Idyll 293: Its time for a new one...

michelle_zone4November 29, 2006

Its time to start a new Idyll.

Ill take my cue from Sue and use some of great pictures that I took during IU3.


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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Happy birthday Mary! Happy belated birthday to Saucy and David! I'll be back hopefully in the next few days to post photos.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 11:57PM
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No lovely photos to share, yet, but heart-felt Happy Birthday to Mary, Saucy and David!! Saucy -- I was just getting to "know" you. Come back when you can! And David, I'm excited to hear about your gardens since I, too, am "starting over" in a lot of ways. And Mary, if I could send you a steak and kidney pie via cyberspace I would.

Thankfully, nothing major to report. Another foggy, drizzly day on tap and I'm glad I'm not heading into mountains again, today. The Berkshires in fog are not great when trucks believe they can barrel down the hills.

All the pictures are outstanding. Some of the combos have given me ideas for my own little park ....

I'm starting to get catalogs. Mostly seed stuff. So far, nothing "New and Exciting!!!" screaming at me.

Good for everyone is Making time for them. Hadn't thought about a massage, Marian, but think Chelone may be onto something :-) Glad you get to see old friends.

With a smile, feeling like the Winter Solstice can't get here soon enough.

When does Marie get back? Can only imagine the time she had ...


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 7:05AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I have heard no reports yet, but I am sure there is some major flooding in this area. I am so thankful that we live on a slope, but even so....our yard is standing in water, with a small stream flowing right across our front yard, and below our front porch. I will definitely have to wear boots for any going outside. I brought in our rain gauges yesterday, so have no idea how much rain we have had overnight, but it has to be several inches.The temp has dropped from 70F yesterday to 32F right now. Hopefully the rain will stop before we drop below freezing. Then the snow and other frozen precip is predicted.
Mary, I agree with you...Chelone's suggestion of a massage sounds great! The only problem is.. I'd like to get something to show for my gift. And like you...I am counting the days until the days start growing longer. Have you heard the saying, " When the days grow longer, the cold grows stronger" ? That is certainly true.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 8:59AM
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Marian, I had not heard that saying before. We have rain and sleet here too. It is already coating the trees and starting to freeze on the ground. I'm like you I like to have something to show for my money. I still need to use the gift certificates for nails and pedicure I got for mothers day. Didn't want to waste the effort during garden season, so need to do that soon.

Martie I am snitching some combo pics too.

Happy Birthday Mary! and belated ones to Saucy and David too. I'll try to do pics later after I clean the floors.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 10:56AM
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Michelle I'm glad you used that picture of the barn and coleus. I loved that pic from the Idyll union trip. N

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 10:59AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I truly feel back home with the return of Cynthia and Da and Babs...and others too. I've only been able to skim a bit, way too much for me to catch up with! Many things I wanted to comment on, and now I can't remember what I read at midnight last night. Honey, Chelone, Jerri and others..oh dear, my mind is a muddle!
I saw beautiful photos, nostalgia over past thanksgivings, birthday parties. And Tim and the girls joined Marian for the holiday as well! Tom battling over cake was a scream. And tears for Deanne's neighbour. My oh my, what a family we have here!

OK, I'll try to sum up my time away. First of all, my friend Marg and I arrived in snow and cold. Now by cold, I mean minus 10F during the day. If you get out and walk the dog and shovel, you work up a sweat. Indoors, you wear a hat! Because the weather is dry, the snow is light and fluffy, easy to shovel. DD scrapes the inside of the windshield as well as the outside!

DGS was around only until Friday, but he was his fun self and has been told to expect a brother or sister after his birthday when he'll be 8. This sure makes it easier for me who can't hide secrets very well.

Indy the dog will talk if you give her the "speak" sign:

DGS loves to read, both solo or with someone:

DD has been testifying at a hearing for her work, so could not be home for dinners most of the time. She has been feeling quite green around the gills, but can't let on why at work until her job situation is more settled. She hopes that will be soon.

DSIL loves to cook and prepared incredible meals: Thai food (he lived there a while), venison grilled outdoors on the BBQ in minus 30F temperatures, all sorts of delights. He is also big on presentation and is slowly converting DD from being a slob to realizing the importance in her daily life of beautiful surroundings. Miracles will never cease!

We went to an odd concert in a church where DD cried -hormones). Went to the Farmer's Market and saw many exotic goodies there. Ate out at a Vietnamese place too. DSIL loves to paint with oils so I bought him some canvasses and frames. Got DD some wool because she wants to knit me a sweater.

Traditionally we work on puzzles at our house at Christmas time, so Marg and I introduced DSIL to this and he caught on FAST and enjoyed it. Outside it went down to -41 at night, which is the same in F and C!

Marg and I also went to the Muttart Conservatory, four pyramidal greenhouses with different climate plants in each. I forgot my camera unfortunately.

The happy couple live in an emotionally charged state, whether vacuuming, doing laundry, eating dinner together, or whatever. Lots of goofiness and witty banter flies back and forth.

Indy dog is always impatient for their return.

She is polite and asks if she may sit on the couch.

She relishes time with her family.

And now you know it all without actually experiencing the frigid temperatures!

I'm thinking of having puzzles made from some of these photos for christmas gifts. That would be easy for them to carry back home.

It is rainy, gloomy and miserable here, but good to be back too. DH has announced that I am entertaining, dinner for at least 20 on Monday night....and also that he will likely have a sabbattical year next year. I hope that means lots of visits out west!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 11:57AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

David, Mary and Saucy -- Happy Birthday!

Well, Im just back from the 2nd of 2 rescue missions. DDs car stalled and wouldnt start again yesterday and again this am. We had it towed to the dealer and I drove her around for work and then dropped her off there. DH is going to oversee the estimate and repair. We were teasing her. SIL is working double shifts and getting in tons of overtime which = extra $. Why is it that just when you have a couple extra nickels, something major conks out?! Theyre stockpiling $ b/c of possible lay-offs after xmas. All jobs are such a worry these days.

Im thrilled that its raining out. Ive been carrying buckets of water out to water the new front landscaping. Thats worse than dragging hoses! Hopefully, I wont have to do much of it this winter.

Sue, Im so glad you tried those supplements and that they worked for you. I was a cranky, babbling idiot until I found them and got some relief.

Woody, that shed looks terrific! And more like a little house, too. I agree. The windows really add dimension to it. I cant wait to see the finished product!

Chelone, I didnt know poodles were water dogs and the info about the haircut. The ones Im familiar with tend to be snippy and aloof. My friends is not, although hes shy. Someone mustve beat him or hit him. When I ask him to sit for a treat and point to his hind quarters, he backs warily away from me. We think the only way hell learn to sit on command is by imitating Tim. When I dont point at him or approach him quickly, he comes over readily, wagging his tail.

Kathy, I just love Monterey, the aquarium, wharf and shops. Its so beautiful there, but outrageously expensive. It sounds like you had a lovely time. So sorry to hear about the camera. Hopefully the pics can be retrieved.

T, great shots of the elk and your snow. If it has to be cold, Id prefer snow on the ground so I can watch the animals at night out back. The other nite, just before the floodlights on my decorative bridge went off, I saw a coyote and her pup, a possum, and a couple skunks.

Hi Norma. Good to see you posting again, too. Funny about your wanting to pick up the guitar again. Ive been thinking about getting a keyboard. While Id love a baby grand, I dont have room for it in this house. As Da says, le sigh. Someday, perhaps.

Jerri, thost cat antics are wonderful. Thanks for the link. Interesting that your poodle was in the same shape this one was. The pic I took is after he was bathed and groomed. He was really a mess.

GB, welcome back from your trip. What wonderful news! It sounds like your DD and SIL are really happy together. It is as it should be. Great photo story, too. That Thai food looks luscious! I wanted to dig right in!

Oh, Eden, I forgot to say -- it sounds like Dora the Explorer gifts will be under your tree, too. I'm amazed how this cartoon character really appeals to 2 yr olds. I think it's b/c of the size of the characters on the screen. My DGN is mesmerized by them.

Ive got to get moving. I saw some things at Dress Barn the other day that I just have to try on. Also need to do various other run-around stuff. Hi to all and have a great day, everyone!


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 12:39PM
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david_5311(Z 5b/6a SE Mich)

Picture gawker checking in, I can always count on some of the best garden pictures on the web right here. And how nice to find some BD cards too, what a pleasant surprise! I don't even know how you folks find these though I guess I do remember posting my BD somewhere. It is SO great to see those pictures from IU3 -- I think of Northwinds Perennial Farm and all the other great places we visited often (not to mention our "own" gardens, V and Eileen!). We actually wanted to go back to some of those places this fall but never made it. Maybe next year.

BTW, Michigan gardeners, Honey and Eden and others, the Horticulture symposium at Cranbrook in Feb looks good, and even better, I noticed that the head gardener from Great Dixter (can't recall his name) is giving a talk at Goldner Walsh in March on mixed border construction. I would definitely be up for both of those if you guys want to go, let me know.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 3:16PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Another infamous fly-by post! We are changing our travel plans on the fly and booking a room near O'Hare tonight so we don't miss our flight in the morning. We're supposed to get a monster snowstorm tonight, but spending this extra $$$ will guarantee that the storm will miss us. I hope!

Belated birthday greetings to Marian, Mary, Saucy and David!!

I had a chance to tour the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield yesterday and it was wonderful!`If anyone has the opportunity to visit there I highly recommend it.

Okay, I've got to run and pack! TTY next week,


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 6:30PM
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GB, welcome home, and thanks for sharing some scenes from the trip. i'm glad you had some quality time with them and I hope your DD starts feeling better soon. I guess its all in what you are used to, but I sure wouldn't like those cold temps.

We sure are getting a taste of nasty weather here today.

Honey, the wildlife does tend to move around at dusk. Bob just saw a deer come through a few minutes ago. I guess the dogs were curled up to tight to notice it.
Its good you are getting some helpful rain instead of this icy snow stuff.
You should get a keyboard. I kept hearing music while I was browsing at wally world the other day so I looked around the corner and there was a teen playing the display keyboard. Guess he was wishing for one too.
I hope your DDs car doesn't cost to much. Our fridge is threating to go out here.

Hey David, speaking of pictures, we are still waiting to see the birth of your new beds. hint hint


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 6:32PM
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I was just sitting here looking at these birthday pictures and they sure look good compared to the ice and snow out there now.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 7:21PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Happy belated birthday to all I missed!
I don't want to drag down the threat but I'm just panicing!
Say some critter prayers and cross your 'paws' for these dogs I'm trying to rescue. They are at a 'Gas' kill shelter which is just an awful place.
My friend got off early to get them out before tomorrow's early morning kill time and they had closed early! The roads are terrible with the ice storm and he's not sure he can make it there in time tomorrow morning.

They are adorable heeler mix puppies (x12) turned in by a family who didn't want the trouble any more.
I can take 3-4 max :(

and a VERY pregnant Mom!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 8:21PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

And this: The Christmas giving season is upon us. Buyer beware!

The crooks have found a way to rob you of your gift card balance.

If you buy Gift Cards from a display rack that has various store cards you may become a victim of theft. Crooks are now jotting down the card numbers in the store and then waiting for a few days before calling to see how much of a balance THEY have on the card. Once they find the card is "activated", they go online and start shopping. You may want to purchase your card from a customer service person, where they do not have the Gift Cards viewable to the public.

Ho Ho Ho


P.S. I promise not to post anything else. :(

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 8:26PM
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Thursday Greetings !
So its probably unbearably wimpy of me to complain of how cold it is here at least it isnt raining. We are having frosty nights all week and only into the mid-50s during the day. Guess that doesnt sound too bad to some of you ! It gets down to 56 ish in the house at night (I dont heat it overnight) so it feels mighty nippy in the morning.

Happy Birthday to all the birthday folk !!

Martie you mentioned catalogs, Ive gotten three rose catalogs so far (Regan, Heirloom, Edmunds) . I will be buying a half dozen this bare root season , but before I mail order I usually see if the local garden center has the varieties on my list. I like to support local businesses when I can. I miss the Heronswood catalog from days gone by though!!

Okay Marian , what I said before about being wimpy ! If we get several inches of rain overnight here, we have to get out the sandbags.

bug what lovely doggie pics ! (and the humans looked happy too !) Welcome Back..

Jerri, what you do is admirable.Kudos to you !

And a hi to everyone else, time to quit lollygagging and do my chores.

