Thursday, May 31, 2012

Coffee + Books + Sugar, Feed Me!, It's All About the Instrument

1. I shopped at all the good-smelling places today. Barnes and Noble's coffee + book aroma for some reading material for our recovering patient and Maggie Moo's sweet smelling ice cream shop for pink bubble gum ice cream. (They didn't have Twizzler). Another stop was Jo-Ann's Fabrics which didn't have a special smell, but it still made me very happy.
2. Fledgling finches and mockingbirds have left their nests which makes for quite a racket in the yard. Mothers are constantly calling to their babies and babies are loudly cheeping for food. The screeches made by the entire population when someone walks into the yard adds a third element to the noise. I am entertained.
3. The beautiful Steinway piano at the recital hall. I've heard her playing this Sonata at home for months. But today, on this piano, it reaches a whole new level.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Temporarily Mine, Tonsillectomy, Let Me

1. Destined for someone else's shade garden, Hostas, Astilbe, Bleeding Hearts, Solomon's Seal and Phlox temporarily fill my patio until she takes them home. The combination is so beautiful; I'll pretend it's my shade garden for a little while.
2. She's sitting up in bed, surrounded in white, holding a red Popsicle. My brave girl. She closes her eyes and slips back into sleep, Popsicle still upright in her hand.
3. I enjoy playing nursemaid.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

♫ Lavender Blue Dilly, Dilly ♪, Hydrangea White, Dinner Cooked

1. The Lavender is in bloom! It grows so well and I enjoy it so much, I should plant it everywhere. I like to grab a stalk and gently grasp the buds without actually pulling them off. It releases the lavender scent and keeps it on my hand for a while.

2. My first Hydrangea. B. gave it to me from her garden last year to fill an empty spot that I had. She calls it her "Snowball" plant and she has several that are covered in blooms. Mine has two pretty blooms and I hope it grows as well as hers.
3. These photos were taken after the thunderstorms that rolled through just as I was cooking dinner. The lights flickered but never went out, so dinner was able to be fully cooked.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Under the Pavillion, Rugged Beauty, Driving Home

1. We contribute our dish to the potluck table and in exchange, enjoy a classic picnic meal outdoors with friends.
2. Daughter #1 and family have safely arrived in Alaska. Her breathtaking photos show jagged, snow covered mountains standing guard behind every scene.
3. It's dusk and the hot sun has finally set behind the trees. We're driving the back country roads at a leisurely pace, so we turn off the car's A/C and open the windows. The evening air drifts inside carrying warm summer scents of cut grass and sweet blooms.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

No Demands, What's for Lunch , Next Up...

1. We've purposed to make this day a vacation of sorts, with relaxation being the only thing on our schedule. Everyone has needed it and we are more pleasant to one another because of it.
2. Pork spareribs cooked to perfection, the meat simply falling away from the bone, with a sweet, tangy, sticky sauce. A pile extra napkins in the center of the table.
3. The luxury of finishing one book and starting right in on another.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Facial recognition, Move Along, Into the Night

1. I enjoy the garden while it's still cool in the early morning. On this morning I am fiercely attacked by the mockingbird no matter where go. I retreat to the house and wait for my bodyguard to wake up. When he goes outside with me, the bird bothers no one. It's fascinating and I'm still puzzling this one out. I'm beginning to take it personally.
2. Black snake leisurely crosses the road. Slithering, you'd think he was moving sideways, yet he follows a straight line.
3. It's the first dinner party on their new screened porch. We clink our glasses in celebration. Summer has officially begun and I wish for many more pleasant evenings such as this, spent with friends and family.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thank You, Colorful, Layers, A Study in White

