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Monday, July 5, 2010

Lawnmower Cupcakes

We're just relaxing today...no work of any consequence. Both John and I needed a break. In answer to the lawnmower cupcake question... You can see that I made exactly two lawnmower cupcakes before I turned the cupcakes into flowers-in-the-garden cupcakes. You can see some sweet cupcake/cake ideas right here at Birdie's Little Secrets (or Little Birdie Secrets if one isn't dyslexic), which is where I found this idea. Further, you can see what the lawnmower cupcakes should really look like.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day~Mosaic Monday

I hope that everyone who celebrates the 4th of July Independence Day had a wonderful day. (Most of my family are off to see the fireworks.)

Please forgive me for not labeling as I usually do. Just consider this a typical American cookout with family and friends, good food, and games. I know that it repeated itself across the country. Sam, my four-year-old grandson thanked me as he left saying, "This has been a very special day." And so it was.

As always, comments are off for Mary's Mosaic Monday. Hope that you enjoy all the wonderful mosiacs!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July Preparations

We are hosting the family's 4th of July celebration. I love to host. It's a challenge with Nan not feeling so very well, but it's much easier for her to be home. As I've explained to her, we are not going to allow old age and infirmity to dictate whether we gather together. Period. The family is helping, of course. That's what families do.

Both John and I have been quite busy. If hosting, I wanted the steps to be painted...both sets front and side. We've been "spoken to" about our lack of a house number so John set about fixing that.





There! A house number and soon another larger one will be on the garage. This was a set that my sister purchased while she was here. Lucky for me, her house number doesn't match mine so I inherited.


I love astilbes. A lighter pink one hasn't yet bloomed and you can be assured that when it does, I'll be showing it.


This was my best deal of the past few days. I love having a tablecloth for the umbrella table. This one is a fabric, not vinyl, and the best part was that it was on sale for $2 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They had lots more and lots of variety. The cashier asked, "You understand that this has a hole in the center? Lots of people bring these back when they realize that." LOL!




Gotta have some bubbly at our party.



Just liked the "new" light on the fence this morning. Made the lobster buoys pop.





I made a teepee for the grands.

I apologize for being a bit ditzy about color coordination. It's not my strong suit. :D Now, I've got to get busy baking lawnmower cupcakes and tossing together a killer potato salad.

Hope that all your preparations are going very well! How are they going?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Moose

If you take a trip to M*oosehead Lake, you should get to see a moose.
My daughter did and shared her pictures.  Gotta love days like that.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!



I had the most delightful surprise a few days ago when the weeds growing in an abandoned pot began blooming. They're not weeds at all, but petunias. Guess that they reseeded themselves from last summer's plant. Works for me

In a moment of serendipity last night, I found "O Canada" in one of my childhood books, specifically "The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls" Volume 4 called "Pictures, Stories, and Music."



O Canada, my country vast and free
Dower'd art thou by Nature lavishly.
All the wealth is thine of stream and hill,
Of forest lake and plain,
Thine the fruitful soil that freemen till
And treasure of the main.
O land beloved, whate'er betide
For home and Empire stand with God thy guide
For home and Empire stand with God thy guide

O Canada, no sordid dream beguiled
Thy pioneers to seek the forest wild
With devoted hearts and purpose pure
Their lives they gave to thee,
That thy broad domain, from foes secure,
Should Freedom's dwelling be.
O land beloved, whate'er betide,
For home and Empire stand with God thy guide,
For home and Empire stand with God thy guide.

O Canada, with boundless faith in thee,
Thy people hail thy glorious destiny.
May the circling years thy pow'r expand,
Thy sway and fame increase;
May loyal sons united stand
For brotherhood and peace.
O land beloved, whate'er betide,
For home and Empire stand with God thy guide,
For home and Empire stand with God thy guide.


