Thursday, July 21, 2016

American Beauties

In the midst of tucking the final necessities into my suitcase, I watched in horror and sadness, as the most recent tragedy unfolded from Dallas, Texas on the tv screen.  This anger and hatred seems to be everywhere now dividing our country and world more each day.  
Not wanting to turn a blind eye to reality, I was really looking forward to seeking out some beauty among all of this ugliness.  Beauty in the form of two of our American national parks.

 We began our ten day journey in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.    
In a matter of moments after our arrival, we were captured by the beauty to be found in every direction.  The air was fresh and slightly crisp.  Such a welcome change from the heat and humidity of North Carolina.
All through the day people were offering to take a picture of the two of us and also asking for us to take their group pictures.  It seems that nobody wanted to miss out on the chance to be included in photos with these breathtaking backgrounds.

At one point in the journey the park ranger tiptoed up to us and requested that we be as quiet as possible.  Seems as though mama bear and her cub were having playtime and she didn't want us to disturb them.  She did say that photos were okay so I seized that opportunity.

Looking up... way, way up to the top of these giant sequoia trees I pondered how long they had been growing.  Some of them are 2000 years old.  I thought about all of the changes that have taken place in that time.

 Time spent by this waterfall was time well spent.
Far from a gentle trickle, this water gushed out at a fast pace.
Still there is something so soothing about water flowing in a natural surrounding like this.

*** America, the beautiful ***
 As we made our way out of the park, I was captured by the water rushing over the rocks at the base of the mountains.  So glad the driver offered to stop here for a spell.

Also glad that Brett was the driver as my knees would have been knocking on roads like these.

 Day two found us enjoying the sights at Yosemite National Park.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the National Park System.  The attendance at Yosemite was a reflection of this celebration.

We saw a lot more traffic here, but it was easy to see why.

An abundance of natural beauty.

As far as the eye could see.
At one point in the day, I sat down on one of the strong rocks beneath the ancient trees.  I closed my eyes and breathed in a deep breath of fresh air and I prayed that all the world could know the peace I was feeling at that very moment.

Monday, July 4, 2016

In My Little Corner of America

 Still in my pj's at 10:30 this morning staring at those last two brownies.
A happy reminder of our fast-paced, fun-filled Independence Day celebration.
Since our community fireworks display was being held on the 3rd, we decided to host the family gathering that day as well.
On this dark and overcast morning, I am enjoying the fact that today can be spent in a leisurely fashion.

  vintage treasures and garden daisies ~

 We took the boat out for the first time this season.
It was nice to drop the anchor, jump in the water and float in the lake for a few hours.  Nothing like catching up with family members while treading water and watching boats and clouds roll by.

 A few years ago I won this embroidered towel at the Habitat for Humanity monthly auction.  I later learned that it had been donated by a lady that I often see at the hair salon.  She was so excited to know that I had won it and shared the story of hanging it in the powder room of the summer home she once owned in Ohio.  She said she would put it there for the 4th of July and then the house would be filled with family and friends having fun together.  She is now in her 80s and no longer owns the summer home.
While I didn't hang it in my powder room, it felt good to know it's history and be able to incorporate it into my own family's memory making moments.

This was the only cherry pie to be found in my kitchen, but we did enjoy our fill of fresh Bing cherries.  One of my favorite summer fruits.
When storm clouds began forming, it was time to get back in the boat and head for home.  Burgers, brats and hot dogs were popped on the grill.  About the time they were done cooking, the rain started coming down and then sometime during dinner it quit.
 Although the rain seemed to have moved on by firework time, we threw some umbrellas in the car (just in case).  This turned out to be a good move as ten minutes before showtime raindrops began to fall lightly.  Half way through the show it was a downpour which left the umbrellas struggling mightily to keep up with the demand.  But, the show went on and the crowd hung in there through the fabulous grand finale.  As I looked around at my fellow Americans, we were all rather drenched yet still standing proudly in celebration of our great country.  Standing united despite the storm.  At a time when our country seems so divided, it was a beautiful sight to behold.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Storms Roll In... and Out

Afternoon thunderstorms are a fairly common occurrence here in the summertime.  Not so nice if you happen to be out and about when one pops up, but at home it's another matter altogether.
That's the time I like to grab my book and head for the living room.  Hearing the thunder boom and the tree leaves rustle makes the perfect backdrop for a cozy reading session.

Not long after I sat down today, the skies started to darken and so did the room.  I turned the light above me on and as I did so another light bulb went on. Yes, you know the one. ;D.

The one that reminded me of the little strand of lights I had purchased after Christmas and put into a terrarium on the coffee table.  It was time to turn them on . 

This garden fairy wasn't bothered by the storm.
She danced among the flowers sheltered under glass.

 Today we had it all...
thunder, lightning, torrential downpours and even some hail.
The forecast for our July 4th holiday is an 80% chance of rain.

