Monday, June 30, 2014

Where Do People Come Up With These Names?, That Was a Surprise, I'm Fine

1. Meet Loverboy. He's a pretty, mellow stallion who's staying with us for a short while. It's funny to hear Steve call for him. "Here Loverboy!" Every so often, I ask Steve to call him again. : )

He has the prettiest mane.

2. The sweet, piney smell of our discarded Christmas tree way out back.
3. I still have a mom who calls to see how I am.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

We want to hold on to the seductive delusion that our biggest problems in life exist outside us and not inside us. For this, there's grace.   Paul David Tripp

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Not Alone, Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?, Pressed Sandwich

1. Steve arrived home from his trip. There's nothing special going on and it's a boring afternoon, but he's around here somewhere and that makes all the difference.
2. That was a big turtle we helped cross the road today! I think it hissed at me.
3. New basil is ripening fast and we needed to use up the pesto in the freezer from last year. So, I made an Italian pressed sandwich for an easy dinner today.

Pressed Italian Sandwich

Slice open a loaf of Ciabatta. I spread the bottom with a hearty layer of pesto. Then layer your choice of about 1/2 pound of deli meats. (I used ham and salami.). Follow with a layer of cheese. (I used provolone.) Top with sliced roasted red peppers and fresh basil leaves, then drizzle a little olive oil on the cut side of the top bread. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place a cutting board on top and weight it with a heavy skillet, 2-liter bottle of soda, or some large cans. Refrigerate from an hour to overnight. Slice and serve.
Photo courtesy of

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Needs A Home, Retreat, Hungry?

1. One of W.'s clients ordered four hundred begonias to be planted in his gardens. Can you imagine?! W. gave me nine that were left over. They're brilliant. I have no idea where to plant them, but they're so pretty that I just have to use them.
2. You would think sitting on the porch mornings and evenings would get redundant, but it doesn't. Every day is different, each with its own thoughts. That's why the porch will always be welcome to me. I can think things through out there.
3. Tess' friend, Ian had dinner with us. I was overjoyed because he helped us raid the refrigerator of all the leftovers: hamburgers, hot dogs, potato pies, spinach fettucini alfredo, plus some cherry tomatoes from the garden. We made a good meal of it and now I can clean the fridge : )

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Left Behind, Stronger, Lighting the Night

1. There are places where farms and homesteads have gone to dust but their shrubs or flowers continue on. In the middle of nothing there might be an old-fashioned white lilac, a forsythia, or a rambling rose, all gone wild.
2. The doe and fawn frequent our property each day. He's running circles around his mom now.
3. One of my favorite rights of summer is to hang patio lights from the Trumpet Vine pergola. They look like bubbles floating under the vine by day and by night they look like magic.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Everything From Tropical to Practical, How Many Do I Need?, The Perspective from the Porch

1. Tess and I had fun browsing the garden shop at Southern States. Our conversation was mainly, "Oh, look at this!". They still have a lot of plant varieties for this late in the season.
1a. My vision has been to plant a small fruit orchard on the hill. Deer or no deer, I think I'll do it.
2. Neighbors K. and W. phoned to check my order for their nursery run to North Carolina. I'm super excited to wrap up two projects for the garden. Hint: One involves Gardenias and the other, Viburnums. Can't wait!
3. Friends R. and L. came by to visit with us on the porch this evening. We discussed both the serious and the silly, which offers a good balance on life in general.
4. Three-year-old Mari looked at Steve's teen photo and asked her mom, "Is that Pop when he was a little girl?"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Serving Up, Pouring Down, Tonight's Feature...

1. Certain bowls are destined to serve certain things. For example, never ever would I put potato chips in this bowl. It would be all wrong. The nectarines are perfect here. I imagine blueberries would be pretty, too.
2. The downpour came just when I had some outdoor chores that couldn't wait. I took shelter in B.'s barn during the lightning part, but otherwise I carried on in the rain. Summer rain feels wonderfully good to play in when you make up your mind to go simply go with it.
3. The deer gather in our field at dusk. Fireflies sparkle all around them. A doe and her fawn are among the group. The fawn is newly born and can barely stand. It stays mostly beneath its mother until she tenderly nudges it with her nose to push it along. My vantage point is about twenty yards away and I'm glued to this entrancing scene.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bliss, A Date, 1978

1. I worked in the garden all morning. It was pure bliss. I like weeding because: a. The puller is in control. b. The results are immediate. c. Order is restored.
1a. We had a downpour and soaking rain last night and the weeds came right up.
2. We attempted to go to a movie last night, but that downpour washed out a portion of road so we had to turn around and come home. We tried again tonight and made it. We drove to the little Buchanan Theater. For $17 we got two movie tickets, two boxes of popcorn, and a can of soda. A volunteer handed us free leftover boxes of popcorn as we were leaving.
3. Chelsea rummaged through old photos at her Nana's house last week. She found one of Steve that she asked to keep. I have it propped on the computer until she comes home to retrieve it. I like it because this is his face when he's laughing hard.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Coming Home, Being Away, What I Spent All My Money On

1. Getting back in the Virginia groove. Southern accents, Kroger, the dentist, and a drive to Daughter #3's in Vinton. That should do it.
2. It takes an army of friends, neighbors and the post office to enable us to get away. Thanks to K. for watering, B. for dog-sitting, and the USPS for holding all our junk mail.
3. Bagels, bagels, and more bagels. Bagels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bagels to daughter, neighbor and friend. Bagels in the freezer. : )