Kathy in the Napa Valley

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 8:46PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I'm back... While nary a flake of snow has yet to fall, our flight tomorrow morning has been cancelled. The only flurry so far has been the flurry of phone calls as DH and I quickly rearranged plans. So we should be on a flight out tomorrow afternoon, our dinner reservations have been pushed back, and the hotel at the airport has been cancelled. And we had our bags all packed and everything! Fingers AND toes are crossed for tomorrow afternoon.

I had a nice overnight visit to Springfield for business purposes, which ended with the previous mentioned tour of the Lincoln museum. The museum has only been open for about a year or so, and it is truly fascinating and amazing. You get a great glimpse into life and politics at that time, as well as an understanding of just how awful the Civil War was. As I said before, I highly recommend a visit to the museum.

The drive home, though, was just awful. It just poured for most of the drive, and there were plenty of semis on the road to spray even more water. Yuck, yuck and more yuck. My shoulders just ached by the time I got home. As a sign of how much rain we got, our sump pump was running - I think that has only happened one other time in the eleven years we've lived here. Since the house is on a gravel hill, we rarely have to worry about water but we put the sump pump in "just in case". I think yesterday was that case!

I think I'll go back and catch up on my reading. Is it wrong to be pleased that Cindy may be more behind than I am? (just kidding, Cindy!)


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 9:28PM
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I am running a bit late this morning and caught some of the national weather forecast... thought immediately of Marian and poor V. who is likely trapped by inclemency. What of our other mid-westerners?

VERY warm here; freakishly so, frankly (60s yesterday!), but the wind is supposed to shift to the northeast, the rain is to arrive and overnight mountain areas are to receive some snow. I have to drive to boston this morning to take a friend to the doctor for a "voltage adjustment". She has Parkinson's and has just had the wires put into her brain to facilitate deep brain stimulation.

What fun to see 'bug's pictures of her visit. Brought a smile to my face...

The helpmeet is a Civil War buff, V. and visit to the Lincoln Museum would be a highlight for both of us. We have the Ken Burns documentary on DVD and watch it frequently... always something new to glean. My great-great grandfather (a blacksmith) fought in it as did many other more distant relatives. It truly left no family unaffected. We have visited several of the battlefields, too. It is often hard to believe the carnage that such lovely places witnessed.

Well, need to go get Mum rallied and think about toddling off to work for a few hours before departure. I'm dreading a drive in heavy, driving rains... maybe it will arrive after the departure for home. :)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 5:55AM
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Hello, hello!!! Can any of you in the middle of the continent see or hear us??? I've been watching the weather and man, I hope you all are okay.

V: We've been to the Mary Todd Lincoln house in Vermont several times and it's Rich's dream to visit the new museum.

Eden: The link below is something I think you and Bella would have fun looking at. The whole BrightNights thing is HUGE in Springfield, MA and I can actually see the "glow" from my office across the river. In person, it is beyond belief and Kyle has asked (yes, at 20 years old) if we are going this year. To him, it is a tradition since I took him when he was much younger and have gone ever since.

Marie: What a joyful family you have! Love that the dog knows "speak." The addition will only make it that much better. Funny that your DD wants to knit you a sweater -- my Mom and I bump into each other like that all the time. LOL

Wish I had more time but am planning an early day with 70mph gusts of wind predicted for this afternoon. Will take that over what my friends are getting right now, though.

Everyone have a safe day!!


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 7:25AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,

Well this weather is truly stranger than fiction. We broke records for high temps for the day yesterday. It topped out at almost 70 degrees. The very good thing about that is I FINALLY got all my bulbs planted. Have any of you ever bought things mail order then didn't know what you were thinking when they came in? I was sort of scratching my head wondering where in the world I was planning to put a few of the things I'd ordered. But, they are all safely in the ground.

As Martie says, this weather is going to turn nasty this afternoon. I hope everyone in the midwest is OK and that V. gets her flight out. It's supposed to be pretty awful out there and that storm is on its way here. I guess winter will finally arrive.

Chelone, interesting that you have family members who fought in the Civil War. My family has only been in the US for three generations so no one in my family was a participant. Were Canadian imports. I think the Ken Burns Civil War series was one of the finest documentaries Ive ever seen and weve watched it several times. Ive also read the Shelby Foote books which were an amazing read even if difficult to get through at times.

Jerri, such cute pics. Love the puppies. Its so nice to have you posting again.

Norma, so youre in the nasty weather stuff too? Hope all is well.

Marian, stay safe!

So David, when exactly is your birthday? I need to add it to my list. LOL

I thought youd like a greeting from this fellow instead of another pic from my garden.

Have a good day all and I hope everyone rides out this weather in good shape.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 7:52AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Another blur of a week. As my fellow northeasterners have already mentioned, it's oddly warm here and has been for the past couple of days. This afternoon the wind should bring some colder air for the weekend, a welcome change as far as I'm concerned. We aren't supposed to get the snow though, at least where I am.

Aw, Jerri, what cute little puppies. If you can't get to the shelter maybe the workers can't either. Won't kill shelters in your area hold off if they know a rescue group is coming? I can't imagine anyone relishes that job. With the exception of the large city shelters, we have very few kill shelters around here. That business about the gift cards has been all over the news here. My life as a career criminal would be shortlived as I never would be able to think of schemes like that.

It looks like I will be taking a drive to VT on Sunday to pick up that rescue. He's 7 and not completely housebroken. The woman who has him took him from her daughter because she wasn't taking care of him (walking him or cleaning up after him). What is wrong with people? Could you live in a house where a dog was doing it's business indoors on paper for 7 years?????? I'm guessing Shelly, the foster mom who will be caring for him, will have him completely trained in a few days.

Hey, Marie is back with a terrific photo journal for us! So the trip was a success, eh?

V, enjoy your trip once you get there. Will you be meeting up with Kathy? Winter travel can be a real can summer I guess based on the experiences some had getting to IU3. Maybe it's just air travel in general-bad and getting worse all the time.

Norma, what beautiful pictures. I love the garden scene you've created in David's card. You're holding out on

OK, I must run. Healthy eating rules went back into effect for me today. I've been lax and my weight is back where I don't like it to be. Some of it may be related to this fibroid business but at any rate...empty calories be gone!



    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 8:23AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yikes, the wind and rain are here. Absolutely no desire to step outside. Fortunately Charlotte was not deterred. I hope V manages to get away today! Holidays are important!

Yes Norma, your photos are a tease! Do you ever find time to sit in that lovely bench area? We used to have a hammock but not once did I manage to use it!

I was sent this ornithology link and thought Deanne and others might enjoy it. See below.

I hope to get some Christmas knitting accomplished in the days ahead, but DH left me with a huge pile of laundry and a plaintive plea for clean socks and underwear. Poor guy is helpless. (ha! 'Protective incompetence' is the phrase I use...)

Off and running...Enjoy your Friday!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 9:01AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I haven't ventured out yet, but was up before daylight to stoke up the fire, and stayed up. We missed the worse of the wintry weather. There is ice on everything, but not very thick...with a little snow over it( maybe 1/2").
I don't think we have had any damage, and no power outage.

What used to be my lovely Blue Spruce is now lying horizontally on the ground. It's demise can not be blamed on the ice. It has been listing badly, more and more as the year progressed. In examing the downed tree, I can see that the base of the trunk has been destroyed by something, either disease or insects. I feel badly about it, but have learned to accept such loses. Before it fell I was hoping it could be pulled to a more upright position, but after seeing the base of it, I don't think it would have lasted long anyway. :-(

I am sorry to hear of V's flight plans going awry. I hope it all works out okay.

I hope Ei and family are okay.
Norma, how are things at your house this morning?
Brenda, I am thinking of you also.

Great to see Marie back, and posting great pics of the happy family.

Chelone, I recall your irritation at your mum's too early arising. I can sure identify with the feeling. I'd like to get up before daylight on these cold days, to work on warming up the house before DH get's up. It is not too successful...he soon follows,and sets in the cold, waiting for the 'good woman' to prepare his breakfast! I am going to try explaining to him, that he needs to stay in his warm bed a little longer! Wish me success...

Deanne, in case David doesn't see your question...;-) His BD is/was Nov. 6th.

Another BD that we missed was Janie's in Ontario! Her's was the 20th of Nov. Where is she ? I miss her.

I don't have any BDs listed until the last part of Dec., and only two of is no longer posting here ( grrlsmom, Candy). I won't spill the beans on the other. I'm sure you all know who it is.

Kathy, no sand bags needed for us, but folks in low lying areas may have needed them. I just heard on the news that the Bufflo River is VERY high. No floating on it for awhile. I doubt if anyone would want to is not going to get out of the 20s today, and single digits tonight. Last night got down to 16.

Jerri, you sure have your hands ( and heart) full with the doggie rescue. Good luck! Thanks for the warning about the gift cards. Does that effect cards that haven't had any purchase on them yet? I haven't used mine yet.

LOL Martie! Yep, I can 'see' and 'hear' you! No thanks on the 70 mile per hour winds! I don't recall ever experiencing that strong of winds.

The indoor wood is still holding up, so it will be awhile 'til I bring in more. At least it is sunny.

Calliecat and Tiger have not left their warm beds in the shop yet. They will get hungry pretty soon, and come to the front porch for breakfast.
A crow is getting the soggy cat food that I tossed out from the front porch. I think I'll toss the old bisquits out there too. I usually take them up the circle drive a ways.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 9:21AM
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Well, it looks like we dodged the snow for the most part. It rained here all night and is supposed to change over to snow later this afternoon but we won't get much at this point. Then it looks like decent weather after that for a while. A winter person I'm not.

Happy Birthday to David, Saucy, and Mary. There's not much to take birthday photos of around here at this point but I've loved seeing everyone's pictures. Norma, you are holding out on us. The glimpses I've seen of your garden have all been wonderful. I'd love to see more too!

Marie, loved the photos from your trip. All looks to be well in newlywed land. Brad doesn't do laundry either, but I've made sure that David won't follow in his footsteps.

Martie, Thanks for the link to Suess Land. I would love to be able to take Bella to that! I'm a big Dr. Suess fan, especially at Christmas. I have the Dept 56 Grinch village and a Grinch like character that I set next to the Christmas tree. I'm always on the lookout for new Suess decorations.

I wonder if V will make it out today? I don't envy her the airport experience but would love the vacation time.

Jerri, I hope you and your friend are able to get to those puppies and mom in time!

I have Bella today and need to grab some breakfast before she gets here. Today's the first day for her advent gifts, a Christmas alphabet book. Have a good Friday and stay warm and safe!


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 9:50AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Its a nasty wet, windy day here this morning. The rain gauge fell over so were not sure how much rain weve had since it started early yesterday afternoon. DH says the ditch was full in the front when he left this morning. Id better go down and check on the sump pump at some point. Theres a pond in front of the shed! The path that runs by it doubles as a drainage route. I had went down on Wednesday and raked away some of the excess gravel from the shed base that was blocking part of the path. I obviously didnt rake away enough of it! I hope the rain lets up enough so I can go down there and clear enough of it to drain the water away.

Yesterday I did a bit of work on the painting Ive been doing of Elga, a friends GS that died earlier this year. Ive reached the point where Im starting to make it worse, not better so Ive called it quits. I think my tendonitis in my right arm has got to the point where Im going to have to stop dabbling in paint because it is getting increasingly painful to hold the brush, even while wearing a wrist brace. No great loss to the art word!

gb I hope you didnt suffer any frost bite on your trip out west! DHs parents in Calgary have been suffering through much the same temperatures. Great pictures looks like everyone had a good time. I particularly liked the last picture of Indy I love how the colors in the afghan mirror the rusty golds in her face.

Jerri I hope your group managed to get to the puppies safely with such bad driving conditions. And I hope Chelone has good driving conditions to Boston and Sue to Vt on the weekend for her rescue trip. And I hope Vs flight is smooth.

Marian - I assume the tree wasnt near enough to the house to do any damage? The wind is whipping the trees around here this morning so I hope nothing comes down here!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 10:06AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

This is my favorite pic of the Blue Spruce:

It was leaning badly towards the car at that time.

This is yesterday evening:

As you can see, it was laying on the car's tail end, but I drove the car forward so it wouldn't freeze to it. The car wasn't damaged.
The snow hadn't fallen yet.
The only consolation is...I have a more open view! Now, if I could afford it, I would love a gazebo in the 'island'. First the Hemlock went, now the there will be plenty of room for one.

