Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waiting for Verizon

I'm going to start this post while I am waiting for Verizon to come and install Internet wireless.  I've had to reschedule this appointment several times and eventually, I changed a dentist appointment in order to keep this one.  Now they are late and I'm annoyed.  Anyway, if they come in the middle of this post, I'll save it and finish it later. 

Beautiful cool weather today.  I'm hoping to get outside and play in the garden.  Should be nice for the next several days, but I'll be inside all day tomorrow and pretty much tied up Friday.  I'm planning to go to Homestead Gardens on Friday, after lunch, and buy a crape myrtle.  Supposedly they will have lots of them for sale and I can find one small enough that I can actually get it out of my car and around back to be planted.  My other project that I hope to work on is making some stepping stones out of concrete.  My friend Deb gave me some directions and stuff and all I have to do is buy cement and get to work.  Today would be ideal, but I can't leave home until Verizon comes and does their thing.  Hopefully, that will happen soon.  The photo shows the morning glories climbing up the lilies, rather than on the trellis.  Perhaps they will find the trellis before the summer is over!  Morning glories reseed each year and come up everywhere, except where one wants them.  Oh well, they are lovely when they bloom.

I had my ears checked out yesterday, just to make sure there wasn't an infection or other problem.  The doctor said I just needed to get used to the hearing aids.  The right one is no problem, but the left one hurts when I chew or wiggle my face a certain way.  I had to take both of them out yesterday evening.  I can tolerate about 10 hours and then they both hurt.  I hope the doctor is correct and I will get used to them.  The darn things cost a pretty penny, even with the insurance paying 2/3 of it.  They certainly do improve my hearing.  In fact, I am hearing a lot of sounds I haven't heard in years - beeps in the car from the seat belt sensor, chirps and clicks from my refrigerator, bird songs that I didn't notice before.  However, none of these sounds are too loud, they are just much louder than without the aids.  Tomorrow and Friday I will be wearing the things in places where there may be several people talking at once.  I'll see how that goes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

a nice trip

Last week, I drove up into western NY to my home town - Bath.  My brother Tom and his wife Peggy Louise still live there.  I go up every summer to visit them and to have lunch with some of my high school friends.  This requires a good deal of emailing back and forth with the friends in order to find a day convenient for all parties.  It's worth it for me to keep in touch with long-time friends.  (You'll notice I did NOT say 'old' friends. I'm still not ready to call them and myself old!) 

The route up through Pennsylvania is a lovely drive through mountains and farms.  Route 15 also has antique stores all along the way.  I have my favorites, although two of them closed down last year.  Still, there are plenty of stores left and their prices are MUCH cheaper than any around here.  There are also a couple of wonderful antique stores along Keuka Lake.  I think my favorite is the one called 'The Wild Goose Chase'.  Isn't that name wonderful?  It is a huge barn, filled with 'junk' mostly.  I have bought a lot of my 'yard art' there.  As you can tell, this yearly trip is a wonderful vacation for me.  I don't do any cooking (Peggy does it all.) and have no responsibilities, other than getting to the luncheons with my friends.  However, it is a lot of driving.  I drove up on Wednesday and returned on Sunday,and also drove a couple of hours on Friday to meet a friend for lunch.  I was really glad to get home last night.  I had enough of sitting in my car!

I bought my usual eclectic assortment of items - from a glass swan to a two person saw!  Here are a couple of photos of my loot.  The bird houses will be added to my collection.   I found the hollyhock for sale in Hammondsport, a tourist town on Keuka Lake.  Isn't it lovey?  I've been meaning to plant hollyhocks along the fence in the backyard.  So now I have a start.  The store where I bought the plant is a new one
and rather unusual.  Here is a photo of it.  Outside it's a flower shop - beautiful potted plants arranged to look as if they are the landscaping of the house.  Inside the house is an art gallery with mostly very modern items.  I'm not sure how well the art will sell in a rather conservative community, but hopefully the tourists will buy.  There were some items I would have bought if I had more money and more space in my house! 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

productive day

Yesterday, I spend most of the afternoon at the Montpelier Arts Center, participating in a Raku firing.  It's a time-consuming process, as the Raku kiln is small, so only a few pieces can be fired at one time.  It was hotter than Hades outside, so we spent as much time as possible inside where there is A/C.  I managed to get four of my masks fired, but had to leave two pieces for another time. 

I felt much better yesterday and so went to sing with the MAD chorus in our spring show.  However, I guess I did too much, as this AM, I an exhausted and have a scratchy voice and a sore throat.  I really thought I was getting over this blankety-blank cold!  I guess I'll just have to stay home today and rest.  How boring!

