Thursday, May 28, 2009

Walkabout in the yard

When I got home today, there was a happy dog waiting to greet me. He raced upstairs because he knows what comes next. So after I changed, I took the last of the raspberry iced tea in a big plastic cup, grabbed the camera and went outside.

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This little planter greets me when I come out the mudroom door. It was my husband’s idea to line it with bark from a tree and I added bits of moss to fill in the spots. Then I filled it with torenia, a new annual I’m trying out.

After I took this photo, I turned around and saw this in the mudroom window.

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A co-worker had given me this little decorative planter last year as a housewarming gift when we moved to the farm in Pennsylvania. I never did anything with it because the pots are so small and I have no idea what I’d put in them. So it sits here on a shelf in the mudroom. But wait, I said to myself. What’s that inside one of the little pot? My husband had to have put it in there because I surely did not.

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I’ve often said that I would never post anything gross in my blog. I know some people do, but I just don’t feel that it’s necessary here. However, today I am posting something just a tad bit gross, so bear with me.

What you see in the little center pot is actually owl dung.

Why owl dung, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

My husband enjoys bringing things he’s found home to show me. One day this winter, I came home from work and my husband proudly showed me something he’d found under the big tree where the owl sits every night. “Look closely at it,” he told me, “and you can see what it eats. There’s fur and bones, and . . .” And that’s when I cut him off.

“But it’s poop,” I said.

“It’s interesting,” he said. “You should put it in your blog thingy.”

I told him I don’t post gross things and thanked him for the interesting artifact and life went on. And I’d forgotten about the owl dung until I turned around just now and saw it.

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I walked around the house and headed towards the backyard. I’m standing by the little back door to the mudroom. That’s the breakfast nook on my left. When we moved here, poison ivy was completely covering this entire wall. You could see some out the windows, but it was pretty bad. The girl that lived here prior to us had tried to get rid of the vines, until she got an awful spider bite on her arm.

Straight ahead is my husband’s little garden and to the right . . . that’s where the tree came down. You can see half the lilac bush and the other half is under the tree. Not much can be done at this point because it’s covered with poison ivy. But my husband did clear big branches of it from the patio.

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Looking towards where I was just standing a moment ago. My husband put up a little umbrella at the edge of the patio. We eat out there sometimes.

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In the garden, he’s got tomatoes, corn, zucchini, cucumber, peppers, sunflowers and nasturtiums.

I don’t know why about the nasturtiums but I’m glad about them, nonetheless.

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Well, it’s time to go in now. I bet dinner is almost ready. Thanks, everyone, for joining me on my little walk.

Until next time, then . . .

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More sights from the city

I can’t get over how much I enjoyed my trip last weekend. It wasn’t just the meeting of new friends.

It was different. So very different than what I’m used to. And you know what else? It was really beautiful, too. And there always seems to be something happening.

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The firemen are friendly, too. This reminds me: Rescue Me is on tonight! I love that show.

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There was so much to look at. Do you see that rooftop apartment there in the center? Isn’t that cool-looking?

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And then there was this. I took this in Prospect Park.

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I found this little guy in Gotham Gardens, a florist along Amsterdam Ave. around 79th street. But the cutest thing is below. I mean, even the New Yawk kittens are street smart.

funny pictures of cats with captions

And on that note, I bid you farewell, my friends . . .

Monday, May 25, 2009

My crown is in my heart

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Today was a really productive day at the old manor house on the hill.

Did you know that if you drink several glasses of iced tea throughout the day, you can keep going and going. And going . . .

Today we each worked on our own projects. My husband was in his garden and I continued with my container gardens that I’d begun last weekend.

I would work for awhile, then take a break and cool off with a glass of raspberry iced tea.

I love raspberry iced tea. And mint. And ginger, too. And blueberry, actually. It’s surprisingly good. But today I made raspberry.

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I have this three-tiered wire planter that I like to line with moss and then fill with little impatiens. It will be beautiful in about a month or so when they start to get bigger.

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My husband moved the pansies to the shady side of the house. They’re still doing pretty well, I’d say.

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This is the front porch. It’s a nice place to sit in the mornings and evenings. That’s the huge azalea bush on the right. I bought those urns at the WalMart last weekend. They were on sale and look like stone. But they’re not. I hope I haven’t ruined it for you now that you know.

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I found this old wire planter in the garage. I don’t like to use other people’s things but it looks nice hanging on the back porch. And it goes with the house.

