Thursday, July 30, 2009


I'm hooked on SUNSHINE!

I took this picture in my front yard yesterday. After a day of rain I had to get out of the house for this moment of sunshine. It was still raining but I couldn't see a rainbow. Don't we all respond to sunshine? You feel your spirits lift when you wake up and see that the sun is shinning.

I'm participating in Julia's Hooked on Houses Friday Blog Party. Please leave a comment so I know you were here! Do you like sunshine?

Watch the sun rise and set all over the world on this real-time, computer-generated illustration of the earth's patterns of sunlight and darkness. Click on the picture for a full screen view.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Life and all that

While taking my new computer for a spin today, I discovered this blog - pjsallday. While my children are all grown now, what I used to do to make learning fun for them is very similar to what these three home schooling Moms are doing. They have started a business selling the educational books they create called Trigger Memory System. So check out their blog which is full of ideas. Tell them I sent you from Porch Days.

On the home scene, I returned from the New England trip feeling under the weather. My caring hubby was up early to make an appointment for me with the doctor (a scary thing when you have no health insurance). Please, all of you contact your senators and representatives and tell them we need a public option for insurance. One's health insurance should not equal the cost of one's mortgage!

The actor son, Kevin, has recovered from the flu and is going back to work at the Old Globe Theater, the Lowell Davies Festival, tonight. See the outdoor stage. He has roles in three plays, Cyrano De Bergerac, Coriolanus, and Twelfth Night. Here is a review of Twelfth Night in which Kevin plays Sebastian, the boy twin. My daughter, her husband and I have reservations to see him in all three plays later in August. I am very excited!! My hubby will hold down the fort at home.

Twelfth 6: (L-R) Kevin Hoffmann as “Sebastian,” Katie MacNichol as “Olivia” and Dana Green as “Olivia/Cesario” in The Old Globe’s Summer Shakespeare Festival production of Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, directed by Paul Mullins, playing in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre June 13 – September 27 in nightly rotation with Cyrano de Bergerac and Coriolanus; photo by Craig Schwartz.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Computer Death

Well, it finally happened. My six year old hand-me-down Mac laptop died! Just went black and that was it! Scary! I took it to be diagnosed in case it was only the power cord but no. Probably the logic board they said. Not worth replacing in a six year old computer. I was feeling lost without it.

My sweet, concerned husband insisted I buy a new laptop while we were at the store. I was keeping a stiff upper lip and said we couldn't possibly afford it and I would feel guilty spending so much money. He insisted. What a guy! Maybe I shouldn't mention that if I didn't replace the laptop I would be sharing the desktop computer with hubby and his ballgames.

So I have a new 15 inch MacBook Pro laptop. We were leaving for Maine the next day and I didn't even have time to turn it on!!! We arrived in Connecticut and No. 1 son-in-law helped me set up some programs and system preferences. Now I'm home and ready to get cracking! I have to figure out file sharing to move over photos and music. My sons and son-in-law will be getting some "help me" phone calls.

Always something to worry about.
The actor son has the swine flu and we came home to a sick cat - Paws. Here is Paws in a
non-sick napping moment on the back of my recliner. I put him on the recliner tonight and sat with him for a while. If he is not better tomorrow we go to the vet.

Hopefully I will have some Maine photos posted soon. Shopping on Commercial Street in Portland was fun and eating seafood was fantastic. We also went to see Portland Head Lighthouse.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Flower Planters

Don't you love planters and containers? They are the perfect way to highlight a few plants. They can also be rotated. If you have a low light situation where you want a plant, rotate the plant with one on your porch every few days. That way your dark spot is filled with no harm to the plant. This is a begonia in a basket. Easy to move wherever you need a touch of color.

Downtown Mercersburg, PA is the location of this planter. This coleus is perfect for this shady spot.

My former neighbor Joan is a genius with containers. This is a picture of her back porch.

This planter is sitting on the path in my garden in Pennsylvania. Marigolds and star zinnias combine for a great look in an old coal bucket.
I'm hooked on planters. Check on the Friday blog party at Hooked on Houses.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Special Pet Photo

This is my pet photo for the Week 27 photo challenge
@, the photography blog.

