty bringing power outages and fallen trees - fortunately neither here at our home - but fingers are still crossed! However, the rain has been torrential and will continue another 2-3 hours.  Yesterday Bob mowed the brown dried out grass, and blew the newly fallen leaves and acorns. Today brilliant green grass has returned and he'll be out there again tomorrow with the leaf blower once things have dried out.

Autumn has arrived - I'm happy - but hurricane activity is always worrisome.
Stay safe if you are being impacted by bad weather.

Monday, September 18, 2023

New Bern in rain and shine -

We were at the North Carolina coast for a couple of days.
The sea air, mixed with some very heavy rain the first day,
cleared the cobwebs and brought some time to relax, meet
 up with old friends. . . . . .and make a few new ones.  

New Bern, North Carolina’s second oldest town, was founded in
 1710 by Swiss nobleman, Christoph von Graffenried, and named
 after his native city of Berne, Switzerland. Bern means “bear” and the
 “Bern Bear” symbol is seen on its flag. Throughout the city you will
 see many creative Bear Town Bears.

New Bern is a riverfront city near the North Carolina coast. 
The Tryon Palace complex includes a replica of the state's
 1st capitol, historic homes, gardens and the North Carolina
 History Center. 
The Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola is the drugstore where the
 drink was invented in the 1890s. 

Love the town of New Bern, NC
This historic home is on the market but requires so much work.
Hopefully someone with deep pockets will adopt her, restore her, 
and bring back her beauty of long ago.

Waiting for the storm to pass.

Morning brought sunshine. . . . . but the boats stayed put. Don't you
wonder why so many people buy boats but never seem to use them?

More on this lovely bookshop, and the owner, coming soon!

Friday, September 8, 2023

This week - hot and hotter!

I long for the ending of this year's Summer season. It has been nothing but endless days of breathtaking dry heat. Carrying a water bottle is sensible. I usually forget mine, so end up with throat issues as I become dehydrated after just a short time outdoors. Yesterday we ran some errands in 102F, not smart. The heat shimmered across the concrete parking lots, getting back into the car was like plunging into a furnace. I was thankful for my air conditioned leather seats. We ended the afternoon in a favorite wine bar before heading to the house for supper. I ordered a crystal clear glass of icy cold rosé and requested a glass of water - he brought me a large chilled bottle.

The house is cool and walking in refreshing. Meals are quick with no long prep. Roasting, boiling, frying, not in the cards lately. Even a tomato sandwich with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a bright green salad is satisfying on a hot night.

I've done little around the house this summer. Need to downsize stuff. Editing knick knacks will be a winter project, again! That said I have a few new to me items on the walls!  My wonderful neighbor has moved. He and his kitty Ms. Nala, whom you may recall I often cared for when he traveled, have a new home. We will miss him being next door, but he'll be around a lot as he's keeping the house and renting it to a family member.  He gifted me with this beautiful antique mirror and two winter landscape paintings. He knew I always loved these when they hung in his house. He's kind and thoughtful and has always been there for us in the last ten years.

Meanwhile, I'm pulling out autumn/winter weight clothes for the upcoming trip across the pond. It will be cooler there for certain. I will love that. The collapsible rack is at the ready. I hang things there daily while deciding what I will pack later. Each day different items appear as others disappear back into drawers and closets. Decisions as to what to take - and fit into one suitcase - is the hardest part of a journey for me, and it never gets any easier!  Going home soon.

When I dig back through memory cells, I get one particularly distinctive feeling - and that's one of warmth, comfort and well-being. For whatever else I may have had, or lost, or will find - I've still got a hometown. This, nobody's gonna take away from me. 

Rod Serling