Think positively! :-)


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 10:50AM
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david_5311(Z 5b/6a SE Mich)

I have REALLY enjoyed looking at the BD cards and other pictures, thanks again to all of you. Norma, your card to me is inspirational. I love the beds with the grass path between them -- that soft grass green just ties everything together. I have been debating in my new front garden whether to eliminate the lawn and put in a wide wood chip path instead. It would save a ton on the edge construction and maintenance. But there IS something wonderful about beds next to a lawn, as you picture so beautifully shows, So I am inspired to put in the steel edging and keep the lawn for now....

And of course, Deanne, your beautifully framed and composed Chickadee picture gladdens the heart. Who could not love Chickadees??? It is amazing that they can survive our winters and those much colder. I will never forget taking my son Matt to a MI Bird Observatory when he was about 8 and banding chickadees with him. It is an experience he remembers vividly 13 years later.

Yes, when my schedule calms down a bit (coming soon, though maybe not till after Christmas), I plan to make a post showing how the garden has developed this year. It really has done a lot, and I think there will be much more next year. Many of the garden's bones are now really in, including the anchor trees and larger shrubs, and so the fun part -- all the "infill" will start next spring, even though there is already some. Lots more to come.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 11:03AM
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We're still getting only light rain here but watching the noon news it looks like Chicago's a mess, including O'Hare and Midway. I hope V made it out. We're at about 35F and have gotten close to 2" of rain in the last 24 hrs. according to my weather station. There's been a lot of activity at the feeders this morning. As I was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes this morning I saw so many varieties of birds and of course the squirrels. I could watch them all day, much better that television.

Chelone, in answer to your question... I did paint my kitchen cabinets, a combination of measuring out and handpainting the checkerboard borders and dots and stenciling on the cherries. They're original to the house which was built in 1955 and are sturdy and have lots of storage space in them all the way to the ceiling. I'm not quick to replace anything original if I don't have to. We're one of the few houses left in the neighborhood that doesn't have vinyl siding and windows, we've just worked on restoring and maintaining as much as possible around here. I think of my house as a little cottage as far as decorating goes and try to make it fun and things more often than not seem to turn out a little unconventional. I hope you're able to figure out the fruit swags. I'm famous for thinking up things and then not being able to execute the plan myself. Brad usually has to come through and figure out the logistics of my "visions". We work well together that way, lol.

Marian, I hated seeing your beautiful evergreen on the ground like that. I couldn't help thinking that it would make a grand Christmas tree now.

Honey, I keep meaning to tell you that yes Bella does really like Dora and Diego. Her big gift from Meg for Christmas is an electric ride-in Dora volkswagen. It's the cutest thing. She also really likes Blues Clues.

Kathy, You've mentioned your begonias a few time and I keep wanting to ask you to tell me more about them. I've started collecting in the last year but still have a lot to learn about all of the different ones. It's quite confusing and there doesn't seem to be much info out there about them. I've spent time at the American Begonia Societies website but haven't found much else though there are a couple of out of print books that I plan to hunt down and order. I've have had good luck with most all I've gotten though as they seem to thrive on neglect, lol.

The rain seems to have stopped and the skies have brightened up. We must be in a dry slot at the moment. I don't have Bella again after today until next Wednesday and hope to get all of the Christmas decorating finished and more gift shopping done during that time. What are you all doing this weekend?


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 1:39PM
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No snow here.

Marian, what made the spruce come down? Ice?
What a shame.

Eden, funny, but Kenzie's big gift from her parents is the Dora VW. DD thought is pretty cool that Kenzie could have a VW just like her gramma (mine's not a Beetle though)

Norma, I loved the long view of your garden. I would love to see more.

Back to work


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 2:08PM
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That is funny Michelle. Just another case of us in Idylland sometimes living parallel lives. That must be "the gift" for two year old little girls this Christmas season. We'll both have to get pictures of "the girls" out and about in their VW Bugs!


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 2:34PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Hi all! A quickie as this is a public computer in the Admiral's Club. Yup, we're at O'Hare, but there are no planes here. :( Makes it hard to leave without a plane! We are booked on an 8:00 pm flight. If that doesn't go, the trip is off as it no longer makes sense. Sadly, we will lose some money on activities we had reserved for the weekend. If you don't reserve, they don't have space, but if you can't fly...

Okay, end of pity party. At least DH has club privleges so it isn't too bad a place to wait it out.

Marian, what a shame to lose such a lovely tree!

Okay, I'm gonna run. Maybe I can post later from Napa?


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 3:53PM
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taryn(S Ontario Z6B)

Happy Belated Birthday Saucy, Mary and David!

From my limited repertoire of November houseplant horticulture. Bonus mini stow-away Amaranthus 'Intense Purple' due to my tardiness. Hope you all enjoyed your special day..


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 3:57PM
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taryn(S Ontario Z6B)

Has anyone tried picturetrail's new "Flick" options with their pics? I tried to inbed the link above with those three photos but GW wouldn't let me. Link below livens up the houseplants a bit. Would be neat if we could figure out how to post flicks in the thread...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 4:26PM
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I'm crossing my fingers for V.! and all our other friends in the affected area. I've enjoyed the fine weather, but have to say it's time for some cold. It's dark early and it's TIME. (I just received some odd bulbs and have to plant the damn things soon).

Bummer about the tree, Marian... any chance you could resurrect it and adorn it with birdie treats for the native avian population?

The Boston run was largely rain-free. Only the last 25 miles were under driving rain. My friend is doing well, sad about the nearly final divorce (ex. really betrayed her), and bubbled over several times in the car from the sheer unfairness of it all. I told her she was the wronged party, and one of the most courageous women I've ever met. I told her it was OK to cry and that I thought she was "right on track" for the grieving process. She seemed surprised that I called it grieving, but that's exactly what I think it is. I told her only time would lessen the crying jags. I hope I said the right things. (I'll put some tissues in the glove compartment because there will be more driving in the future... :) ).

Deanne, my father's family arrived on the North Shore of MA in 1783. The rest of the family trickled south from maritime Canada (Nova Scotia) over the years... they were very early arrivals, too. Things musta really sucked in England, Ireland, and Scotland at that time. ;) The helpmeet is the first generation of his family born in the USA... his paternal grandparents were unsure as to whether they'd go to Argentina or the USA in the '20s., at that time Argentina was booming. Funny how things shake out, huh?

Eden, I love your approach to your home. Your lovely paintjob on the cabinets really caught my eye; I love stuff like that! And I've got a few tricks up my sleeve yet with respect to the plaques... just need to make the time to "work out the kinks".

Woody., that portait is great... knowing when to "guild the lily" and when to quit outright is the mark of a master. Same rule holds for seamstresses. Is your new shed still high and dry?

Taryn, my "garden" consists of rescued geraniums from the window boxes. I have pink flowers and will have to bring myself to cutting them back HARD pretty soon. I'm thinking of staggering the chore... 2 this week, 2 more in 2 weeks, and so on. Nothing cheeses me off more than coming home to find the helpmeet has cut them back to stumps, ALL AT ONCE. Must be a "guy thing", lol. Would you do something like that, David? (say it ain't so, please). ;)

All for now, friends.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 5:51PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Woody, I sure can understand the wrist pain. The fibromyalgia had cut down on many of my activities years ago. Just such things as stirring a thick dough, or snapping beans, was more than I could do. I adjusted, and pretty well know what I can do now. Any overhead work is out of the question.
Your doggie pic looks fine to me. I'm sure your friend will be proud to have it.

Chelone, I like your idea about the tree, but I don't know if we would be able to raise it back up. It appeared to be a very healthy tree, and is of a pretty good size.

Eden, It 'would' make a lovely Xmas tree, but we don't do Xmas, so it wouldn't work for us. I suggested to Nolon that one of our neighbors might like to have it, but he wasn't too impressed with that idea.

Taryn, I hope you find time to 'join' us again. I miss you.
I haven't used any of PT's new tricks. I'm content to be a 'plain Jane' with my pics...:-) I like your houseplant pics. They are looking good.

BTW, Do any of you know how to move pics from Documents to a CD? I am having no success with my efforts. I want to put all my new digital pics on CDs, in case the computer should crash, and so I can delete all the ones that are on my card.

Ahhh, V! I do hope you don't have do give up on your trip. What a bummer!


    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 7:07PM
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Bummer V, I hope you can still make it out.

And bummer to you to Marian. What a nice tree to lose.

Thanks for the comments on the picture. When I take them I don't think they look like much, but when I see them later they look pretty nice. I call that area Butterfly Alley. LOL

Jerri, What happened with the puppies? Or maybe I don't want to know. Thats sad.

Eden and Michelle, Wyatt likes Dora the explorer too. But he's not getting a volkswagon LOL. He has an old jeep that was Jakes, I have a cute picture of them with an old wagon hooked on behind this summer. They look like a couple of little rednecks.

Woody, I Think you did a great job on the painting and I imagine you are happy to have the project done. I have been printing pictures all day for a project that I want to get out of the way.

Hi to all. Can't stay online. Bob has been plowing snow all day. People just keep calling and we only have one line.
Marian I'm not sure just how much we got , but its more than we've had here in several years. And its very cold.

I tried to post this earlier but it wouldnt post , so I'll try again.
Later Norma

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 8:34PM
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Salutations everyone !

Well its a bit after 5pm my time, so If Vs flight goes on time shell be on her way soon . What nasty weather though! Last March I went to Nashville on business and there was a tornado going through so our fight was diverted to Knoxville to re-fuel. It was extremely unpleasant flying back into Nashville in that storm! We were hours late and missed our dinner engagement.
So V, if you make it to Napa and have computer access e-mail me ! Unfortunately I have to work on Sat and Sun this weekend ,(inventory) but maybe we can work a brief rendezvous out ! Your hotel is very close to my home

Hope the rest of you Midwest folk are staying out of harms way.

My front yard project is in a stall- the dude who was doing it for me got a "real" job, which is good for him but bad for the project. Im going to have to find someone else to finish it he wont realistically have time to work on it , especially since it gets dark at 4:30 ! I dont want to wait till spring. I only paid him as he went and I got my moneys worth and then some for what he did so far.

Deanne, Im right there with you when it comes to buying stuff and having no clue where it will go. I bought exactly zero bulbs this year- but ironically I actually have spots for them since I am re-doing so many areas. Im thinking I need to get the new scheme in place and then next fall I will be able to make decisions that are logical and in keeping with the design . Im sure I did something logical in the last 25 years !

Marian, so sorry about your beautiful tree, but I like your positive attitude about the opening view ! When it comes to nature, there are things we can control, or try to control, but more often than not we are helpless bystanders. I think this is why so many gardeners I know have great character we learn to adapt to the surprises and challenges that come our way-and how great it feels when it spite of all we encounter we can create something beautiful.

Woody, the painting is wonderful. I have an employee who lost both of his German Shepherds this year. I felt so bad for him. Such beautiful dogs

Hi David, Im Kathy out here in Northern Califdont think you were hanging around when I started posting here-pleased to meetcha !

Eden you are right about the level of info out there on begonias. Ive been collecting them for years and the majority of them are unnamed varieties either I got a cutting from someone who was clueless as to the variety or the nursery plant had one of those really vague labels " Angel-wing Begonia , protect from frost" . I usually loose a couple every year because I dont bring them in soon enough, but this year I got them all protected in time. As soon as we get our camera situation around here fixed Ill take some pics and we can compare notes. I love tuberous begonias too, but I just do a crappy job with them. They never bloom for me till August.
Thats all for now, time to read the paper and do some laundry

Stay warm everyone !

Kathy in the Napa Valley

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 9:26PM
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It's a good morning to be alive.

Last night we had tornado warnings and when the local radar zoomed in to street level a funnel-cloud-in-the-making was exactly over my parents' house. The storm seemed to break up to severe thunderstorm warnings when it crossed the river (Parents on the west, we on the east side) but it was scary nonetheless. I've never needed to get into the mode of "what is really important to take to the basement" but Rich and I have resolved to make copies of all important papers and keep those copies permanently in a non-window part of Kyle's suite. Amazingly, no plant or structure damage in our immediate area but Litchfield County got Whammed.

For begonia info, there's no better place than the good folks at Logee's. Mrs. Martin was the international begonia queen for years and her family is continuing the tradition. Don't know if they have a book out specifically about begonias, but I do know that they are happy to answer questions via email. Tell Byron that you know the New England Gardening group that came last January and will be doing a repeat visit in 1/07. Chances are that if he can, he'll talk for hours.

