Saturday, April 30, 2011

Accompanied, Gardening weather, Crunchy on the outside

1. Steve and Tess come grocery shopping with me. They are like two kids set loose in a candy shop, spotting things I am usually too distracted to see.
2. A most perfect spring day with warm sunshine, cool temperatures and lots of tall, thick grass.
3. In the evening, Steve builds a fire for roasting the Easter marshmallow peeps. Aside from our voices, it is very still and quiet. The wood fire smells good and I don't mind that it gets into my hair and clothes. Peeps are darn good when they're roasted.

A week's worth of New York

1. Everyone was there when we arrived! Brothers, sisters-in-law, cousins and grandparents all gave us a hero's welcome, or perhaps I should say a new baby's welcome. The noisiness of family gatherings is a sweet noise.
2. My mom's tears when she held her great granddaughter for the first time, cheek to cheek.
3. Shopping! Oh happy day! The stores actually have choices of things to try on. I just knew I could find a little black dress in New York. And I didn't see any camouflage except on some camo-covered chocolates.
4. The bird song is different here. I swear these are the same birds, singing the same notes as when I was a child. Do bird's offspring return to their home place generation after generation? Maybe so, because these birds sound identical to the birds from thirty years ago.
5. My sister laughs at my stories. She "gets" me.
6. Mom's kitchen is exactly the same as when it was built in 1952. Same red Formica countertop, same cabinets, same basic cooking utensils, still looking good as new. She was an excellent cook in her day and she can still turn out the best sauce or stew in a minimalist kitchen. No fancy pots or knives, no Cuisinart or Le Creuset. Just good, Italian cooking with fresh ingredients in a plain pot.
5. She gave me her enameled roasting pan which she received from her uncle as a wedding gift in 1947. Yes, still good as new.
6. Mari "talks" constantly. She has inflections in her voice, punctuated with tiny laughter. She does this on her own, even if no one is talking with her.
7. Pizza. Need I say more?
8. It takes two minutes to run to the store for something.
9. It takes 11 1/2 hours with baby to make the usual 10 hour drive. But she has been the best little trooper, always a smile for us and bringing joy wherever she goes.
10. Virginia is so green and lush! The mountains are breathtakingly beautiful and they boost my spirits during the final two hours drive with an urgency to return home. Home to Virginia.
11. My first sight upon waking Saturday morning to a sound at 5 am. was my daughter, dressed in her camo, going turkey hunting. I'm home : )

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend

The back of our house.

Chelsea and Chad visit with Vandella.

1. Christ our Lord is risen today, Hallelujah!
2. The girls and I are New York bound. It's time to introduce Mari to her great grandparents. I can't wait for Claire to set Mari on my mom's lap : )
3. Summer-like weather to enjoy Bocci Ball, car washing and porch sitting. (With a nap thrown in for good measure.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Steve's day, He even worked!, Under the hood

1. Steve's birthday is today! Tess and I take him to the brew store and then out for Breuster's ice cream. (We'll have his cake and pie tomorrow when the gang's all here.)
2. He helps me mulch the flower beds and it goes so much faster!
3. The lawnmower cooperated just long enough for me to finish the lawn. It conked out on the way back to its parking spot. Like our twenty year old refrigerator and our previous twenty-eight year old dryer, Steve will most likely keep this thing running F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

Friday, April 22, 2011

So, On duty, No fish tonight

1.Today's music to drive by is Peter Gabriel.

2. The Animal Control Officers in our county are exceptional guys. They've helped us out several times with stray and abandoned dogs. Tonight we call on them again to help get an injured dog to the vet in a hurry. Officer Crowder is gentle and kind with the animals, even when they might bite.
3. We get home rather late from the vet and I don't feel like cooking dinner. We skip it and go straight to dessert; banana cream pie and coffee.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Over good coffee, First planting, Shared plants

1. Caring friends share burdens and victories with each other.
2. I turned a patch of garden soil, dark and rich side up, and planted lettuce seeds today. I have a spool of string that my Dad gave me years ago to mark off the rows, neat and tidy.
3. B. gave me a clump of Sweet Peas from her garden. I found a good spot to transplant them against the picket fence where I see sunflowers have volunteered to sprout.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tasty fingers, Big difference, Ahhh

1. She reaches down from her booster seat toward the little dog who is waiting for crumbs. To her delight, he searches her salty fingers and licks them. Her laughter is pure joy.
2. I am impressed by what the public speaking coach has done with my engineer husband's presentation. Shoot for animated and you end up with normal.
3. It's too hot and sticky, so I change from heavy blouse to airy tee and I feel so much better.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Study of Dogwoods

These photos are for The Plant Gardener. Take a moment to visit her lovely blog and gardens on Vancouver Island.

