Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Munching in the Garden!

The exciting news is that the hydrangeas I planted last fall are blooming! I had a friend visit today and we did a photo shoot in the yard. She is giving me some pointers on Lightroom and here are the results. I am so used to finishing my photos in PhotoShop Elements that I'm having to push myself to use Lightroom. It requires more thinking!

Something has been eating my flowers, both the blooms and the leaves. I saw some shinny trails that I recognized as slug trails. So every evening I go out and put out my little cans of slug bait. Little swimming pools for them! Since I didn't want to sacrifice my good beer, I made a mixture of warm water, yeast and sugar. Works great. The slugs can't wait to crawl in and drown.

As I was putting out the slug pools tonight, in the dark, with my flashlight, I discovered what else is MUNCHING my plants. There were earwigs and beetles on the daisy blooms and the zinnias. So I picked them all off and crushed them. In the morning I will empty the slug pools and squish any slugs still alive. I sound blood thirsty, don't I? But I don't like seeing holes in the plants leaves and half eaten flowers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I think I'm in love!

My first ever rose bush has its first bloom! I've been like a new mother, checking it every day for aphids and spraying it if I see even one. As you can see, it is gorgeous! Here it is from a bud to a full blown flower. And as a bonus - it smells good. I take full credit!

Don't you love the color?

It was raining today as I took these photos. I always knew I could grow roses! I am just sooooooo proud!

My rose is "Tropicana." The label says "Very fragrant, coral-orange, flowers bloom above glossy, dark green foliage. Hybrid Tea Rose." I planted it this spring (early May) as a bare root plant.

Join Mary at Little Red house for Mosaic Monday and see what everyone is up to.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fall into Color

Doesn't this picture make you want to jump right into the center of this lily? Imagine being the size of Thumbelina and sitting on a petal and drinking from a raindrop. Oh the pure color of it!

Join Little Red House for Mosaic Monday and see the wonderful mosaics everyone has made.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Still Raining!

My neighbors keep saying this weather is "unusual for Connecticut." They said the same thing about the snowy winter.  I suppose Autumn will be "unusual" too. I would love to see some sunshine! But the flowers are thriving in the rain - except for the pansies which look drowned. Here are pictures of wet flowers in my garden. I am so pleased to have some blooms to show you.

Mr. B surprised me. He was waiting in the car while I did an errand in Home Depot. When I returned to the car, the back was full of flowers. He had bought two large pots of yellow yarrow, one of my favorite flowers! So today when we went to Hockanums Greenhouse  near Storrs, to give them flower pots to reuse, I bought him a butterfly weed plant, his favorite. For Father's Day I gave him a yellow begonia.

This is a gerba daisy that Mr. B bought for me at the grocery store in February. It graced our dining room table until the blooms were gone then moved to a table in the living room in front of the large windows. This spring I planted it outdoors. It rewarded me with three blooms and two more coming. Do you suppose I can pot it this fall and winter it indoors? Don't you just love the color?

Given the choice, I would rather spend money on buying a plant than eating out. But today I was lucky and got both - lunch out and a pot of "snow in summer"! I can't go to a place that sells plants and not buy something! I just can't!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day Outing

We enjoyed a Father's Day outing to Captain Scott's Lobster Dock in New London. The weather was perfect - not too hot - and a few hundred other people had the same idea. But with Mr. B wanting lobster, we stood in line. An hour later we had our food. The children were treating us. After whole belly fried clams for me and a hot lobster roll for Mr. B (both delicious) we finished with an ice cream cone. Blueberry for Mr. B and toasted coconut for me. I loved the coconut!

It was outdoor seating and there was a pavillion where you could get out of the sun. We enjoyed watching the gull on the piling (no, he wasn't giant sized), and looking at the boats. It was a perfect afternoon. Since there were six of us and our cars only carry five, we took two cars. The children drove and all we had to do was enjoy the scenery while they followed the Google Map directions I had printed. It was a perfect day! I hope your Father's Day was just as nice.

Join me with a visit to Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Raindrops on Flowers

After a sunny and hot spell, we have gone into a period of rain. The transition was marked by severe thunderstorms and devastating tornadoes an hour north of us. I find it difficult to garden in the hot, humid weather - one of the reasons we left Virginia. The rain has been good for all my fresh plantings. On the downside, the mosquitoes are thriving. It is cooler now and good gardening weather, but still rainy.

