Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ramblings. .

Howdy, howdy!!
School is in full force here. .
And so is summer, it seems!!
We have had more days near or over 100 this week then we have all summer!
The garden. .
And the gardener. .
don't like it!!
Thought I would take you on a little garden tour. .
These pictures were taken yesterday morning. .
In the still of the day. .
I probably didn't mention that the wind has been really bad again every day!
Grandpa Otts morning glory is one of my favorite plants!! The first year I grew it at our first little home. .
we had a REALLY late frost. .
and the blooms were beautiful until November!!
I was hooked!
Unfortunately. .
they have SO overtaken their space. .
That I will likely spend next summer pulling most of the seedlings!
They do a nice job of keeping out the weeds. .
But I keep pulling them off the plants that I DO want to see. .
for fear that they will suffocate them!
One really good thing about all the blooms though. .
is that I have seen LOTS of the big yellow and black bees working in the patch!
They are a lot easier to get along with than the hordes of stinging wasps that have accumulated too!
The pink flower in the center is a love lies bleeding that self seeded. .
The plants that came up are a little sturdier than the ones I started in my greenhouse last year to set out. In a couple of the holes, I started a few okra plants late in the season. .
I think we will get a few fruits off the plants before frost!
Here's a little different view of the love lies bleeding with the double echinacea plants in the background. .
That has been a blooming trooper this summer. .
I deadheaded last night and there was one that had already made seed. .
which I scattered around this plant, hoping it would get some new plants started.
My self watering planters didn't do my veggies any justice last summer. .
But they have worked phenomenally for flowers!!
I've NEVER been able to get a geranium to bloom the whole summer. .
I love the red, purple and white combo.
I don't remember what the purple flowers are. .
But I like 'em!
The grasshoppers. .
which we are inundated with. .
Even eat the cattails!!
What a peaceful view!!
The fish are doing well. .
And we even have a frog population.
Devin and Cami went frog hunting last fall and brought back some really big ones. .
And some tiny ones.
Most often we can hear them as they jump into the pond.
BUT. .
yesterday I just had to laugh as I saw out of the corner of my eye. .
A big ole frog launch himself over the head of the chicken to get to a safer location!
The veggies have had a GREAT year to perform. .
But I thought that Grant summed it up pretty well in his 4-H horticulture story. .
"Next year, if we want veggies. .
We will have to put up a fence. .
or kill the chickens!"
(I always imagine that whoever judges his book. .
Always gets a smile at his candid writing nature!)
Those chickens have been a NUICANCE!
They ate every spaghetti squash and watermelon on the vines. .
They devoured cucumbers and the tomatoes they could reach. .
They killed the tiny raspberry bush and have even eaten some of the jalepenos!
They LOVE hostas. .
and perpetually stir up the mulch and kick it up over the new astibe and bleeding heart plants.
The rhubarb that I transplanted from the old veggie garden has finally surpassed the chickens. .
And I don't think they care for it much. .
Next year should be a great time for harvesting it!
We have picked a few tomatoes. .
But the chickens peck on the lower ones. .
and then the wasp crew takes over from there.
I did mention the wind?? Enough to blow over some of my cages. There is a cucumber vine between the two cages that fell over. .
Hopefully those little birds won't see it!
We've tried hiding them under weeds. .but they always seem to find them. .
So far, no one has messed with this one yet. .
There is probably some magical size they are waiting for ;-)
Here is something they haven't bothered yet. .
I've never grown them before. .there are several small ones started.
The grasshoppers completely desimated the foliage in July, but it made an astounding comeback!!
This is another great accomplishment. .
These have been alive since I planted them in the self watering containers in June. .
SCORE! I have the perfect place in my new sunroom addition to overwinter them!!
Did you notice our new babies??
We have had a population overload. .
Which is ok. .because generally. .
Nature triumphs around our little country home. .
And we never seem to have them around for all that long.
There are 5 babies that are colored like these two. .