I've not heard these words exactly this way; I soon learned that the anthem has undergone a few changes. I rather like these lyrics, though. Anyway, wishing all Canadians a very happy Canada Day!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Tree Wranglers

Soooo, did you guess that the boleros went down because of this man? What? With all the clues that were there, too: sawdust, fallen branches, leaves in the background. Guess that we won't be calling you "Sherlock" any time soon. ;>

We've been chatting about opening up the tree canopy, John and I. Very easy for me since I wouldn't be up and down that ladder 79 times. Nor would I be climbing about in the treetops, swinging ropes, tying off ladders, moving ladders, getting chainsaws up and down ladders, cranking on tree limbs, hauling them away and all the other things that went into opening up our view to the sky.

As our neighbor was on vacation, John thought it a great time to do this knowing that we already had his permission and knowing that if he were home he'd want to help. John prefers to work alone as he feels safer.

Here's the story in mosaic photos...if you can take it. (Yes, John is an expert. People actually pay him to take down trees. I do hope that he'll not be doing this kind of work much longer, though. It's a rough job!)


Did you notice our friendly neighbor up there? No? I just knew that you're not quite ready for detective school. (He had arrived home the day before John started this chore unbeknownst to us. Ha! Some things are just too funny. I could read John's mind as Mr. Friendly Neighbor arrived to help.)

Ahhhh, yes! We can see the vultures wheeling overhead.


A gal's got to have some diversions. There are so many pictures that I took from the house that I'm not showing. I called it my "coward's view." Anyway, my "oh, look at thats" are 1. that tenacious poinsettia that refuses to give up the ghost though it's been tossed over the banking 2. a black butterfly perched on Claudi's hat 3. my *pumpkin muffin* ...when the going gets tough — eat!

There were only three casualties: the fence, the well house, and the boleros. I am praising God that my hubby is on terra firma.


And this is where we began yesterday morning. Only now, what remains of the lilies is right here brightening my kitchen windowsill.

One day soon, I'll share what my opened canopy looks like. Lots more sun and breeze, which is such a relief.

Happy Wednesday to you!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sing


It was a rainy morning followed by an overcast day with oxygen-sucking humidity levels that would make a lesser woman tear off her clothes and jump in the river. You'll be happy to know that I exercised great restraint.

I've decided that my new word should be "sing."

When things don't quite work out — sing! Try it and see if it doesn't work. Report back.

For example, what if I told you that shortly after taking my header photo, my bolero lilies looked like this?

Sigh Sing! Check back tomorrow and I'll share all. Today, the hospital bed arrives and the whole house is upside down. La-la-la-la-la...

You have a happy Tuesday!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rhubarb Custard Pie~Mosaic Monday


Hi!

It finally cooled down enough to bake the rhubarb custard pie I've been wanting to try for weeks. My apologies to all I've told that I was baking it. I lied. This was the first time I've made rhubarb custard.

The mosaic probably tells the story far better than words, but for my dear friend who needs words, I'll explain.

Top row left to right:
1. Spindly little rhubarb stalks
2. Pie crust made and chopped rhubarb inside
3. The custard filling is added
4. A lattice top...ohhh, fancy schmancy for me...oops, forgot the butter so added it atop the lattice holes

Second row two small photos:
1. Pie baked for 55 minutes total
2. The mess that remains on the pastry board

Third row two small photos:
1. Cinnamon swirls with leftover crust, but of course!
2. Ditto

Fourth row left to right:
1. Pie fresh from the oven
2. Pie picnic on the deck
3. An unattractive piece of pie waiting for sampling
4. John waiting for his cue

Middle Photo:
Hubby giving this pie two thumbs up, trust me! :D Isn't he a good boy?

If you'd like, you can find this recipe right *here.* We'll be keeping this one.

Again, many thanks to Mary @ Little Red House.

P.S. Comments are still off...enjoy those mosaics!

Nice? I Don't Think So...

A while ago now, a commenter said, "If you are as nice as you seem to be, you'll..." As nice as you seem to be? That was pretty surprising because if there's anything I try hard to do it's be real in this blog. I mean really, I ran over a detour sign just yesterday...on purpose!  Some of you have read from the beginning and I daresay that you haven't found me especially "nice." And, further, nice is not a word that I'd use to describe who I am.

