Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eating the Rainbow

I'm enamored with the colors of the rainbow chard.

It's easy to eat the rainbow this time of year.
Going through a heat wave right now. The garden loves, loves, loves, the heat. Especially the tomatoes. I love, love, love the heat. Especially after a snowy, cold winter.

We've been sharing our bounty with family, friends, and neighbors. While I love all the fresh, organic produce coming out of the garden, there's only so much we can eat.

The Man has been freezing lots of green beans. We'll enjoy those through the winter. 
It's been quite a week.

Three wakes in two days. I feel like I'm living an alternate reality - instead of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" it's "Three Wakes and a Birthday Party".

Heading west this weekend to celebrate with Mom and the rest of the Man's family. Mom's got a big birthday coming up - she's turning ninety.

We're going to have a CELEBRATION!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Midsummer Harvest

I've been enjoying fresh blackberries this week.

Not too sweet. Not too sour. Just right.
One lone{ly} zucchini blossom.

Had dinner at a rather posh restaurant last weekend and they served fried zucchini blossoms.

Lovely to look it. Delicious to eat.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cracked Pot

Cheesecake in a jar

M and I had snack last week at knitting class. She made barbecue kielbasa and pasta salad for dinner and I made these for dessert. As my knitting teacher said while eating one, "Well, that shut them all up."

Looks fancy. Super easy. Portable.

Winner in my book.

Wandered around the yard and found some clay pots the Man had left outside. They reminded me of a story I heard a while ago. 

Two pots, one cracked and one whole, were used to carry water back from a mountain spring. The whole pot always arrived with a full pot of water while the cracked pot only had a half pot of water. The cracked pot was ashamed because it could not carry a full pot and wanted the master to smash it and get a new perfect pot. But the master told the pot to look at the path on the way home that evening. The cracked pot saw beautiful flowers along one side of the road - the side that the cracked pot was on. When they got home, the master told the cracked pot that he planted flower seeds on that side so that the cracked pot could water them each day as they returned home. It was because of his "flaw" that the flowers grew and provided the master with beautiful flowers for his home. His flaw was not a flaw after all.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Two Little Poppets

Two little ones, a sister and brother, came to visit the library last week. Their excitement was palpable, the air was buzzing with it. They flitted from the craft area to the prize area to the fish tank and back again, stopping to visit the display cases and the prize area one more time. Over and over again, while their nanny watched carefully, they had free reign of the whole floor.

The littlest one got brave and came to talk to me while I was sitting at the desk. 

"We can't take no books home because we don't have a library card," he said woefully, looking up at me with sad brown eyes. "Well, does your nanny have a card?" I asked, trying to find a way to get books home with this guy.

"No, she don't. And she don't live here neither so she can't have a card," he said, even more woefully than before.

"Oh, well, I am sorry about that. Would you like to pick some books out and we can hold them for you until mom or dad can come get them?" I asked gently, hoping he would agree and not start sobbing, as his quivering lip was telling me he might do at any moment.

"Daddy's gonna come get them on Friday," he informed me cheerily. "The lady downstairs said she would hold our books for us until he can get them," and he flitted away, eyeing the fish tank and heading in that direction.

I think he was playing me. With that quivering lip and those sad brown eyes. 
A few moments later his older sister skips over to talk to me. Vivacious and animated, she starts peppering me with questions.

"What are those things in the glass boxes? How did they get in there? Where do they come from?" she asked, referring to display cases we have for children to share their special collections with the community - collections of Legos and Matchboxes baseball cards and coins.

I explained what they were and asked if she had a special collection she might like to share. She cocked her head to the side, put her finger to her lip, and said, "I have one goldfish." She paused and then said, "But that's not a collection, is it?"

"Nope. One isn't a collection. Do you have anything else?" I asked, wondering what this little poppet was going to present next.

"I have a Barbie collection! I have about thirty of them!" she exclaimed. Before I could say anything, her little face fell and she whispered, "But they don't have any clothes. The dog ate them all."

She looked at me and said, "I probably can't bring naked Barbies in, right?"



Playing around with some beach photos and cleaning out some old filters and actions. I kind of like these two.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Emerald Isle, Day Four Point Two Five or A Rocky Start

Heading out on a {short} hike to see Newtown Castle.

We walked along a narrow country road, passing by this pretty little church, to get to the castle. Along both sides of the road were hundreds, probably thousands, of blackberry bushes. I have never seen so many blackberries in my life.

T (the hubby) and I could not contain ourselves. We stopped every three feet or so to gather handfuls of the deliciously sweet, juicy berries to pop into our mouths.

T (my friend) and the Man just kept walking. They weren't stopping for berry picking. Every now and then they would snag a berry or two and munch away but they could not match what T and I were eating. We loved, loved, loved those berries.