Dogwoods grow everywhere around here. They are brightest when back dropped by evergreens along the roadside. I think they look even brighter on dark, rainy days.

This is the road in front of our house. Many wild dogwoods were left in place as homes were built, so now they look like specimen plantings. (Sometime I'll write about the vineyard and winery across the road. Their sign is just past the leaning telephone pole and they make very nice wine.)

Here is a young Dogwood flanked by the Redbud. Redbuds also grow wildly and abundantly around here.

Lightbulbs in the dark, Perfect morning, Finished by a perfect evening

1. Brilliant ideas are coming to me during the night. Ideas like how to best organize the basement and how to solve Tess' Algebra problem. I wish I could turn my brain off more often and have the ideas pop up like this, when I'm half asleep.
2. We spend a leisurely morning on B.'s patio, sipping coffee and catching up on the news. Her gardens are pretty and we talk about the plantings from our seats.
3. I read by lamplight on the porch this evening. A neighbor was walking his property with a turkey caller and the peepers were singing in the distance.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Visitor

I spent a blissful morning, transplanting and tidying the perennial beds. A little visitor kept me company the entire time I was there. Do you see the indentation in the white Candytuft?

Look a little closer and you'll see the brown fur.

He's huddled with his back to me. These cute little bunnies eat our vegetable garden and I don't like to have them around. But there were two turkey vultures sitting nearby on the horse fence and I thought to flush him out would be certain death. So, I accepted his company and he tolerated mine.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A new day, They are everywhere, A new book to read

1. Sunshine after the storm.
2. The dogwood glows brilliant, white flowers against dark forest.
3. I had time for reading today, The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I've been patiently waiting, Two things that have never happened to me before

1.Roanoke has been without a fabric store for months, until now! I happily perused pattern books, shopped for fabrics and notions and didn't mind the wait in line.
2. Today I had a new experience. Flash flooding put the parking lot ankle deep in water. We waded to the car and drove 40 minutes home with sloshing water in our shoes and jeans that were wet up to our knees. Thick, dry socks and slippers felt luxurious after we washed and dried off.
3. I searched and searched for the origin of the buzzing sound. Checking under the pillow, at the window, even from room to room. It was everywhere. I can't be going mad, I know I hear a bug! I called Steve and Tess to help me find it. Well, here is another first for me, the bug was in my ear. The pleasure in all this you ask? To know that I am not crazy. I was questioning myself for a minute there : )
4. Power's out for five hours so we get to eat out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The white, flowering trees in the background are sweet cherry. It looks like these old trees are still healthy and happy. There should be plenty of cherries for the birds with some left over for us.

Home sweet home, Spotlight, The meaning of hard earned

1. A routine procedure, heavy sedatives, and the sweetest nap in my bed, which felt oddly soft and cushy. So glad to be home.
2. "Oh, I forgot to tell you. A reporter came to school and took my picture today".
3. It's the first pay check from her new job. She works very hard, gets very dirty and is very happy with the earnings.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My, How They've Grown!



The're pink, not red, No kidding, Yum,

1. The blooms of the Redbud grow in pink polka dots up and down the branches.
2. The store attendant says he has four daughters and I tell him that I also have four daughters! We compare notes on the ups and downs of parenting all girls.
3. Good, homemade pizza with red peppers, sweet onions and pepperoni.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A feast for the eyes, Another feast for the eyes!, A feast for the ears

1. The weather came in fits and swells, one minute lightning and thunder and the next, sunshine. It was also a day of dramatic clouds, dark and looming, then back lit with sunlight. It made for a beautiful landscape.
2. I glanced out the kitchen window and stopped dead in my tracks for the abundance of blooms. I saw sweet cherry, crab apple, ornamental plum, daffodils, forsythia and flowering almond- all out of one window!
3. Tess and I went to the Singing School concert where the choir put on a great performance. They sang one of my favorite songs, In Christ Alone.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Digging in the sun, It happened overnight, I love my car

1. I walk around to the shady side of the house where a cool breeze is blowing.
2. Cherry trees are covered in masses of fluffy, white blooms.
3. We found an excellent mechanic! (The one with the VW graveyard.) After months of frustration with the VW dealership, who "fixed" the wrong things, my car is finally repaired. I got so used to my car sputtering when I stepped on the accelerator, that it took me by surprise tonight when I stepped on it and it shot off at lightning speed. Whoa!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Settling in the hollows, Comig along, Good eats