Your poor tree, Marian!! But I, too, like the idea of a gazebo there. If not a big structure, perhaps a simple table and some chairs with a circle of plants? Surprised that Nolan isn't ecstatic about giving the tree away -- it would mean he wouldn't have to deal with the cleanup. LOL

Taryn -- Good to See You!! And Your Plants!!

Today is the start of decorating for the Winter Holidays. I celebrate the Solstice in the midst of everything else and am thinking of having the neighborhood kids over to teach them a little bit about it. I don't take it as far as some, but I do absolutely respect the earth's cycles and think that as we become more automated those simple, eternal things get lost.

Kyle will be setting up our village -- North Pole from Dept 56 -- that we've been collecting since it came out 16 years ago. I keep telling him that it's the down payment for whatever abode he chooses. LOL It is really beautiful, and Rich literally gasped the first time he saw it up. We use real evergreen branches in addition to fake little trees. Fun!

Outside will be lights, lights and more lights. Rich's territory this year. Mine is the tree and the accents.

We've become a well-oiled machine when it comes to celebrating Holidays here. The creche needs some serious touchup work and my artist neighbor has volunteered. We'll have a small gathering on Christmas Eve Day to put it up.

Good to know everyone made it through the storms intact, though I'm anxious to here from Sue whose town was also in the path of the storms.

Hope all animals are rescued in time. As Sue said, we don't have many kill shelters here and do, indeed, import rescue animals from other parts of the country.

V -- Wherever you are, I hope you're having fun!!

Best to all -


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 9:17AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Good morning Idylland!

Well we finally have some close to seasonal weather here but still on the warm side of normal. It's beautiful-sunny, blue skies and a high expected in the upper 40s F. If I were so inclined it would be easy to get sidetracked working in the garden but today is decorating day. I need to get down to the local nursery for my swags, wreaths and roping. Yesterday I bought all new bows for the wreaths we hang over all the front windows and last night Tom started putting up the tree. Unfortunately my day will be short because I got invited to one of those jewelry parties tonight and it starts at 6. Normally I avoid these things but it's my Christmas party helper, Melanie who is hosting it. Those of you who have been to my party know I couldn't possibly pull it off without her. Some things you just gotta do. Tom has tickets for him and his brother to the John Fogarty concert tonight at the Mohegan Sun casino. My BIL will be staying overnight. As luck would have it he feels at home in a dirty

So, I wonder if V made it out? The whole midwest storm business was the top of the national news last night and they used O'Hare as the example of how screwed up the airline schedules were. Supposedly it was starting to clear up right around news time (6:30 here). Perhaps no news from V means good news.

Marian what a beautiful tree! I love blue spruce but have heard they can be susceptible to various diseases. I always look at the loss of a plant as an opportunity also. What else can you do?

Jerri, all of a sudden we're getting buried in rescue too. I should know better-it seems to happen every December-ho ho ho. In addition to this dog I have to get in VT tomorrow I have another whose owner has just gone into a nursing home. At least that one is closeby but she's currently living alone in the house with a relative going in a couple of times a day to take care of her. When I checked our foster home status they told me we just took in a poodle and three schnoodles yesterday and the same family has five Maltese and Maltese rescue is not returning their calls. Good grief! Long and short of it, the little schnauzer living alone may be coming here for a while.

Allrighty then, talking about doing stuff doesn't get it done.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 9:43AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Martie, so good to finally see a post this morning! How scary about your folks home beneath the funnel cloud! What a blessing that it dissipated with no touch down.

The downed spruce has opened up another blessing for us. Dispite the fact that I mourn it's loss, we now can have the dying oak dropped in the opening it left. We have been wondering how we would handle that, since there was no open space to drop it. Nolon just said we can get a neighbor who is in that business to drop it, or a 'young' cousin. Then he will happily cut it into more firewood!
As for him disposing of the spruce...he 'loves' cutting things up,(lol), and I can drag off the cuttings. I have shed no tears over it, but have come close. :-(
I do plan on replacing it, only in a differant location. I will start with a much larger one than that one was. ( It was from The National Arbor Day people, and was only about 6 inches tall when set out. I think I will replace the Hemlock in another location also. Who knows, I may be around to enjoy their growth...:-) I have even picked the location for both, but have to check to see if there is enough sunlight for the new spruce. I think they require more than the Hemlock.

The weatherman missed the low for this morning. It was at least 10 degrees warmer than I expected. Certainly no disppointment! My reading was 18F. They are predicting a low single digit for tomorrow morning....we'll see.

Norma all three of your pics are lovely!I love the color of those day lilies.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 10:01AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,

The weather last night was bizarre. Huge thunder/lightening storm! Crash boom! We were having my mega ham and pea soup with fresh baked nine grain bread for dinner in the dining room when all of a sudden the whole room lit up and enormous crash overhead and the lights went out for a second. That is a first for us. Never have I seen a thunder storm in December before. Weve had a couple in November but never, ever in December. I had windows and doors open yesterday to the almost 70 degree temps. As Sue said, the temps are finally almost down to seasonal. Ive still got all hundred plus fuchsias out in the garage waiting for colder temps to get them to go dormant. Hmmpffff.. They are all merrily putting out lots of green growth. I keep telling them it isnt the time for it but they dont believe me. LOL

I surely hope V got out last night. I was thinking of her as we went to bed last night. Im hoping since we didnt hear anything that means she got out.

Marian, that is so sad about your tree but it sounds like youve got a great attitude about it. Good for you! Thanks for Davids BDay dates. Ive got it on my Idyll spread sheet now.

Martie, thats pretty scary about those funnel clouds last night. It sounds like you got those storms worse than we did here. Yikes! Doug and I are talking about starting to put up our Christmas decorations this weekend also.

Kathy, do you have any pics of your front yard project? And where you are with the pansy display now? Ive had pansies winter over here before but only when we had a good snow cover. They did put out quite the display. Much better than the ones planted out in the spring.

Chelone, very interesting that your family has been in here so long and yes it really is funny how things shake out.

Woody, the painting is just beautiful! What a fantastic job you did. Your friend is going to be so happy to receive that. I know I would be. I sure hope you dont quit painting. Just do it in shorter intervals. Youve got such a nice area for your studio that you can leave your paints set up so you can do a bit of work here and there.

David, I just love your story about taking your DS to the Bird Observatory and banding chickadees. They are so tiny and yes it is amazing that they can survive our harsh winters. BTW have you ever birded Plum Island? Doug and I went down there last weekend and the first thing I saw as we drove on the island was a Northern Harrier flying low over the marshes not 100 feet from the road. What a sight! Love those raptors! They also have a juvenile Snowy Owl there at the moment and Im hoping it stays around for the winter so I can hopefully get some decent photos of it. Believe it or not Id never been to Plum Island before and it is an AMAZING place. The beaches harbor nesting colonies of Piping Plovers and Least Terns in the season and apparently you can usually see them from a boardwalk observation. Im thinking Ill be spending some time down there if I can pry myself out of the gardens.

Norma, I love that daylily you have in Marys BDay card. Do you know what variety that is? ~~ I agree with David, that grass path between the borders is just super lovely.

OK sitting here typing is not getting anything accomplished around here so to that end Im off to do something productive.

Have a great Saturday all,

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 10:52AM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Happy Birthday Mary, Saucy & David!

Sorry to be so late with the birthday wishes, I just don't get here as often as I'd like to. Hope all of you enjoyed your special day!

We are back to seasonable weather today; bright, sunny and cool. The weather people are hinting at snow here for Monday, I guess we are overdue. I'm glad all of you seemed to have survived the crazy weather you've had, and I hope V got a flight!

The yard cleanup is done, DH made the official declaration of completion last Sunday afternoon. We had such good weather this year, I think we did a better job raking leaves than we ever have.

This is holiday decorating weekend here too. We are putting up the tree tomorrow, along with all the other assorted knickknacks. My mother gave us a mini Santa's village, those Dept. 56 houses with the lights in them. I can remember when the kids were small, telling them "look but do not touch". They would stare at it forever, and play too when we weren't watching - I'd always find elves moved around. When DS was three or so, I had to put the train part up high because he drove it at such speed I feared for the reindeer!

Marian, my heart would be broken to lose that tree, especially if you watched it grow from such a small size! I guess some good will come of it if you can get rid of the oak and install a gazebo.

Well, back to work - I was baking this morning, I am "practicing" my cheesecake - this one is chocolate. I want to be able to reliably make one that is presentable enough to take somewhere, ie: no cracks. I had assistance - DS ran the stand mixer for me (he loves gadgets) and DD has cleaned up the kitchen, including the licking. The melted chocolate had coffee in it, I'm surprised she wanted to try it. She declared it yummy! I wish she was as enthusiastic about trying veggies! I am going to try a new recipe for creamy spinach soup for lunch. I guess cooking is becoming my winter hobby.

Waving hello to everyone else!


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 11:45AM
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Mornin everyone, just dropped in to say hello before I head off to work, got my grocery shopping done anyway so at least the day won't be a total loss. Very frosty in these parts this morning, still in the 30's , but the sun is shining , so good for my fellow emplyees who have to go out and count lumber , plywood and assorted vinyard irrigation and trellising products.

Martie, good for you and yours dodging the tornado bullet ! We don't have those here-earthquakes instead. I have visited Logees website numerous times over the years.It would be fun to e-mail them some pics and see if they can ID some of my plants.

Deanne, I do have some photos of my front yard project, and will post them this evening or tommorow.

My Christmas decor will have to wait till next weekend, I don't like to have the tree up much more than a couple of weeks anyway ...kay gotta go to work...t'ra

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 1:00PM
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Hello Idylls, Just back from hitting a few stores this morning. I picked up a new Christmas tree. I was looking for something smaller. With all of Bella's things around here space is at a premium these days. I found a nice slim prelit 6' tree that has a nice urn for it's stand. I've also decided that this is the year that both of my girls are old enough to be given all of "their" ornaments collected and given to them over the years. I think they're both settled enough now that they'll be able to keep track of them. For a while there they would move about every year and I've always afraid sentimental things would get lost in the shuffle. I got them each decorated Christmas boxes and will wrap all of their ornaments in tissue, place in the boxes and give them to the girls so they can use them on their trees this year. I found some sweet little Dora ornaments for Bella to add to her little tree too and got her a dvd of the original Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I'm about to start cleaning up around here and then hope to go through an sort all of the tree ornaments and get my tree decorated. It's a beautiful sunny day here today and we never did get any of the snow they predicted. I did like those temps in the 60s much better than the 30s we're experiencing now.

Wendy, if your new hobbies cooking this winter check out the cooking forum over on the homesite side of GW. I lurk over there frequently and have gotten some great recipes from them.

Martie, thanks for the suggestion about Logees. I'll keep them in mind. I have ordered some begonias from them. We have a local greenhouse, Goldner Walsh, that has one of the nicest begonia collections I've run across also and I'm thinking I need to make friends with whoever cares for the begonias there too.

Oh Sue, you'll have such fun at the jewelry party. I'm not a fan of most home parties either, exception Pampered Chef, and will use most any excuse to get out of going to one. Keeping a good party helper is worth the time spent though.

Deanne, I just brought my fuschias in from the little greenhouse yesterday. They have sprouted tiny leaves too. I have them in the basement under a table to try and at least keep them dark but I know it's too warm to keep them dormant there. You have 100! WOW!!

I hope it's a good sign that we haven't heard from V!

Time to crank up the Trans-Siberian Orchestra cds and get to work! Ho! Ho! Ho!


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 3:17PM
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Happy Sunset!!

Due to electrical equipment shortage and a research paper rewrite, everything is going up next week. I'm thrifty, but I won't use frayed cords. Somewhere in the middle of the day I realized that there's three, not two, weekends left before December 25.

So -- dove into some seed catalogs and made brownies with walnuts. Roast chicken in the oven for dinner.

And it's only Saturday!!!

Wavin' at you, too Wendy :-)


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 4:29PM
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Well I'm not seeming to get much accomplished at all. So far I've had one drop in visitor and one long phone call this evening. It also seems that the more I'm shuffling around and rearranging the more chaos I'm creating in my little house. I'm throwing in the towel for tonight and I'll start fresh in the morning.