1. He's an old veteran with bright, smiling eyes and a strong back. I add my donation to his plastic bucket and see it's already overflowing with bills and it's only 10 AM. He hands me a red poppy and I take a moment to shake his hand. He looks surprised and then he smiles back at me.
2. I think it's a fitting weekend for a cooler filled with ice and colorful cans of soda. Our family cook-outs in the 1960's always had coolers filled like this. We kids would dig around through the melting ice, hunting for the cans of orange and grape. Never mind that today we don't drink soda nor are we having a party. I buy forty-eight cans.
3. Inspired by Marie's post, we have a layered salad for dinner. Ours is layered in a glass trifle bowl and we make ceremony of scooping the first serving and disturbing its beauty.
4. A vintage model, white pick-up truck, driven by an old man with snowy white hair, wearing a white dress shirt and a white Panama hat. In my rear view mirror I see he wears dark sunglasses; two hands gripping the wheel.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wanted: A Shady Home, Dances with Mockingbirds, More Wisdom

1. Our neighbor does landscaping and he offered us the orphaned plants he had leftover from his projects. I'm the adoption agency, finding homes for these poor little waifs. I'm most excited for the boxwood who will live in a mansion. (I bought a huge pot for it today at Lowes.)
2. The CRAZY Mockingbird is at it again this year, screeching and dive bombing me every time I go out in the yard. If I take my eyes off him, he dives so close to my neck that I feel the air from his wings and hear the awful, "pfsst!" sound he makes. Later, I take to the yard with a stick, waving it about and screeching right back at the bird. Daughter #4 is laughing at me and I'm not sure who's crazier now, me or the bird.
3. I believe this is true:

"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart."  Corrie ten Boom

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Distracted But Ever Thankful

Posting over here today.

My Favorite Ride, Hug Your Loved Ones Today, Wisdom

It's pouring outside.

The pergola with Trumpet Vine extends from the porch, creating a shady bower. (I still need to plant something in those pots on the steps!)
 1. Sitting on the porch when it rains is like one of those amusement park rides that involves all of your senses The kind where you watch a huge screen and feel things touching your body. After this afternoon's rain storm is over, I walk back into the house and announce to whoever, that this is by far my absolute favorite thing about summer; sitting on the porch when it rains. Some people ride roller coasters over and over again. I ride the porch.
2. She is well aware of why I want to hug her the minute she arrives home from school today.
3. We discuss people who inspire us. Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, is someone we all admire. Her wisdom and forgiving spirit are beyond measure:

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."  Corrie Ten Boom

Monday, May 21, 2012

Swallowing the Blue, Where I Wait, Summer's Pleasures

1. Spectacular clouds loom up over the mountains. Dramatic billows of white cumulus stack up higher and higher casting shadows over the mountainside. By evening, they turn an angry gray and announce their onslaught with thunder.
2. Every Monday I drive to a pretty neighborhood situated behind Roanoke College and park for an hour while Tess has piano lessons. At the end of the dead-end street sits a heavily wooded area shared by the homes. Over a small creek, someone has built a sturdy walking bridge with beautiful railings crafted out of tree branches. It's a very attractive spot where I enjoy my hour of waiting.
3. Sitting on the porch and watching it rain.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solo, Watercolor, Very Cool Movie

1. Amidst the drone of cicadas, the voice of a lone toad warbles loudly just outside the back door. He performs his unique solo, then recedes back into the cool shadows.
1.a. Returning home this evening, a little toad sits on the path. Could this little guy be the same toad with the big voice earlier today?!
2. I like it better after I remove the frame from my $1 garage sale find.
3. Steve and I settle onto the sofa and watch the last of three Ip Man movies together this week.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Farm Long Ago, A Racket, On My Own

1. Remnants of an old farmstead endure on the property next door. Ancient cherry and apple trees line the lane with a tangle of Yuccas, Sweet Peas and wild Roses growing beneath. I stop under a cherry tree and eat a few before I head home. I imagine it was a beautiful farm at one time and I would like to have seen it back in its prime.
2. The cicadas stop scratching their nails on the chalkboard at dusk. Finally, peace and quiet! The gentle sound of crickets is music by comparison and I enjoy this while I read by lamp light on the porch.
3. The pulse of our home is bustling one day and empty the very next. Everyone has left and even those who reside here will be gone for the weekend. Husband is also out for the day. I'm a bit disconcerted, but only for a moment. This is my chance to do some fruitful work out in the garden.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