If pressed to describe myself, I'd fall back on that old line so many Christians use: I'm just a sinner saved by grace. Though that mindset is the very one that has kept me focused on my sins for most of my adult life instead of on the Lord. What I'd far rather say is that I'm a new creature because of what He did on the cross for me. (It's just that I have so much evidence of that old nature. Needless to say, that former nature keeps me well reminded that I am anything but nice.)

This is what Bob George has to say about it in Classic Christianity: A Christian like this will never mature. He will never, as long as he is held in the bondage of guilt over a past sin, experience all that Christ has intended for us to experience through His indwelling life...Until you rest in the finality of the cross, you will never experience the reality of the resurrection. (used by permission of the author)

The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. ~Romans 6:10

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit. ~ I Peter 3:18

Let us grab hold of all that God has for us by recognizing the incredible price He paid once for all.

Many blessings this Sunday...

As always, Sunday comments are closed. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vaulting Daylilies and Stunted Astilbes

We have a saying in my corner, which goes like this: Y*o*u can't get there from here or more accurately: Y*o*u can't get theyah from heah.  And so it has been in my little town today. I tried to get to the transfer station just past eight this morning and ran into a blocked street in short order. Turning around, I figured a way to circumvent the situation only to find that both ends of my street were now blocked. I ran over the detour sign (I am not kidding) and headed on my way. Gheesh. (Turns out that the whole town is abuzz with activity...lots of yard sales, a library book sale, a pie sale, a parade, a 5K race, a firemen's muster, and assorted other activities. Wish I could go! It would be a blogger's dream.)

Instead, I'm showing the daylilies just beginning to bloom and my wee bitty astilbe on the lower right. Believe me, they're not supposed to be this way. Must need some vitamins. Please ignore the lawn's needing to be mowed. John is off to a birthday party and I'm tied to the house.

Hope that your Saturday is going well. Mine is quiet, which is a-ok with me. Almost. ;>

Friday, June 25, 2010

Decision-Making

John came to me this morning and asked me to take a picture of the trellises. Seems that he's been mulling something over. He's wondering if the local hardware store would like them well enough to sell them there. Anyway, he's taken the photo above to show. Wish that it had come out that clear when I printed it off.

We enjoyed windows open off and on yesterday as thunderstorms rolled through. The good news is that they ushered in one of those high weather systems and we have a "blue sky alert" for today and the weekend. Perfection.

(Nan was a little less than impressed with windows open than we were, but we bundled her up really well.)

I've finished reading a delightful little book that I'm hoping to share with you. I'm waiting for permission from the publishers. That takes six to eight weeks. Actually, I'm pretty impressed that it only takes that long. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Now if that groundhog finds my mandevilla, I may come unhinged. You'll know when you read a post that says something like this: $##%&*)&^%#^^###%%@@!!!!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mandevilla, French Doors, and an Old Book


It's not blue clematis, Cindy. Nope. My eye went straight for this plant called "Pretty Crimson Mandevilla" It's pretty darned crimson all right. Last night, while I waited for the pharmacy to straighten up a snafu with the doctor's prescription, I was able to wander around in the garden section for a considerable length of time. Not wanting that shopping to go to waste, this climber came home with me.


This morning, it's being used to prop a French door open. My house is so stale being closed up because Nan feels the drafts so. Tough. I'm going to be mean and keep the doors and windows open today. It's a shame to have such beautiful doors and not be able to open them to the fresh, light breeze.

Have you ever had this happen to you? You're doing some little thing and a memory floats back up to the surface and begins to paddle around in your brain? This morning's duck was this picture.


It's titled Grandmother's Birthday by G.S. Knowles. I love this picture from my childhood collection  and I do believe that I can thank Knowles for my French doors. Everyone wondered why I was so insistent upon doors that opened out. :D

Have a marvelous Thursday. I must scoot before the great hordes arrive...ackk...in less than an hour...dishes not done...Nan not up... Later!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Deck Washing and Mounted Trellises

John has been very busy around here. Typically, the constant rain and the humidity of June has caused the deck to become very dirty with mildew and molds. It's completely unsightly when it gets this bad.

This little sprayer apparatus worked very well. John used some sort of deck cleaner and just had at it.

In the noonday sun (we get about two hours of full sun on the deck before the sun falls behind the treeline again), see how bright and clean it is. Ahhh, so much better!


