Here comes the sun

At least we hope so. After 7 days of clouds and rain (when your sky is dark and pours the rain — from “Come to Jesus), we saw sun this afternoon. And it’s supposed to be here for about 4 days. Hooray! and Hallelujah!

Did you know that old poem is almost in the form of a haiku?
Rain, rain, go away
Come again another day
I just want to play

…. or something like that. I do want to play — golf, walking, walking, gardening, sitting outside on the deck or by the pond. All the above, very difficult to do or enjoy, at least, in the rain.

Here’s hoping for a good week.

August morning at the pond

It is going to be a great day at the pond.  At least 3 pink waterlilies will be blooming as soon as the sun gets a little stronger.  Spitty is spitting straight towards the camera as the pond wakes up on a beautiful August morning

August 22 - morning at the pond
August 22 – morning at the pond

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

Big announcement from Mr Wren

Hubby and I spent some time sitting out by the pond yesterday and watching the male wren work.  He was tireless and his routine was unvarying.  He’d be gone from the nest area — then we’d see him come back and fly straight to the birdhouse and hop inside — then out he’d come and he’d hop onto the same tree branch and sing his delightful song.  Off he’d go in search of more bugs for his mate who was apparently in the birdhouse sitting on the eggs.  And he did this continuously the entire time I sat outside (which was over 2 hours) and was still working when the mosquitoes drove me inside.

Well — sometime, I would say this morning — something changed.  At about 9 am — I heard the male sitting in the tree just singing that same song over and over and over and over and, well you get it, over again!!!!!   I thought something was wrong and went downstairs and eventually outside to watch and see what was up.  Little did I know that this was the “THEY’RE HATCHING!!!!!” declaration.  I heard a second, different wren voice also and by the time I got out to watch, both the male and the female were flying to and from the birdhouse.  Not as much singing now, though there’s still some, as there are mouths to feed.

In the photos below, the female wren can be seen peeking out of the box before she leaves it to go search for bugs.  She seems very careful.

Just checking before she leaves the bird house
Feeding time


Yes, it’s a beautiful time of year.  I managed to go outside and in the space of about 30 minutes, take 91 photos worth keeping.  Here are the Stella de Oro day-lilies from beside the pond.  Could have stayed out there all day!

Pondside beauties

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


Summer dinner & blue buttefly

Sweet corn from the farmers’ market here in town, tomatoes from our garden, and pork chops from . . . . . well . . . . from pigs.  Wonderful summer dinner – with the first tomatoes from our garden.   Yes, we had tomatoes this year in July!

yummmmmm....... sweetcorn

And after I worked in the pond on Tuesday this week, I was sitting listening to the waterfalls, watching the fish, reading a book, and this beautiful blue guy came by to say hi.  I was too lazy to go in and get the good camera, and if I’d moved he would have probably moved away from my feet anyway.  So, this is from my iPhone but is not too bad.  The blue guy was beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Blue Guy" visits pondside

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!