1. Daughter #4 continues to surprise us. We had no idea she could draw. (I must admit this is one downfall of home schooling. It's easy for a child's abilities to fall through the cracks if the parent doesn't provide the opportunity to explore all subjects.)
2. Granddaughter sees me and calls me by name. She has my heart, entirely.
3. Our small community's high school's assembly is a Norman Rockwell type affair. Red curtains part on a small stage, eager parents watch for their child's face, the tall awkward boy (one of only two in the choir) sings his solo beautifully, teachers introduce their students with pride and the students shyly accept their accolades.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Frontier Culture Museum

Baskets of wool beneath a window.

Airing the Bedding

Irish Farm

Window in Irish Farmhouse

American Farm 1820's

Garden of American Farm
Frowning baby runs from goats.
The Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia is comprised of several farm buildings and barns from England, Germany, Ireland, Africa and Early America. Each farm includes interpreters who speak about farm life of that particular period. Visitors are free to wander the grounds and lose themselves in history. We brought a picnic lunch and made an enjoyable day of it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Low Clouds, Foraging, Reaching Skyward

1. Heavy rain soaks the landscape. Water laden leaves weigh down branches and the plum trees now have a weeping silhouette.
2. A young rabbit browses under bushes while we spy on him from our parked car.
3. Striations on the bark show that the tree has twisted and turned as it grew. I imagine how it would look if it was filmed in time-lapse.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Brood I, A Gazillion Calories Per Spoonful, Well Said

1. The woods hum with a seventeen year cycle of cicadas. It's the talk of local nature lovers and bug haters alike. Eggs lie underground for seventeen years, all to emerge simultaneously- it's quite a marvel. The dozens of holes that pock- mark the ground beneath the trees where they hatch are fascinatingly creepy.
2. Cream of coconut. It's for a cake, but I have to eat some on a spoon.
3. Mari is here! She rehearsed our names with her mom during the four-hour drive. "Nonni" and "Pop" and all the aunts and uncles names, too.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Making a Comeback, New Mothers, Colorful Dish

 1. Asparagus flourishes where I had just dug it up two weeks ago. I thought I had eradicated the unsightly bed in order to plant something new so I'm impressed by its audacity. Now I have to decide who will win this prime real estate.
2. Newborn pony is cute as a button in his little, compact size.
3. I run my hand over the coat of another newborn foal. Despite his shaky legs and vulnerable look, I can feel strong, rippled muscles just beneath his downy fur.

Sprinkle asparagus with olive oil and coarse salt, roast for 10-15 minutes at 450°. Let cool for 10 minutes. 
Mix together 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar, 7 tablespoons olive oil, 1 garlic clove minced, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil and 1/4 tea. salt.
In another bowl, mix together 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper and 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes. Toss this with 1 tablespoon of the Balsamic vinegar dressing.
Arrange asparagus and avocado slices on a bed of lettuce. Top with tomato mixture and drizzle remaining Balsamic vinegar dressing over all.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friend Moon, A Milestone, Arriving Soon!

The kids took a midnight hike to Sharp Top last Saturday night to view the super moon from an awesome vantage. #4 played around with her camera's shutter speed and took some ghost-like photos.

1. Even though the moon is waning, it's half-light brightens my window shade during the night.
2. Daughter #2 graduated today! Six years in the making, she met a husband along the way, changed her course of study twice, or is it three times?, moved away and back again and now she is finished. I was a little teary-eyed during the ceremony, as I always get during such events. (It doesn't even have to be my kid and I will cry good tears.)
3. The photos that Daughter #1 shared of our granddaughter made me miss her even more. They'll come for a week long visit on Sunday and I can hardly wait.