The trellises are mounted. John figured out some intricate system. Needless to say, they are very solidly on the wall and not coming off any time soon. I spent a bit of time looking for some sort of inexpensive climbing something or others. I found clematis on sale for $3 a pot and now find myself wishing that I had purchased three. Even if I'd much rather have something else, that's such a bargain that I can't refuse. Especially since it is this late in the growing season and I just need something. To those who've suggested various plants, believe me, I have taken note and have them on my list for future reference.

What projects are going on at your place this week?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chomper

We have a new pet...actually, he's been around for a few months now. We first started seeing him (her?) when just a little bugger no bigger than a squirrel. It didn't take long to find a fair amount of flower loss and damage to the lawn with many large holes being dug.



But, gosh, isn't he cute? NOT! I could so cheerfully wring his neck with my bare hands. But then does he look a bit vicious to you?



Suppose that he can be forgiven for that knowing that the lady of the house is actively planning his demise nearly every waking moment of her day.

What have we tried thus far? Let's see, there's been good old-fashioned poison pellets, cat litter to fill the holes (ugh), and a trap.



Score to date — Chomper:3 Vee:zip

Any other ideas besides buckshot or a .22? (Forestalling Vickie right off the bat.)

Hope your day is going better!

P.S. Thanks to all who commented on yesterday's post about trees. Fascinating! Linds, a "right to light" law sounds fantastic.

P.P.S. For those who've wondered, Chomper is a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck or a whistle pig.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Trees

Would you believe that I've gone and done it yet again? Please don't groan. I know that I am hopeless. < insert wry grin >

Sharon Lovejoy recently posted a perfectly charming piece called Sanctuaries of Spirit. She and her husband Jeff are visiting gardens as they head east promoting her new book and speaking at this place and that. They are wending their way to their summer home in this corner.

Anyway, Sharon showed a garden scene painted of a wonderful home as it appeared many years ago and the current scene of the same spot. That's where I opened mouth and inserted foot by saying that one of my pet peeves is... You can read it all there in comments, if you choose. (This may not be the time to say that I sent you.) Sharon said that I had sparked some lively discussion. Yup, I am all about sparking lively discussions. :D



If you've ever seen my backyard, you can see that I do love trees; I do love shrubs; I do love green plants. (See previous post) What I don't love is unkempt unless it is the forest and even then, I'm a proponent of the German way...keep it tidy. The trees behind my home truly are the view, but there are far too many of them. They block the light, encourage molds, damage my roof, prevent my other plants and flowers from growing and block the breezes not to mention the sunset. That I must turn on a light to read by in the middle of a sunny summer day is annoying, too. It's like a tomb in here!



We own an Eastern Spruce, seven or more forsythia bushes and two lilacs plus assorted azaleas. That's it, but it looks like so much more, right?

I live in a state that is big on forest management, which is why we have more forest today in 2010 than we had 100 years ago and earlier. Further, we have many lumbermen, my own brother-in-law included, who make their living selling firewood. We burn wood here in the winter because so many of us can't afford oil. There's plenty of wood to burn. Folks can sell one tree or an acre or a hundred acres and more...happens every day.

So I do not understand why homeowners who could see the lake, the mountains or the ocean choose instead to see only the trees. I confess again...I just don't get it.

Some may believe that I am being selfish to select a view over a tree or several trees. So be it. I do and will every chance I get. It's all about balance for me. I think it's all about gardening, too. What gardener keeps a plant (and a tree is a plant) that is no longer working there? Not one that I know. We prioritize. We judiciously select plants for this reason or that.

And what if we allow items to collect in our homes the way we allow trees and shrubs to grow up all around us never checking the onslaught? It may be a poor analogy, but it's working for me. Being as intentional with our flowers, trees, and shrubs is as important as being intentional with the items one has in the home or garage or wherever.

In the end, those of us who think looking at trees is the better view and those of us who think that we can't see the forest for the trees will strike some balance I am certain.

What are your thoughts? Go ahead, I can take it. :D (Maybe this will become my new catch phrase.)

