Friday, August 17, 2018

Reviewing The Week With Photos

Mornings have dawned grey, wet, overcast this week, although there have been sporadic hours of sunshine most days.
Rain was drumming on the roof, lightning zipping above the ridge,  as I attempted to fall asleep in the earliest hours of Friday morning.  At 5 a.m. the landscape was wrapped in green darkness and the sound of rain was dominant.
I've been only briefly at the new property this week, although Jim has worked there and made good progress in excavating for the foundation.  Thursday's rain put paid to that project, but a run up the ridge before breakfast today proved that the ground is draining well.

The nearest neighbor at Turkey Flatt keeps a jack at stud. The jack's pasture and that of this boarded mare is on our route in and out of our property.
The foal was about 9 days old when we stopped to admire him and take photos.

Who would have thought a baby mule could be this cute?

I spent some time tidying the straggling nasturtiums in my porch planters.
Nasturtiums get messy quickly--yellowing limp leaves, long trailing stems, but they are a favorite since childhood.
I leave some of the blooms to go to seed and poke the dried seeds back into the soil.
With pruning I should have fresh bloom until the first frost.

The dreadful scourge of Japanese beetles seems to be over for another season.
The rugosa that leans over the side steps to the landing is opening fresh, fragrant clusters of blossoms.

Double Red Knockout is a cliche in this region--a true landscape stalwart. The fragrance is very light.
The beauty of these is their habit of repeat bloom and the ability to bounce back after the beetles leave.  I clip the freshest blooms nearly every day, line them up on the kitchen windowsill in a variety of small jugs and vases. 

A praying mantis has domiciled in a clump of Joe Pye weed below the cement landing.
I brought this plant in from the upper meadow last summer--part of the effort [not entirely successful] to use native plants to choke out weeds in that gravelly area.

The blooms of okra are exotic--similar to a hibiscus.  The process from bloom to a grotesquely overgrown pod of okra is very rapid.  We enjoy a side dish of fried okra but can't keep up with the quantity.  I snip off over-grown pods and let them fall to the ground.  The stems and leaves of the okra plant are irritating to the skin. Sometimes I remember to pull on a long-sleeved shirt prior to harvesting the pods.

Another view of the rugosa as the mid-morning sun burned away fog and mist.

I spent a morning grubbing along the side porch. Spent poppy stalks, the gone-to-seed clary sage, clumps of shallow-rooted grass--all removed.  Strange to think this likely won't be my garden when another spring rolls around. I wonder if the new owners will like the clary, the poppies and the cockscomb which self-seed in that area.

Jim has done more excavating since this photo was taken. 

I've done some sewing this week at odd moments--found some really nice denim skirts at Goodwill earlier in the summer--I like them as an alternative sometimes to jeans or pedal pushers --but they were ankle length, which tends to trip me up. Three of them nicely shortened and patch pockets made using the cut off material for the one that had no pockets. Navy blue skirt [new!] in a suede-like fabric shortened and ready for fall wearing.
Sleeves shortened and new cuffs made for a lovely soft 'jean jacket' made of a rayon/tencel fabric--I'm planning to wear it to church over a flowing crinkled silk skirt.

For many years I made my own clothes--as well as for my daughter and my nieces--now I put my energies in other directions and happily repurpose my finds from consignment or charity shops--often 'new with tags.' 
My 'everyday' clothing takes a beating: garden soil, paint, the cooking smudges that evade my apron. 

Three books read on rainy evenings--Ann Cleeves' final book in the Shetland/Jimmy Perez series will be out in a few weeks, so I'm speed-reading the earlier books to put myself back in the picture.

This evening I was inspired to rummage out packages of frozen fruit--blackberries, peaches, blueberries--made a crumble for a church dinner, and another with dropped buttermilk biscuit topping for Jim.
We each had a helping served warm from the oven and lavished with whipped cream.
A pleasant ending to a long day!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Views Around Our New Property

I loaded photos several evenings ago and was too tired to write captions.
Some of the hours that I spend there are waiting to be useful [holding an end of measuring tapes as Jim lays out the spot for the foundation of a new house.]
Wild turkeys are prolific--we see them each time we are there.
The property address is 'Turkey Flatt'--perhaps the extra 'T' is meant to look elegant!
The above was a zoom shot looking toward the eastern property line which is marked by a fence behind the hedgerow.

Weather hasn't been really pleasant here this week--sultry heat even when the sky is overcast, frequent showers, followed by steamy sunshine.
I took this photo as I drove in the lane--a longer private roadway connects the three lots that make up Turkey Flatt to the main road above.

Jim has always done his own site excavation preparatory to pouring a concrete foundation.
While he no longer has the equipment to pour the foundation, he has been trolling craigslist for weeks to find a backhoe to meet his requirements.
He found this one early on Wednesday, located 2 hours away in Tennessee and invited me to ride along for the purchase.
The sky was increasingly dark and as we reached our destination a storm broke with rumbles of thunder, wind and lashing rain. An hour later, the storm over, Jim had completed his 'wheelin and dealin', the machine was loaded and we trundled home.

Jim is never happier than when 'digging' in the dirt.
Here he is opening a trench for new water and power lines.
As there was formerly a house on the property--sited beyond the backhoe--a strange choice--electric and water service is there, but needing to be rerouted for our chosen building site.

Waiting to be useful, I wander around the property, camera in hand, trying to visualize it as the place where we will live.
The open lay of the land narrows as it reaches the western boundary, with a sloping ravine on either side. Joe Pye weed is in full and heady bloom down the bank with goldenrod beginning to show color.

The shaggy pink flower heads were alive with butterflies, mostly swallowtails.  My zoom lens didn't pick them up clearly and I wasn't about to go slithering down the bank through the weeds.

A black swallowtail in a clump of ironweed.

This swallowtail posed nicely for a split second.

Wild ageratum. 
The prospect of creating a new house is exciting, even knowing that it entail months of work.
The too familiar reality of packing up our current home when the time comes, is daunting--exhausting even to contemplate.