My cat Paws asleep on the back of my recliner. He curls around my head, puts his paws on my shoulders and wraps his tail around my neck. He loves it when I rock and doesn't even mind when I recline. He just hangs on and purrs!

Pedicure sandals!

My new Maryland Square shoe catalog arrived. While I was going through it to find the few shoes that would fit me (very few come in a AAAA width) I found these pedicure shoes. Amazing aren't they? Just the thing to wear while you paint your toenails! With black dots on white, you wouldn't loose these easily.

This is how they are described in the catalog -
Pedi Couture Women's Pedic Sandal
Cushy foam toe separators
Enjoy smudge-free, effortless pedicures
Color coordinating mesh bag
Great for yoga sessions
$24.95 a pair

Looks like a fun gift! Going to put it on your wish list?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Craft Room

I'm hooked on having a craft room! Join the Hooked on Houses Friday Blog party and post about one of your favorite things. These pictures are from my craft room. It is wonderful to have a place to work where I don't have to put it all away every time. I am rather undisciplined and I like to work on several projects at once. This shelf unit is great because it is so deep and sturdy. Stacks of fabric really need more than a twelve inch deep shelf.
Here is my Fabric Fairy guarding my fabric collection. I love to buy fabric and just look at it and I swear that one day I will use it all! I am inspired by seeing all my materials so I l keep them out in the open.
I like to group my fabrics loosely by color. The basket is full of ribbons and netting.
Just like you can never have enough fabric (and craft supplies in general) you can certainly never have enough thread. Even with several drawers like this, sometimes I don't have the right color!

Do you have a craft room? Even a shelf unit in a corner of the dining room or bedroom is a good start. It is easier to work when your materials are all in one place.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Is he the one?

Is this my "pot digger" and "flower destroyer?" See my post with pictures of the pots. It started innocently enough. We decided to add a suet cage on the deck pole that holds our "squirrel buster" bird feeder. That was going well and we had three different types of woodpecker couples plus cardinals, nuthatches and others. After seeing bluebirds (!) in the yard we added the tray feeder for special bluebird food and meal worms. Then this raccoon decided to join the free lunch party and bring all his friends and relatives. At the same time, the squirrels found they could reach the suet and the tray feeder. With the four-legged critters pigging out the birds never got a turn!

It takes a lot to scare away the raccoons and squirrels. If I run out hollering and stamping my feet they will do a dive off the deck and outsmart me by going just far enough that they are eating again by the time I sit down! They are so cute and fun to watch but we had to stop putting out the suet and filling the tray feeder. And if my flowers are dug up again they better watch out! We have threatened to electrify the pole to give them a mild shock but we haven't a clue how to go about it. Just as well. We would probably only shock ourselves!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Historic Garden

More photos from the duPont enclosed garden at Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison in Orange, Virginia.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 4th

This flag was at the end of a driveway when I took my walk this evening. I'll be watching fireworks from the dock across the street as they burst over the lake. Have a happy July fourth and stay safe.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hooked on Historic Properties

I love history, historic houses and gardens. So a visit to Montpelier was perfect for Julia's Hooked on Fridays, blog party. I admit I have lived not far from Montpelier in Orange, VA., home of James and Dolley Madison, for four years and had not been there - until today! Sometimes inertia takes over and I need a real push to get out and do something. Luckily my friend, who used to work there, agreed to go with me and share her knowledge.

James Madison's grandfather, Ambrose, acquired the land in partnership with his brother-in-law, Tomas Chew, in 1723 and moved his family there in 1732. Six months later Ambrose was dead, poisoned it was thought by three slaves. His wife Frances managed the estate and eventually was assisted by her only son, James, later known as Colonel Madison.

