Friday, October 29, 2010

Killer Bee Cutie Pies

The Killer Bees.... Oooooo! I'm afraid!
(Steven N. and Nyssa, Halloween... 1987)
Posted by Picasa

"The music of the busy bee
Is drowsy, and it comforts me;
But, ah! 'tis quite another thing,
When that same bee concludes to sting!"
~ Andrew Downing, The Bee (1838 - 1917)
This is an excursion into the past... 23 years ago, to be precise. Steven N. is two weeks older than my daughter, Nyssa. He is the son of my friend and the woman I consider the MOST talented and loving childcare giver I know, Rhonda. Rhonda had Stevie and his older brother Charlie... two years older than Steven and Nyssa. She was unafraid of taking them out and they learned so much about sharing and became like brothers and sister. People would often think that Steven and Nyssa were twins.

This Halloween, the church had a children's party and gave out awards for the costumes in different age groups. These two were 18 months old, so I decided to sew them costumes. I simply took a paper bag and fashioned a pattern then started cutting and they evolved from there. In the back there were white wings and a stuffed white pointed cone stinger sewn in. They wore black tights and yellow turtleneck knit tops and black shoes. These easily slipped on and closed in the back at the neck. The antennae were made with your basic head band, yellow pipe cleaners and round styrofoam balls spray painted black. They looked so cute, running around the house, batting each other with the antennae. At the party, Rhonda and I decided they should enter the contest as a single entry.... The Killer Bees!

Of course, they won first place in their age group. The prize? An extra bit of candy and a ribbon, as I remember. And yes, the costume is carefully put away waiting for the day another little one might use it. Well, maybe not... but it is available to borrow!

These "bees" show off their "yellow" stripes for Carmi's theme this week and lend a Halloween touch to the place. They also bring back a lot of "Mommy" memories that are still fresh after all these years. How fast they grow... how cherished these memories are.

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Carmi's theme ~ yellow

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This Post Is Brought To You By The Letter "O"

Orson the Osprey.....with fish. No "Orson" isn't quite right.

"I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature." ~ William Shakespeare (Coriolanus, Act IV, Scene VII)

Hmm... he could be Oscar the Osprey... look at those buggy eyes, checking for thieves...
perhaps knowing that someone or something is watching him dine.

Lunch is finished and his true form revealed. Yes... Oliver the Osprey it is.
A regal name for a regal bird of prey. Posted by Picasa

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ABC Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday... well almost.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A "Little Joy" For a Little Joy On A Cloudy Day

Joy is a flower that blooms when you do. ~ Author Unknown
Daylily..."Little Joy" (Click to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence." ~ Acts 2:28 (New Living Translation)
The daylily are fading fast; some have already lost their spiky leaves and it has been a month since blooms have been in play. This variety held on until the very end, outlasting all the other larger forms. "Little Joy" with smaller and multiple blooms on the flower stalks, a deep and dark rich red color that worked so well with the bright red and yellow lantana beside it. This may be the brightest red we have in late summer as with all the hot and dry weather this summer, the trees have been stressed and the usual spark of color is muted, with leaves spackled in green, dirty yellow, brown and faded red. Their edges are curled and shriveled.

I am surprised at how much color is still present here in late October. The mums are at their apex of color and in the back flower beds this means a dark magenta purple. Right next to the mums, the lavender is still blooming as is the occasional purple-top vervain. Two coneflowers, white and bright orange are still blooming and the blood red milkweed has gotten a second wind since the monarchs have gone. Occasional black-eyed susan still bloom.. yellow varieties, as well as the dark "Cherry Brandy" red ones. Blanketflowers are going strong as is the perennial lantana Miss Huff. Miss Huff has really outdone itself and is a huge bush like plant now. The Abelia bush is blooming as are the re-blooming azaleas. So all in all, for fall... we still have quite a bit of color.

This was the first year for many of these plants and I am anxious to see how they come back for a second season. With a bang, I hope. Until then, I have all of their pictures to keep me company in the gray of winter. Thank goodness that is but a short time here.... things start budding out in late February.