And 3 black babies that are still well hidden. .
We saw them when they were tiny, but mama has moved them since then.
The kids have been working on their 4-H record books. .
I am recovering from a really wretched cold. .
Jeremy is beggin for the boys to go to the lake at 7:00 every morning before school since it is always way too windy in the afternoon. .
No biters on that one. .
And the younger two are dreading the pool closure on Monday!
It's so hard to believe that fall is just around the corner again!
Where DOES the time go!!
Enjoy your LAST week of August friends!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Boston's Flora and Fauna. .

Congratulations. .
You made it to the end of my Boston camera roll!
Of course. .
Being a gardener at heart. .
The vegetation in the area ALWAYS gets my attention!!
And. .
Since many of ya'll readers ALSO like gardening stuff. .
I knew you would LOVE to see!
It TOTALLY fascinates me. .
That people plant gardens on the roofs and patios of their large apartment buildings!
Check it. .
These are TREES. .
Like real trees. .
Not little shrubby trees. .
But they look like some Bradford Pear trees to me. .
Along with maybe some crabapple trees. .
Around here. .
Those get WAY bigger than I would think would be possible on a roof!
Crazy, eh?
I know this is neither flora nor fauna. .
But I hadn't posted this photo yet. .
And it has an interesting story. .
Because the architecture is soooo old. .
That when a building gets to a certain point, they can no longer do any type of structural changes to it. .
SO, in the case of this fire department. .
They have to purchase fire trucks that will fit in the preexisting SMALL holes.
I took this photo out of the bus window on the way to Kennebunkport. I LOVED the tiny blue door with the flowers. Cozy and inviting!!
The Boston Common is kind of like the Central Park of New York City. .
It's like this little spot of solitude in the big, bustling city!!
These guys guard Frog Pond. .
A little wading pool in the summer that turns ice skating rink in the winter.
Boston Public Garden is the oldest garden in the United States. .
being established as you can see. .
in 1837.
There were a few floral displays like this one. .
But overall, it is mostly a huge patch of green grass and some nice trees.
There are Swan Boats at this little lake in the garden. .
And those are a big deal in the tourist arena. .
We didn't ride because it was earlier in the morning and wasn't open.
There are cool sculptures all throughout the city. .
And this one was a neat one in memory of the fallen.
Here's a photo of Arlington Church in the background. .
I think that one was my favorite. .
I loved the dark brown stone it was constructed out of !
Someone famous is buried in that big tomb in the center. .
For the life of me I can't remember who. .
But it was another example of the neat cemeteries, which you might notice. .
like the parks. .
are tucked into a little place in the middle of the city.
When you step inside the gates. .
The world seems to slow down just a little.
Boston is also proud (as they should be) about their green belt that runs through the center of the city. The Belt includes 12 miles (consecutive) of green grass, trees, sculptures and water features. The Belt stops where the street goes through, but starts again immediately on the other side of the street.
There were always lots of people utilizing them. .
Well. .
That is about it for our vacation.
It seems far away in the past now. .
And life creeps back in at an alarming pace.
But one slower paced day. .
We will enjoy looking back through the memories. .
Thanks for letting me share them with you!
Enjoy the rest of your week!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Boston. .Beaches. .and Bucket Lists!

Are you ready for some more of our adventures?
We did a LOT of extracurriculars while we were gone!!
Things that we likely won't do anytime again soon. .
And maybe never!!
So the splurge was TOTALLY worth it!
We do love boating and being on the water. .
So we knew that we would enjoy a sunset dinner cruise.
Doesn't it look like he is enjoying it??
The Spirit of Boston tour was excellent. .
We enjoyed a GREAT buffet of fancy food (my favorites!)
And. .
since it was our anniversary. .
They even gave us a glass of Champagne and an extra dessert!
I know that my photo doesn't so the city justice. .
But I am a "night sky" lover. .
And I am always enthralled by night skylines of big cities!
