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.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Enhance Your Thinking Again

Published one of these last week, so here's another.  Let me know how you do.

1. What words, when you add additional letters, become smaller? List at least 4 words

2. It has been said that Moses took a certain amount of animals of each species aboard the Ark with him.  How many did he take?

3. What has a foot on each end and one in the middle?  Come up with at least 2 answers.

4.  4, 7, 11, 16, ___, 29

5.  You have two pencils, a good one and a cheap one.  The good one costs $1.00 more than the cheap one.  You spent $1.10 for both.  How much did the cheap one cost?

6.  What is mightier than God and more evil than the Devil?  The poor have it, the rich lack it, and those who eat it perish?

7. Ten full crates of walnuts weigh 410 pounds, each empty crate weighs 10 pounds.  How much do the walnuts themselves weigh totally?

8.  A hobo can make one whole cigar from every 5 cigar butts that he finds and then he smokes it.  How many cigars can be made if h finds 25 cigar butts?

Answers are below the photo.  Try to answer before looking.





1.  Millimeter, centimeter, smaller, smallest, littlest  are some possibles

2. Moses didn't go on the Ark.

3. yardstick, easel, three-legged stool, church pew are some possibles

4. 22

5. cheap one cost $.05  good one $1.05

6. Nothing

7. 310 pounds

8. 6 cigars

Need any explained?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Heron Rookery

Last Saturday was a warm day so we headed out for a walk to find the great blue heron rookery.  We see herons fly by our 11th story windows almost daily as they fly to and from the lakes near us but didn't realize that the rookery was an easy walk.

We crossed a creek - on a bridge built for the construction of a pipeline.


Walked along the pipeline easement with the forest floor green with growth.


Marveled at the large sycamore.


And noticed the first spring flowers.


The rookery appeared in the trees above us as dark patches.



The nests are just sticks that are reused year after year.


I didn't count all the birds but they stood like sentinels up there.


I have no idea if they are the adult parents or the offspring.


I need to read up on how they incubate their eggs because none appeared to be sitting on the nests.






Monday, March 27, 2017

Celebrating in Culpepper, VA

My sister Suzie, is celebrating her 60th next Sunday.  I suggested a celebration a week ahead of time so as not to conflict with the plans her children and grandchildren had for her.


We met up with Suzie and her husband, Jerry (on the right) who live outside Charlottesville and my youngest sister, Marie (in yellow) and her husband Scott who were returning from Williamsburg to their home in Northern Virginia. Our three older siblings live too far or in the case of our sister, Bonnie, were too far away to attend.



We enjoyed a wonderful 2 1/2 hour lunch at "Its About Thyme" in the downtown of Culpepper.


Not the best photo of the restaurant, but it was a charming spot.


Down the street opposite where we parked was the soldier from the Confederacy.


It let us know how far south we came.



Saturday, March 25, 2017

Enhancing Your Thinking Answers

On Thursday I posted some Critical Thinking questions.  If you didn't see that post scroll down to find it and try your hand at answering the questions.

As promised here are the answers:

1. 33 boxes

2.  yes

3.  Possible answers: a bakers dozen, one unlucky number, one country with 13 original states, 1 suit of cards

4. the match

5. all 12 months

6. the bear is white

7. 8 days

8.  40 pennies, 8 nickles and 2 dimes
     45 pennies, 1 quarter, 2 dimes, 2 nickles


How did you do?  Do you need any of these explained?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Enhancing Your Thinking

Here at Vantage House, our continuing care retirement community, there are lots of activities to keep our minds sharp.  We have a wide variety of regular exercise classes.  I attend muscle toning three days a week and book camp two days a week.  Dan goes to the latter and agrees it is quite a workout.

There are speakers that come on various topics to keep us informed and aware.  This week it was Mel Goodman, a monthly regular, who talks about the political scene from his perspective as a retiree from CIA, State and Defense Departments.  Next week there's an expert on the court system to talk about the Supreme Court.  There are Brainy movies, Great Decision discussions, twice weekly trivia gatherings, as well as a wide assortment of musical performers.  More events going on then we can even get to.

