Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A small surprise

Yesterday morning I woke to find this "orphaned" tomato plant on my back deck.  You may remember that this happened last year, too.....

My sweet neighbor is in her eighties, originally from a Latin American island, and speaks broken English.  She sews and crochets, and knows that I do, too.  She enjoyed gardening in her younger days.  Each year her son stops by to plant tomatoes in a small space by the back fence for her to enjoy.  Again this year she saved one of the plants for me.  It was waiting on the deck in the cut-off milk carton, as usual ;)




One year I gave her branches from a rosemary plant I had, which she used as a hair rinse.  I think I'll stop at the garden center this week to buy her a small rosemary seedling.....

I hope your week brings you pleasant surprises, too!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Something in the air

Somewhere between the annual clean-out and that rule of removing one item for each item that comes into the house, I recently made a few trips to consignment stores, thrift shops, and the trash bin.  Add to that over 200 sewing patterns given away on Freecycle and another bag currently on Craig's List, and I've sliced a serious dent in my stash.

One thing that can produce a whirlwind de-clutter is an old friend from out of state who calls to announce a visit.  Evenings on the back deck, sipping wine and laughing, or walking through the park, or dining out, with someone who has known me for almost twenty years sure is a great start to the summer season!  So I took a few days to get this place up to par.  It didn't all get done in time.  Yes, there were some things that were stuffed back into the storage room and I'm handling those now.  (Thus, the patterns on Craig's List....)  It's a good feeling to free up some space.

So, what has made the cut?  What recent purchases are still here?




A sweet small "luggage" case needing some rust clean up and a new leather handle.





Something I've wanted FOR.EV.ER!  A carry basket from a five and dime.  I'm old enough to actually remember these  ;)
This one needs some TLC, so I'll be starting a search for a similar canvas so I can dis-assemble this, clean the rust, and recover it.





A circa 1960's metal school desk.  It was by the side of the road with a FREE sign on my last trip to VT :)  It has been scrubbed but I've still got to put some Rustoleum on the feet.  My portable machine is quite content to have it's own home instead of the kitchen table.





This older snap setter with all the pieces and instructions.  I have new ones but there's something comforting about one that was used by a 1940's homemaker.






A perfect pair of Polly Preston shoes from the early 60's.  They were worn so little that the printing inside the show still looks new.  And they're a perfect fit!


And this......





but that's a story for another day ;)

Have a wonderful weekend.  If you are here in the U.S., I hope you're enjoying a long holiday.  (Please remember why we have this extra day off from work.)

Thank you to all who have served our country!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Out and about

I've just returned from northern New England, having spent a very long weekend with friends and family.  I could easily turn around and drive back today for another bunch of hugs from my grandchildren.  I had a wonderful visit and miss them so much already!  I have another trip planned in early June, so I'll be counting down the days  :)

The bad news is that the continued rainfall in Vermont has done considerable damage which hasn't been in the spotlight of the national press.  There are flooded homes, camps, and businesses along Lake Champlain and many of the state's rivers.  The water in the foreground of this photo is covering a field.  Those camps in the background are now in the water.  Just outside the edge of the photo there are several propane tanks (large ones for heating the buildings), which were gathered as they had been floating in the water.




Much of the bikepath has been destroyed and is expected to be closed for the summer.  With the damage to roads and homes, I'm sure the path will be low on the list to be repaired, and rightfully so.  There are many roads destroyed by erosion, and some are still covered with water.

It has been raining since late April and it is expected to continue for the next week.  I'm sending up a few prayers for sunshine and warm winds to help clear the water away, and hoping that the restoration is speedy for everyone affected by this.

Peeps-to-be

I'm really getting excited about driving to work each morning.  I am one of the first to arrive, and usually take the end space in the front row of the parking area, right next to a pretty little tree.  ("Little" meaning: about 16 feet tall, or thereabouts.)






Anyway, the tree is filled with blossoms now







and something else.







When I got out of my car today a very protective Papa bird flew past me to a nest in this tree, where Mama was keeping some little eggs warm.  I stayed far enough away so they wouldn't get upset.

