Thursday, November 09, 2017

Random Late Summer/Fall Stuff

With all the rain that we had the Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea grew to about six feet by six feet.  It was gorgeous, until it flopped when it got too heavy.

We went to White Flower Farm and it was beautiful as usual.
Their hydrangea droops too.

I want this sumac but I don't think I have any room left!
Beautiful cimicifuga.
The Lloyd Border.
Can you believe the size of this weeping beech tree?
My mother's town, South Windsor, has some lovely gardens.
The spiky bush is caryopteris.  I want it (of course).
Ca Can't show you foliage in my yard because it hasn't change yet. Can you believe that? I'm really looking forward to the holidays this year. Despite the angry people, violent manmade and natural disasters, national and international crises, there is so very much for which we can thank God.

Castine, Maine

Tone on Tone is one of my favorite blogs.  They have a cottage in Castine and after seeing pictures, I wanted to go waaaaay up there, Downeast.  Castine is a tiny little town with only a few streets and mostly historic houses built in the 18th and 19th centuries.  It's a long drive, especially the last 15 or so miles, in the deep darkness, when you don't know the way, and your aging eyes don't see well.  We stayed at the Pentagoet Inn, built in 1894, a couple decades younger than my own lovely abode.  The breakfast was out of this world.  We were in an adjacent building in a small room with a tiny bathroom.  I think the inn was filled up with Navy folks and contractors.  Castine is home to the Maine Maritime Academy, from which my co-worker's son recently graduated.

We stayed to the left (forgot to take a picture of the main building!).

Here's the town beach.
We stopped at York, Maine on the way up. It's a really beautiful town as well.
On the way home we ate at the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine.  We saw the review on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Channel.  Thankfully, the chocolate cream pie was just out of the oven when we were ready for dessert.  It was absolutely divine.

We've had pretty much continuous warm, sunny, beautiful days this autumn and our time in Maine was no exception. Flowers were still blooming.  My mother really loves Vermont. I prefer Maine, which has so many beautiful, picturesque towns. What can I say? I'm a Maine-iac.

Monday, September 11, 2017

9/11 - Sixteen Years Later

Image result for 9/11 memorial shanksville pa
Shanksville Memorial
I skimmed through the 9/11 Commission Report.  So very tragic, maddening and sad.  I've become obsessed with - how could more people have been saved?

First off, the immigration system failed miserably to catch and deport those breaking the rules with reporting with their green cards and visas.  Then the security at the airport was generally abysmal - not bothering to see what set off the metal detectors.

The Fire Department and Police didn't have proper radios, or couldn't use them correctly.  The 911 operators were completely overwhelmed and unable to transmit information to the first responders properly.  Victims were calling with explicit information that would have helped rescuers and others trapped.  No rooftop rescues could be made due to intense heat and smoke.  People died because they stayed with the wounded or lame, like in this story about quadriplegics trapped.  So tragic.

And there are heroic stories like this this poignant article.  Brian Clarke's story was on television.  His co-worker was overcome by the sight of people jumping out of the North Tower and went to him for comfort.  He escorted her to the ladies' room just as the second plane ripped through where they had just been standing.  What is mysterious is the seemingly random choices he made that led to his escape.  I say mysterious because I don't know how else to explain it.  God?  Providence?  We don't know why some lived and others died.

I want to go back and have a do-over, with better results.  Maybe the acceptance is just hard and I don't know anyone personally who died.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Meet my new ragdoll cat (above).  My very, very beloved favorite cat, Carly, died on February 24th.  Her dementia was worsening.  She was 16 years, 10 months and 5 days old, my favorite cat of all time.  I cried like an hysterical nut when she died.
Lovely, sweet Carly.
She had become a constant source of worry for me.  So, I went from three to no cats.  The house was unbearably lonely.  I had decided to get a dog in a few years when I retired.  But one day my sister-in-law texted me a picture of an eight-year-old cat she saw at Pet Smart.  She suggested I adopt an older cat who had fewer years left and could be with me until I retired.  So I started looking.

I found this beautiful boy at a no-kill shelter in the town where I work.  He was raised with another boy the same age.  The story goes that an elderly couple had to be cared for by their family, who was allergic.  They'd been in the shelter two months.
He's very low energy.  I may rename him Jeb Bush.
He's a seal point ragdoll.

