Spring! Spring! Spring!

Windows were open today and some spring cleaning has begun.  Things are really waking up around here and today’s (or this week’s discoveries) include:

– at least 21 of my BFFs are alive and well and swimming around (Best Fish Friends)

– at least 5 frogs have survived the winter including the original pair who have created the family we have — Yes Phinneas and Phillis are back!

– several daffodils opened today

– lots of day-lilies are showing thru the ground

– and hubby has found the first deer tick on his body!  oh boy, here we go again

And I did some “airing of the quilts”.  These are destined for the Hospital Avenue Housatonic Habitat homeowners.  A friend of mine has a friend who wants to do charity quilting for Habitat so she gave me 5 of her quilts.  They have been in this friend’s house since completion and the house has a big hairy dog.  So, I’m tumbling them in the dryer to remove dog hair and airing them out.  They now look and smell great!

Four Habitat Quilts getting their spring airing out
Four Habitat Quilts getting their spring airing out

The Art of the Cookie, Dresses, and Frogs!

Working on resolution 2012-1 – using those cookbooks – again.  Seems however that I am drawn pretty exclusively to cookie cookbooks.  Noting that today’s dinner recipe came off the back of a box of lasagna noodles.

The most recent cookie was from The Art of the Cookie – and was a strawberry swirl, or at least that’s what I called it.  It started with their basic sugar cookie dough which is delicious and I put strawberry jam in the swirled part.  Unfortunately there is no picture of the finished project as we ate them all before I remembered to get the camera out.  Worth repeating, and of course we must repeat as I didn’t get the photo.  Here’s the book and the dough ready to be rolled out.

Let's roll

And just a side note, resolution 2012-2 was more charity work, and perhaps different charity work.  So, here’s a completed dress for a little girl in Africa.  It was the 3rd one I made and I have material for 2 more.  So 2012-2 is being worked on too!

Little dress (#3) completed

And the NEWS OF THE DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!

Phinneas the frog is back out of hibernation sitting in his reeds on the back of the pond!!!


Of sails, frogs, and hurricanes

The outer rain bands of Hurricane Irene are here.  Our weather station in the garden is reporting a rain rate of 1.55 inches per hour.  It also presents a text interpretation of the current weather and now has the text at the bottom of the display saying “It is raining cats and dogs”.  Funny, but unfortunately, it is predicted that we may get up to 10 inches of cats and dogs during the course of the hurricane.  The storm itself is south of here but is predicted to make landfall on Connecticut between Greenwich and Stamford.  Our home is DIRECTLY in the path of the eye of the storm.  For some weird reason, I have never wanted to be in the eye of a hurricane.  Storm winds are supposed to start picking up shortly after midnight.  I predict not much sleep tonight!

So, while we are listening to TV track the storm — currently CL&P is in the process of advance covering of a certain part of their body – I’m going to do a blog update with vacation and yard photos while there is still power.

To start with — a photo of Mini-Phinni this year’s youngest frog.


Mini-Phinni on the back side of the pond


The view from our room at Malbone House in Newport, RI


Courtyard at Francis Malbone House


We went for a sail in Newport harbor.  Laying down on the deck looking up at the rigging of our boat as the sails went up:


Sailboat rigging

And while we were out in the harbor we saw a sailing sight that many would have been envious of.   Two J Class Yachts were racing – perhaps not an “official” race – but two sailboats on the same tack are racing.  And these guys were racing!  The boat on the left, J5 (Ranger), was built in 2004 and is a replica of a 1937 America’s Cup defender.  An interesting item about the original boat — it had bakelite deck inserts.  The boat on the right, JK7 (Velsheda) was refitted in 1997 with a large carbon fiber mast.  Each boat requires a crew of 16 to sail, 30 for racing.



J boats racing


We continued to sail straight at their path and tacked to get out of the way just after the photo below was taken.  Note that the main sails look dirty — but it is because they are made of carbon fiber.  They are sailing downwind — spinnakers filled to the max.


J Boats - Up close and personal


Unfortunately, the brief two-day birthday trip came to an end and we drove back to Connecticut.  It was time to make preparations for the hurricane.  We stopped halfway home to try to find some flashlight batteries as the word was there was nothing to be had in our town.  Turns out, there was also almost nothing to be had in Middletown either.

So, the work of moving lawn and deck furniture, plants, flags, etc began on Friday and continued into Saturday.  I did take time out to visit the pond and found Phyllis sitting on her favorite rock.   I hadn’t seen her in a long time.  I believe I saw her smile and think she was happy to see me.  She, at least was totally unafraid as I took her closeup.


Phyllis on her favorite rock -- across the pond from the fish feeding rock
"I'm ready for my closeup" -- notice her shadow in the late afternoon sun


And the peach lily was still open


Peach lily - love that macro lens


And everything outside has been moved in.  The title of this photo is “fake frogs in foyer”


Fake frogs in foyer


Look at the deck!  Nothing there.  From the looks of the outside of the house and yard, it looks like we have moved out.  Guess we have, moved in, that is.


Clear the decks for Hurricane Irene




As we batten down the hatches

Batten down the hatches — That’s all we’ve been doing since we got home from our brief respite (to celebrate my birthday) in Newport, RI.