This lily is one of a group I started indoors in February. When it warmed up, I took the lilies outdoors everyday for a little sunshine. See my post "Sun Bath for Plants." It is nice to be rewarded for all that work with these lovely blooms.

Join Mary at Little Red House for more photo collages on Mosaic Monday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Working Indoors on a Rainy Day

Go to Little Red House and see the other photo collages on Mosaic Monday.

Yes, it's raining again. Raining buckets actually. But between the downpours I was able to garden two days. Enough to make me relish a few hours in my recliner with the heated pad for my aching back. So today I can enjoy some Studio Time!

The Windham Regional Arts Council is having a members' show in June and the entry deadline is Saturday. Being a new member I didn't realize this was coming up until I received the notice a week ago. Can I have some good things ready in time? One moment I say "yes," next moment I say "no." I don't want to embarrass myself with my entries. What to do? This is not a jurried show but all members can exhibit. That means I have no check on my entries.

I have been working on my "Organic Crochet," for lack of a better description. In trying to finish old projects I found two of these balls and decided to enhance them and add a third. Looking at these now, I realize that creating these years ago started me on my crochet and fabric sculpture path. This led to other creations and my tiny fabric brooches.

The picture below is one of a set of three Organic Crochet Balls. You can see all three on the worktable above and close up on the top right in the collage.

Mr. B and I went with friends to the Chihuly Exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I was struck by how the shapes I am using on these Organic Crochets are similar to the shapes he uses in his glass sculptures. This photo taken from the internet of a different exhibit.

I'll take the week to get some photos ready for the show and decide about the crochet.

Devastating news today about the tornado in Joplin, Missouri. Those people didn't have a chance. It makes our many days of rain such a minor inconvenience by comparison.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Garden - A Work In Progress!

No long list here of what is blooming in my garden. I'm creating a garden. Even though we bought a 45 year old house (with our daughter and son-in-law) there are only foundation plantings. No yard full of daffodils; No perennial beds; No rosebushes.

We do have azaleas and rhododendrons that are so overgrown they reach to the roof. When they finish blooming there will be some serious pruning going on. The downpours this week are really beating up the azaleas.

These sticks are three lilac bushes. Will they bloom next year?

Two of the lilacs are pink and the center one is purple. Won't that be beautiful?

In future posts I'll share more of the beginnings of this garden. The Windham Garden Club (Connecticut) is having a plant sale on Saturday. You can bet I'll be there! Members are dividing perennials and selling them along with donations from greenhouses. I am a member but have nothing to share yet. If the garden grows well, next year I can share bee balm, silver mound artemisia, Shasta daisies and more.

I'm joining The Little Round Table for "This Week in the Garden." You have to see the beautiful roses!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wet Spring Green

Wet was the word for today. We had several downpours. The puddles had bubbles in them just like I remember the puddles from my childhood in Georgia. I managed to get out when it was only sprinkling and enjoy the wet greeness of everything. The moss was plump and soft. The ferns were brilliant.

These little blue flowers didn't mind the rain. Look at their soft "bed." Does anyone know the name of these flowers?

Join the Mosaic Monday party at Little Red House and see all the lovely collages.

Homemade Pie Crust

I'm not much of a pie maker but Mr. B really loves pie. Give me a cake any day. But in my efforts to please Mr. B I decided to make a pie crust. I used to make the kind that came in a box and you mixed it. Then I found the Pillsbury pre-made refrigerated crust to be excellent and easy. Our pantry has been overflowing since we shop the "buy one get one free specials" or the "ten cans for ten dollars" bargains or buy the cases of cans at BJ's. In my effort to eat from the pantry I found a can of pumpkin pie filling left over from Thanksgiving. You-know-who LOVES pumpkin pie. Not a favorite of mine so I am not tempted to eat it. There was no ready made crust in the refrigerator but I thought, "I can do this."

Cooks.com gave me this recipe by Julia Childs for a crust made in the Cuisinart.


1 3/4 c. flour
1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter, cut up
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt

Blend flour, butter, oil and salt in Cuisinart until crumbly. Add 1/4 cup of cold water and continue blending until ball forms. Makes dough for a double crust pie or 2 single crusts.

It sounded easy enough. It really did form a ball which I halved and rolled out on a large cutting board. Rolling a circle is not easy, but that done, I draped it over the rolling pin and transferred it to the pie plate. The second crust I rolled out and put it in the pie plate and refrigerated it for another day.