Martie, the brownies with walnuts sound GOOD! I love nuts in baked goods but don't often put them in because David doesn't like them in anything.

I also wanted to say HI to Taryn. Pretty houseplant pics. I hope you have time soon to give us a nice long post on what you've been up to. Miss you!

Since it's Saturday I think it's time to crack open a bottle of vino about now. Anyone want to join me? See you all tomorrow!


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 7:41PM
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Wendy,I love the birthday photo you posted.It's cheery. How was the creamy spinach soup? It sounds good.

Martie I'm so glad that tornado disapated in time for safety.

Deanne that daylily is "Indian Giver". It was new for me this year and I love it. It even had a late rebloom.
I've been meaning to ask how you got the fungus knats under control. I have sticky traps that get a lot of them but was wondering if there is a better method. I am going to have to do some serious pruning of the coleus, some are getting to big for the lights. I'm not very good at pinching. I really like the ones that get bushy all by themselves. I have some on the window sill that I need to find something else to sit them on because the window will be getting to cold for them to brush against soon. Did you get any good bird photos at Plum Island?

Eden, I always liked the Grinch Who Stole Christmes. I picked up the DVD "Cars" for Wyatt. I took them to see it at the movies this summer and I enjoyed it too.

Sue, I'm glad its you and not me going to the jewelry party. But I bet you have fun anyway with your friend. I don't go anywhere to wear much jewelry so I don't need much outside of earrings. I did buy a nice pair of handcrafted ones recently.

I made a run to town today for the basics. Milk bread coffee, cat food etc. I didn't realise how bad it was around here until I got up on the main road and into town. I didn't have any problems, my Forester is all wheel drive and goes like a dream but the roads were messy. The store was crowded too and checkout lines were long. Bob had to plow a couple more places this morning. We both have been "chillin out" this afternoon.

Ok I'm going to go read the thread about voles to see what everyones tricks are. LOL. Rocky, the dog who decided to live with us instead of our neighbor, caught a mole the other day when we were walking. I told him good boy! and since he doesn't get a lot of attention he was so tickled he really gave it a working over. I do give him a little more attention now that Keebler is gone. Keebler never really liked him and I didn't want to betray Keebler.

Hope V is in sunny Calif. Later Norma

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 8:18PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Evening all,

Yummy, I'd LOVE a brownie with walnuts in it. Even better I'd love a piece of home made fudge with walnuts in it. I've not had any fudge for longer than I can remember and I love walnuts in everything. LOL

Yes, Eden, I think I'll join you in a glass of wine. Sounds nice. A delicious glass of Cabernet sounds perfect right about now.

We went to my neighbor's burial service today. It was so sad. His sister gave a moving eulogy that had everyone in tears. Its taking me a while to get over this I guess. Every day, during garden season he used to stop by to say hello and see what was going on in the gardens when he was on his way out to do his Meals on Wheels deliveries. I was working out front today and it really hit me that Id never see him stop on his way out again. Anyway, sorry for being down but this has really saddened me.

On a positive note, I was able to get the rose garden cleaned out today and got the last of my pot ghetto in the ground. I planted that other Little Honey next to the Japanese Maple in the front. I think those colors are going to look great together. I also did some more work on getting the garage cleaned out and there is light at the end of that tunnel. I might just be able to get that finished up tomorrow. Doug said hed help out with emptying the rest of those large pots and that speeds things up dramatically. We also MUST get the fish in the house tomorrow. The weather is going to finally turn cold and they are predicting snow on Monday so Ive got to get them in or they will turn into fish-sicles.

Norma, thanks for the ID on that daylily. It really is gorgeous! Im going to have to look for that one. ~~ RE the fungus gnats. I found a product called Gnatrol for the larvae and I also treated for the flies with an indoor Raid insecticide for the flying gnats. Id had them completely cleaned up then we got a flower arrangement for the Thanksgiving and I think there must have been some flies in it because Ive seen them around again in the dining room. Grrrr. They really are a pain in the neck to eradicate. ~~ I didnt get too many photos from Plum Island. We werent there at the right time of the day and when we were driving in and I saw the Harrier I didnt have my camera out. The only interesting shot I got was an in flight of a Ring-billed Gull flying off with a fish in its mouth.

OK Im going to get that glass of wine then tuck myself into bed early. Have a good evening all.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 8:59PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Well good news and bad news! The good news is we were able to rescue the Mom and several of the heeler puppies.
Mom now has 6 babies born today! I feel like a grandma! ;)

The bad news is no one wants to foster this time of year so they are coming to live with us.
Sue, I can relate. I don't what it is about the holidays.
Ho Ho Ho...

Jerri -> Off to feed the masses (of puppies!)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 9:25PM
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Just dropping in for a question !

Deanne, DS is really interested in your bird pics (since we had the tide-pool camera drop incident)and he is in the market for a new camera.What camera do you have ? Is it a Canon Elph ? Please advise.

Jeesh I'm pooped and have to go to work again tommorow !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 2:30AM
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Wendy, that picture is just wonderful! bulbs and Hosta are always a winning combination. I STILL have some Narcissus to get into the ground (Mt. Hood) and my boss gave me a bagful of assorted bulbs that have to be sorted out and planted before the window of opportunity closes entirely. Ba humbug!

Wonderful gull shot, Deanne. I never tire of watching them, personally. Yesterday, I watched them just hang in the air, floating on the wind. So graceful. And I'm also quite fond of Canada geese (tons of them here with the golf course so close). Their plumage is so beautiful, a real study in soft buffs, creams, and chocolate brown. The cur and I were on the golf course yesterday and found the remnants of an unfortunate individual who became dinner for something else... probably a fox, maybe a fisher.

We had a thunderstorm on Friday night, too! seemed very strange for late autumn. And it's now cold, ice on the pond once more and had there been more moisture in the air a heavy frost would've greeted me this morning. Wow, Martie, a tornado?! I'm not really surprised, watching the fronts collide on the weather maps... it's a question of how quickly they contact each other and the strength of them. I, too, am hoping V. has left the midwest in the con. trails!

Voles: we have a vibrant, athletic feline "control unit". Generally speaking, there is at least one on the deck every day. I even put one particularly plump individual on a plate next to Mum's lunch some weeks ago. Without missing a beat, she surveyed him and said, "I think I'm going to need a serrated knife, dear.". :)

I was not fit company for anyone yesterday. It began sometime after 4AM, with a disoriented mother, and a bedful of urine soaked linen. I have no idea what she managed to do, but I had to strip the bed, spritz the plastic mattress cover with vinegar and water, dry it off, remake the bed, and then get Mum cleaned up, dried up. Then I changed the whole urostomy appliance, and did two loads of laundry, one for the down comforter. I was so frustrated by it all, I emitted several shrieks of utter despair. I have never done that before. Normally, I'm very cool and matter-of-fact about it. But yesterday the relentless weight and pressure of the whole situation overwhelmed me. I have mailed all the financial requirements to my brother who is going to sit down with the trust lawyer and go over them. I have no idea how long the waiting list will be, I only hope I don't come completely unglued before the move is accomplished.

The helpmeet brought home the brush for the windowboxes last night. I think I'll spend some quality time outside doing the lower ones, maybe a planter, too. I'm having trouble focusing on seemingly simple things without feeling overwhelmed by the NEXT task on my "list". Maybe something involving the great outdoors, sunshine, and "pretty" will jog me out of my present lethargy. :/ .

Well, time to sort more laundry and get rolling on that task. Then I'll prep. some alteration work, and maybe by that time Mum will be up and I'll get her fed... THEN I'll have a a couple of hours to do what I want to do. Ya think?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 7:17AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

ROFLOL!!!!!!!! Chelone, your 'vole-mum' story is hilarious! A great way to start my morning! Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 8:08AM
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Good morning

Chelone - the vole story is too funny. Even under the overwhelming stresses and physical toil of caregiving, how wonderful you and your Mum can still share a laugh together.

Deanne - the Gull is stunning - another I'll have to show DH!

I feel badly I didn't have time to respond individually to all my beautiful cards. Each holds a special place in my heart for all the wonderful people I can call my friends.

GB - what smashing pictures from your trip. I can feel the laughter and happiness the new family share together.

This will be brief as we are all heading off to find a tree at our favorite farm. The weather is cold and sunny - perfect tree chopping conditions!

later folks!


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 10:17AM
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LOL, it just so happens one of the "Rat Patrol" brought us a little treat some minutes ago. For your viewing amusement I have recreated the aforementioned practical joke:

Yum-yum, eat 'em up...

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 10:44AM
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And the moral of this morning's story is -- read BEFORE you look at the pictures!!! LOL Chelone and Mum!!! These next few months will be up and down and left and right for you, but know that you've got a whole pack of people right beside you.

BTW, Chelone, I'm planning placement of my Tokyo Delight and need to know the secret of getting it to bloom. Where is yours?

I'm so glad, Jerri, that you got those puppies and the mom. Just how many are there, total? Sounds like your giving 101 Dalmations a run for their money. Did Sue make it back from Vermont? Or did the mountains call for just "one run" :-)

Deanne -- Crying is Good. Grieving is Good. Coming to realizations is hard, but Good. Perhaps in Spring you could put something into the garden that he would've particularly liked? Glad your gnat problem is under control. Sounds like you're on the verge of needing a fish rescue :-) We've been researching fish varieties and are hopeful that we won't have to do the outdoor/indoor swap for winter. Do you agree that it has a lot to do with the depth of the water as well as the kind of fish?

Eden: You and all other Suess lovers would be on Cloud Nine visiting Springfield. There is a whole section of the city's Museum's Public Gardens dedicated to Suess character topiary. Mulberry Street still exists, though that's not really where T. Giesel lived. The Museum itself has a huge Giesel display, complete with a disclaimer at the beginning explaining that "Dr. Suess" is a pseudonym. It seems that some folks complained that they came to see "Suess" stuff, not Giesel stuff. The characters are all based on certain of the City of Springfield's public officials in the day. If New England has Idyllunion again, we'll make it a point to get there.

Mary -- Hope you found the perfect tree. Perhaps you should've headed down to Marian's house?? Spent a bit of yesterday afternoon replaying Sue's bit of the music making Idylls. A treat, to be sure.

Norma: Gratitude cannot describe how I feel that about tornado staying up in the air. My dad has brand new hearing aids, and he told me he knew something serious was happening when they started beeping like mad. I guess they automatically adjust themselves to eardrum pressure. When he took them out to investigate, he could still hear the wind. It was then they knew to get downstairs and they stayed down there for about 10 minutes until he couldn't hear the wind without the aids. New England doesn't get much of this kind of weather -- straight line winds are more common -- so it was an education for us all.

Marie -- Sweater progress pics, please!

Kathy -- I have pansies blooming. Just regular purple/yellow/white ones that have reseeded all over the place, including the lawn. I thought there was a piece of paper blown in but it was a pansy!! I truly can't remember them blooming in December before.

To everyone else -- hope your day is happy and busy with wonderful things!

Today is kick back and gear up day. Lots of festivities planned for the next several weeks. A good friend whom I make it a point to see called yesterday and suggested we celebrate Christmas on the 12th Day instead of trying to manage a visit before the Birthday. I really like that idea. So, from the Solstice on the 21st until January 6th, I'll have reason to Joy and Cheer to my heart's content without getting looked at like I'm nuts. LOL

Best to everyone --


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 12:23PM
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Oh my Chelone, thanks for the chuckle. Sorry about the trying morning.

Deanne, that is a remarkable shot. Thanks.

Not much going on here today. Thinking about bundleing up for a walk. N

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 12:46PM
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I've just popped up from the "lab.", where I have one last hem to go to complete the latest alteration order. Conveniently, the 'puter is on the way to the toilet and hitting the refresh button BEFORE frequently yeilds something fun to read... ;)

I sent Mum out for a walk about half an hour ago, making sure she was appropriately bundled up. She was moving pretty briskly; stopping to observe the birds at the feeder. It's cold and "shaHp" out today... no sign of melting in the pond!