A very happy summer to you!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Can't See the Forest for the Trees~Mosaic Monday


Since many of us have been experiencing heat and humidity, I thought I'd provide some leafy, green shade. We live with lots of trees. They surround us and their branches hang over our roof, but we only own one tree...the Eastern Spruce. How odd is that? Comments are once again off so that you may enjoy seeing more mosaics. See you next time!

A big thank you to Mary@Little Red House for hosting this weekly event.

Happy Father's Day



Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there! I'm sure that your children know who you are. God bless you for a job well done.

And doesn't it strike you as interesting that God wishes to be known as our father?

Father! – to God himself we cannot give a holier name. ~ William Wordsworth

I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. ~II Corinthians 6:18

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lavender, Peace and Calm, and Joy



I had no idea that peace and calm could be packaged and sold, ditto joy, but as you can plainly see, there it is.



John's sister JP visited yesterday bringing gifts and we are all intrigued. She said that the lavender would help with sleep and boy is she right! JP put a bit on Nan's wrists then Nan promptly left for her room where she napped for two and a half hours. I tried it last night and can report that I enjoyed a peaceful sleep as well. Hope that John also benefited from the gentle aroma. Can't wait to try the other fragrances. What a thoughtful gift from a sweet gal who also reads my blog. Thank you, JP!


Wishing you all lavender dreams, peace and calm, and joy can't hurt either. Now go create a terrific Saturday...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spiderwort



Do you have spiderwort growing in your garden? It's a wonderful little flower tending more toward blue than purple. It's a perennial, which in my book is an added bonus.

The Death Spray that I spoke of earlier found at LL's is not working quite as well as I'd hoped. The rhubarb leaves are still being eaten overnight. Oh, and do be careful when using any such spray. I accidentally inhaled some yesterday and it wasn't pleasant. Yup, those stupid product warnings are made for folks like me. < insert wry, very wry, grin >

The strawberry shortcake was delish. We were able to talk my mother into staying for supper. I thought that since this making a meal of strawberry shortcake is an old family tradition and all... Mother told me that my grandmother came up with it; my grandmother told me that her grandmother came up with it. Well, as stated, it goes away back and I have no idea to whom proper credit goes. I do think everyone should try it!

Edited to Add: *More information* from Leslie on how far back this eating of strawberry shortcake for supper goes. It is not original with my family. John's family didn't do it, though he's not opposed. This leads me to wonder if your family does. Oh, we make meals of corn on the cob as well in late August and early September. And I'd be mighty tempted with fresh tomatoes, too, but never have.

This next bit is only for regular readers and the curious. Nan is now enrolled with the hospice program. It sounds as if it will be just the support that she needs. It has no time limit; it is covered by her insurance; it does provide respite care twice a week for two hours at a time; a doctor is on staff and he can make house calls; there's a nurse on duty 24/7 if a question comes up at any hour. Best of all, if caring for Nan becomes too much for either of us, she can go to the Hospice House, which is a wonderful facility. My sister looked into it last fall when we thought my mother might need it. One of the first things the Hospice nurse said was that a lot of the medications that my grandmother is taking will be removed. They're no longer of any benefit to her. Also, if she doesn't want to eat, she doesn't have to eat. These things will be her choice. This will represent a major shift so it'll be interesting to see how it all goes.

Time for a bit of levity...

I was able to pop in to visit with the grands a few nights ago. Only the youngest and my son were home at first, but the eldest and his mom came in after a while. I asked my returning grand if he'd been visiting.

His response, "No! I just forgot to stay home."

Love kid logic and must remember that line!

Have a wonderful Friday...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Strawberries and a Sweetheart



Sent John off for a few things from the store and he took the scenic route past the farmstand and picked up strawberries. That means just one thing—strawberry shortcake for supper. That's right. Our strawberry season is short and swift so we devote an entire meal to the delicious strawberry. Course John could enjoy strawberry shortcake any day; somehow Nan and I will just have to endure. ;>

In further John news, he continues his work on the trellises.



Does he not look happy?


Don't look now, Hon, but I see more painting in your future.


He thinks that I'm kidding!
And a very happy Thursday to you...