Here is my crust. I'm not an expert on the pinching to make it pretty but this is not bad.

Here is the finished product. I was so proud of myself! Mr. B loved it! I have to say the crust is not as tasty as the Pillsbury kind. Maybe I should try one made with Crisco. Any suggestions for a flaky crust recipe?

Paws was very interested. Maybe I should make him one filled with tuna fish or chicken!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Nesting Time in the Park

In my last post about Gay City Park I promised more photos so here they are. Mr. B and I sat at a picnic table to gaze out at the water. There was a small island with a goose on it. He was motionless. As I was taking his picture I saw another goose. It was the female getting out of the nest. And there were four little ones at her feet! Papa goose never wavered from his job of sentinel.

Underneath are other photos I took in the park - the creek through the skunk cabbages, ferns unfurling, and a small waterfall. Even a small waterfall sounds good as it gurgles. Mr. B and I returned to the park another day planning to watch the geese and have a picnic. But we couldn't see any geese and a cold wind and then rain drove us back to the car. We ate our pimento cheese sandwiches in the car but there was a lovely view of the woods and blooming trees.

Stop by Little Red House and see the other collages on Mosaic Monday.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gay City State Park

 I've had the opportunity to choose my Mothers' Day gift. Even though we moved into a forty-five year old house, there are no perennial flower beds, just foundations plantings of azaleas, rhododendrons and junipers. I am eager to start some flower beds and have four, 4x4 cedar raised beds ready to go. My gift is a load of mulch and a load of mixed compost and topsoil. Oh, happy gardening-days-to-come. You may think that is like getting a washing machine for Christmas, but I assure you, this gift will make me very happy. Throw in a little fertilizer and I am a contented woman. Thanks to my daughter and son-in-law for this lovely gift!

On the way home from the landscaping place, we decided to check out Gay City State Park. What a find! Water, wildlife, serenity and place to sit and enjoy it all. It was a warm sunny day. While the "kids" went to explore the dam,  Mr. B sat and turned his face to the sun, and I wandered down a path with my camera and monopod, feeling quite like a professional photographer. That is until I was almost run over by a dog on a leash that seemed to be pulling a man on a bike. After I recovered and quite was restored, this squirrel came through the woods and stopped to rest.

 In this close up you can see the dirt on his nose. Don't you think he had just dug up the nut?

There were wet areas along the creek and they were full of skunk cabbage. Reading about skunk cabbage, I learned the plant can generate heat which allows it to push its way up through the frozen earth.  Next spring I'm going to start looking for it earlier so I can see the bloom which is inside the spathe, the first part to push up.

Don't you love the way the leaves look with the sun shining through them? I like to look up close and see the details like the veins in the leaves.

Gay City State Park is in Hebron, Connecticut. According to Wikipedia it includes the remnants of an 18th century mill town which was named after the Gay family, who made up a large part of its residents. The Blackledge River flows through the park and there is a dammed pond. The extensive trail system links to other parks.

In my next post I will show you more pictures taken in the park.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Azaleas

Deanna of "My Loves, My Life" expressed amazement that an azalea bush would be twelve feet high. All you southerners know they get that tall and even taller. But I didn't expect to find such a tall azalea in Connecticut. Here it is as seen from the window of my former dining room, now studio.

Here is the same azalea as seen from the path to the back porch.

These bushes are near our lake house in Virginia. They are six to eight feet tall.

If you want to see amazing azaleas you should go to the deep south in March. Nothing can rival the beauty of azalea time in Savannah, Georgia. I'm from near there and I can tell you that every yard has azalea bushes, many of them huge!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Azaleas in Virginia

Mr. B and I left Connecticut in a cold rain and headed to Virginia. We took turns driving through heavy rain and fog. In Harrisburg, PA it was Mr, B's turn to drive and my turn to nap. I woke up outside Chambersburg, PA in a different world. Blue skies, warm sunshine and the middle of spring. It was lovely! Dogwoods, redbuds and azaleas were in full bloom! Here are some of the azaleas I enjoyed in Virginia. The butterfly on the flower in the collage was taken in the yard of our Virginia house.

I took the hammock south with us and the night we arrived it was up and I was in it! It was a warm, breezy evening and I could hear the night sounds. Believe me, that hammock was well used during the time we were there. Oh, so nice to have some Porch Days!

We met with the realtor and our lake cottage in the woods is for sale.

Visit Mosaic Monday and see all the lovely mosaics.