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Ruby Tuesday

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Not Just For Fall Anymore

Dreams of summer past......fiery lily after the rain.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow."~ Wassily Kandinsky
Yes, I know it is Sunday and I missed the photo hunt by a long shot. Still, I had these already in the works and thought they were beautiful and frankly, I was just too "brain" tired to focus on a different thought. Orange has always been a warm and inviting color in my book. I had an orange room... not quite this bright, but almost... when I was in college. It was the first time in all the years that someone actually asked me what color I wanted my room painted. Typically, the parsonage walls were painted very pale.... pale blue, pale beige, pale pink. In fact, most of the time, my room was SO pale of a pink that you had to hold a bright white paint chip sample next to the wall to even tell that it was pink at all. I was in college and would only spend two summers in the house before getting married, but for those two summers I had a bright and vivid orange room. It was wonderful!

I have outgrown the bright orange for walls, still I like the more muted tones that remind me of a Tuscan sunset. And I still love the orange of fall leaves, mixed with those of red and gold, as well as the flaming oranges bursting forth in the spring and early summer lilies.

Thoughts of Autumn present.... just in time for Halloween. Posted by Picasa

Fall mums are everywhere. We have those in dark magenta, deep cranberry red and these golden tangerine shades. Each year my mom loves these flowers on the porch or step and after they fade, most people simply toss them out. The first year I let them go too long and they looked completely dead. Still I planted the roots and the sticky stubs and waited. The green leaves started poking up through the sticks and to my amazement, it survived and thrived and ended up a much larger plant than the original. So the second year I did the same and last year as well. This spring I followed the recommendation to dig them up and "root prune". In this process the root ball is cut and reduced by at least half, then re-planted. I also snipped off the early buds... before July... to try and thicken up the plants. It worked! And I even took the biggest section of the trimmed off root ball and planted it in the back yard. Now I have dark magenta purple mums in full bloom there as well.

So, what color should I choose this year.... more red, pale yellow, gold or more orange?

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Saturday Photo Hunt (on Sunday) ~ "orange"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Serenity Can Be Deceiving

Grand Canary Island Sunset...July 2009
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Peace... is seeing a sunset, and knowing who to thank." ~ Author Unknown
Finally! The computer is back from the shop and things are ok. Nothing wrong with software; the internal power supply simply decided to quit working. Fortunately it was under warranty.. or the extended Apple Care plan and they really came through. It only took 15 minutes with the Apple representative and we had a choice of three places in the area to chose from for the repair. They fixed it and checked the software and now it works great! I am glad... who knew you could have such withdrawal from an electronic device!

My brother took the picture above while he was performing on Grand Canary Island last year. His hotel was right on the ocean. Sounds wonderful doesn't it, especially with these views. But, apparently, the activity and noise from vacationers and such never stops... party time, all the time. (And you thought New York City was the only "city that never sleeps".) Anyway, it was July and the island was hot. Night breezes off the ocean would cool it down a bit, but with open windows... you guessed it, NOISE! It looks serene... thank goodness we can't hear the racket!

People often remark that Stephen's life must be wonderful with all the traveling and wonderful places he visits. They don't realize that it isn't that great. Work visas for all the different countries, paying for short term housing all over the globe, rehearsals that limit the time for sightseeing and travel is a real pain these days. An opera singer is paid by the performance.... but not for the rehearsals, which often last for four to six weeks before opening night. If he should come down with flu or something that prevents the performance, he won't get paid... even if he made every rehearsal. Of course each country takes out tax... and the US takes a big share as well, over and above this. Then on occasion, a problem may arise between a conductor and an opera house and cancellations occur; happened this year in Brazil. But, on the bright side, he got to spend an extra month at home.

Right now, he is back in Europe, putting the final touches on an opera he will be singing for the first time...Tristan and Isolda. He has a performance in Dresden before he heads off to Japan for "Tristan"... Christmas Day he will be on stage. This coming year is packed for him, even the summer season with a major Wagner Festival in Salzburg, Austria. We have no idea right now as to when he will be back home again. Thank goodness for Skype and e-mail!

Anyway... computer problem solved... I'm back!

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Red Rose

This will have to do for a few days. Posted by Picasa

"What boots up must come down." ~ Author Unknown
Well, it happened. I thought it was going to happen yesterday when I got up, went in to my Mac and tried to wake it up. It had a stroke during the night and wouldn't wake up. So I performed CPR and did a little shock therapy and it wouldn't turn on. It sat there and spun with a faint mechanical noise every ten to fifteen seconds. I dug out the handy dandy manual and paged on back to "troubleshooting... if your Mac won't start up". Check the cords. Cords intact. Turn off power, remove cord, wait 30 seconds, reset and try again... nothing. OK.. next. Press the power button and quickly hold down the command key, option key, P key, and R key. OK. (Try doing that fast with two hands). Nothing. OK... take off all connections to printers, internet etc. and try pressing the power button while holding down the "D" Key until you hear the start up boom. OK... first time nothing. The second time... a loud horn like sound (not the melodious low chime normally heard) and a flickering of blue and there it is. Sigh of relief. I went ahead and restarted it and it did fine, so I ran the hardware scan and it found no problem. It worked all day and into the evening just fine. So, I let it go to sleep as usual last night.