What are you looking at?

He's ginormous.
So cute!
Look at the size of those paws.
I'd show you his brother, Dickens, but he's still in hiding . . . after almost three months.  Any suggestions?  They're living in the basement.  They prowl around at night.

Dusty doesn't like to come upstairs.  He is the biggest scaredy cat I've ever seen.  My friend says he just doesn't want to abandon his brother in hiding.  What do you think?  Any cat behaviorists out there?  I need help!

Friday, August 18, 2017


Wow, what a great summer this has been.  Not blistering hot like last year, nor lacking rain.  The gardens were beautiful.  I had given up on my roses out back, but they've come around.

I attended a garden lecture and the speaker said that we are experiencing different seasons of late - winter is late coming (December) and late to leave (it doesn't warm up till late May, if then).  Unfortunately that doesn't bode well for spring blooming shrubs, like hydrangeas.  So my macrophyllas were very disappointing again.

All my transplants (80?) made it except some phlox out back, a mock orange and part of a dwarf blue spruce.  My new plants came back, except one veronica and a clematis which started growing then died.

I was determined to make my gardens look perfect this year, and nearly accomplished this.  I ran out of time but had a couple of garden parties anyway.

I was surprised that these iris bloomed because I had divided almost all mine last summer.

These didn't really bloom well last year, a victim of the porch rebuild.
This picture doesn't doesn't show the beautiful, intense blue color of this Blue Willow hydrangea.
Just ignore that garbage bag full of leaves.  Focus on the new gazing ball!

Monday, April 17, 2017


Spring has finally sprung, and it looks like this year we'll actually get a proper Spring!  It seems like a great year for bulbs, and my 100 White Flower Farm daffodil bulbs look to be a great success.  I'd forgotten where I'd planted some of them.  Looks like squirrels replanted a couple for me.
Front garden, next to front walkway.

Shrub border, next to Pee Gee hydrangea tree.

New garden, between boxwoods.

In front of porch.

Shade garden (not planted by me!)

Shrub border.
I'm usually a fan of all-one-colored-non-variegated-mass-plantings, but I'm getting over it.

My Favorite Eagle Scout

My favorite Boy Scout became my favorite Eagle Scout.  We are so proud of him!  He only joined in his freshman year, so he earned all his badges in four years.  His project was building a break room for employees at a ReStore store.
My handsome boy all grown up with a beard.

The Grand Entrance.

Proud parents.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Winter 2017

Well, just as we thought we would escape any significant snow, we got slammed with a 17-inch blizzard.
The table on the deck.
Christmas lights under snow.
Mrs. Cardinal

This was February 9th, my sister's birthday.  We had a whopper of a blizzard on her birthday five years ago.  I believe she was born during a blizzard as well.  Then last Sunday we had an ice/sleet/rain/snow storm, but only got about three inches, thankfully.  We were sort of worried about ice dams with this much snow staying on the roof.  But this weekend it was in the 50's, with warm weather predicted for later in the week.

Come, Spring, come!

Friday, February 10, 2017

2016 Gardening Season

I went a little crazy buying plants, like maybe over 80?  I paid off the porch renovation so I had some extra dough.  It was a HOT and droughty summer.  I decided to renovate the back garden, which entailed much transplanting and new planting.  The watering was never-ending.

Back garden - bought four Green Mountain boxwood, Bagatelle Japanese barberry, baptisia, three Royal Candles veronica, Hansa rugosa rose, Jacob Cline echinacea; transplanted daisies to new patio garden; moved peach daylily, dark red peony, iris; threw out many irises and gave some to neighbors; moved Krossa Regal hosta from front border to in front of F. J. Grootendorst rose; moved plain hostas to woods or gave them to neighbors? (can't remember)

Shade garden - bought a variegated Solomon's Seal, three Golden Japanese forest grasses, Jack Frost brunnera, three blue creeping phlox, Gold Heart bleeding heart; moved yellow hosta to woods; transplanted a portion of the mock orange from the front border (where it was crowding a white peony)

Love this garden!

New front extended garden

New patio garden

Various other changes include transplanting a seedling wisteria from the porch garden to atop the stone wall above the new patio garden, near the birdhouse.  I also transplanted a Russian sage from the back garden next to the wisteria.