No time to edit the beautiful photos I took of the J-Boats racing in Newport Harbor as our boat sailed near, then tacked to get out of the way.

No time to upload the beautiful photos of the courtyard outside our room with the fountain, flowers, and flowering trees.

No opportunity to even download from the camera the photo I took of Phyllis the frog beside the pond tonight.

Instead, we’ve been battening the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Irene — expected to landfall  Connecticut sometime after midnight Saturday night, but near “lunchtime” on Sunday according to the latest.  Bridgeport is “her” current target, but it’s only about 15 miles east of here.  The eye of the hurricane is supposed to be wider than that, so for a while we will be in the eye of a hurricane, literally. I have NEVER wanted to be in the eye of a hurricane.

Much work remains tomorrow — lawn furniture and giant plant pots need to be moved into the garage.  Apparently 85-100 mph winds can move almost anything and would definitely destroy my summer plants at the height of the beauty right now.

Then, we’ll sit, and pray, and watch the storm from safe inside our home, which I’m hoping will keep us safe and dry.  We’re high up on a hill, so won’t be affected by any flooding.  But our 3 acres are covered with giant oak, maple, ash, and hickory trees. We don’t hold much hope that our lovely property will go totally unscathed.

Power is expect to go out and stay out for days, so it will be quiet around here except for the sound of the generator!  So, photos of the lovely 2-day vacation, almost totally forgotten already, will just have to wait.

Summer Saturday with Spitty by the pond

It is so beautiful here.

Our little bit of God’s creation is at its full splendor this summer Saturday.

After working in the pond trimming and fertilizing the water lilies with my BFFs swimming around my legs keeping an eye on what I was doing, I gave them an early dinner.  Also at the pond today was a baby frog (one of this year’s crop) that we’ve named Mini-Phini.  Hubby took a photo but the macro lens seized on a stalk of a plant for its focus and the baby frog was nothing but a blur.  So, this will be a mission going forward — catch the young one out on the back rock and get a good photo.   So, instead of a real frog — here is a photo of “Spitty”.

Spittin' into the pond

And my BFFs (Best Fish Friends)

Feeding time August 20, 2011


Conversations with a frog

Was out in the yard and garden tending to the birds (filling their feeders), flowers and veggies (giving them water and a dose of fertilizer) and talking to myself (out loud – don’t tell anyone) and occasionally singing a few snatches of some song.  While on the front walk at my concrete planters, talking to those flowers that are doing well and scolding the blue ones that are not looking so good, I  heard a frog croak in response from the pond.

Yes, Phinneas wanted to chat a bit and thought that perhaps I should stop talking to inanimate objects.  So, I took myself to the rock wall on the back side of the pond about 3 feet from where Phinneas sat hidden in the reeds.  How did I know it was Phinneas?  Well, I hate to admit it, but, I recognized his deep, manly (frogly?) voice.  And the fact that he actively exchanged words with me in our conversation.  I would speak and he loudly croaked in his Leopard Frog dialect.  Then I’d speak, and he’d have more to say.  And he had a lot to say.   Our back-and-forth conversation actually lasted about 10 minutes.  Then, it got too hot where I was sitting and Phinneas had told me all that had been going on pond side, so I went in.

Can’t believe that I actually was called to the pond for a visit by a frog.

Summer by the pond — precious time!

Phinneas, Jr., one of my BFFs

Phinneas Junior is following in the webbed footsteps of his Dad  —  hanging out pondside on the back ledge.  He has become quite tame and has started talking (albeit quite softly) when I come out to feed the fish and start talking to them.

Love my BFFs (Best Frog Friends) and the macro lens that hubby gave me for my birthday in 2009 — which is responsible for many of the great photos you see here.   No zooming or cropping of this photo — this is just the way this great camera and lens takes the photo.  Of course if Junior weren’t as tame as his Dad, I probably wouldn’t be able to get quite so close.  But he doesn’t seem to mind having a camera shoved in his face at all.

Just call me the “pond paparazzi”.

Phinneas Junior

Father and Son

Phinneas — who has been here from day 1 of the pond and his first generation son were on a rock on the back side of the pond the other day.  Phinneas is as chatty as always — when I come out to feed the fish in late afternoon and start talking to them, Phinneas starts chatting back at me.

Yes, I admit it, I talk to frogs.   And they talk back.   And it’s one of the happiest times of my day!

Phinneas and son

Phinneas is Back!!!

The first frog to appear at our pond in 2005 is back.  Yes, Phinneas survived the winter, dug in somewhere in or near the pond.  Hard to believe that anything could survive buried under all that snow.  But he’s back.  Took photos tonight.  Will post them tomorrow.

Happy Easter

Suddenly it’s spring!  At last!!!!!

Hubby fired up the pump on our pond yesterday and is running it again today.  The fish are loving their swimming time below the falling water.  This seems to have awakened our entire back yard and the warm (yes it’s ABOVE 70 degrees today) has caused spring to finally arrive.

  • The PJM azalea is ready to boom
  • The weeping cherry absolutely popped open this morning and is in full bloom
  • Our first frog appeared on a rock near the waterfall
  • The male wren is singing and carrying nest-building materials into the birdhouse
  • The new kitchen windows are open

All signs of spring — let the celebration begin!

Happy Easter !