 If it's anything like today's weather, it will have come and gone in 20 minutes.  That's just long enough to save me from having to water the garden and short enough to not interfere with the celebrations.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sticking My Toes Back Into the Blogging Pool

It seems that once you start straying from the blog world, it's easier and easier to drift away completely.  At least that has been my experience these past few weeks.  With no intention of doing so, I found it a little harder each day to muster the enthusiasm for picking up the camera and sitting down to conjure up a post.  After 8 years here, I'm sure it has all been shared and shown and said.
On the other hand, after all the history we've made together in this wonderful world of blog, how does one just drift away?
 That feels completely wrong.
So, for today I'm sticking my toes back in to the blogging pool and since it's summer now the toes are celebrating the season.

Speaking of celebrating,  a special little someone had a birthday recently.
I was honored to be asked to make the carrot cake.
Not exactly the typical themed birthday cake one might expect for a child.

But, with the addition of a candle to blow out, he didn't seem to notice.

A recent trip to Florida afforded us with the opportunity to snap  a four generation photo.  
Although great grandpa's hands are becoming weaker, they showed great strength in holding onto a somewhat wiggly little boy.
We came home to changes in the garden.
The tomatoes and cukes are ripening and the perennials are popping!  The lawn, on the other hand, is browning up nicely :(.
Those berries in the top left above are a mystery to me.  They're growing on one of the scrubby trees between our house and the next door neighbor's house.  I don't have a clue what kind of tree it is, but the berries sure are pretty.  Although I wouldn't suggest parking your car under them.

Anybody know what kind of tree this is?
Maybe those berries are edible and we've been missing out all these years.  Then again, maybe not.  I'm not about to try them until I know what they are.

Well, I've gotta say it's feeling pretty good to be back in the pool.
I've missed you and plan to get back to visiting soon.
In the meantime...
Happy, Happy, Happy Summer!!

Beep Beep!

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Garden Tour

  Around here we've been checking things off the spring to do list.
The flowers and vegetables are now planted.
The porch and patio furniture scrubbed.
Driveway, sidewalks and porches have been power washed.
The shrubs have been pruned and the weeding is currently up-to-date.
It was with a great sense of satisfaction that we sat outside yesterday afternoon and just enjoyed the fruits of our labor.
While things are looking nice in the garden I thought I'd take you for a little tour, if you'd like to join me.

We'll start by walking down the garden path which takes us to the patio.  We'll tread lightly so we don't disturb the little fairy.
She's still in dreamland.

I want you to be comfortable, so please have a seat here on the love seat.  I'll be happy to bring you a cup of coffee or tea and you can relax while I show you around.  No need to even get up for this tour.

If you look diagonally from your seat you will see the pond and waterfall.  The sound is so relaxing on this beautiful morning.  There are goldfish living here, but they are kind of shy this morning.  We have also discovered many tadpoles this year.  This is only the second year that we've had the pond so we are making new discoveries all the time.
The water lilies are blooming nicely.
Over the weekend my husband added two more lily plants.  They are below the water surface, but in time will be just as big as this one.  Last year we had a problem with algae.  Now we are trying many things to avoid that issue.  The lilies will help to shade the water which should keep the algae from getting out of hand.

 Looking slightly to the left of the pond you can see the butterfly bushes I have planted in pots.  When the pond went in we had to sacrifice a couple of large butterfly bushes.  I replaced them with these which are supposed to stay small.  They are loaded with blooms and we enjoy watching the butterflies flutter around them as we relax on the patio.  You may have also noticed the hummingbird feeder.  It was placed where we could also see the hummers when they came to visit.  Oh look, here comes one now.

 I don't have the greatest zoom, but I think you can see him looking at us.

 The other day I put fresh nectar out for them.
I went in the house to put the remainder in the fridge and when I  came back out I had a little visitor sipping away.  I'm going to try hard to remember to refresh their food on a regular basis.  Seems like I always plan to do that and as the summer goes on I let it slide.

 We enjoy gardening and birdwatching too.
If you look straight across from where you are sitting, this will be your view.  A steady stream of songbirds coming to enjoy the breakfast buffet.

Continuing on with the tour, if you look across the backyard, there is another garden path leading to the walking trail which runs behind our house.  

The day lilies are just coming into bloom.
We have divided these several times and they reward us with pops of color all around the garden.

 The hydrangeas on either side of the arbor are also coming into bloom.  I love hydrangeas and have planted several varieties. I won't get into sharing them on this tour as this post is getting long enough.  Not to mention I just did a post on them which can be found here.

 When it comes to gardening, I could go on and on as it is something I am passionate about.
Don't worry though, I am going to wrap it up now.
Although there is one more thing I'd love to show you before I go.
My Blueberries!!  I have been trying to successfully grow them for years with no luck.  My three plants are small, but for the first time they have berries and one is even blue!  I'm so excited by this that I could shout it from the rooftops, but with my luck the birds would hear me and head over there for a feast.  So, instead I am quietly sharing it with you.  I finally grew blueberries.  Yippee!!!

Thank you for taking the time to tour the garden with me.

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