This morning.... it wouldn't wake up. This time NOTHING worked. Not even the mysterious "D" key. Looking back on it I think the startup yesterday had nothing to do with the "D" key but was rather simple luck. That motorized whine that cycled every ten seconds or so yesterday was gone... only one was heard when the power button was first pushed. So I called Apple Care and fortunately the Mac is still on the plan and I will take it in to a local place tomorrow for it to be fixed. This is the same place I had to take my Dad's old Mac many years ago when, as a brand new machine it wouldn't start up. That was user error. While I was out for only one hour, he managed to throw the system folder away and it simply won't run without a system folder. They fixed it and we locked the system folder so he could never do that again. Anyway, it may take several days to fix MY Mac and I will not likely be on here.

I had withdrawal pain today. I couldn't work on my garden journal... on the Mac. I couldn't work on my pictures... on the Mac. I couldn't do e-mail... without waiting thirty minutes for this very, very slow PC to open Outlook Express. This old PC needs more RAM and other things. I am used to using both PC and Mac and can go between them rather easily, but this is excruciatingly slow. I hope that this post will cure my withdrawal until I get back on... that somehow the pain that is trying to get this Dell to work faster than a snail will force me to simply not think about the computer for a day or two. Not likely. But there is good news... I quit hyperventilating about a half an hour ago.

Let's not say good-bye, just "see you later."

(end of post)

PS: Wow! I never knew how much better the template looks on a MAC. On a PC, at least on this old Dell, you can't see the very large decorative "Quote marks" that are there right in front of my quote on the MAC. Hmm. Oh, Well!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Miniatures In Motion

Miniature cars, sometimes this is all the big boys can get.

When I was young, I said to God, 'God, tell me the mystery of the universe.' But God answered, 'that knowledge is for me alone.' So I said, 'God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.' Then God said, 'Well, George, that's more nearly your size.' ~ George Washington Carver
Hot Wheels miniature cars and trucks in those long plastic packages hanging on the hooks in the toy section of Walmart and Target and ToysRUs. These were the favorite gift for those hard to buy for little four, five and six year old boys whose mothers made them invite the little girls in their class to the birthday party. At that time, when my daughter Nyssa was small, there were fewer video games and Nintendo had not yet become so sophisticated and children still had imaginations and played under their own power. Give a little boy, or girl for that matter, one of these cars and perhaps a tiny dump truck or fire engine and they could devise a complex scenario and play it out on the floor or better yet, on the top of the kitchen counter or table. I have seen them take sticks and boards and build ramps to run the cars down in races, even before the toy makers figured out that making a dedicated racetrack accessory might be appealing. They do still sell these miniature cars, don't they?

Is it a real racing boat? Yes, just a miniature size.

We saw this small radio controlled racing boat skimming across the water and kicking up quite a spray of droplets behind it. Through the reeds and the rushes by the bank it almost looked like its full sized counterpart, except there is no driver on board and this small lake at Mt. Trashmore would not be large enough for those huge and powerful speed racers to maneuver in. The man controlling this from the shore was having a blast though.

Having a great time playing miniature golf. Posted by Picasa

Of course, this is my favorite example of "miniature". Nyssa was about seven in this picture when she and Uncle Stephen and I took in a game of miniature golf here in Virginia Beach. We always tried to play at least once when we visited as Columbus was notoriously small and didn't really have a good mini golf course. None of us were very good at it, but we had a lot of fun. Those were the days.

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Saturday Photo Hunt ~ "miniature"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Watching And Waiting

Daisy and Nyssa's "My Twinn" doll. (Click pictures to enlarge)

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you." ~ A.A. Milne
"Hello. My name is Daisy, at least it is now. I can't tell my mom what my old name was and it no longer matters. I was loved once and then lost or thrown out and almost died in a gassing shelter in South Carolina. I was rescued with only 30 minutes to spare and sent to Richmond, Virginia where a nice lady gave me a bath and food and cut the barbed wire out of my hair and all the mats went away. I played there with other cocker dogs until one Saturday when the lady got me all dressed up and took me to something called an "adoption event" outside a Petsmart store. There I met my new mom. She sat down on the ground and let me get in her lap. I put my head on her shoulder and made sure she knew that I didn't want her to leave without me. She didn't."

