Thursday, April 28, 2011

iris in bloom

Yesterday, these iris were just buds.  I never expected to see them fully open this AM.  What a lovely surprise!
Photos are below.

Tom and Peggy (brother and sister-in-law) came in yesterday afternoon, on their way north from Florida.  They rode the auto train up to Lorton, VA and drove over to spend the night with me.  I was happy to see them.  We had some good conversation and then went out to dinner.  I now have enough leftovers from the dinner to create three meals for me!  One thing I really like about today's restaurants is that they are happy to give us boxes to take food home in.  I remember, in the dim dark ages of my childhood, when 'doggie bags' actually held food for the dog. 

This week has just flown by.  I did clean the house some before my company arrived.  Having company gives me just enough incentive to actually get out the vacuum cleaner. Now I have a clean house for a day or so.  I have to trim the grass tomorrow and will no doubt track in enough grass to make the 'clean house' a thing of the past.

Saturday we will be doing a Raku firing at the Montpelier Arts and Crafts center.  They are having their annual herb and tea festival, which has music, craft vendors, performers and more.  Something for everyone.  I entered a mask in the 'student' display at the center.  Haven't heard whether my piece will be in the show or not.  Not many people make masks, so I have a fairly good chance of getting in.  I'll know on Saturday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

'the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la'

For those who are not operetta fans, the title is from a song in Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan.  The photos in this blog are some of my blooming flowers.  

This first photo is a trillium - a woods plant, growing in my back yard.  I transplanted it from my sister-in-law's garden  in New York State.  I have seen a few trillium growing in the woods here in Maryland, but I imagine the summers are a bit too hot for them to thrive.  This one seems to do ok. 

The other photos are African violets, growing in pots inside my house.  The frilly white and pink one is a new plant - from the Weis supermarket for only $2.99.  A friend asked me how I got my African violets to bloom in the winter.  My secret, of course, is that I buy new plants, which are already in bloom!  LOL    Actually the other plants are not new.   They tend to bloom whenever they feel like it.  I just try to keep them alive.

 Yesterday, I was complaining about it being a gorgeous day and my having to work inside.  As it turned out, I got home in time to spend several hours sitting out on the deck, enjoying the warm sunshine.  It was lovely.  Of course, I am paying for it today, as all the pollen made my allergies worse.  Oh well, it was worth it.

My neighbor cut my lawn yesterday when he did his own.  We have an arrangement:  he mows my lawn and I do the edging on both yards with my cord trimmer.  My lawn looks much better than when I use the trimmer to do the whole thing and I spend less time doing the edging of  both yards than if I had to do just my own lawn and edging.  So it's a good bargain for both of us.  Today, if it doesn't rain, I will get the edging done.

Last night, I went to a ceramics class at the  Montpelier Art Center.  This is where we do Raku firing.  I love the results of Raku, although they are rather unpredictable. Actually, that's part of why I love it.  One often gets a surprise in the finished piece.  Eventually, I will have some more items to show.  We are doing a demonstration firing on April 30, which is a 'tea festival' at Montpelier Arts Center.  I'll have at least a couple of pieces to be fired at that time.

So I am now involved in ceramics three days in a row!  I teach on Mondays, take a class on Tuesdays and then the Raku class on Wednesday nights.  Lots of playing with clay.  Montpelier is having a show for students soon.  We have to submit one piece by the end of next week.  Not every piece will be selected.  I think I have a good shot at getting a piece into the show, as not many students are doing masks. 

And the Tuesday class at the senior center is also having a show - in May, I think.  I don't know how many pieces we can each submit.  No details available so far.  Neither of these shows will have pottery for sale.  However, I am hoping to go to a sale in southern Maryland later this spring.  It would be nice to actually sell some of my stuff.  I need the space in the basement!

I've not been blogging very often this spring, mostly because nothing very interesting has been happening in my life.  The weeks fly by without anything to generate a blog. 

As I look out into the woods behind my house, I see pale green leaves adorning most of the trees.  I can still see the houses across the river and through the woods, but in another month, all I will see will be trees.  It's nice not to see the other houses, but the foliage also hides the stream, which I do enjoy viewing.  Can't have it both ways. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

here's what's blooming in my neighborhood

I just took some snaps of various ornamental trees around my neighborhood.  I think they are all cherry trees, both white and pink.  Pear trees bloom white too, but they have a different shape and the blossoms look as if someone had tied cotton balls onto the branches.  Anyway, whatever they are, I love seeing them every spring.  I still haven't decided on what to plant to replace the flowering plum tree that fell over last year.  The choices are between dogwood (white or pink), flowering cherry (perhaps weeping cherry), and Japanese red maple.  I have to decide if I want spring flowers or year around color.  Decisions, decisions!
 This is, I think, a white cherry.  There is a group of 5 of them on the corner, just a few houses down from mine.  They aren't very exciting the rest of the year, but in the spring they are wonderful!
 This is the weeping cherry.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I really love these trees when they get to be this size.  However, when they are small, they look rather insignificant and they are rather slow growers, I think.  I don't know if I have the patience to wait ten years to get a tree this size.
This is a pink flowering cherry, not the weeping kind.  It is a bit past its peak, so the color isn't as bright as it was last week.  It would look a lot like the flowering plum that I lost.  However, the cherry, like the plum, does not seem to have a good root system.  One of the homes down the street lost theirs in a storm a few years ago.  I'm very hesitant about buying another tree that will give in to wind and rain.

I don't have any photos of dogwoods in bloom because they aren't blooming this early.  I think it will be nearly a month before they bloom.  We have both pink and white ones in our block.  Both are very lovely.

Japanese maples don't have a showy bloom.  Their leaves are their glory.  I've seen some that have leaves that are green, white and red variegated.  I'll have to do some serious looking soon in order to decide on what I want.  I need to get the tree into the ground before the hot summer weather.

Tuesday, I walked around Lake Elkhorn again.  It was a bit windy, but the sun was shining and it was a pleasant walk.  I counted turtles again and saw a total of 17.  Nine of them were on one log!  Not much else of interest in the lake.  The white heron has not appeared so far this spring.  Perhaps it's too early for him.   In fact there were very few birds on the water.  One pair of ducks and a pair of swans.  The others were not hanging around the paths looking for handouts either.  They must have found better pickings somewhere else.  There are signs prohibiting feeding of the water fowl, but I suspect some people do it anyway.  It's a lot of fun to throw bread to the birds, but not good for them to have too much.  And if they don't eat it all, it messes up the water.  Of course, the Canada geese mess up the paths, with green goo.  (it's really sh-t, but we mustn't  say the naughty word)

I'm trying to walk every day, but so far am only succeeding on Mondays and Tuesdays that are sunny.  I won't walk in the rain. (I guess I'm more a cat than a duck!)  As the week progresses, I seem to lose my ambition for taking a walk.  Also, on Thursdays and Fridays,  I would have to drive somewhere to find an interesting walk.  Somehow, that seems to defeat the purpose of walking.  Anyway, I will keep on trying.  Even twice a week is better than not at all.