1. Morning fog makes a mystery of the day. Will the sun come out or are we in for drizzle?
2. It's visibly apparent how much the young plum tree has grown since last year's planting. I think maybe I shouldn't fret that my life span isn't long enough to see these trees grow to maturity. I'll take pleasure in seeing the growth that has occurred.
3. We enjoyed an especially good lunch of pulled pork BBQ. (Slow roasted yesterday and simply re-heated today.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Planting day, A volunteer!, Baby lettuce

1. Today we picked up our hemlocks from the nursery. They're gorgeous! It's been raining so Steve got right to digging the holes while the ground is soft. Now to keep the deer and wooly adelgid off...
2. I've had trouble getting any sort of vine to stay alive live on my trellis. My next idea was to try a climbing rose. As I was pulling dandelions out of the daffodils, I was astonished to find what looks like a miniature rose! It's almost too weird to believe. I've never grown a rose here, so I can't imagine how it came to be growing in the daffodils. I moved it to the trellis and we'll see what happens.
3. A seed packet of inspiration. This little seed packet has me antsy to get out there and dig my garden.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Road Goes Ever On by JRR Tolkien

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The road behind our house that we call "The Loop" because it's a perfect three-mile walk leaving and returning right to our back door. From a summer time photo.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I spy, Wish I had the camera, Daughter's new job, Bunches of spring

1. Violets grow wild in the field; innocent flecks of purple gems scattered in the grass.
2. The sky is so strikingly blue that even the industrial buildings at the cement plant beg to be photographed.
3. Audrey has us in stitches as she tells about wearing a walkie talkie for her new job. It's kept turned on and she hears the chatter of other workers. Very important messages such as, "LARRY, you want extra sauce on your BBQ? NO!" "LARRY, you want an extra bun with your BBQ? NO!"
4. Steve tells her that she needs to "look like a person" when she goes work. We both give him a puzzled look. Huh? He struggles for the right words. "You can't wear that. You can't look like a girl." The light bulb goes off in my head and I get it. "Oh! He means, wear baggy clothes."
5. Bunches of pretty, pink tulips are on sale at Walmart for only $2.50. They are my prized purchase and I can't wait to get home and put them in a pitcher.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm needed, My favorite holiday, Surprise!

1. Little Leah hugs my leg while I'm at the sink. It's been ages since a little one has hugged my leg and it's just the cutest thing.
2. Tonight we study the last seven words (phrases) of Jesus and it finally feels like Easter time!
3. Tess' photograph, "Dans le Jardin", has won third place in a statewide art show of public schools.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

He knows what he's doing, Evening, Unique

1. The auto mechanic's place looks like a Volkswagon graveyard. Ancient VW buses and beetles are crammed into every possible space, along with tons of other stuff that isn't junk. I can't find the door of the building too easily, but then I see (real) pansies planted and there is the door.
2. A dozen ladies sit with candles burning, chatting while they work on their craft.
3. Everyone put the same design on their egg, yet no two turned out alike.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Shirtsleeves, Portrait worthy, The big reveal

1. No coat needed today! It felt carefree to go without one.
2. The dark green, outer rind of the watermelon slices open to a deep, rich red on the inside.
3. The final step of wiping off the blackened beeswax to reveal a colorful egg underneath.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Let's pretend, Finally, My turn!

1. My kitchen island is turned into an X-ray table and Tess pretends to be the patient for Chelsea as she practices positioning her for a variety of tests. The kids still pretend play : )
2. The day dawns perfectly spring. Just what we've been waiting for!
3. Mari is our plaything today. Everyone takes turns playing peekaboo, tickling chubby legs and making her laugh.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fickle weather, Change of plans, Whenever you're hungry

1. Wild, crazy snow/sun/rain/sleet/sun/wind/sun today. These squalls were akin to the very worst tantrums you could imagine. It was fascinating to see.
2. Any gardening plans went out the window, so I had lots of time to play with the baby and read.
3. The family is all here, coming and going at different times, so a pan of lasagna makes the perfect, flexible meal.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Freshening the beds, End of the week treat, Right before bed time

1. The local businesses have fresh mulch spread on their landscapes so every errand smells good today.
2. I take a bowl of French Vanilla ice cream and smush a ripe banana into it. When it's almost gone, I realize potato chips would have been good in there too, but it's too late.
3. The last thing I do this day is welcome little Mari into the house with hugs and kisses.