And, Speaking of my Flowers…..

I thought I would venture out this afternoon to have a little look at my gardens.  They are looking a bit neglected although I did some heavy duty “removing”  earlier this week!

When I plant flowers, I tend to kind of  ignore the “planting suggestions” and snuggle things in a bit too tightly! Oops! I planted some Columbines in the garden in front of the house, totally oblivious to the fact that they might be an honorable contender in the “wewillovercometheworld” category!  My goodness, those cute little bright pink and white flowers soon were located from one end of the garden clean across to the other!

The good news is that because the mums were planted there first, they grew even stronger, taller, and bushier to take their place over the columbines.  So,  I yanked out a bunch of columbines so the mums would have plenty of breathing space. 

The bad news is that whilst I was excited to see this two-way race,  I didn’t realize that the columbines had overwhelmed m poor little hydrangea and it is looking very forlorn and as though it needs some prayers!  I am so saddened by this, as last year,  I nurtured that little bush until it rewarded me with a big blue bloom!  This year, it is lying on the ground and looks like it just isn’t going to pull through.  Ugh.  I love that bush and cannot understand why it would die.  I have even been faithful to feed it with Miracid every two weeks as prescribed on the box.

Making our way to the other end of the porch, we see three Butterfly Bushes. These bushes have never done well for me.  I planted them probably some six or seven years ago, and they just grow into stringly, gangly bushes.  Well, take a gander at this……

butterfly bush on steroids.small

This one bush shot up to over six feet tall.  Well,  maybe five or six branches did.  The “flower” on one of the super tall branches is SIXTEEN inches long!  Yes, I had to bring my yardstick ut to measure it, as I was sure it was nearly eighteen inches long.  It is the strangest looking thing!  Well, at least the purple flowers are very attractive, although not fully “blossomed”.

Below, is a more “conservative” flower, which is “normal” for this bush, measuring about six inches long.

normal flower.small

My little rose bush was nearly hidden by those out-of-control columbines.  Within the past couple of days, (since my severe weeding!)  the bush has set so many more little buds!

the ever faithful miniature rose bush.small

Coming up onto the porch,  I just have to show my pride and joy! Well, not literally, but I was so happy that I was able to keep this geranium over last winter and we are enjoying its seemingly endless flowers!  The red is such a happy color!

geraniums from last year.small

Last, but not least is the flowering pot I bought at Sam’s Club last month.  These Reiger Begonias and ivy are just so stunning sitting on the glass-topped table!  When the setting sun shines on them, they look illuminated and are just so spectacular!

gorgeous reiger begonias and ivy.small

The two feathers in the center of the flowers did not cme with the flowers!  When Mark and I were driving our ATV’s through the woods last week, we came upon these two beautiful turkey feathers.  I just had to stop my machine and grab them. 

We have so many outdoor projects that need to be done and it seems like finding the time to do them is nearly impossible.   I would love to have a little area with a fountain and “reading area”,  but until we do our final grading, those plans are on hold.  I love gardens, but it just seems like mine are so minimal right now.

So many ideas…..so little time!

But it Looked *SO* Delicious!

 While we were visiting my parents on Sunday,  my mother opened up a big, juicy, nearly blood red watermelon to seve for dessert.  Normally,  I am not the least bit tempted to eat watermelon, as it and its cousin (cucumbers) both cause my stomach to revolt in the form of stomach cramps.  Terrible cramps!

I looked at the watermelon and felt confident that I really didn’t need to eat any.  However, after a yummy meal, I thought I would have just  a smidgeon.  I took a very small piece and reveled in its drippy, sugary goodness.  I don’t know when I tasted watermelon that sweet and good.  All was well..

As Mark stopped at a McDonald’s to rest his eyes after driving for an hour,  a very curious thing happened to me.  I burped…(yes, replusive) and it tasted just like cucumber.  I was awake the rest of he way home, and I kept tasting cucumber.  I had not eaten any cucumber at all that day and this was so insane!

Late Monday morning,  I walked down to the mailbox to grab the mail and I nearly doubled over in stomach cramps! UGH!  I spent the better part of the day lying in bed, as the cramping ceased when I was lying prone.

***Note to self:  NEVER!!!!! eat watermelon!***

I spent much of today feeling rather weak after not eating yesterday. I went to take some grape pulp we had stored to my friend, Cindy, and she had the most awesome ( I had NEVER seen one so LARGE!) cantelope she was cutting up.  When she asked if I would like some, I ate it and it was so good!!!  I CAN eat cantelope.  Cindy is so amazing, and she sent me home with one of the cantelopes she had! When I got home,  I ate a small chicken sandwich and I am finally beginning to feel better!

While visiting Cindy and her husband, Jon, they told me about a terrific video called The Star of Bethlehem. Jon went back into another room and grabbed a copy for me to take home.  As I sat and watched this,  I was in total awe!  You can visit the  website  for more information. I highly recommend this!