We weren't on the road for very long. The trail took us off into a meadow.

And another one. And another one. And another one. And another one. And another one.

Endless meadows, each one beginning and ending with a stone wall we had to climb to get into the next one. I can not tell you how many times I tripped going over those stone walls. The Man held my hand each time. 

He saved my camera from so many near disastrous falls.

He got a bit exasperated with all the picture taking. "Don't you think you should watch where you're walking?" he asked several times.

No, Man, I don't. Or I would not have any pictures of our hike. 

Just don't let go of my hand.
See that very narrow wire next to the Man's left arm? That's an electric wire.

We had to hike ALONG THE SIDE OF THAT WIRE until we got to the other side of the field. I was terrified I was going to trip and fall into it. On the right side was a stone wall covered in brambles - not something you want to brush up against.

There was a lot of stress on this part of the hike. I think at one point I may have told the Man he was going to have to carry me across the field.

He ignored me.
Oh, look, another field to cross.

This hike was beginning to feel like crossing the Sahara Desert.

Not that I have ever crossed the actual Sahara Desert. But I think it must feel like this. Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic. But it was a very long hike  - at least an hour.
Finally came out to the next part of the hike - a road.

So glad to be out of the rocky fields and meadows that were constantly trying to trip me up and kill me and my camera.


Me + rocky fields = horrible idea.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bird Tomfoolery

You may remember I have a bit of a black thumb when it comes to any sort of real plant. Actually, I could probably kill off an artificial plant if I put my mind to it.

Many years ago I made the switch from real hanging flower baskets to artificial ones. I had stopped at a friend's house one morning and admired the beautiful geraniums she had hanging on the front porch. She floored me when she said they were not real.

I promptly went out and bought some for our two porches. They lasted several years and eventually faded to the point of no return.

I bought new baskets last summer and they still look pretty good. Colors are vibrant, no fading at all, and the leaves are holding nice shapes with nothing looking squished or crinkled. The best part? I get them out of the barn in the spring and put them back inside in the fall. 

No fuss, no muss. 

They look real and I am delighted.
I even fooled momma bird!

We have been noticing some movement in and around the basket on the back porch over the last few weeks. As I was getting my coffee this morning, I gazed out the window and saw a flutter of activity and the basket swinging a bit much for a normal breeze. I could hear some peeping and went out to investigate.

I saw two tiny heads peeking up and looking out through the flowers.

Looking at the picture I think I see four babies in there. The two on the right with their eyes showing and two more on the left, one looking to the back of the basket and one showing his back.

I went back inside, grabbed a stool and my camera and climbed up  to see what was going on in that basket. The little ones immediately pulled in and tried to hide themselves. I snapped away, trying to get a good shot of them. Focus, snap, focus, snap. Lost in the moment and trying to get that perfect picture.

Completely forgetting that I was still in my nightie. Out in broad daylight, on top of a stool with the breeze blowing the skirt of my nightie up and away.

Oy vey.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Emerald Isle, Day Four

The Burren (sounds like "burn"). Those Irish with their cray-cray pronunciations.

Or as I like to call it, "the land of rocks and moonscapes".

Barren and wild looking. Harsh and hard. The people who settled here must have been the same, I think.

We couldn't get enough of it. We were out exploring it every chance we got and would have gone back for more if we had the time. The Man actually got me to rock climb parts of it. 

Rock climb, as in leave horizontal terra firma and launch myself vertically onto hard, sharp rocks that seriously tested my balance and gracefulness. I was terrified. The Man helped me when I was convinced I could go no further. The path led us to a slight chasm that was just wide enough that I had to jump to get to the next segment. The Man's hand was right there, gripping mine and hanging on. I almost quit several times but the Man was right there, encouraging me to push on. We finally made it to the top. I had a hard time enjoying it. I was distressed at the thought of having to go back down the rock. I did not think my efforts were worth my distress.

Ah, but the views.

Of which I have none to show you. My camera stayed safely behind while I was risking life and limb.
We met some fellow Americans while exploring this fourth day. The gentleman was lying on his tummy, peering over the edge. His wife told us he was afraid of heights and edges of cliffs and that was the only way he could get close to see the view down.

I thought that was brilliant and promptly laid down and did the same thing.
It looks like a giant heaved these rocks all over the place, doesn't it?

I found myself wondering how sailors made it to shore with all this rough stuff around.
Stopped at a cemetery we found along our way to Newtown Castle. 

Spied some ruins of a chapel in the back. The Man walked down to take a look around. He came back and I asked, "Anything down there?"

"More rocks," he said, with a rueful grin. We had seen lots of rocks by now.
Beautiful little town we drove through.

All of about twelve houses and one general shop/post office/bait shack/lunch counter.