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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Our Neighbors

We are really getting to know one of our neighbors - the bald eagle.

This photo was taken from our balcony on Christmas morning using the zoom.


Later that Christmas morning we walked around the lake where the bald eagle has been hanging out.

Some of the lake was still frozen and these Canada geese were lined up eating ice.


The bald eagle appeared over head then swooping down to the lake.


It landed across the lake.  



We discovered that there were dead or just frozen fish in the ice.  These gulls were feasting and the eagles were too as we stood and watched a pair of them grab fish.  Sorry couldn't capture that fast enough.


The heron likes to hang out at the edge of the dam.



Got a close up of the bald eagle


and its mate.




Finally here's a zoom in from the lake to my balcony.  It's the open one.  We are on the 11th floor and loving watching our neighbors, the bald eagles fly by.


and

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


A Very Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

May the next year be full of many blessings for everything you care about.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Countdown to Christmas - 1 Day to Go



Here is the poem my husband wrote to accompany our Christmas cards this year.

A walk on a Sunday around the lake
A spring-like Sunday – two/twenty-eight
A nostalgic talk of days before
In Columbia, home, from ‘74

Until we moved in twenty-oh-three
Naïve to the adventure that was to be
In building a house remote, all alone
And living there ten years and making it home

Plowing the driveway, sawing trees
It was fun (somewhat) but hard to see
How it would work out for the decades to come
With groundhog, deer and borer bee scrum

So four months post Lake Kittamaqundi
We downsized and sold everything sundry 
Including the house and everything in it
Moved back to Columbia in what seemed like a minute

We’re liking it here in a CCRC*
Intellectually, we know it’s the place to be
All that’s left is for feelings to match
For our stomachs, eventually, our brains to catch

Last year gave no clue we’d make this move
Nothing is certain, this seems to prove
So we’ll live the adventure of this new life stage
Who knows what surprises are on the next page?

We hope and wish that your ‘17
Is a time of enjoyment and pleasures keen
Best wishes to you for all the best
For joy and happiness in your daily quests

Consider this my Christmas card to you.

* continuing care retirement community

Friday, December 23, 2016

Countdown to Christmas - 2 Days to Go

Nice deep window sills here at our apartment are great for display especially at Christmas time.

A nativity made by my sister in law.  She loves to make baskets.


One purchased made of olive wood.


The next two were made by my daughters when they were very young.


They have to go up every year.


This nesting doll set was painted by my mother.  One year the baby Jesus went missing and I thought my granddaughter or great nephew had played with it and lost it.  It showed up the next year nestled in the nativity shown in my first photo.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Countdown to Christmas - 4 Days to Go

Once in Royal David's city stood a lowly cattle shed



where a mother laid her baby



with a manger for his head


Mary was that mother mild



Jesus Christ, her little child.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Countdown to Christmas - 10 Days to Go

I collect Nativity scenes of many sizes and composition.  The wall unit we purchased for our new apartment has the perfect spot for displaying these.






The one below is painted in a nutshell.





Monday, December 12, 2016

Countdown to Christmas -13 Days to Go

When we downsized I did let go of many Christmas decorations.  This collection of Santa and Father Christmas was not something I could part with.  They grace one shelf of the bookcase this month.






Saturday, December 10, 2016

Countdown to Christmas - 15 days to Go



Not sure where my mom got these little ring boxes.  Aren't they charming though?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Bald Eagle Sighting


This is Wilde Lake.  We have a lovely view of it from our living room and dining room.


Last week as I was standing at this window on the other side of the apartment I saw a bald eagle fly by.  We are on the 11th story so it flew at my eye level which was quite interesting.


Yesterday I walked around Wilde Lake and on the north side a woman told me that the bald eagle was in a tree on the lake.  It was.  What a lovely sight.

This morning as I sat at the dining room table I saw a bird swooping over the lake so I grabbed the binoculars and sure enough it was the bald eagle again.  I watched as it landed in a tree then went for my camera.

These aren't the best pictures for sure.





Next time I'll try to do a better job steadying my hand.




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Countdown to Christmas - 19 Days to Go

I shopped for a new Christmas tree in October just as the stores were putting up their displays.  I remembered then that I needed to buy one since we'd sold our very tall one before we moved.


This one is called a pencil tree.  It came with lights.  Besides being slender the size of the box to store it was important because it has to fit in our storage space in the basement of our building.  This one fits perfectly.  Most of the ornaments I kept made it on the tree.


This Christmas tree sits on the front hall table.  It's perfect for that space too.



Monday, December 5, 2016

Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture

Thursday December 1st I had the opportunity to see this newest Smithsonian Museum.  It opened this fall and is very popular.  So popular that you have to obtain a timed ticket to enter.  Tickets are free but very difficult to get on short notice.  Our recreation director here at Vantage House snagged some for the 10 am opening time that day.  Lines were long waiting to enter.  Very strict security measures too just as you pass through the doors.

Here are a few photos that feature the architecture and spaces in the building.  It was much too crowded to take photos of the many exhibits.


The museum is in the shadow of the Washington monument.


Inside is full of light.


Escalators take you up or down.  Below the lobby there is a concourse and then three levels below that is where the history exhibits begin.


Going up is another three levels of culture exhibits.




On the concourse you enter a huge elevator to take you down the three levels.


See what I mean about the crowds.


There are soaring spaces.


One of the Tuskegee Airmen planes.



Lots of videos from as far back as they were made.





The grill work is reminiscent of what was made by African-American craftsmen of New Orleans and Charleston.  It covers the outside of the building.


Chuck Berry's Eldorado.





Here's the outside.  Too big for me to get into one frame from where I was standing.



Well worth the trip.


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