I do have (only) one photo to share today.  It is of our beautiful red cardinal male who visits the feeder early and late in the day.  Unfortunately, the Nikon camera was downstairs instead of next to me and so I snapped this with the Panasonic.  Not too bad a shot, but the long lens on the Nikon ould have been better! (do click twice on the photo to see him better!)

cardinal male.small

We have been getting terrific downpours of rain the past hour or so. There are all kinds of flood warnings issued in our area and when the heavens open, it is with a vengeance!  My father told me the other day that this is one of the coolest summers on record in over 60 years.  I feel badly for those who enjoy the sweltering heat, but for once,  I am truly enjoying the summer weather!!

A Short Trip Home!

When I talked to my parents a couple of weeks ago, they told me about how the springs had broken in their garage doors.  When I told Mark about it, he talked to my father and they planned a strategy to replace them. 

Michelle had a sleepover planned for Friday night, so Saturday wouldn’t work.  So, we got up early yesterday and drove to my little hometown in Southwestern New York.  My parents have a pretty home with such beautiful gardens!  Instead of taking photos of people yesterday, I  snapped away using flowers as my subjects!

This Hollyhock couldn’t be any prettier!

hollyhocks.small

As far as Fuchsias go, I have never seen one like this!

gorgeous fuchsia plant.small

The flowers on the Fuchsia were about 1/2 the size of what I typically see and the flowers outnumbered the leaves on the plant! It was simply unbelieveable!

My father told me to look at the “little wren house” in the backyard.  He said on Saturday, there were some little birds that were “trying their wings” outside the house.  I didn’t get to see them….The house is so tiny, it is hard to imagine the wren building a nest there!

tiny wren house.small

I’m not certain what type of flowers these are….

amazing flowers.small

They are growing along with Black-Eyed Susans in the back and they are just delightful in their coloring!

The last photo is of the back of the house, with the pretty garden behind it!

backyard garden.small

I have always be in awe of the plantings my parents have around their home.  The lighting in this photo isn’t the greatest, as the sun was setting and I was shooting in that direction.

Mark, Ben, my brother Randy, and my father worked on replacing the hardware and springs on the doors and accomplished the task in good time.  The weather was fabulous, being maybe just a tad on the cool side, which made the work easy! 

We got back home early this morning.  (around 12:45) Mark took the trip home a little more slowly than the trip there, setting the cruise control to 60 miles per hour.  (The speed limit is 65)  On the way there, our mileage was about 18.6 MPG.  On the way home, the mileage crept to about 21 MPG.  Strange….in the day when everyone grumbles about gas costing more,  why don’t people slow down a little and conserve?

These Feet Were Made for Walking!

bee in wild rose.small

Ben has been getting interested in doing some running,  so this means *I* get to do some walking!  Yay!

I have quite a history of walking.  When I was in high school,  I often skipped taking the city bus (before the days of school buses ) and walked the two miles home.  I would walk with my parents after dinner and walk just about anywhere I could with anyone who would go along with me!

In my twenties,  we moved to the country, and I soon found a friend who also liked to walk.  So, three times a week, we would walk twelve miles, taking about three hours to do so.   We had so much fun walking along the country roads!

More recently, about five years ago (perhaps I shouldn’t admit this!)  I got mad at Mark one day while we were in Canandaigua.  I became so upset,  I slipped away from the truck and began walking home, steaming all the way!  The catch was,  as I walked along,  one of the straps on my Dr. Marten’s shoes broke, making it nearly impossible to walk.  Feeling so aggrevated,  I continued on, until a blister began to appear on my heel. 

Did I mention that there was a winter storm warning issued on this day?  Yes, the snow had begun to fall and more than one person stopped and wanted to know if they might give me a ride home?  As the blister began to become more painful,  humility finally forced me to eat humble pie and call Mark.

Mark and the kids were so relieved to see me, they all began saying sweet and kind things to me.  I discovered that I had traveled half the way home by foot….eight of the sixteen miles!  In the snow! With a broken shoe! (it had been beautiful when we went to church in the morning, so I didn’t wear boots!)

I’ve not lost my cool since then, but as Ben works on running around a track located just a short distance from our house,  I have been enjoying walking about two miles each day.  It has been so nice, as I really missed walking.  (we live on a very steep hill and walking on our road is tough on the knees…..it s also very rural)  Walking is so relaxing and it is so low-impact!  I have noticed some benefits, too, as I just feel better.

I took the above photo this morning after my walk.  There was a huge wild rose bush growing alongside a pine tree and the pink color of the flowers was so intense! The bumble bee was just a little added bonus! (taken with the little Panasonic)

While the Kids Were Occupied…

Yesterday was kind of a funny day as the kids had a dentist appointment at two.  I don’t like afternoon appointments, as I would rather go early in the day and be done with it!  The kids decided to make the most of their time in town and arranged to meet four of their friends after the appointment.  They went to the local Chinese restaurant for a bite to eat, then went hiking.