Here are some photos of the masks that were fired.  I especially like the green/yellow 'bat'.  I think the color makes it look less scary!  Before it was fired, a guy walked past in the studio and said, "That's really scary.  I wouldn't want to visit your house!"  Not that I had invited him, anyway!  LOL  I do have a  lot of masks on the walls, but I no longer find them scary.  Strangers using the powder room might get a surprise, however. 

I should have turned these photos before I uploaded them.  Sorry about that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

more flowers

Here are a couple more shots of the backyard.  Lots of flowers blooming just now.  Seems way too early for some of them, but we've had a really hot spring, so everything is too early.  I wonder what will be left to bloom by August. 

 I've been fighting a nasty summer cold all week, so haven't accomplished anything outside or in.  My house is dirty and dusty (from hauling mulch through and from open windows).  It will get cleaned one of these days.  I must admit, housecleaning is always at the bottom of my chore list.  Not only is it mindless work, but it gets dirty again so quickly. 

Yesterday, I did a bit of clearing out - got rid of two piles of magazines on the coffee table.  I keep my gardening magazines, but am running out of storage space for them.   Home and garden mags are saved for Kate to look at when she is here.  When I visit her, I often take a few old copies to her.  Then she has to get rid of them after I leave!

I haven't crossed out any more items on my 'to do' list, and in fact have added one more.  I have to get the desk in the basement cleared off and the piles of items on it, put away.  I don't use that desk, but I do pile everything on it.  I'm thinking, however, that once I get wireless, I could move the computer down there.  It wouldn't be as handy as where it is now, but it would free up some space in the dining/living room. In the summer, that basement 'library' room is lovely and cool.  In the winter, however, it is downright cold.  I'll have to think about this.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

more flowers

I took a few more photos of the back garden.  Lots of stuff blooming out there now.  I have let one area kinda go natural.  Whatever comes up is allowed to stay for at least a year, until I decide if I want it or not.  I am pulling up the goldenrod (the wild variety) because it just grows tall and skinny and looks ugly.  Not enough sun for it, I think.  The plant taking over this year is bee balm (bergamont).  I have both purple and red, but only the red is blooming so far this summer.  It's a very aggressive plant.  I need to pull more of it up.  Wonder if I can find any sucker (oops, I mean gardener) who would like some?  It's gorgeous, but oh my, there is so much of it this year!

In the shade garden, under the deck, the astilbe is blooming very nicely.  It's not showy, but is a nice plant.  Not many plants will bloom in deep shade.  I pretty much depend upon ferns and hostas to fill that space.
In the summer's heat, under the deck stays nice and cool.  My A/C is very quiet and I don't run it much, but unfortunately, I can hear my neighbors' units when I'm sitting out there.  Most people around here seem to run their A/C all day and night in summer.  I open the windows when it's cool outside, like today, and use fans in the house to supplement the A/C.  My electric bill is a lot less as a result.

Monday, June 14, 2010

found: new lilies

I am a rather casual gardener.  I buy new plants every year.  Sometimes after planting them, I forget where they are.  For example:  Last year I bought a plant that lives in the woods and has bright yellow blooms in the spring.  I planted it in the shady area under the deck.  My friend, Patty, also bought one.  This spring, hers came up and bloomed.  I couldn't find any sign of mine.  I happened to see the same plant at a nursery, so bought another one, thinking the first one had died.  Last week, there was the first plant, blooming away.  It was much later than Patty's, but it's in deep shade, which probably makes the difference.  Now I have two of them!  Recently, I discovered several lilies that I didn't know I had.  Actually, that's only true of one of them - a white Easter lily that I must have bought at church and taken home last year.  It came up our front and makes a nice spot of white amid all the orange lilies.  The other surprise lily is blooming in a pot on the deck.  I didn't remember buying a yellow one, but there it is.  Looks great with all the orange and dark red ones.  I really love garden surprises like that.

Yesterday it was so hot it broke records.  94 degrees F.  Yikes!  This is still June, last time I looked, but we are getting July/August weather.  Enough already!  I wouldn't mind the current heat, if it was going to be cool in August.  Fat chance of that! 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

musical show

Last night was opening night for the MAD (Music and Drama) show.  It went pretty well.  At least the chorus didn't make any obvious errors.  We used music this year, as rehearsals started late.  Three more shows to go.  I wish they had done three in one weekend, rather that 4 over two weekends.  I love singing, but I'll be glad when this show is over. 

Photo is of the front flower bed.  Later this summer, I hope to have morning glories on the trellis, but as you can see, I decorate it with 'yard stuff' while I'm waiting for the vines.

Nothing much else happening.  Oh yes, I had my hearing tested and will be getting hearing aids next Friday.  That should be interesting, to say the least.  Watch what you say, as now I might be able to hear you!  LOL  And, next Wednesday, I get wireless Internet.  Here's a funny thing:  these guys came around a few days ago to dig small trenches in my yard (and the adjoining one) to lay cable.  Evidently it takes cable for one to get wireless.  Somehow that seems really odd.