Once a week Dan and I attend "Enhance Your Thinking" led by a retired community college professor who lives here.  I thought I would share with you some of the critical thinking questions we work on individually and then compare answers and thinking with a partner.  We then discuss all the answers as a group.  It's a great exercise.

I will give the answers in another post but if you want hints, put that in your comment.

1.  There are 3 separate, equal-sized boxes, and inside each box there are 2 separate small boxes.  Inside each of the small boxes there are 4 even smaller boxes.  How many boxes are there altogether?

2.  Do they have a 4th of July in England?

3.  When does 8 plus 5 equal 1?  Come up with several answers.

4.  If you had only one match and entered a room in which there was a kerosene lamp, and oil heater, and a wood burning stove, what would you light first? Why?

5.  Seven months have 31 days.  How many months have 28 days?

6.  A man builds a house with 4 sides to it and it is rectangular in shape.  Each side has a southern exposure.  A big bear comes wandering by.  What color is the bear?

7.  A snail is climbing out of a well.  The well is 10 feet deep.  Every day the snail climbs up three feet and every night he slips back two.  How many days will it take him to get out of the well?

8.  Explain how you can change a dollar bill into exactly 50 coins which when added together will equal a dollar.  There may be more than answer.

Good luck!  Let me know how you do.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Mallory - Neely House in Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee has an area called Victorian Village where homes and churches from that era have been preserved.

It was a snowy day in January when we visited, but we were fortunate to arrive in time for the last tour - a private tour at that.

Below is the Adams- Woodruff - Fonatine House (c. 1871).  It was also a museum but we didn't think it was open.


Not sure what this one below was called.


Below is the Adams-Mollie-Fontaine-Taylor House (c. 1886).  It's now a restaurant.


This is the Mallory-Neely House (c. 1852).  Now a museum.  I didn't get the whole roof because I think I was afraid of the ice I was standing on as I took the photo.


Here's one from the internet.


The inside was lovely but in some places incredibly dark.











A lot of money went into the construction of this house as you can see from the special trimmings and moldings.  I'm not remembering all the backstory of the ownership but I know that the last family owner lived a very long time and had few heirs.  Refreshing my memory with Wikipedia, she deeded the house to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).




The last owner, Daisy is pictured in the painting there on the right.





It is worth the trip if you are in Memphis.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Pysanka Eggs

I said on an earlier post that I had put my collection of Pysanka eggs out on the display shelf outside our front door.

This week I made three more.  As I was dying the first ones I realized I didn't have the pump thingy that blew out the inside of the eggs.  I looked all over but didn't find it.  I may have given it to one daughter and asked her but she had no recollection of it.  First casualty of our move I guess.

I called the company where I purchased my supplies and the egg pump and they said they are no longer being made.  The only thing they had was a device to blow out the eggs with your own breath, so I ordered that and got it in the mail on Friday.



Today I blew out the three eggs I had decorated and now they are doing a final drain and dying out.


I'll add them to the rest next week.

If you're not familiar with how these eggs are decorated, here's a brief overview.


The egg above was first put into yellow so the entire egg is yellow to begin with.


Then I used a stylus of sorts to paint hot melted wax  where ever I wanted yellow to be.  In this egg it was the lattice work.  Then the egg went into green.  I then painted leaves on with the wax and dyed the egg red.  I painted flowers and finally dyed the egg blue.  The wax is removed by slowly melting it in a candle flame and wiping the wax off.  It's the most tedious part of this craft.


I have 12 different colors.  When you dye you start with the lightest color and work to darkest.  With the egg below I started with the white egg and painted on the ducks. Then put the egg in orange and painted the beaks and the cattail tops.  Then dyed green and painted the leaves.  Then dyed it blue and painted the water and ended by dying it brick colored. I should have painted clouds at the beginning but forgot to.



 This egg only was dyed twice: pink then blue.



 I wrote about Pysanka eggs here, too.

I have 9 more jumbo eggs in the refrigerator and have the supplies still out so there may be some more decorating in the weeks ahead of us.

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