Norma, I'll be bundling myself up a bit later for the hound's "forced march". I may even have to dig out a hat today. :)

Martie, I have 2 Tokyo Delights and they're planted next to each other. They are in a bed that faces basically due east, and they are protected from the sun by a large red maple. The bed they're in is actually a raised one, so there is minimal interference from the maple's roots. I urge you to click on over the GW's Hydrangea forum and read the overwintering recommendations from a devotee called Hayseedman. I followed his recommendations last fall; wrapping the canes with burlap and filling the space with leaves/saltmarsh hay. The weather was so inclement in the springtime I wasn't able to uncover them before Memorial Day. I was horrified by the anemic appearance of the leaves (think white Endive), figured they'd give up the ghost. But they DIDN'T! I had flowers on all 4 hydrangeas in that planting, even the Nikko Blue that hadn't flowered for close to 5 years. So here's the "skinny": they are reliably root hard to zone 5, but the buds are especially vulnerable to late frosts... meaning that warming spring weather induces them to begin developing but frosts will freeze the juice in the buds. So leave 'em bundled up until the frost-free date. I imagine your zone is close to my own... . When you site your's know that this is a Hydrangea that gets quite tall... 5' is not uncommon. I love mine... the blossoms are so pretty and they last a long time, turning red in the fall.

Deanne, Martie has given you good things to ponder. It's hard to look at a home and know it is now vacant and your friend will never wander over to say hi again. I felt that way for a long time after our neighbor died and the home was vacant for a few years. It was nice to see a light in the kitchen window again. Nicer still that the new owner is pleasant and doesn't mind our cats or our dog... . As a matter of fact, we trade out use of our woodsplitter for use of his tractor, lol. So, be sad because that's what you need to be right now, but know it will pass and there will be new friends to meet in the future. It hurts, I know. :/ .

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 1:12PM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Just a quick note to say, Hi to all.

Today was our subdivision holiday party. Here are some pix:

While DH was grilling hot dogs in the garage at the host home, some were huddling around the fire pit:

And or watching the Reindeer:

Still others were waiting in line for a ride with Santa:

The kids really love the opportunity to have a 15 minute ride w/Santa so they can tell him ALL the toys they want.

Cute story: This little 4 yr old sat on Santas lap. After the Ho-Ho-Ho, Santa asked him what he wanted for xmas. The child replied, "Bacon". Santa waited a minute and said, "What else do you want?" Again the answer was "Bacon". Santa said, dont you want ANY toys?" The child said, "No, just bacon." Puzzled, Santa asked Mom about the strange request. It turns out that the child loves bacon but is never allowed to have more than 2 slices b/c Mom watches his diet. So he was asking Santa for it so he could have as much as he wanted.

I just havent been up to idling. Instead, Ive been caring for my sick kitty and otherwise trying to stay busy and not think. My poor, sweet, beautiful, baby Bullet is really going downhill fast. I know were going to have to put him down soon. DH wont hear of it and doesnt want to acknowledge the situation. This poor animal is nothing but skin and bones and wont eat his food despite my best efforts. I consulted with the vet yesterday and followed their advice and bot him some baby food. He ate that last nite so I was encouraged. This morning I had to hand feed him to jump-start him to lap up the rest. He also ate two small jars this afternoon.

Its just breaking my heart that Im going to have to say goodbye to him soon. He bonded with me from the first and always has been my kitty. Hes been a faithful companion for 15 yrs. He is just the most beautiful, sweet animal:

Before I blubber on you, I'll run and start dinner. TTYL.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 4:41PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Honey, I sure do understand your feelings about your Bullet. He is a beautiful kittie. I will feel the same about my Tommy when his time comes. (((((((Honey and Bullet))))))
Nice pics. Interesting one of the raindeer.

This has been such a long day. We didn't attempt to go out this morning, and won't tonight either. Our hill is still too icy. It hasn't got above freezing today.

I played 2 of my older John Wayne videos this afternoon, to entertain Nolon. Now he is watching the skating on ABC.
I spend most of my time working on jigsaw puzzles, when I'm not doing my necessary chores. It's taking a lot of firewood to keep us warm.

Chelone, I am sort of like Martie with the pics of the vole, espacially when I had just finished dinner, and came in to check for new posts... Yucko! ( But still funny.)


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 5:03PM
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LOL Chelone, When I just scrolled through looking for pictures I thought "What in the world?" I love your mum's sense of humor!

I've been plugging along here most of the day and have made some headway. I'm wondering where the time flies to though and why I got so much more accomplished in a day 20 years ago with three children underfoot than I do now with no one around? I think the earth's spinning faster, lol.

Deanne, everyone here's given you good advice. It's ok to be sad! I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better but I think it just takes time.

Honey, I know this doesn't help much but I know what you're going through. When we had to have Abraham put down a few months ago, it was such a hard decision to make. You'll know when the time is right to help your sweet boy the last way you can. That's a beautiful picture of Bullet.

Martie, interesting Suess info. I'd love to visit there sometime with you!

And Deanne, What a great picture of the gull. The detail of his feathers remind me of a quilt. Very cool!

Well Marian, just read your post and that your day has been long after just saying how mine hasn't been long enough. Hmmm. I hope the weather warms up for you so you're able to get out soon.

Where's Marie? Last I remember she was going to do dh's laundry.

I still have a long list of things to get done, so must get back to it. Have a peaceful. cozy evening everyone...


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 5:46PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Hi Eden and everyone! I'm reading along, but in slow motion. That's what happens to me when there's too much to do. I need to prepare dinner, clean the house, organize food for 20 tomorrow night, finish knitting DD's jacket, plan for our Christmas meal and gifts, maybe work on the garden if a reasonable day appears....

Today I left a bag of groceries at the store by mistake, so needed to make a second trip back to collect it. Saw the magazines in the check-out area featuring the Tom Cruise wedding. Personally, I feel sorry for the girl's parents...but that's just my opinion. Never met the guy! I can't believe the money spent for the "fairy tale" wedding. DD's wedding was so very special in every way- and for probably less money than their cake alone. Yeah, weddings & romance still in the air for me! I hope Ei will return soon to talk weddings and shut me up.

I've started a bit of Christmas gift shopping, but I have 6 truly impossible people left. I may bake cookies for them all. At least I only need to finish by Dec 30th this year.

Deanne, I'm so sorry about your neighbour. I don't think you'll ever forget him, but the pain will deminish eventually and the warm thoughts remain. We certainly treasure the special neighbours we've had along the way.

Oh Honey, goodbyes of this kind are simply awful. You've made a wonderful life for Bullet, granted at his insistence, but he has been a treasure for you both. What a beauty too. Hugs to you all.

Marian, I sure hate to see any tree come down, no less your beautiful blue one. Last night we lost a big dead one DH tells me. I'm not eager to go out and check which one! I imagine it will allow more light for other things to grow though.

Mary, I am imagining a wonderful family weekend with tree hunting. I miss those long ago days now. Will you be hosting any family guests this year?

More another time. I'll try to photograph DD's jacket's progress for you.

PS: Remember spring?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 6:25PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Deanne, I know your loss of the dear neighbor is harder to take than my losses, because yours was so close. I have never lost such a close ( in distance and friendship) neighbor. (But maybe it is because I don't form such very close relationships?) I hope you find comfort soon.
The pic of the gull is lovely.

Eden, part of the longness of this day for me is due to the fact we are house bound on a day we usually go worship, and to eat.

Marie, how far did you have to go to retrieve the left bag?
Yes, the Tom Cruise wedding is such a farce! Such a waste of money! Ah yes...spring...I count the days! Beautiful tulips! ( I wonder if Ei is seeing all my exclamation points??? ) LOL


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 6:57PM
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Marian, my day seemed long also, even though I tried to stay busy, here it is only 6 pm and seems like it should be bedtime.

Hugs to you Honey and DH too. Give Bullet an extra pet from me. He is a gorgeous cat.
Its nice that your subdivision has such a fun get together. LOL about the bacon story. I love it too.

Eden, good for you for making good use of your day. I faintly remember my house being a wreck two thirds of the time when the kids were small.LOL

Guess I'll go pick and grin for awhile. At least the pickin part.(guitar) I'm going to get together with SIL and a few of her friends on thursday to try to play with a group. She said there is another beginner but I am apprehensive about it. Can't hurt to try though.
And a one and a two and away I go. Norma

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 7:00PM
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Tom Cruise... such a talented actor and that smile! What is going through his pea-brain?!

More importantly, why were the network stations devoting valuable NEWS time to that clown?! last time I checked there was something called IRAQ... seems a wee bit more important in the big picture. But what do I know? (has anyone else noticed that Nicole Kidman's career has taken off since the split?)

I'd forgotten spring... thanks for making me feel guiltier about the bagful of mixed bulbs in my car, 'bug... ;)

Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to mess around with the windowboxes and the planter. The dusting of snow forecast might add just the necessary ambiance!

Heugene and I circumnavigated the entirety of the golf course this afternoon. I wore a hat, Norma! it was quite pleasant, and when we rounded the back portion and headed eas I could see the moon rising... very pretty. I thought about Deanne and how much she'd like the vistas and the moon rising over the big briney... . Might cheer her up a bit. MAYBE. A litte bit...

Anyway, the cur had a a spendid time and was so well behaved I let him off his "string" for the last leg. Nothing like some treats and a stick to keep him focused on the AWESOMENESS of MUMMY, lol. I put in an hour of cardio. exercise, at any rate. :)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 7:20PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Evening all,

First, thanks to everyone for the kind words and support. It is much appreciated. You are all right, grieving is a long process and it just takes some time.

We accomplished a lot outside today before the snow comes tomorrow. Doug mowed the front lawn for the last time of the season. Weve never had to mow in December before! What a strange fall. I got MOST of the stuff from the garage cleaned out but I STILL have five pots left to decant. Im considering just emptying them out in the trailer and having Doug bring it all to the dump. LOL

(((((Honey)))))) Im so very sorry about Bullet. Im on the verge of tears thinking about it. Weve said it here so often that it just isnt fair they have such short lives. Youll be in my thoughts. ~~ It looks like your neighborhood party was a huge success. That horse and sleigh brought back such memories for me. That is a Black Percheron the kind of draft I used to drive.

((((Chelone))))) So sorry about your situation with your mum. Is there any way your DB can spell you for a while so you can have some mental health time. I dont know how youve managed to deal with this for so long. ~~ LOL about the vole for luncheon.

Martie, the only reason I have to bring in the fish is because my pond isnt deep enough. When you put your pond in make sure to make it at least three feet deep so you dont have to deal with the fishie shuffle every year. We didnt manage to get them in the house today so Ill be out there in the snow tomorrow trying to fish them out of the pond.

Kathy, the new camera is a digital SLR the Canon Rebel XTi and Im using it with the Canon 100/400 AF IS telephoto zoom lens.

Marian, stay safe with that ice outside. Smart to wait to get out until things thaw out.

Alrighty, Ive got to get off this computer and get myself some sleep. Have a good evening everyone.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 9:40PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

OK, I checked photos first!!! LOL I'm heading back to read now! What in the world..... ;)


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 10:13PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Chelone, that is SO funny! LOL
Not much time to chat, I wish I could. I oficially reached the overwhelmed stage with puppies.

Honey, don't give up on Bullet as long as he is fighting! I just went through similar issues with Molly. She is 10, had stopped eating and was down to skin and bones. I have a new Vet since working with rescue and she did wonderful things with Molly. She's gained her weight and strength back. Her liver counts are MUCH better. She still will only eat her favorites, which are chicken breast and lactose free milk (she is lactose intolerent like her Mom) but she's happy and we are thrilled.
The Vet says she will probably get back to eating cat food but it might take a while. We are thrilled even if we feed her chicken for the rest of her life. ;)

Off to clean out puppy crates. :(


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 10:32PM
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Hi All.. had plans on a lengthy post tonite but had some competition for the computer so I'm putting it off till the morrow ! but I wanted to say thanks to Deanne for he camera info and can't think what to say to Honey..funny how non-cat people think that cats are too independent and aloof..right now I am typing with my left hand because one of my cats is laying on my right arm and will not go away.He drools when he purrs...Your Bullet is beautiful and I know you will make the right choice when quality of life becomes poor. My best wishes to you.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 12:23AM
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Good morning

Honey - I'm so sorry to hear about your lovely Bullet. Here is a very big cyber hug for you - (((((Honey)))). I can only imagine what a loss it will be when the time does come to say Good-bye.

Yesterday's tree hunt was a lot of fun. I know the owner of the tree farm a little as he also sells unusual shrubs and ornamental trees at the farmers market. His property is just beautiful, rolling hills, large pond, picturesque farmhouse. Annie and David take great delight in examining almost every tree before helping saw one down.