"Now, I have a yard to play in, people around all the time, kitty cats to sniff and walk with, a soft bed to sleep in and I have a sister. A human sister to be sure. She is far away right now out in Nevada and all I have left are pictures on the wall and this 'My Twinn' doll that looks like her. I keep looking out the window but I don't ever see her coming. Mom says she will come Christmas, but I really don't know what that is."

"Come home soon please...." Posted by Picasa

"So, I will just have to stare with my "pleading" eyes and maybe Nyssa will look at my picture and tell me when she will come home to see me. This is my best "come hither" face."

"By the way, Mom entered me in the Halloween costume picture contest at Petsmart. I would appreciate any votes I can get. If you go here you can see my "watchdog" picture and vote."

"Since I love nice dogs and kitty cats, I am going to visit Friday's Ark this week. Mom said I don't have to ride in the car to get there; that makes me even more excited. OK, not as excited as I am when I see treats, but still... excited!"

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Autumn Serenity

Autumn serenity. Williamsburg, VA.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." ~ John Muir (Scottich born American naturalist, 1838 - 1914)
I have to admit that this photo is in my archives from a few years back, just unused. While many northern areas are in the full throws of Autumn color, we are simply suffering with the effects of a very hot summer and less rain in August than usually seen. And while we have the occasional colorful autumn display in one or two trees, the usual turn of events is a yellowing of the green leaves followed by drying and shriveling and browning and then a gust of wind and they fall. Two of our small, contractor-installed-at-the-building-of-the-house maple trees suffered more than the others this summer. The last week in September their leaves did the dance of capitulation and left.... one partially and the other, completely. Still, the trees in the preserve are green with a polka dot touch of gold here and there.

It has amazed me that just a 45 minute drive northwest to Williamsburg will reveal amazing color. Not just at this moment though, the height of color is a bit later in late October and early November. This was taken at a small little out of the way park... College Park. There is water and a small walking deck extending out into the waterway and a place to put in kayaks. The geese float slowly over the water as the fluffy seeds of cattails fly through the air. It is an amazingly peaceful place with smooth waters reflecting the sky and at the pinnacle of Autumn, the blazing glory of the trees. After reviewing these photos, I may have to make a special trip up to Williamsburg in a couple of weeks, just to see if the color is as magnificent this year!

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Thursday Challenge ~ "Peaceful"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday : A Magical Monarch Moment

Monarch Magic Posted by Picasa

"Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

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ABC Wednesday "M"
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Queen Anne

Anticipation of things to come. Queen Anne's Lace, Norfolk Botanical Garden
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa
"Verde que te quiero verde. Verde viento. Verde ramas."
(Green I love you green. Green Wind. Green branches.)
~ Federico Garcia Lorca, 1899-1936
Queen Anne was tatting lace and the delicate white threads transformed into those of the wild carrot, thus Queen Anne's Lace. The disagreement comes as to which Queen Anne did such lovely tatting. Some say it was Anne (1574 - 1619), the first Stuart Queen Anne, who was brought over from Denmark at fourteen years of age to be a Queen to King James of Scotland. Others think it was Anne (1665 - 1714), who became Queen after the reign of William and Mary, who had no children. She was Mary's sister and while she had fourteen children, all died in infancy and childhood, so she was the last of the Stuart monarchs. I prefer to think of Queen Anne as this later lady because my daughter graduated from the College of William and Mary that was started by an endowment from King William in 1693 making it the second university chartered in the colonies (second only to Harvard). Queen Anne's picture hangs in one of the buildings there.

Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota), is a biennial plant living for two years. The first year is spent in putting down roots and growing, up to 4 feet tall; the second year produces the lacy white flowers. It blooms from May to October and provides food for the caterpillars of the Black Swallowtail butterfly. Lacewings arrive to eat the aphids that love this plant, birds eat the seed and hide in the foliage. In the picture above, the plant has flowered and the fruit/seeds have curled inward to form the "birdnest" configuration that gives this plant another nickname... the Birdnest Plant.

