Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Suppertime in My Backyard


I filled the green bird feeder hanging in the background and then scattered what was remaining of the sunflower seeds in the can on the snow for the ground feeding birds.  The cardinals were enjoying it last time I looked out.

But now this visitor is getting a belly full.


She's right outside my windows so she's sure to have seen me in there getting my supper ready.


She didn't run until I opened the door.

So as I'm writing this another deer has sauntered up to take her turn at the seeds.  Never ending battle with these deer!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I've Been Busy!

I enjoy making my own cards for all occasions. 
 Recently I learned from a video how to make Pop-up Box cards.
























So much fun!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Garden in Winter



                   10:00 AM                                             4:00 PM
 Perennial Garden
 Pond Garden
Glen Garden

Mischief Maker

Last night I heard a tap tap at this window as I watched the State of the Union speech.




There was a very fat raccoon out there.  Sorry no camera handy to capture it.  The critter was up on the compost bin outside the window looking in.  It moved on and I heard nothing more from it.


This morning this was the scene out on the deck.  






 I had put these pots on the deck to winter over and I suppose the soil is soft for digging not frozen like the ground.  I wonder if it found anything worth eating.

 This pot was too heavy to move so it stayed on the fire pit deck.  Will the raccoon strike here next?

Of course this isn't something new for where I live.  Look at this.
It's just I'm not used to it happening in January!  

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Books of 2014

I'm late writing this post.  Last year I did it on the first of the year.  I also didn't meet my 2014 goal of reading 100 books.  Life intruded so the books were set aside as tasks needed doing.  I did read 70 which is still a goodly number.

The list has resided on my sidebar but now since it's gone I'll repeat the list in the order I read them with only those that were outstanding noted as recommendations to you with an *.  I didn't include books that I didn't finish (with one exception) because if I don't like a book I don't invest the time to finish it.  Consider all these books worth reading.

1. Inferno by Dan Brown

2. The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones

3. Death Toll by Jim Kelly

4. The Harlequin Tea Set by Agatha Christie  (I thought I was done with Agatha in 2013 but discovered this one not on the lists that appear in the front of her books.)

5. Death's Door by Jim Kelly

6. Midnight in Peking by Paul French

7.  Death Wore White by Jim Kelly

8. The Water Clock by Jim Kelly  (As you can see I got into this author.  Quite spell binding mysteries.)

* 9.  The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman.  Set in Australia after WWI and involves a lighthouse keeper and his wife and the infant child they find in a rowboat.  Quiet a story.

[oops!  10.  The Goldfinch.  I read most of this book then read the end, which made no sense, and gave up.  Can't see what all the hype was about this book.  Last half was terrible.]

11.  Miss Marple - the Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie

12. Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie (more books not on previous lists)

13. The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith

14. Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier

15. Double Cross - the True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben MacIntyre

16.  The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

17.  The Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford

18.  Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy

19.  Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

20.  Ethan Fromme by Edith Wharton

21. The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

22. The Summer House by Marcia Willett

23. The Eleventh Man by Ivan Doig

24.  Benjamin Franklin's Bastard by Sally Cabot

* 25.  Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier  This is based on a true story about how 2 women made a difference in the scientific knowledge of fossils.

26.  Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

27.  Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

28.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

29.  The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

30.  All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

31.  Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

32. Alex's Wake - A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance by Martin Goldsmith

33. Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

34. Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth

35. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolnick

36.  A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith

* 37. Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl  One to read out loud to youngsters.

38.  A Christmas Wassail by Kate Sedley

39.  City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris

40.  The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

41.  A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

42.  The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

43.  The Eve of Saint Hyacinthe's by Kate Sedley

* 44. Mistress Shakespeare by Karen Harper  Did you know that William had two wives?  Based on authentic research Harper gives voice to the unknown wife.

45.  Kingdom of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris (These mysteries are set in modern day Saudi Arabia and give quite a picture of the plight of women there besides being spell binding.)