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I have a collection of wire planters and each year I just buy new coco mats. I couldn’t find any for the cone planter, so I improvised and used moss at the top. I actually like it better this way, don’t you?

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I love yellow petunias and these were on sale this weekend at Home Depot.

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We needed new lawn chairs. The camp chairs we’ve had for the past couple of years were looking ratty and these pretty yellow chairs were on sale at the WalMart. They’re really comfortable, too.

It’s been a beautiful week here in Maryland. A little warm today, but the house has been staying cool (so far). It’s from precise timing on my husband’s part, of opening and closing windows and curtains to keep the cool inside.

Hope things are going swimmingly in your neck of the woods!

Until we meet again . . .

My crown is in my heart, not on my head,

Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones,

Nor to be seen: My crown is called content:

A crown that is, that seldom kings enjoy.

William Shakespeare

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mosaic Monday: New York City blooms

Everything was blooming in New York this weekend and I found myself obsessed with so many distinctive plant containers.

And so, for what it’s worth, this is my submission for [Mosaic Monday]. Check out the link to ogle many cool mosaics. Now c’mon, tell me . . . when was the last time you really ogled something, eh?

Mosaic Monday: Windowboxes, NYC

Maybe you’d better not answer that!

Welcome to new faces here and all friends. And now it’s time to announce the two pay it forward winners. They are #26 [Donalyn] and #10 [JC].  Please contact me with your mailing address so I can send you the winnings.


You’ll be getting a small box in the mail containing a few things that I would have liked to have myself. But I mailed them to you instead.

When you get them, host this same sort of post on your blog, for someone to win “Pay it Forward”. You can choose as many as you want to win. And they’ll pay it on to the next and the next . . .


Thanks to all for participating in Pay it Forward and until tomorrow, my friends.

My visit to the city

Today I drove to New York City to meet three women bloggers I’d never met before. And to hear some of my co-workers talk, I was going to the big city to meet axe murderers. They couldn’t believe I would do something as crazy as to go and meet people from the internet. Alone.

Well, I’m certainly glad I didn’t listen to them.

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The best thing about today went beyond the sights, sounds and scents of the city. It was gorgeous today, with a nice breeze and just perfect weather. But the best thing was meeting friends for the first time in real life. Today I met up with Daryl [Out and About in NYC], Lauren [The Mental Pause Chronicles] and Annie [The Tombstone Chronicler].

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From L to R is Annie, me, Lauren and Daryl. It was the first time we’d actually met, although we’ve known each other in the blogging community for over a year and a half.

We had a fantastic meal at Mamoya on Amsterdam Ave. It was some of the most incredible sushi I’ve ever had. Ever.

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We also had this.

I am now in love with peach sangria.

Come here, my lovely.

Before lunch, though, we strolled through Riverside Park. And we saw this cheerful little mama squirrel having an orgy with an apple.

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She wanted some privacy, so she scrambled up a branch and continued her meal. We walked on and saw that several people were standing under a huge sycamore tree and two of them had camera lenses about 4 feet long.

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You can hardly see it, but right in the center of this picture is a huge nest with an osprey and 3 hatchlings. Those photographers had probably been there for hours, waiting for the light to hit just right.

We were told while we were there that it was a hawk but this is an osprey nest. They usually build them right by water.

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These little beach roses were pretty. Or are they marsh roses? Here’s a close up below, but I didn’t have the macro lens with me.

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After lunch, we went on a walk and I’ll have more of those pictures up later this week. But for now, here are some sights I enjoyed.

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This is Daryl’s friend, Wendy. She met us for lunch and I loved her bracelets.

Thanks for visiting!

I’ll post the Pay It Forward Sunday night.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pay It Forward Contest

DSC_0202 copy 2 I think it’s time for a fun Pay It Forward post in which two winners will receive a sweet little prize that will come in the mail. All that’s required is that you have to be willing to Pay It Forward.

I saw this post at my city friend, Daryl’s site and decided that I’d like to play. And today, my reward came in the mail.

I love tea and candles.  My gift included a box of Good Earth spicy tea, a candle from Illume, a cool Rume tote and a beautiful card that I think I’m going to put in a little frame because it’s so cool.

Here’s how to play: I’m going to take the commenters from this post and run a random integer to select two of them. Those two winners have to be willing to Pay It Forward by doing the same on their site.



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DSC_0200 copy 2So, you see, you’d have to have a site or a blog to play. Apologies to all those who don’t have a blog but a heads up that I’ll be holding a regular giveaway soon to celebrate the start of of summer. Cheers!