Decorating it is one of my favorite rituals - I can still remember the delight in opening the boxes of ornaments as a child and rediscovering old favorites. Our tree ornaments are a bit of a mish-mash, many made by the children, none of any great value, but to the kids they are priceless. DH and I string the lights, then sit back with a coffee while Annie and David unpack the boxes of ornaments and begin hanging. They are very good about giving each other the ones they have particular attachment to - for David the pig ornaments, for Annie the hummingbirds. They are also at an age when the tree is even well balanced rather than everything crowded into the front center. David told me he wouldn't need to watch any TV this week, he was just going to sit and look at the tree.

Marian - that is a terrible shame about your tree. I wondered if the top could be sawn off and donated to a library, hospital or women's shelter where it could bring cheer during the holdiay season. Maybe just to a family who couldn't afford their own.

Continuing the holiday theme here I made my door wreath, and inspired by Chelone included some fake fruit. I added the last of the fresh herbs from the garden (sage and rosemary) to the holly and evergreens which make it smell wonderful when the sun hits it in the afternoon.

Our Christmas plans are still somewhat in the air, but one way or another we'll spend the holidays with my sister's family. I've really been missing the little ones - they were here with us for all the Christmas preparations last year.

Have a great Monday everyone


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:01AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Mary, your wreath is just gorgeous! Oh boy, Chelone, the pressure is on now!

What am I doing here? I have to skedaddle and clean up the kitchen and organize dinner for 20.

And bring in the rosemary! It's 19F out there today!

Away I go.......

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:33AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Brrrrrr...I got up to a very cold morning, and a worse bad back! It is 13F out. Marie, why are we colder than you? The good old wood stove is doing it's job. It stayed around 60 in the livingroom all night, with me stoking the fire a couple of times. Nolon's bedroom is so far from the heat that I am running an electric heater in the master bathroom to keep him warmer. Another heater is running in the utility room, to keep the plants comfortable....:-). I try to keep it at 55 or warmer in there.

Mary, your suggestion about the tree is good, but we live so far from town,( and on 2 miles of very rough road), that no one would be interested in coming out to get it, and we sure can't take it to them. I don't think anyone who wants a Xmas tree will have any problem getting one. Most any farmer around here would be happy to have them cut an Eastern Juniper from his field or fence row. They make very pretty decorated trees. Forty years ago we cut and sold a bunch of them. They are weed trees in pastures.
Your wreath is lovely. I have never attempted to make one, but would have plenty of material if I were inclined to do so. I leave all the 'decorating' up to nature. :-)

Honey, I hope the baby food and pampering will improve Bullet's health, and prolong his life. Our Calliecat will be 16 in April, and she's going strong. Maybe always being an outdoor cat has toughened her up? She sleeps in the shop, in a padded box that Nolon prepared for her. On cold mornings she 'sleeps in', but is already on the front porch to get her breakfast, and warm water. Tiger has already came and had his breakfast. He is an outdoor cat also, and much younger.

Jerri, I sure do not envy you! What a job you have taken on! I hope your experience with your dear Molly will prove to be the same with Honey's Bullet.

I'm sure you all remember how dreadfully sick Trubby was several months ago. He not only recovered, he is bigger and healthier than ever. I would not have given a plugged nickle for his survival. I know he used up one of his 'nine lives' !

I sure hope the ice goes off the north hill today. I am running low on some 'essentials', like BACON ( Cute story Honey.)

Speaking of your bacon story, Honey, when my sis and her hubby were here, BIL was lamenting the fact that my DS only allows him one piece of bacon each morning. I cook 3 or 4 pieces for Nolon every morning, (depending on the size/thickness of the pieces). His Dr has never said to limit his consumption of any type of food. I am now allowing myself one slice, along with my oatmeal. :-)

I am not envying you all for all the yard work and other activities you are involved in. I have no qualms of quilt at all for my lack of doing such things. I did find a few dafodil bulbs that should have been put in the ground...but am in no hurry to do so....

Chelone, I hope you and your mum are having a good morning.

Deanne, It is only the road at the top of the hill that concerns me. Our yard is fine, and our driveway. The deck is still covered with ice and snow, but we don't need to go out there. The path to the woodshed is clear. The front porch has been dry for a couple of days.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:30AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

As requested, knitting progress:

Winter interest?

Wishing for sun and warmth:

Back to the vacuum...

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 12:05PM
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david_5311(Z 5b/6a SE Mich)

More great pictures of birds Deanne, you are a real pro. And yes, I have been birding on Plum Island many years ago, and about this time too. This was back during my wilder college days when I could have the freedom to take off and see rare birds. There was an Ivory Gull that year in the Newburyport harbor, and so we drove ALL the way from Michigan out to see it and go birding. We did see the Ivory Gull, a nearly pure white, ghostlike small gull from the far north, rarely seen outside of the arctic. The most wonderful side trip then was driving out to Plum Island. Not to mention the beautiful, forlorn coastal NE landscape, we saw a Merlin catch a Lapland Longspur, flocks of Snow Buntings, some winter finches, and a couple of Snowy owls too. For the winter, the place seemed to have a great diversity of birds, and was beautiful in addition......

Mary, I have to say that I am REALLY impressed with your wreath. We bought a plain green artificial but real looking one, and I am going to go back and pick up some "accessories" to add like you did. Was it hard? Yours looks professional....

I also have to say I did a doubletake on Chelone's rat on the plate picture. So where's the ketchup?????? :o)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 2:49PM
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We had some snow this morning!, it looked like confectionary sugar sifted over the lawn and it blew right on outta here before noontime. And the wind swept in from the northwest, the temperature dropped, and the golf course walk was SOME BRISK, let me tell you!

Mary, your wreath is just lovely! and served as the necessary impetus to get me going on the plaques. I share your love of decorating; it's grown on me over the years, sometimes it's hard to get started, but it's always fun. I was heartbroken when Mum disposed of all the ornaments I knew from childhood. That sort of thing is quite typical of her personality... it means little to her so what could it mean to anyone else? I have always had a sentimental streak. :)

I wired 80 pcs. of fake fruit to 8 pieces of hardware cloth, and used 2 wreath picks as the center detail on all of them. I have to get the greens conditioned and stapled onto the frames before afixing the decorated hardware cloth to them. I have some pinecones I'm thinking of adding to fill in a few places that will show the hardware cloth/frame. I'll buy the greens tomorrow and get them into the water buckets to condition them. While they're soaking up moisture I'll tend to the windowboxes themselves.

Gee, Marian, it's COLD where you are! We remarked today that the woodstove is one of the nicest things we've ever purchased. I hate being cold; it sucks! and it's nice to know we're secure if the electricity goes out for an extended period of time. My heart goes out to those places in the midwest who are without heat for the 5th. day!

Gotta get Mum to bed, so I may go, too. I'm tired.

'bug must be in the midst of dinner... no chance she could serve up 20 Happy Meals, I guess. ;)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 7:53PM
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Monday Hellos !
Trying to warm the house up and do as little as possible in the way of chores tonight- my boss and I were talking today and decided we may have "hit the wall"-hes worse off than me, at least I took a few days off working a 6 day marathon of 10 hour days. I came home at 4:30 today, so at least it was still light out for a small time ! Looking forward to several days off at Christmastime with a pre-guest day off at the beginning and and a post guest recuperation day after they leave .

Mary your wreath looks great ! One of my staff and I are trying to find a source for fresh pomegranates for our dramatic office decorating project-the damn things are so expensive-I saw them for three bucks apiece at the grocery store this weekend. Jeesh. And I like to use them at home too-last year the cheapest ones I found were at Trader Joes. Maybe I should plant one so I dont have to go through this every year !

bug what a nice kitty pic, and love the colors on the knitting project..

I was going to post some pictures of my fron yard porject but I can't find the file on my computer that has the work in progress shots. I'm going to continue searching !

Off to make some soup ..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:01PM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Norma, I loved the photos of your yard, please show more.

Deanne, the photo of the gull was amazing. So sorry to hear about your neighbor.

Honey, I feel bad about your cat. What a handsome guy he is.

Mary, beautiful wreath. I love your creativity. We have 4 windowboxes at the front of the house we decorate for winter. Hubby had to trim the Chesapeake Hollies and he usually waits until right after Thanksgiving to do so b/c the branches are good fillers for the boxes. I cut red and yellow twig dogwood from the backyard along with red berried green holly and ornamental grass fronds/flowers. We have large and small pinecones that hubby collected in Florida years ago and he spray-painted some gold. I do end up buying some greens like fir, cedar, pine and my favorite: variegated berried holly. Some of my evergreens need to fill out more before Ill take from them. We wilt-pruf all the greens and hopefully they last longer before browning. Some years we add pomegranate to the displays:

Ok Chelone, I was eating my lunch today at work when I saw the "gourmet" addition to your table. I almost gagged. I had to go back to read what you mum said-she still has a quick wit LOL.

Here are the bday photos I promised. I looked around on Saturday to find flowers-these are about the only ones left:


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:22PM
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Sorry this took so long! I hope each of you had enjoyable bdays.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 10:01PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Hello all! We finally made it to Napa; checked into our hotel at 1:30 am CA time Saturday morning! But we had a couple of fabu-fabu days with amazing weather, great wine, good food and all around fun. We did a balloon ride Sunday morning - something I've always wanted to do, and it was all that I expected and more. We visited Copia, a center for food, wine and culture, and saw the most amazing thing on display there - a genuine Frisbie Baking Company pie tin. We sampled lots of wine and the fun will continue as the UPS shipments roll in this week.

I did suffer a severe attack of "zone envy" when I encountered a chest-high rosemary plant in full bloom. Instead of staying, I came home to waist-high banks of snow. All was mostly well at home - Sunrise had snuck down to the basement and expressed her displeasure with our absence in a MAJOR way. Unlike Chelone I did not take photos! (Nice rat, girl!) I'll have to remember to blow out all the candles before bed, though.

Well, I have to unpack, pack lunch, prep the coffee for tomorrow and get the dogs out one more time, so I'd better go. It ended up being a short trip but I'm very glad that I did get to go. Now I'll be immensely jealous that DH is there the rest of the week.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 10:10PM
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A quick, frosty good morning to everyone. Looks like seasanable weather is here for the long haul. I will now feel better about bundling up the Hydrangeas, but NOT before the brush goes into the windowboxes! Monique, that is such a pretty tableau. I've always wanted one of those varigated hollies, too! (was told there were too "flashy"... uh, like, YEAH).

Meant to tell 'bug how much I love the color of the sweater she's working on; that yarn is just amazing. And I'm thanking my lucky stars I've not learned to knit... one expensive addiction is enough (the price of quality yardgoods is frightening, IF you can find them).

I've had to laugh at our kitties, too. The elderly one, Floey, has refined the pursuit of sun patches around the house to a high artform. She is 16 and is beginning to manifest the thin "topline" that hints at reduced kidney function. We know the decision looms, but she is still comfortable, with glossy fur, and bright eyes. We baby here and accomodate her. It's the hardest decision to make, but one I've never shied from, personally. I usually taken them in before it hits crisis point. Honey, I'm thinking of you... it's hard, I know.

OK, time for another cuppa and then makin' sure Mum is dressed and rallied for the "most important meal of the day". (no voles today).

Later, pals.

(nice to see Babs., if only in a drive-by...)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 5:48AM
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Good freezing morning.

Love the wreath and windowboxes and descriptions of decorating yet to come. I was always a no-frills kinda gal until I had to have my first husband's family (read 30 Italians) over for Christmas Eve Day. It became apparent that something needed to be done, so I lurched forward into all out decorating mania. My taste has changed somewhat, but I still like "real" decorations and try to use "real" things whenever possible. I can send you Pomegranates, Kathy, but they cost $1.50 each out here so there will be exactly three in the decor this year :-)

Though not a birder, and not one to recognize species, I appreciate their habits and the fact that they always seem Happy!! I love looking at the pics.

Hi to drive byers!!!

This week is nutso on the work front. Many, many, many changes in the offing. I happen to like change (no, not a politically correct statement but the honest truth) as long as it grows the business and thus my pocketbook. LOL In this case it seems all good, but it is a lot of work and "good stress."

Marie -- That sweater just says "come cuddle." Thanks for the update! I get addicted to things like knitting easily so am staying away from the needles.

Running, sipping cuppa and reading research before 8:30a ......

Best to everyone -- Stay Warm.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:00AM
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Good morning

More gorgeous cards - thank you Babs and Monique. You guys are the best!