The root of Queen Anne's Lace is edible but said to be white and almost tasteless. But be careful about the leaves and flowers... some have used the flowers to make tea; but BEWARE... Queen Anne's Lace looks almost identical to a close relative... Water Hemlock... and the flowers of that plant are deadly. Remember how they got rid of Socrates with Hemlock tea?

I love the curled in configuration and the green, lush foliage and the fact that the Black Swallowtails love this and just perhaps they might spread the wealth (eggs) and leave me a little fennel to use in cooking. So, I plan to sow some of these seeds out in the back, behind the fence in the wild preserve and give the bugs and birds much to play with. This will be another "branched" entry for Carmi's theme this week as well as another example of my stubborn determination to hold tightly to all things green and glorious.

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Carmi's Theme ~ "branched"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can You Feel The Rhythm Of This Heartbeat?

Branching veins of life. Japanese maple, Norfolk Botanical Gardens
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"And see the peaceful trees extend
their myriad leaves in leisured dance-
they bear the weight of sky and cloud
upon the fountain of their veins."
~ Kathleen Raine, Envoi
My brother has fallen in love with the Japanese Maple tree. Never mind that there are hundreds of different varieties with vast differences in shapes, sizes, growth rates, leaf configurations and colors... he loves them all. We have a large variety "Fireglow" that he just put in the yard this summer and a smaller weeping maple with thin intricate branching leaves that is growing in a huge container on the patio. There were at least two others that he "almost" got while he was here in July and August.

This specimen is my personal favorite and is in the Japanese Garden at our local botanical garden. It is large and old and forms a huge canopy that one can sit under. Its branches are gnarled and wandering, the leaves deeply and delicately branched and it retains a stunning deep red and orange color throughout the spring, summer and fall. The sun glows through the leafy layers, enhancing the dark trunks until they almost throb with the flowing water and life giving minerals. Sometimes it seems as if I could reach out and actually feel the pulsing of the branches, grasping them as I would a wrist and marking out the rhythm of a heartbeat. I never tire of viewing these trees from this perspective.

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Carmi's Theme ~ "Branched"
Ruby Tuesday

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday: Holding On To Spring

Can't let go of that mellow yellow that is Spring!
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall." ~ Nadine Stair
The night air is cooling down as are most days. Yes, we expect a few more 80's days, but soon these too will be gone. My flower beds, so carefully built and tended this year are a bit ragged and I cannot get to them for a few more days (seeding of the grass and such). I need to clean them out, remove those plants that did not do well, pull out the annuals that must be replaced, prune those shrubby plants that are ready and do a bit of relocating and rethinking of the layout. I have pansies to put in hanging baskets for the fall and winter, a bit of color for the drab season to come. And then there is the pile of dirty clay out behind the fence... it needs to be mixed with dirt and compost and spread out and the milkweed seeds planted; they need the cold earth to sprout in the spring. Then there is mulch to be placed and annuals to take cuttings from and plants to be repotted and brought inside. So much to do and yet.... the yellow, sulfurs still flit around the yard and a few plants have flowers that are still hanging on for dear life and I really just want to squeeze the very last bloom possible out of all the plants I can. So, I've pulled this backlit double daffodil out of my early 2010 folder to again capture that sense of anticipation that only comes with Spring. Oh, yes... it is a bright but mellow yellow, with that spark of Tennessee orange.. almost the same color as that of my favorite teenage room... a very, very, very, very long time ago.

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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Stripes In Candy and Crawlers Dandy

Red and white... candy stripes. (Click picture to enlarge)

“Once you can accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which is something, wearing stripes with plaid is easy.” ~ Albert Einstein
Peppermint candy in red and white stripes is sweet and sugary as it slowly melts in your mouth; but other stripes in red and white are more "candy" for the eye than for the taste buds. And yet they are none the less bright and beautiful.

Clockwise from upper right: Black Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes asterius Stoll); Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria);
Monarch Caterpillar (Danaus plexippus ); and Tomato Hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata).
Posted by Picasa

All of these creatures can "change their stripes". The black swallowtail caterpillar goes through several color changes during its growth, adding stripes and brighter color and in doing so, closely mimic the monarch caterpillar with yellow, black, green and white stripes. These two change into beautifully marked and colored butterflies. The tomato hornworm will strip and eat the leaves off of a tomato plant overnight.. it did to mine. It too can change into a large moth, the five spotted hawk-moth and while the colors are shades of brown, there is an almost marbling effect of the color on the wings that is quite handsome. Unfortunately, the most colorful of all the caterpillars here, the forest tent caterpillar... uses all of its pizzaz here. I love the stripes of red and yellow and turquoise blue and the intricate black pattern with stark white along the top. However, this caterpillar can be a severe pest for the hardwood forests and the moth is buff tan and bland and pales in comparison. While I prefer the end product of the swallowtail and monarch caterpillars, I cannot help but be entranced by the colors and undulating movement of the stripes as they slowly move across a twig like a swaying belly dancer.