As you read this, I’ll hopefully be meeting 3 blogging friends for the first time. I’m sort of nervous and excited because for one, we’re meeting in the Big City. I mean THE Big City. And for another, I’m just afraid that the ‘persona’ of me won’t live up to their expectations. But frankly, my dear, I also don’t give a damn. Love my dog, love me. That’s what I always say.

Not really. I’ve never said that in my life. But I’ve never done something like this either!

So play! Leave a comment and be willing to pass on the love. You just may win a cool prize.



I left work early today and came home to pick up my husband for the journey we take every two months to his doctors in Baltimore.

And my gosh, (or as Christine would say, “golly day”) was this ever a beautiful day here in Maryland. As I drove home, the scent of the wild roses that bloom along the roadside wafted in my open windows making me smile. He wasn’t ready when I got to the house, so I sat on the little back porch in the shade and had a bit of lunch and drank some homemade raspberry iced tea.

George came outside with me and laid on the big stone step and we had a big view of the backyard. The picture below was our view but it was much earlier in the day and this was taken one recent evening.

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And as we sat there, we watched the birds flying from branch to branch in the big backyard, and listened to their sweet sounds. Every time a little breeze blew, spent blooms from the very top of the black locusts trees drifted slowly to the ground.

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And I thanked God for bringing us to this lovely place for my husband to heal.

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The trip to the city was the usual, with me doing the driving and I know the way by heart. I’ve been doing it nearly five years now. And while we waited to see the doctor, I thanked God again that we were so close to one of the best hospitals in the country.

Driving home, through the traffic and the noise of the city, and finally flying on 95 and then landing in a sticky traffic jam, I remembered that little vignette in my yard and it calmed me some.

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In my mind, I could hear the backyard birds twittering, and see the buttercups swaying and I could almost smell the scent of the wild roses again. I couldn’t wait to be home.


It was interesting to read your comments from yesterday’s post about Talbots and their superb customer service. And some of you actually have worked there!

This weekend, I am going to do something special and I’ll tell you all about it later.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Second and fourth photos by my husband. I’m just sayin’.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Something special came in the mail

I received a sweet tote in the mail this week from Marlene, after I donated to a worthy cause. Marlene is the daughter of an extremely gifted artist/seamstress who she calls “The Hand with the Golden Touch” and I think Marlene has inherited much of this talent! I am loving this fabric! So I thought I’d do a mosaic of my new tote to show you.

Thanks, Country Girl on the Chesapeake Bay ~ Marlene!

Tote mosaic

In other news, kudos and extra points to Donalyn, Deb, Becky Up the Hill, Staci, Laura~Peach, and Marlene for knowing it was black locust wood on those fence rails. You are all very good students. Marlene went the extra mile by adding to what we’d already learned.

And thanks to all for your wonderful comments on my beautiful dog, George. George even inspired Shellmo to rent the movie “Babe” last weekend just so she could watch the border collies. I love that movie.

Ok, tell me if anything like this has ever happened to you. Today, I went for my regular 8-week checkup at my favorite salon. I’ve mentioned before how much I love this place and how wonderful my stylist is. It’s in a rather swanky town that’s about a half hour drive from my home. I got there early and had a half hour to kill, so I went to Talbot’s to see what was on sale and ended up buying a top and a pair of slacks. When the salesperson rang me up, she told me that unfortunately, the slacks weren’t on sale and that was fine with me. They fit and I was happy with them. She wanted to know if I wanted to join a frequent shopper thing and I told her I’m only in the area every two months or so because I go to the salon nearby. We said our goodbyes and I thought that was that.

Later on, as I was sitting in the color chair perusing a magazine and sipping a chardonnay, one of the salon employees enters and asks if there is a “Kate” here. When I raised my hand, she hands me a phone, telling me it’s Talbot’s and they need to speak with me. This is odd, I think. Did I leave my credit card there?

The Talbot’s salesperson was calling to tell me that the slacks I purchased actually WERE on sale and could I stop back so they could credit my card?

I was shocked. I mean, who does that? But you know what? I’d shop there again just because they’re honest. It made me glad to know this.

Well, we’re watching the Singing Survivor Show and all sorts of crazy things are happening. Is that Cyndi Lauper? Golly day, she is just so fun.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

PS ~ I never say golly day. Ever. But one of our teacher’s at school says it all the time and it cracks me the hell up. Her name is Christine. Golly day, girl!