Friday, May 27, 2011

Commenting Help

Kath at Hillside Cottage has posted a workable solution for those of us unable to comment due to blogger's problems.
I've found that her hint does allow me to comment, so let's spread the word.
Hopefully blogger will sort the issues soon.
I've been reading and enjoying my favorite blogs this week, but the effort to comment has been frustratingly unsuccessful.  If nothing else, this situation helps us to appreciate how much we enjoy having our faraway friends respond to our posts.

The King and Queen of Yard Sales

Ninah nestles in a warm blanket on the wicker loveseat.
G. and M. are avid fans of lawn sales.
While the pickings at such events in Wyoming are rather discouraging, they have definitely landed in
a part of the country that "does" yard sales, flea markets, and auctions.
G. has been coveting wicker porch furniture
[in fact we have heard about it until we can all recite her litany!]
They have found that the best time to hit the sales is early [as in before 8 a.m.] making the rounds of advertised sales after dropping D. at the high school.

They have each developed an "eye" for good stuff.
Recent hauls have included some framed prints which M. has compared online; G. has another
"Scotch plaid" cooler to add to her collection.
They acquired a wicker loveseat about two weeks ago, in need of a going over with a wire brush and several coats of spray paint.
Still. G. lamented that it wasn't a full "set".

Today was the bonanza: a 5 piece set in mint condition, including handsome cushions and pillows.
J. backed our car out of the carport so that the furniture can take pride of place there until it moves shortly to
live on the south-facing porch of M and G's new home down the road.

T-baby has laid vociferous claim to one of the chairs.

My chair!

The fresh radishes just happen to be in the photo--so that M and G can share their
pleasure in Kentucky living!
We are encouraging them to rent a stall at the Peddler's Mall in C'ville.
With G's flair for staging and presenting, and their combined growing interest in collectables,
wouldn't it make for a fun side-line?

[I anticipate that this post will be of interest to Shanon at Vintage Sparkle Chic---Shan, you'll have to come visit and rent a U-Haul!]

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Modern Spin

The cream has been a bit slow to become butter the last few times J. churned.
In fact, several family members pitched in to spell him on the hand-cranked appliance.
Yesterday he cranked for a few minutes, then rummaged in the shop, reappearing with his cordless drill.

The butter was done in jig-time!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Dew-Pearled Morning

I can't imagine a more beautiful morning.
I was outside shortly after 7 to sit with a steaming mug of coffee, sipped while I listened to the songs of a particularly gifted and exuberant mockingbird.
This bird had added the call of the whip-poor-will to its repetoire.
This puzzles me since most birds go to roost [and presumably to sleep] at sundown and the whip-poor-will doesn't begin its repetative call until dark.
J.'s take on this is that while the mockingbird may have "gone to bed", its ears and memory are still functioning.
With the coffee finished, I found the camera, poked my feet into wellies and made a tour of the gardens.
The mints planted near the east-facing wall of the garage were silvery with dew and very fragrant.

I have several varieties of nepeta.
The Walkers Low is nearly done blooming.
This is nepeta sibirica, very stately.

Yarrow [achillia] glows in morning sunshine.

The first of these to open--and my mind is a blank regarding the name.
[This seems to happen when I try to identify plants for a late evening blog post!]

Rosa "Wise Portia."

Nigella [Love-in-a-mist].  I planted seed last spring and none germinated.
This single plant, almost lost in a mound of mint and dianthus, is a surprise.

These dianthus are from a packet of mixed seed planted last spring.
I love the spicey scent of "clove pinks."

Penstemon, Huskers' Red.

Another clump of clove pinks.

My only surviving foxglove.

The first of the Oriental lilies in bud.

The blackberries brambles are loaded with blooms and green berries.
I hope the weather will be kind to them--we lost some of our nearly ripe strawberries to
a week of cold, wet weather.

I have poppies in all stages of growth, as the seed sown in Februrary has germinated irratically.
Hopefully some from each packet is represented.
I am looking forward to the blooms and the seed pods to lavish poppies everywhere for another spring.

Robert Browning (1812-1889)
The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in His heaven—
All's right with the world!

Storm Colors

We sat on the front porch as day slid into evening. Quietly at first a breeze flitted through, bringing cooler air. The leaves of the magnolia tree began to toss fretfully and a bank of dark grey clouds loomed to the north.
Thunder and lightning were mild and distant, a gentle shower pattered on leaves and grass.
The scent of honeysuckle was heavy and sweet.
A double rainbow made two perfect hoops in the strange light--the sky now almost coffee-colored, then muting to grey.

I tried several camera settings hoping to capture the quickly changing hues of the sky.
None of the photos are quite color perfect.

The rain ceased, leaving a cool breath of sweetness as dusk wrapped the valley.
J. and tribe strolled to the lower garden, came back to indignantly announce that since morning inspection four [!] tomato plants had been toppled by cutworms!
Tomorrow morning cutworm war will be launched.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Picks of the Day

Early morning sunshine fled before a host of grey clouds.
No rain, but a chilly day.
A fire on the living room hearth has been welcome.
I've felt badly over the fate of the peonies, battered with rain just as they began to open.
J. had tied them up, otherwise they would surely be dashed flat to the ground.
I cut a large bunch of them and they sit in the splendor of the jade green McCoy vase--which is greener than the photo shows.