One of the days. .
we took an all day bus tour. .
North out of Boston. .
Stopping for a short break on Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. .
So I could say that I have dipped my feet in all three oceans that border the US. .
It was drizzly outside. .
And COLD. .
In the 60's but TOO cold to interest this girl in playing in the water!!
Next stop netted some selfies in front of the Nubble Light House in York, Maine.
It's one of the most photographed light houses in America. .
You can see why, right?
My souvenir came from an artist who painted lots of pictures of this lighthouse. .
And he was even on hand selling the replicas!
We were amazed at these HUGE chunks of granite bordering the ocean!
Seeing the rocky coast was a mark-off from my proverbial bucket list.
These lighthouse operators sure worked hard before the invention of electricity!
The end of the the Seacoast tour took us by George and Barbara Bushs' summer home. .
Near Kennebunkport, Maine!
There we had a couple hours to eat some MORE seafood and wander in and out of all the little shops there. Jeremy tolerated all that shopping well. .
and rewarded us with another helping of Fried Dough before we left to travel back to Boston. .
Fried Dough. .if you haven't tried it. .
You need to!! Especially if you have a can of blueberry pie filling to smear on the top of it!
We got home in time to wander around some more. .
One afternoon we saw these HUGE farmer's market stands set up for blocks and blocks!! The guy was showing Jeremy how to judge which fig would be worth eating. .
I don't do figs. .
But apparently both of them were delicious!!
I will attest. .
that the fresh raspberries were worth eating though!!
Another check off my bucket list came when Jeremy noticed a Gelateria in Little Italy. .
pointing it out saying. .
Isn't that the crap you've been wanting to try??
And we did!
Italian Gelato. .tasted like homemade ice cream. .
But way better than what I could have done!
And less calories than Freddie's Frozen Custard!
Win-Win in my book! 
Our last day found us wandering through the Boston Common. .
and Boston Gardens; the oldest public garden in the USA. .
I had enough garden type pictures though. .
That I will post those later.
The morning was cool again. .
And Jeremy finally bought himself a sweatshirt to keep warm.
The brownstones are just amazing to me. .
I still wonder exactly how the housing within them works. .
Whether one family gets 3 or 4 stories that are about 1 room wide. .
or whether multiple families occupy the different levels.
The old, OLD structures intrigued me. .
And gave me lots of fuel for my photography itch!
We ended up back in Little Italy because we wanted to eat lunch there. .
The streets were packed because of a weekend celebration that they were having. .
And I just got tickled to see them serving raw seafood from a street tent!
They also had bagpipe playing firefighters. .
In a mini-parade!
We walked back down to the ocean. .
To hit the huge aquarium. .
That experience. .
was. .
the worst!!
The aquarium WOULD have been incredible. .
But. .
it was Sunday. .
And the line outside was probably 2 hours long. .
Thankfully we had tickets already. .
But once we navigated our short line into the aquarium. .
You could barely get close enough to ANYTHING to see it!!
It didn't take us long to head back out of aquarium to have a cocktail while watching the people and the boats.
The real highlight of our last day was this. .
Despite a 45 minute delay caused by turning the ship around to let off a retching customer who couldn't move off of the floor within minutes of leaving the dock. .
We enjoyed the cruise out to a natural whale feeding ground. .
And were excited to see two whales several times while we were there.
It was probably my favorite thing. .
or at least at the top of the "favorite thing" list!!
Another check on my bucket list too!
This whale was super close. .
Since I never use the video part of my regular camera. .
It never even dawned on me to video the whales for my kids to watch.
Though I did get the "tail" end of the last whale sighting on video. .
My kids just weren't that impressed!
We had a TRULY great time. .
And I would go back in a heartbeat. .
He's ready for the next "new" location to check out. .
But I believe he suggested that it better have access to fresh and abundant supplies of seafood too!
Garden lovers. .
Come back soon to check out the Flora of Boston!