Colonel Madison's son, also James, grew up at Montpelier and it was there in the second floor library that he wrote the Constitution of the United States. James married Dolley and became the fourth president of the United States. He and Dolley eventually retired to Montpelier and both are buried on the property. For pictures of the house and detailed information go to the official site of the Montpelier Foundation.
This is the view from the terrace looking west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Madison property was bought by the duPonts in 1901 and extensively enlarged. Annie duPont turned the vegetable garden into a two acre walled formal garden.
The walled garden is surrounded by a brick wall and has brick and gravel paths. When I was there today it was abuzz with bumble bees and butterfiles seemed to be everywhere!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vacation in Nova Scotia

For years we have been going to Nova Scotia to visit family. This is last summer's trip to the Annapolis Valley and the Bay of Fundy. We like to eat lobster at Halls Harbour Lobster Pound. See the red umbrellas in the picture? That is where you sit by the water and eat while watching the boats. When the tide goes out in the Bay of Fundy (the highest tides in the world) the boats are left high and dry.
This tree is growing out of a cliff on the beach. It is difficult to walk along the beach as it is all round rocks. Where there is sand it is very red/orange like the soil.
Nice window box at the lobster pound!
This is the Wolfville town Library. Wolfville is home to Acadia University. A great restaurant in town is the Blomidon Inn which is a lovely Victorian building. Just a few miles down the road is Grand Pre National Historic Site where the Acadian settlers were forcibly removed by the English. The story was later immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his his epic poem Evageline.

The Wolfville Farmers Market is a lively place on Saturday mornings in the parking lot in front of the library. It is full of locally grown produce, crafts, flowers, meat, eggs, baked goods and coffee. They even grill locally produced sausages and I can tell you they are delicious! If you go, plan to have breakfast or lunch there - or both!
These are cherries grown in the Annapolis Valley. Aren't they gorgeous?
Here is a view of some of the vendors at the Wolfville Farmers Market.
I highly recommend a trip to Nova Scotia. The people are friendly and the pace is slower. It's like going back in time about twenty-five years.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Help! Advice for a discouraged gardner?

It stared with a severe thunderstorm Friday night that turned into marble sized hail.The plants didn't seem to be suffering too badly and I couldn't move them all. So I left them in place.
Next morning this is the sight that greeted me. Every planter had been dug up! It wasn't enough to fight the bugs and slugs but now some four footed critter is doing severe damage!
Remember those lovely begonias? This is the same plant.

I've had squirrels dig up a plant every now and then but nothing like this! I suspect raccoons. But why would they do this? What are they looking for? They have been emptying my little cans full of beer that I put out for the slugs. They have developed a taste for slugs marinated in beer. It was getting expensive to buy that much beer so I switched to water with sugar and yeast. So if it was raccoons, they weren't drunk!

I have heard mothballs to discourage squirrels and moles but what can I do here? Both the squirrels and raccoons have been pests about eating our bird suet. Many days we give up and bring it in. The raccoons will even come during the day. Of course we bring all the bird food in at night. Last night we forgot the squirrel-buster seed feeder and found it off the hook and on the ground! Maybe I should borrow a dog and tie him near the flower pots for a few nights. Tonight I am leaving the back light on.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hooked on Painting/Collage

I'm hooked on painting and collage, something I have always wanted to try. I just finally said, "Now is the time!" After seeing a painting I liked on exhibit, I checked out a book about painting with acrylics. I bought five tubes of paint (primary colors of red, blue, yellow + white + black. Thought I could mix all the colors but learned it is difficult to mix a good brown. So here are the results after spending hours painting and repainting. It was great fun and I definitely plan to paint some more. The best thing is if
you don't like the results - just paint over it! On the right is my tubes of paint, brushes and palette knife. The second picture is my makeshift palette of aluminum foil. It worked great. I discovered you can buy art supplies- BASICS ACRYLICS SET/6 4 oz-
from Amazon. This will save me the one hour drive to town!

Here is my first effort "Flight." It is 20 x 16. Materials are acrylic paint, onion bag, thread, newspaper, ribbon, buttons, dryer sheets.

This is a closeup of "Flight." You can see the buttons, netting, textured areas done with used dryer sheets.

This is "Browns" 20 x 16. Acrylic paint, netting, threads, used dryer sheets, newspaper, and wool roving.

Detail of "Browns." You can see newspaper, thread, netting and the wool roving in the top left corner.
If you have any advice for me, please leave a comment!