46.  The Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey

47.  The Midsummer Crown by Kate Sedley

48.  The Mourning Hours by Paula DeBoard

49.  The Tintern Treasure by Kate Sedley

50.  The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano that Darkened the World and Changed History by William and Nick Klingaman

51.  The Manor -Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island by Mac Griswold

52.  The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

53.  The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

54.  Kind One by Laird Hunt

55.  A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

56. Owen's Daughter by Jo-Ann Mapson

57.  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

* 58.  The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin  Totally thought provoking.  I think I need to read it to try to understand it all.

59.  Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling

* 60.  Neverhome by Laird Hunt  Based on true stories of women who went to war dressed as men.  this one takes place during the Civil War and is quite moving.

61.  The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

* 62. Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole A wonderful book.  I reviewed it here.

63.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

64.  I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christine Lamb

65. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

66. The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas

67.  The Lavender Gardens by Lucinda Riley

68.  The Lie by Helen Dunmore

69.  The Three Kings of Cologne by Kate Sedley

70.  Nine Years Under by Sherri Booker.


That's the list. Quite a mixture of fiction and non-fiction with lots of historical fiction predominating mixed in with mysteries.  Hope you find some you'll like too.

I've joined a book club blog. Springtime in Magnolia  It will give me a reason to review books which I find I don't do very often on my blog.




Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Year that Was - Fall 2014

FALL

Fall of 2014 was a whirl.
Wedding prep.
Trip to NH to see granddaughter pre-Thanksgiving.
Turkey Trot in DC.
Family here for holidays and
a wedding ending the year!  


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Year that Was -Summer 2014

SUMMER

The highlight of summer 2014 was our walking tour of the Cotswolds in England.  What an incredible trip!
Never mind that the vegetable garden had its best production year.  Never mind that the perennial garden had a facelift of sorts.
Never mind that Sarah and William got engaged and wedding planning went into hyper drive.




[Sorry for the quality of these collages.  PicMonkey wouldn't save to my desktop so I had to take a  screenshot.]

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Year that Was - Spring 2014

SPRING
Though our first grandchild came in February 2014 I think of her as a breath of spring!
Spring also brought a redo of the front garden and a renaming it Mom's Garden in memoir of my mom.
Spring last year was good for all the gardens.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Year that Was - Winter 2014

WINTER

Looking through the photos from last year I was reminded that winter showed itself here in full force last January - March.
Lots of wildlife came visiting close to the house.
The only signs of spring for a long time were under the grow light.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Three Dress Wedding

It pays to plan and be organized.  Daughter Sarah's wedding on Monday the 29th went so smoothly! Now I can't believe its over and done with and I have two married daughters and two wonderful sons-in-law.

Sarah picked out a lovely wedding dress.  It was perfect for her and for the occasion.  But she didn't stop there.  Her friend Alice in China sent her a Chinese wedding dress and at the last minute after practicing dancing in a long skirt she opted to change at the brunch reception in the last hour before the toasts, cake cutting and fun dances into my wedding dress from 1974.

Which dress do you like the best?

The ivory wedding dress.  Photo courtesy of her new father-in-law.

Here she is with me and daughter Emily (older sister) prior to the wedding.  Pearls and veil have yet to be placed.  Photo courtesy of Emily's camera.


The red Chinese wedding dress with bride's maid Kelly in background. I took this photo at rehearsal.


 The blue wedding dress, mine from March 1974.  I wish it still fit me!  It was perfect to do the Lindy Hop and Salty Dog Rag.  Photo courtesy of Emily.

 Here she is with William, her new husband, cutting the cake.  It was a carrot cake. I don't have any photos yet of her in her ivory dress with William in his tux.  Photo courtesy of Emily.

 Sarah and William at the rehearsal.  Photo courtesy of Emily.

What a fun day and the weather cooperated, too.

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