I'll be keeping an eye on that nest for sights of little beaks soon  :)

Nature is wonderful, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Even-ing out equations


I've been in my element, lately.  My two wheels and I left a few miles behind us over the past few days, returning to a local bike path that goes through a wooded area.  I saw Jack again, sitting in his pulpit




 
and the gals with their pretty red frocks




 
I had forgotten how this path is a slight upward incline for a few miles.  Leg muscles get a good workout in the beginning.  After the initial burn, it's a steady ride.  It's perfect for unwinding after work, or for a short ride on a busy weekend evening.

I also made it to the gym a few mornings last week, which may sound devout and committed, but I have to admit that I ruined all that work with a really good New York-style bagel and cream cheese.  (Not the soft, doughy type!  A crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside bagel with a shmear of fresh cream cheese :)

And then there were the cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar.....

I will be back at the gym tomorrow morning....and yes, it was worth it   ;)

Have a great Tuesday!  I'll catch up with you later.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mmmmm, yum!

Here in the city, I don't have the excitement of foraging for my dinner.  I can find dandelions, but with the canine and skunk population I choose to pass on wild greens.

And most anything around here has probably been subject to weed-and-feed products.

It's not a question of not knowing about what's edible and what's not.

It's about what has been done to those plants.

So...

My exotic foods come from the market.




And tonight I finally tried these!




Ramps!


Oh, my!

Why did I wait so long?

(Actually, these were given to me...)

They're very delicious when cooked like this...




Sauteed with cracked pepper and salt, and served with oven-"fried" sweet potatoes.

They're only available for a short time in the spring.  I'll be looking for more this week.

Try something new!  (And don't wait too long.....like I did!)


Friday, May 6, 2011

This weekend....

In case we don't catch up before then.....



Happy Mother's Day!





Best wishes to all the Moms out there  :)



Thursday, May 5, 2011

First ride of the year

Last Sunday was a glorious day.  The sun rose early and the sky was clear.  What better to do than ride along the shore with a friend?  We arrived in Old Saybrook around 9am and stopped at the Paperback Cafe for a pre-ride blueberry scone.  After all, your body needs a bit of "fuel" for energy, does it not?  ;)

We took our time since my biking buddy had never been there and was taken by the shoreline and beautiful landscapes.  We stopped to watch as folks were catching decent sized fish for dinner, and found a path leading to a scenic lookout.  It was the kind of place where you could just sit and watch the boats all day....however we had a few miles to put under our wheels, so we rode on.




Everyone we passed was pleasant and we chatted for a bit with a few folks along the way.  I suppose we all had that feeling of relief that the sunny weather was finally here :)




For the first ride of the season, 7 miles wasn't too bad.  We chatted and stopped to sightsee more than seriously rode, but that's okay.  There's a whole lot more riding to come!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My favorite time of year

The spent blooms of the happy yellow daffodils stand back, now that they have heralded the arrival of Spring.  Hyacinths have  followed them, and tulips are now ready to pass.  Everywhere, violets are spreading their pretty faces across lawns that will soon be mowed.
The forsythia came and went, echoing the bright sunshine of the daffodils.  This week the lavender azeleas are shedding their petals.
The tulip trees have covered lawns and sidewalks with pink flowers, and cherry trees are now making a beautiful pinkish-purple view along the sides of the road.
This has been a spectacular Spring.  I’ve been enjoying it more than any other, to my recent memory.  I’ve been busy, but I’ve had my eyes open to the colors and shapes and rebirth of Nature.  Eveywhere I’ve gone, I’ve seen beauty.
But the best is yet to come.  Of all the Spring colors, two of my many favorites are the dogwood and the lilac.  The first is just opening now, with it’s graceful arms and four-bracts of creamy white or precious pink.  I’ve always loved the dogwood, most likely because my parents also did.  My father (who worked in construction) brought home a dogwood tree dug from a wooded area that was being cleared.  It thrived under my mother’s care (and natural “green” thumb), and gave a beautiful display every year.





When I was young, each Spring we would get lilacs branches from some friend or neighbor.  Years later, I had several lilacs in my yard.  I’ve always enjoyed that heavenly scent.  The deeper the color of the flower and the greater the fragrance, the more I treasured it.  I love the way the stems of the lilac bush would gracefully reach skyward, and sometimes an odd branch might twist itself around another.
I know that someday I will again be growing lilacs.  And underneath them will be a patch of lily of the valley.  Because you can never have too much of a good thing J

I hope you've been enjoying a wonderful Spring!