Monday, September 17, 2012

Once in a blue moon...

This year on August 31, we had a "blue moon", the second full moon in a month.  The moon rose late, and I went outside to try to catch a photo through the thick but fast-moving clouds.  Without a tripod, and being dark, it was difficult to get a focused picture, but I like this one.  At any rate, it was a beautiful night and a beautiful sight.

Speaking of beautiful sights, I pass a fabulous farm on my way to work every weekday morning.  It features a giant cutting garden right at road's edge, and it delights me to watch the flowers grow from seedlings to rows and rows of blooms.  My favorites are the sunflowers, and why not!

Another interesting plant I passed often this summer was this pair of fungi.
I got a little surprise one morning when I picked up a plastic pot which was nestled inside a little bucket:
The Spicebush Swallowtail had been clinging to the side of the pot but landed on the bottom when I moved it.
Nothing much bloomed well in my yard this year, not even my hydrangeas (which overflowed vases last year), except for the Limelight
and the Pink Diamond.
Oh, and my lawn was full of Queen Anne's Lace, so I let it grow for a while...
One of the best plants this year was this Big Judy coleus, which provided a striking backdrop for the rest of my potted flowers.
But the real beauty is always the sweet autumn clematis growing up the wall at the back of the house.  This is a plant I would recommend to everyone (unless you're allergic to bees).  It will sprawl over a fence or climb a tree or a trellis, growing as far as it will be supported. 
My sweet pretty reaches to the second-floor bathroom window,

and even though it suffered dieback on the bottom half a couple years ago when it snapped the upper trellis in half from the sheer weight, it's still a spectacular specimen.  (I haven't had the heart to cut it back yet, since the birds are always nesting in it by the time I get out in the spring.)

But anyone who has grown sweet autumn clematis knows that the real pleasure is found in its intoxicating scent, which is why I'm so happy that it grows outside the bathroom window.  This is the real vantage point, looking - and smelling! - out the window.

So, another summer draws to a close.  It's been a lovely, dry, temperate summer, not too hot, not too muggy. 
A once-in-a-blue-moon kind of summer.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Connor

I made this card for Connor's birthday a few weeks ago, and had hoped to post it for Papertrey Ink's Make It Monday challenge, which was to watercolor using ink pads.  It's a pretty simple card, using my old standby Up, Up and Away as well as one of the Think Big Favorites.

 Connor's 15th birthday was in late August and I visited him for a few minutes at his dad's house to give him his present.  He opened it in the dark driveway so I didn't get a good photo...  he won't care:  he's enjoying his new IPod Touch.

 Better late than never, eh?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Camp TV: Cookin' with Auntie Lou

Meals are an important part of camp life.  All that fresh air and recreation give rise to big appetites, and one never knows quite how many hungry tummies will show up to eat.  Everyone brings something to the table and the spread depends on the assortment in everyone's coolers.  Auntie Lou likes to choreograph each meal, and she has definite ideas about how certain things must be done.  (By the way, it's best to bring your onions already chopped.)  She also has her share of unusual recipes and likes to enlist our help in the kitchen, to locate particular ingredients in her cabinets and fridge, to discuss possible substitutions if we fail to turn up the required spice or sugar, or to read a recipe out loud for her (over and over and over...)  Over the years, I have enjoyed some of Auntie Lou's specialties, like peas and potatoes and blueberry cake.

Auntie Lou loves to bake, especially if someone brings her some fresh berries.  Blueberry cake is a perennial favorite, and there is usually some kind of fruit confection warm out of the oven to enjoy with a cup of coffee.

Auntie Lou has some interesting cooking machines in her cozy kitchen.  Here she is making muffins in a donut press.

Kinda funky but probably pretty tasty, especially with a DD Hazelnut K-Cup...

Auntie Lou is quite proud of her nearly antique toaster... I think she said she got it as a wedding present nearly 70 years ago!  It is a bit persnickety but with a little perseverence, it will toast even thick slices of homemade bread, automatically lowering the bread and then popping it up when toasted - sometimes a little more than one might wish, but hey, this thing has been faithfully feeding  countless breakfasters for decades!

She also has a vintage hot dog steamer which she especially prizes.  There's always a demonstration for new visitors, although the machine has become very finicky in its old age and doesn't always cooperate.

I know my videos are kind of crappy - I don't know how to edit - but this is too good not to share:  (There's a bit of an inside joke going on here; I hope you find it humorous, too!)

You bring me a lot of laughs and joy, Auntie Lou!  I love you!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

On the lake again

We were lucky enough to squeeze in another visit to the lake during the last weekend in July, this time with the kids: Toots brought her grandkids; only Eric and Dominique came with me. (Connor stayed behind to prepare for his Canoe Base adventure with his dad.)   We managed to stay ahead of the rain clouds all the way to Maine.

It started out quiet enough. We were the only visitors when we arrived and Auntie Lou and Paula were happy to see us.  The neighbors from across the lake came by Friday afternoon and took us on a cruise on another slow-moving vessel, their White Trash Barge (no commentary on the name of this ship!)

Max and Eric were excited by the prospect at spending the weekend together, at camp no less!

It was Paige's very first boat ride!

We were treated to a serene and lovely sunset, with the water burbling gently and swirling with pink and gold reflections.  The loons gave us a wide berth but were content enough to stay within view.

The next day was a little livelier, as cousin Stevie and his son Seth showed up, along with the usual suspects, and most everyone ventured out on the lake.  Paige got to go in the paddleboat with Auntie Lou and Peanut, and she got a ride in neighbor Paul's motorboat, too!

Then it was the boys' turn.

Oh no, you didn't just dare Paul that he couldn't knock you off...



Stevie's first, of course...

Seth's next...

Eric is still holding on underneath...


 Round two:

I want to give a big thanks to my cousin Paula for sharing these great photos she took from the boat!

Adrenaline junkie...

 And later Eric caught a fish!

Sitting here in this swing is such a pleasant respite from my daily routine at home.  I love the peaceful view, the gentle lapping of the water hitting the shore, the conversations of friends and family that liven the afternoon and evening...

 Remember:  No having fun at Camp Grouchy!

My video's not the greatest but still it captures a little of the feeling of being at the lake:

The picture that's worth 1,000 words (but if you want the words too, Paige has them all!)