Bits and pieces of family belongings are here and there--things which G. and M. have brought in, papers and such which J. and I have strewed.
Thus, not to detract from the beauty of the flowers I used my camera's "macro" setting which enhanced the blooms, erased the background clutter, but left the flowers "floating" against a dark background.

Nan in a comment on a recent peony photo asked if I knew the poem Weeds and Peonies
by New Hampshire poet, Donald Hall.
I have several of his books and a collection of his late wife's poetry.
The Peony poem, written after the death of his wife, Jane Kenyon, is one I hadn't read.
You can read it at the link below.
The white peony which he describes is the one familiar to New England gardens, creamy white with a red tinge at its heart.

Strawberry production continues through the cooler weather.
J. picked these today.
We all ate our fill, then I prepared 5 qts for the freezer.
Grandson D. asked if I could make "strawberry jelly."
I told him I could manage jam or preserves--he replied, "JELLY!"
I can't imagine stewing the berries and then mashing them just for the juice.
The debate ended when we all needed to go out on errands.
I may put up some preserves as the strawberry season winds down.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Blue skies layered with billowing white clouds have prevailed this week.
The sun set about drying the sopping grass and sodden garden.
While it wasn't possible to work in the veg or perennial beds immediately, we have found every excuse to be outdoors.
This post is a sampling of photos from the week. I intended several posts which didn't happen thanks to bloggers' outage. I also left comments on my favorite blogs--comments which are doubtless lost to where-ever such things disappear.

A neighbor stopped by driving his vintage truck and I asked if I could take a photo.
Daughter G. dashed over to pose and announced she'd be happy to own such a handsome vehicle.

Grandson Devin and I have roamed the dooryard at dusk, sat out on the front porch listening to the croak of bullfrogs, watching fireflies dance over the meadow.
The other evening the intrepid Willis decided to show off by climbing through the limbs of the sweet gum tree.  He wobbled along, getting perilously far out on slender branches.

Willis peers down from the sweetgum tree.

D. decides to go up the tree after Willis.  He was laughing so hard that he could barely hang on.
Willis, meanwhile, scrabbled farther up the tree and eventually made a wild leap into the adjacent redbud before plopping to the ground.

The next event of the evening was the appearance of a bristling "wooly bear."
Willis had to be discouraged from poking at it. He had, we suspect, every intention of eating it.

D. discovered the toad bouncing about beneath the garage floodlight.

The toad has just made short work of a June bug--a crunchy snack.
Toad is becoming a regular evening visitor, feasting on the insects which appear at twilight.
Toad was offered a June bug this evening by M. While toad considered, a mouse dashed from under the garage door, snatched the Junebug and disappeared back under the door.
M. D. and I have been out in the rain listening to the conversation of two nocturnal birds--not the call of the Whip-Poor-Wills familiar from New England, but a related bird who speaks with a slightly different accent.
We've been through the bird book: are we hearing a Common Poorwill? 
Chuck-wills-widow? Nighthawk? Nightjar?

Flowers: Wild and Domesticated

Double Red Knock-Out rose.

The mid-season pink peony which was part of the plantings made by former owners.
This one is a deeper pink than the early peony and has darker striping on the outer petals.

Rain began early Saturday morning and I haven't wanted to take a good look today at the peony which was just reaching the height of its blooming beauty.
This photo was taken earlier in the week.

Another photo of peony Duchesse de Nemours.
This too has been shattered by today's rains.
I never tire of looking at and photographing the blooms in my garden.
I enjoy garden notes and photos from other blogs--never boring--so I continue to share my delight in my own garden here.

I set out several varieties of foxglove last spring.
Sadly, this is the only one to survive.

Yellow Simplicity rose in bud.

Red clover flourishes in the meadows.

This plant has been blooming in great swaths through the meadows in front of the house.
I spent some time last Sunday taking photos and comparing to those I could find on the web.
The square stem suggested the broad category of mints.
I investigated photos and descriptions of skullcap before locating the identifying details of lyre-leaved sage.
I recall only isolated clumps of this last spring and wonder if the successive mowings during the season encouraged the crop this year.

Close-up of lyre-leaved sage.

Blue-eyed grass.

Lyre-leaved sage with daisy fleabane in the foreground.

Fleabane is a wide-spread "weed", familiar from our New England years and even found in arid Wyoming.
Interestingly, the variety found here has a distinctive pink tinge to the petals as they first open.
Here a clump blossoms between two chunks of maple in the pile of chunks curing for next winter's firewood.
For several weeks there has been a light, sweet scent drifting over the meadow.
I haven't been able to trace it to any one plant.
Along the roadsides and in abandoned dooryards, the wild rose, rosa multiflora, is beginning to bloom, honeysuckle is adding its almost cloying sweetness to the air.  Both these plants are considered to be invasive weeds, yet both add to the complex perfume of the season. 


Hummingbird at a feeder in the carport.
We have been watching hummers for several weeks.
They dive-bomb us as we sit on the front porch.
Interestingly, although the ruby-throated hummingbird is the usual one for our region, we've not been seeing the colorful males.
The big strawberry shaped feeder seems to be the favorite of the two I have out.

A blur of wings as the bird approaches the feeder.

The hummers, which we take to be the females of the ruby-throated kind, have been obliging about perching on nearby branches or overhead wires long enough to be observed.
Son-in-law M. positioned himself last evening with my camera and took these shots.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pick of the Day!

A few days of sunshine have benefited the strawberry crop.
It has been requested that I produce buttermilk biscuits for shortcake.

Grandson D. chose several of the prettiest for a closeup.