New York and Back

1. About two hours north of here, the Blue Ridge Mountains loom up in the distance of Interstate 81. The mountains are heavily wooded and always appear a mossy blue/purple/green. Pretty clearings of farmland dot the slopes beneath. When we've reached this point in our drive, I know we've come home.
2. The best gift we can give our elderly family and friends is our company.
3. There was nowhere to fit mom's shrub other than on the front seat. The seat belt alarm sounded the entire three mile drive back to her house. I should have buckled it in.
4. Discussion for two days: Exactly how is it that our steak and peppers doesn't taste as good as Grandma's?
5. Daughter #2 is a good influence on my shopping habits. I suffer the curse of indecision and she forces me to make decisions on the spot and stay focused. "Rose bushes are off the trail, Mom."
6. Daughters #3 and 4 conducted themselves as adults while I was away. (Husband and SIL #2, not so much.)
7. Mom gave me my dad's D'jango Reinhardt record collection.
8. It's a sure thing that if my sister is at the table, there will be laughter.
9. If/when my mom sells 'our' house, I'm taking the back screen door.
10. Daughter #2 sends me this note. I believe it pertains to all moms and hospitable women in general.

“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” ~Tenneva Jordan

This is so you, Mom! ♥

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Off to visit Mom in the land of no internet service.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dregs of the Earth, Happy Little Things, Cats and Dogs

1. I put The Dixie Dregs on the turntable after dinner. It's upbeat, fun, instrumental rock. great for washing dishes and scrubbing counter tops.
2. The marigolds look like a child's crayon drawing: they're all lined up in a row in front of a picket fence with each individual flower sitting atop its stem.
3. It's raining buckets, coming down in a straight line. I'm watching from a comfortable chair on the porch. We wait all winter for days like this.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Colors, Hungry Guests, Left Behind

1. Marigolds are packaged with three different colors to a pack, yellow, orange and orange with red. I'm relieved they sell them this way because it was difficult to decide which color I preferred and now I can have them all.
2. The Purple Martins sweep and dive for insects this evening. They are old friends returned to the garden year after year and their dependable appearance makes me feel that all is right in the world.
3. He stops the mower to say there are lots of cicada shells at the back fence and she should come out with the fish eye lens on her camera and shoot some.
*The cicadas can be heard chirping, albeit weakly, these last few days. It's rather early to hear them and I wonder what this means.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pretty Color Combo, Everything and Everyone has Grown, Not Cooking ,

Another dramatic evening sky photographed and edited by Tess

 1. A bowl filled with chunks of golden pineapple mingled with dark purple grapes.
2.  Out of curiosity, I slid one of the home movies into the DVD player to see what it contained. 2005, all the girls still lived at home and the place was a beehive of activity. Henri stole a lot of scenes and the gardens have surely filled in! We had a good laugh at ourselves, then tucked the DVD away for another rainy evening.
3. It's much too hot for any dinner so, we wait until later and have a bowl of popcorn.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Most Romantic Flower, Special Delivery, Evening Sky

 1. The first peonies I've ever grown are in bloom! Steve brought me a bouquet of peonies from his grandmother's garden when our first daughter was born and I have admired them ever since. (Tess took about forty photos of this peony for me tonight.)

2. He arrived home from work with a load of cow compost in the pick-up. True love. Then he shoveled it out for me. More true love.

3. It was a pretty evening to work outside.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Whittling Down to Basics

Some days are all work. When I work outside in the heat, the things that are beautiful abide in the simplest forms:
1. A cool glass of water. I have a surge of renewed energy soon after I take water. It works miracles.
2. The smallest of breezes. Perspiring skin touched by a breeze is nature's air conditioning. I take my breaks in the alleyway between barns where the breeze funnels through.
3. A shower is pure luxury.
4. Kindness from the clientele. A couple of horses kick, one bites, but most are pure sweetness. My favorite is a beautiful Hackney stallion named Goldfinder. His ad for stud describes him as having "impeccable manners" and he does.