I went with the kids to their appointments and when the other kids showed up, Mark, the Scotties, and I decided to go for a little ride.  I enjoyed the grilled chicken dinner from Kentucky Fried Chicken so much on Sunday, I convinced Mark to drive to a KFC for our dinner.  Mark,  being value-minded,  decided to buy a dinner for all of us and the kids could finish up the rest of the food after we got home. (We knew they would be famished from hiking!)

After we finished eating,  Mark and I sat in the truck with the Scottie boys.  Suddenly, Angus did the funniest thing!

who is he looking at anyway.small

Sorry about the photo being out of focus, but you get the idea….the little *King* appeared to be admiring himself in the mirror!  I asked why he was being so vain and as soon as I asked, look at THIS……

vanity of vanities.small

Yes, that is our King Angus!

Mark and I enjoyed the quiet time just sitting with the windows open and watching people come and go.  Before we knew it,  it was time to go back and pick the kids up.

As we made our way down little country roads, we met up with one enormous truck with three escort vehicles! 

one large wind generator tower.small

Can you guess what the oversize load was the truck was carrying? 

It was a gigantic piece for the base of a wind generator.

At first, the truck seemed to be traveling quite slowly,  but as it made its way,  it picked up speed!

cabbage as far as the eye can see.small

We drove past what seemed like endless plantings of cabbage plants!

cool cloud cover.small

The sky was gorgeous!

out of focus fields of grain.small

And the out of focus fields of grain were so pretty with the waning sun on them.

Apparently the timing for the delivery of this huge tower was well thought out,  as there was little traffic on the road.  There were two escort vehicles in front of the truck and they must have signalled for the truck driver to move to the left or right to miss hitting trees overhanging the road….several times, we watched as the truck veered over into the left lane to avoid hitting branches.  Mark was enjoying watching the truck, as its eight rear wheels were independently steering!

As we came to a small town, we watched as the truck driver operated with geat finesse,  but gasped as we saw a couple of vehicles literally pushed off the road to miss the giant truck with its huge payload!

going through a small town.small

taking up most all of main street.small

We had fun watching the big truck,  but parted our separate ways at a route intersection. 

The kids were waiting for us when we got back, and as we had suspected, they were so hungry from their adventure!  

I love these little diversions!!!

From Drudgery to Beauty!

Believe it or not,  there are times when my kids make me mad!

When I walk downstairs in the morning and see all the “stuff” on the counters,  I feel used!

And when I see tons of recyclables sitting on the counter, my blood begins to boil!

Am “I” the only one capable of gathering up this stuff and taking it to the blue box in the garage?

You get the idea…..

So, this morning,  as I was trudging my way to the garage,  arms loaded with all matter of materials

*what* should I see?

swallowtail 1.small

I hate to admit it.

I literally threw all the “junk” down to the ground.

After all,  there was more important work to do!

I rushed up the stairs and grabbed the Nikon.

swallowtail 2.small

For there is little more beautiful than the beauty of a Swallowtail Butterfly!

Antique Eye Candy!

Perhaps my family is finally understanding my affinity…addiction?…for photographing the world around me.  On Sunday, as we drove along, we saw many antique cars parked in a very small park!  Mark pulled over and told me I really “ought” to get some photos!  So, as the kids and Mark sat patiently waiting in the truck,  I spent a good half hour taking well over 100 photos!

No words are needed….these gems really do speak for themselves!

car show 1.small

car show 2.small

car show 3.small

car show 4.small

car show 5.small

antique car show 6.small

antique car show 7.small

antique car show 8.small

antique car show 9.small

antique car show 10.small

antique car show 11.small

antique car show 12.small

antique car show 13.small

antique car show 14.small

What a Stressful Day!

The fact that I had a late morning appointment at the dentist’s office today was enough to stress me out, but it seems the entire day grew more and more stressful as it progressed!

I had arisen early, as always, and tended to the Scotties.  I then helped Mark outside so he could  watch me as I cut some firewood. (He doesn’t like the idea of me cutting alone in the woods.)  I worked for about an hour, then felt too out of shape and tired!  I got on my ATV and we went for a little ride in the woods before I had to get ready for he dentist appoinment.

I arrived at the dentist office at the designated time and waited a few minutes.  I was called and went in to see if the new crown was properly “colored” to match my teeth.  I watched the dentist frown as he held the crown against my teeth….once again, it was a no-go! I was happy I didn’t have to endure any pain or such and leaped from the chair as I was dismissed!

On my way home,  I stopped in Woodville and was delighted to see three different ducks with their little broods.  The ducklings ranged in size from tiny little tennis-balls of fluff to “teens”, catching up in size and coloration of their parents.

One of the ducks and her ducklings were perched on the dock, soaking up the sun’s warmth and enjoying the warm aluminum dock.  They were so cute, I just had to share these photos!

mama duck and ducklings enjoying the sunshine.small

ducklings soaking up the sun.small

When I got home, I had more stress waiting for me!  It wasn’t great important things that drove me to the edge today…just lots of little things that kept adding up!

As Annie stated,  “The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar”!!!!