The Saturday Photo Hunt theme for today is.... you guessed it.... stripes!

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Saturday Photo Hunt

Monday, October 04, 2010

Historical Parallels In Monochrome Color

Built to last... Colonial Williamsburg. Posted by Picasa

"Therefore when we build, let us think that we build (public edifices) forever. Let us not be for present delight, nor for present use alone, let it be for such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! this our fathers did for us." ~ John Ruskin, Seven Lamps of Architecture--The Lamp of Memory
I wish I could remember exactly which building in Colonial Williamsburg this picture is from. I thought the paint color was so wonderful and loved how the small door-like window simply interrupted the wall and yet, kept the flow of color going.

Williamsburg has been a favorite place to visit for some time, even before my daughter was born. I remember getting on the buses from the visitor center and then having to walk to the Duke of Gloucester Street to see all the sites. I love how the historic buildings are preserved and restored and that privately owned homes are intermixed with those that can be entered. It can create an embarrassing moment though. I remember one Christmas when we were looking at all the lovely fresh decorations and wreaths and I walked into one yard and up to the door and tried to open the door and... well, it was a private home. I didn't see the little placard that said... "private residence"... oops!

Anyway, it was only after Nyssa started at William and Mary that I discovered we could simply walk down the street from the school and into the heart of the historic area. No busses, no parking a mile away. Wonderful. She had full access to all the buildings and exhibits and we spent several wonderful days walking and exploring and sipping hot apple cider and hot chocolate during the winter and finding hidden places in the palace gardens in summer. It was on one of these lazy walks that I found this building. I can't remember if it is part of the wheelwright or the cooper's shop, or if it is simply a private shed. No matter. It is a small piece of history to experience and remember.

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Carmi's Theme "Parallel"

Mellow Yellow Flutterby Fennel

Wild fennel, gourmet cuisine for Black Swallowtail caterpillars.
Norfolk Botanical Gardens. (Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"There are no limits to either time or distance, except as man himself may make them. I have but to touch the wind to know these things." ~ Hal Borland
We had rain... and more rain... and more rain. Between last Sunday and Tuesday morning our rain gauge measured 3.1 inches. Then a few hours of sun, yes, sun and more rain started. Between Tuesday night and Friday morning we had 9 inches. For much of that time the rain came in sideways sheets, blowing from the east and overwhelming the storm drains. The streets were flooded. The preserve behind the house is now filled with water that came up right to the edge of the property, and it doesn't look as if it will drain anytime soon. On Friday it was cooler and cloudy... but no rain. Saturday, the sun finally started shining... no clouds and a bright blue sky!

Sunday... more rain. I expect it will be between .5 to 1 inch when it is all over. Then, hopefully at least four or five days of dry weather. The yard people will come back and re-do some of the yard where the seed (put down between the two storms) washed off into the street. And the brick on the front of the house will dry so the roofer can come and re-caulk a couple of windows and put a sealer on the brick. Ah, yes! We had a leak in the dining room and master bath. The roofer said he had had calls all day Friday... things leaked that had not done so in 15 years. I think the combination of the very, very hot summer and the rain was just too much for the caulking and the brick. It is always something!

But at least there should be more blue skies on the way with a bit cooler weather. Time to clean up the flowerbeds and plan for next year. There will definitely be more of this out near the preserve next summer. Fennel, the preferred meal for discriminating black swallowtail caterpillars is gone now. At the height of summer, the botanical garden had large massed plantings with flower stems that grew to over 6' tall. The swallowtail caterpillar loves this plant along with parsley, carrot tops and Queen Anne's Lace which is also in the carrot family. Fennel is easy to grow and all parts of the plant are edible (for humans), including the root. There are other plants that do not grow well with fennel around, particularly rosemary, so let the rosemary grow elsewhere.

These fennel flowers are long gone... but they can still brighten a cloudy and rainy day with their little rays of sunshine.... in my pictures. So, have a bright and sunny, mellow yellow Monday!

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