Today will be hot, really hot, I believe.  Yesterday was pretty bad and it didn't even cool off much at night. This is true summer weather and it's only mid-June.  If this is global warming, then I'm thinking of heading north!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

yard art - 1

Yesterday, I borrowed a small reciprocating saw from my neighbor.  I used it to try to cut down the two remaining branches of the dead evergreen.  No luck.  I now understand why "heart wood" is so desirable.  You can't cut through the darn stuff!  So, I have now decided to leave the branches in the flower bed and turn them into 'art'.  It's a spot of color (many colors) in the back yard.  We aren't allowed to paint our fences any colors except natural ones, but the rules don't cover trees.  (see above)

Yesterday, despite the 90 degree heat, I spent most of the day gardening.  I moved a plant in the front yard and hung another bird house.  Finally I have found the rest of the birdhouses and the totem pole thingies that go over the stakes out front.  They are now decorating the front yard.

Mostly I worked on the deck and in the back garden.  All the plants that I have purchased this spring are now either in pots or in the ground!!  It was hot, hard, dirty work, but I persevered, with only a few A/C breaks in the house.  I also rearranged the pots on the deck - all 38 of them (or 40 if I count the indoor pots that went out for the summer.)  I did try - really I did - to have fewer plants in pots this year, but as you can see, that attempt FAILED!  I just hope we continue to have rain every week.  Otherwise, I will have a lot of watering to do all summer.  The good part of all the work I did yesterday, is that now I can sit outside and admire my efforts.  Well, I could sit outside, if it were a bit cooler.  Under the deck is quite cool, but still when the temperature is in the 90s, cool just isn't a term one applies.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

nice trip

Over the long weekend, I drove down into southern MD to visit a friend.  Deb and her husband bought a house down there last year, I think.  They have a huge yard full of pine trees and poison ivy!  Actually it could be a wonderful yard, but it needs LOTS of work.  Deb isn't a gardener, as I am, but she has plans for that yard.  Anyway, one of the reasons I went down to visit her was to help her find plants to put into pots, to give the place some color.  I'm not really a gardening expert, but I can help those who are truly beginners. 

It was a great weekend.  We spent the better part of Saturday going to yard sales and flea markets, as well as picking strawberries and visiting a plant nursery run by the Amish.  Lots of herbs, which is what Deb was interested in, and many other plants.  Needless-to-say, I bought some, including three Rex begonias and a plant that is a member of some grain family.  It has a dark brown bloom - fascinating. It's in the back of the photo.  The strawberries are wonderful - the sweetest I've ever eaten.  I have a few un-hulled ones in the fridge and two bags of frozen ones, to be used on top of ice cream and for shortcake.

We went to a huge flea market place that had a wide variety of items - antiques, new flea market stuff, even a lovely gift shop in one building.  I bought a light-weight blouse that was hand dyed, a denim cowboy hat and some fabulous earrings.  Saturday night we went out to dinner in North Beach at the Westlawn Inn.  This is a very posh restaurant with a small dining room and an area that is like a stage.  The entertainment that night was a husband and wife musical duo.  He played keyboard (and was very good) and she sang old love songs and other soft music.  The group of women I was with, included a friend of the singer, which is why we ate there, I believe.  Anyway, the food was excellent.  I had delicious asparagus (I usually hate it ), scallops wrapped in paper thin cucumber slices and rice with a mild lemon flavor.  The group I was with consisted of  four of Deb's friends.  They were really nice women and made me feel welcome, even though I had only met one of them previously.  It was a wonderful evening.

One my way home Monday, I stopped at the Chesapeake Marketplace in St. Leonard.  Only went through one building, as I wanted to get home. I bought the glass dragon there.  It was there that I discovered my bank card was missing.  Details of that are on Facebook.  I'll just say that I was right in thinking that I had left the card in an ATM.  The machine grabbed it when I didn't take it out.  I wasn't sure if that was what I had done (or actually NOT done), so I spent some time worrying about it.  I tried to call the bank yesterday, but their automated system wouldn't take my information because I didn't know what my ID was.  That was frustrating, but 'all's well that ends well.'  I called the bank this AM and they will send me a new card.

Last night, my new neighbor wanted to get our lawns mowed.  He doesn't have a lawn mower and I have a push mower that I stopped using, as it wouldn't cut my grass.  He used it and it worked fine.  Obviously operator error!  Actually, I think it's because he went fast.  When I used it, I went slowly.  Anyway, we have worked out an agreement.  He will use my mower to mow both lawns and I will do the edging with my weed wacker.  The only down side of this is that I'm sure I will be trimming my grass much more often that usual.  I usually don't mow all that often, but I have a feeling that my neighbor will do it every week.  It does look nice, however.  The dark orange lilies were still just budded when I left on Friday.  Look at them now!