*This trip left me a little more melancholy than usual, but I still have wonderful, beautiful things to remember. I bit of an explanation over HERE

A Full House, Mother and Child, More Goodbyes

1. There's no point in taking the camera back home anymore. I can't capture what I feel compelled to capture. It's ghosts and memories and they won't be held to film, digital or otherwise. They prefer to knock around in my head and in my heart.
2. My mother dozed in the chair and I watched her sleep. I consider the fresh stitches that close a large gash in her forehead and the injuries worthy of a prizefighter that cover her face. Like a sleeping child who is all stubbornness and strong will by day and an angel by sleep at night, this is how it is. Don't all mothers cover their children with prayers when they sleep at night?
3. I drove Chelsea back to the trail head. The back roads through Massachusetts were beautiful and I hated for the drive to end. We both feel drawn back home to New England and we voiced our wishful thoughts. Anything fits the realm of possibility. Unlikely perhaps, but always possible. One can always wish...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

No Summer School for Me!, Hurry Up and Sit, Getting There

1. It's the last day of school! For every school child who sits and stares out the classroom window daydreaming, today is your day.
2. The garden is growing, the grandchildren are growing, the weeds are's time to sit still and take it all in before it speeds by. It's time to visit with family, sip on something icy cold, and just be still.
3. Today is the day when three of us are driving, one of us is flying and one of us is walking to get there. Be back soon!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Moving Day! Raleigh's Old Homes, There You Are!

1. Summer begins at a frenetic pace. This weekend we helped Daughter #1 and her family just a little bit. They're moving into a bigger house to accommodate their growing family.
1a. Mari's sweet smile when she opened her cupcake with sprinkles on top.
1b. On the second day, Jack made me understand that he wanted to me to walk with him. It was the first time that he initiated an interaction between us. Note to self: I need to see the grandchildren more often!

2. The route from the old house to the new house took us straight through the city of Raleigh a couple of times. I enjoyed this route much better than the highway route. It's a nice city and I especially liked the older neighborhoods we drove through.
3. Finding Henri after he ran off and I thought him lost forever. (I still had a bad dream tonight that he was lost.)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

They're Nuts, In My Opinion..., Summer Nights

1. Those crazy honeysuckle vines make me laugh and smile. They grow on roadway signs like topiary; they cover entire banks and scramble up telephone wires. They have gone plumb crazy this year.
2. I'm sitting for a friend's two boys tonight, ages six and eight. It's mostly about me trying to extract conversation from them while they play video games. Apparently the eight-year-old felt comfortable enough to share with me that he thought the Family Life class at school was "disgusting". And that was all he had to say about that.
3. It's such a beautiful, cool, yet mild evening. I love life without jackets, gloves, boots and scarves right now.
3a. The fireflies are also amazing this year! Someone tossed sparkles across the fields and they rise and fall from the ground up to the sky, everywhere!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Early Riser, Horridly Great, Harold and the Purple Cauliflower

1. When I opened the porch door right about 5:00AM, a Whippoorwill was singing his solitary song. I was surprised by how loud and strong he sang. It sounded exactly as in this recording.
2. OK, I watched a very depressing movie, but I'm still floored by the outstanding acting in, August: Osage County. It's difficult to take a movie portraying a highly dysfunctional family (and I do not use that word lightly with this film) and say you "enjoyed" it. All of it's ugliness and ruin became very real through these actors.
3. Neighbor W. met me halfway across the field with a bag of fresh vegetables from the farm stand. Along with a cabbage, broccoli, and squash, there was a purple cauliflower in there. It's so pretty and such a deep purple that Tess jokingly suggested that it might turn our tongues purple when we eat it. Purple comes in many shades and this is the shade of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Hmm, now to search for recipe ideas...

photo courtesy of:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cuteness is in the Eye of the Beholder, Grandma Stuff, Where the Food is Really Good

1. Sometimes we can't just leave well enough alone. Steve started it.

Random doggie photo edited by Daughter #4 in 2007 as an example of cuteness. Steve found it and emailed it to daughter #3 tonight. She responded with...

... her dog, Bella. Oh my.
2. All of my joy is arriving via the computer tonight. Daughter #1 posted a video of toddler-Jack helping with the renovations and making electric saw noises.
3. Daughter #2 sent photos of food that she was eating...from New York City. A cannoli!! A falafel!! She knows me well. Oh my goodness, I need a cannoli very, very badly.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Do Wild Strawberries Even Grow Anymore?, Just Passing Through, Meadowlark

1. It's June first and the feel of the sun reminds me of wild strawberries, ripening in a field. It reminds me of children who have nothing but free time stretching endlessly before them. They crawl on hands and knees, parting grass and leaves to hunt the pea-sized gems. The warm sun lets off the scent of sweet berries and the children search with noses as well as eyes. Only when every ripe berry is hunted do they run home, excited to show mother their containers of found treasure.
2. We have a picture window in the kitchen where I can look out into the yard while I cook. Today, a young bear filled the view, right off the patio! We've had multiple bear visits over the years and this is the third one that's arrived during the lunch hour. I wonder if our property occupies some ancient migratory path for the bears. Each one I've seen passing through was going east to west.
3. A meadowlark sings a solitary song out the open window while I prepare dinner. I can't help but think how lonely and barren the winter was compared to this feast of song to our ears and green to our eyes in summer. Listen to his song HERE.