David - I found it fairly simple to put the wreath together using the thin green florist's wire to wrap around the base, holding everything in place. The fruit I wired in individually. The small orange fruits are actually mini pumpkins left over from the fall decorations but they seemd to work. I think you'll have fun doing yours.

GB - the knitting is fabulous. What an amazing sweater it will be when finished. So what was for dinner last night? I imagine something warm and hearty with the wood stove burning.

Monique - I lOVE your windowbox. What a great idea to use wilt-pruf. As is Chelone's method of conditioning the evergreens by soaking in water. I learn something new here every day!

I'm actually rather a novice at decorating but do enjoy it. I love using anything fresh or dried from the garden. I remember from past years Deanne and Cynthia having some lovely holiday decorations - perhaps they'll share some again this year.

V - glad you had a great time on your mini vacation. Those UPS shipments will be fun to have over the holidays. DH has been to Napa many times on business - perhaps next time I'll join him.

Martie - I'm someone who likes the challenge of change too. It can keep things fresh and interesting. Glad yours seem positive.

Yesterday DH had his widsom teeth out - for anyone who's undergone that they know the misery. I hope he feels better today. Tonight David is ringing bells for the Salvation Army with Cub Scouts before his Karate class, then tomorrow is Annie's Orchestra concert.

Time to head out for another day - a snowy one here.

Happy Tuesday


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:40AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

A clear cold morning here and very pretty as well. Somehow it has arrived quickly though. Last night's festivities ended late and it was 1AM before the kitchen was tidied up and I got to bed. Soon there will be the delivery of Charlotte's raw food diet, so I am up and dressed and soon to make breakfast for DH.

For those curious, DH's students get the same menu each year: appetizers/nuts with juice/beer/wine. (They usually bring the wine) Then store bought lasagna, both vegetarian and meat types, salad and garlic bread. (also store bought) Then vanilla ice cream with fudge or butterscotch sauce and various festive sprinkles. It is not imaginative, but it is easy on the cook and frankly delights them. For some it is the first time in a North American home, often the only time they will be entertained by a professor. Their assignement is always to bring something interesting to share with the group, so many sweet stories are told. Last night we heard Persian music, saw a highschool prom photo from 2002, studied an intricately carved coconut shell from Bangla (as in Bangladesh) and much more. One fellow sang a sea shanty from Nova Scotia...very brave as it was the first time he ever sang in public! This year the largest portion of the group is from Iran and what an impressive and handsome lot they are!!! Their sense of humour was wonderful too.
I think today will be a lazy knitting day...before leaving for physiotherapy on my foot once more around dinner time. This foot is totally frustrating my life style. I cannot walk much, exercise, etc. I do not detect improvement even though I spent over $500 on orthotics and more on shoes, physio, etc. Oh, sorry I'm whining. Enough of that!
I am hoping sometime this week to get to the nursery to buy such things as a wreath for the barn door, a tree, ribbon for decorations (usually gold) and perhaps a festive plant as well. I should send a few cards, but that is a job not a joy for me. I prefer to write or visit or email when the spirit moves me. In some cases (DD's in laws), the spirit simply does not move me at all, but necessity rules. Sending cards to neighbours seems ridiculous. Much better to give them a hug or cookies, no?

On that note, away I go.
'bug, in semi-Scrooge mode

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:56AM
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david_5311(Z 5b/6a SE Mich)

I am checking in once more, so many great pictures and BD cards, thank you all. Monique, I LOVE the beautiful closeup of 'Polar Ice' -- that is a plant that must find a spot in my garden. You folks have all become such artistic photographers. I also love your 'greens of the season' windowbox -- it is beautiful amd makes me think about doing this myself. We don't have any windowboxes, but maybe a big urn by the front door???

Babs, thank you for the great cards too. Why that looks like a very happy euphorbia at the center of your group. I wonder if it is, and which one? I brought some beautiful big plants of E. x martinii back from Seattle (in my suitcase -- no hitches). I planted them out in the most protected spots in the garden, and so we shall see how they do. I know Marie grew that one for a while, but I think it eventually succumbed.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:58AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Just a fly-by here. Altho it was a pain sweaping the couple inches of snow off the drive and walk, I like seeing the snow. If it has to be could, I'd rather have SUN and snow than gray and dreary.

Bullet is eating the baby food and seems to be holding his own for the moment. So that's good news.

I'm waiting for my friends to pick me up. We're off to our annual trek to the tony-town where David lives for a luncheon, craft show and visit to a couple of holiday decor specialty stores. This yr., the xmas home tour is on another day (drat), so we'll miss that. Then DH and I have our subdivision annual mtg. tonite.

So I'll read up tomorrow and be back. TTYL,


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:08AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning everyone,

Just thought youd all get a kick out of the drama here getting the fish in the house last night. Yes, I did say last night. So Im totally the procrastinator and this morning the pond is ice covered so Id say I left this until the very last minute. The real problem with trying to catch the fishies at night is that the bottom of the pond was covered with leaves and pine needles, it was dark out and the fish were burrowing down into the dark depths. Well couldnt see them at all and it was cold and all the water that got on the rocks froze instantly so I slipped and almost took a very cold and unnecessary dip into the pond. Needless to say it wasnt a fun time but the mission was accomplished and they are indeed in the house tucked into the 150 gallon aquarium. The interesting thing is that two of the fish were longer than the large bucket I put them in. I thought these fish were as large as they were going to get but I was apparently incorrect in that assumption. Someone please tell me that Shubunkin goldfish dont get any larger than a foot long?

Monique, I just love your windowboxes! So very pretty. Ive not done one little bit of decorating yet. Im hoping that I get in the mood soon.

And Mary! That wreath is just gorgeous! I love it. You did a fantastic job! ~~ Oh dear, your poor DH with the wisdom teeth! That was just about the worst pain I ever had. Mine were impacted to the point where they had to cut them in half below the gum line in order to get them out. Nasty business. I sure hope he has some good pain meds and that hes feeling better soon.

Chelone, Im looking forward to seeing your finished decorations.

David! You drove from Michigan to Plum Island to see an Ivory Gull? I love it! There seems to always be something going on at Plum Island and I want to spend more time down there. Its only an hours drive for me. Right now theres an immature Snowy Owl there and quite a few Northern Harriers. I sure wish Id had my camera out when the female was soaring over the marsh grass. What a sight. I believe there are Snow Buntings there now as well but I didnt see any when we were down there. I was out in the back yard trying to get some good shots of the garden birds but didnt come up with much. It was cold as heck out there and the light was pretty much gone by the time got outside. Im really pleased to see a lot more House Finches this year than weve had the last two. I also havent seen any evidence of that Finch Conjunctivitis we had in 04. This fellow posed nicely for me for a minute or so.

Babs, great to see you drop in! We miss you here. Hope everything is going well for you and family. Hows your MIL doing lately?

Hey V! Glad to hear you made it to Napa. Sounds like you had a great time. What a slap in the face to come home to all that white stuff.

Marie, Love that sweater! That is going to be gorgeous. I think I need to learn to knit so I can make myself something like that. ~~ Sounds like a good time was had by all last night. Neat! ~~ Now about that foot thing, I had a bad problem with my feet before I lost the weight and my PT told me that I had to have footwear on 100% of the time when I was on my feet up to and including if you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom you still have to put on shoes that have the correct padding and support. Mine did not heal up until I became faithful about always wearing my shoes. A huge pain in the neck as I like to go barefoot a lot but that is what it took.

Speaking of feet problems, so how is T doing as I believe she had the same situation? And how are you doing Ms T? Miss your posts here. Hope you are just busy with the twins and Christmas preparations.

OK I really have to get out of here and get to the gym. I wish someone had a pill I could take that would shut off this eating thing I have going here. This time of the year is an absolute bear. Its like my old body wants to hibernate and is telling my hunger centers that I must pad on some fat stores for the winter only I already have plenty of that!

Have a great day everyone

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:30AM
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Morning all, Im able this a.m. to peek in here. I am unbelievable busy at work and our personal schedule isnt any better.

We had a rude awakening this a.m. I was in the shower and DH came in to tell me that the sheriffs office had called. Of course a dozen bad thoughts ran through my head. Actually they were calling to tell us that there was a burglary a few miles from us and that they caught one but that the other one was on foot. They felt he would be headed to a town that would put us in his path. We ran out and got the keys out of the cars and the 4 wheeler. I called right before we left for work to see if they had caught him and they hadnt. We felt a little weird leaving.

Its been cold here, but we havent received any snow. It is supposed to warm up into the 40s today.

Mary, I love your wreath, you did a great job with it. I purchased a new one this year that is very similar to yours. I went to the grove and cut greens to add to a pot that I had this summer with a dwarf Alberta spruce in it. I added a little fruit around that as well. Great minds think alike huh?

I have to show a picture of the urn that I bought for our tree. Its actually an urn that can be used as a garden urn, but also came with an adapter that fits the Christmas tree into it. It really gives my tree a grand look.

Monique, fabulous window box.

bug, your DD will love that beautiful sweater.

Honey, I was sorry to hear that Bullet is declining.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 11:34AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Drive by waving.... somehow I just can't find the time and home p.c. is dying (Santa Claus listening...?) --
quick hugs to Honey -- I hope Bullet improves...

I see I've missed more birthdays - I feel such a slacker. Good intentions keep being stolen from me - Im not up to midnite readings (esp. when the home p.c. wont cooperate).

It is such a cheer to pop in to see wonderful photos, humor and decorations - maybe I'll get in the spirit too & pull the stuff out this weekend.

Mary - that wreath is wonderful!


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 1:15PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Ok, a quickie - Happy Birthday to All! (Group Birthdays now....)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 1:33PM
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I cracked up at the notion of Deanne's "mission of mercy"... it has all the hallmarks of being a drag. Do you have to inventory the fish to make sure you haven't forgotten one/two?

Monique, I meant to ask you about the pinecones, do you wire them onto a pick that you sink into the soil or do you just artfully place them in and amongst the greens? Wilt-Pruf is great, huh? (I made the arrangements in the "lab." and sprayed them there, too... DUH, it's a drag to get off mirrors). I love the grass, BTW... I like to use them, too. And EVERY year I survey the cattails in early/mid summer and think, "if I had a lick of sense I'd cut some and spray them with sealant"... but I never do! and I deeply regret my sloth at this time of year (esp. after seeing Michelle's handsome fall planter); I also look longingly at the sumac, but can never bring myself to stop and cut that, either. The brush for our windowboxes is STILL next to the fence, I ran out of time again today. :/

Mary, did you use a floral pick to insert into the pumpkins? I've tried them and failed miserably (did too much swearing), so I now use an awl, the hot glue gun, and 3/4" screws, around which I wind the florist wire. I don't believe I know what instrument Annie plays... what will the evening's program be? (We have been listening to inappropriate and downright ribald spoofs of Christmas carols at work. And, heading into year 3 with them, we're still screaming with laughter at the cleverness of the parodies. LOL (totally my kinda humor).

I'm liking the image of the Christmas tree in the urn, Michelle... how elegant. The helpmeet is terribly proud of his "Swivel Straight Plus", however... and no amount of cajoling will change his mind. :)

One good thing about marine canvas and awnings is that this is the time of year we rarely have to "hurry" on anything! (that happens in the growing season). I blew out of work at 2 punctually, did a couple of errands and hot-footed it to the nursery that carries the nicest selection of cut greens. I bought boxwood and native cedar, hurried home and filled buckets with water. I then herded Mum out the door for some exercise and fresh air, played with Wrecks, and came in to see what all of you have done today. ;) . I will clip the stems and smash them tonight and leave them soak up water over night. I'm hoping to get rolling on the assembly tomorrow night. I'd be STOKED to get them up by the weekend... could be wishful thinking, but who knows.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 4:54PM
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Good evening Idyll-ers..
I came home at 3:30 today to meet the carpet - measuring guy for my home office project. (DD'd former bedroom-carpet is 10 plus years old and trashed to boot) . Man, I have all these projects lined up and there's no way I'm going to get all of them done before Christmas.One must remain calm at all times.

I went outside today and noticed that my Lady Banks rose is blooming- hasn't dropped its leaves yet either. Crazy.

V ! wow what a brief trip you had...but glad you got to visit Copia. You may have noticed that there is alot of consruction going on in that general area , some of it part of the flood control project but much of it an off shoot of the revitalization of our downtown.. so where did you have dinner ??

Martie, My company underwent a major restructureing last year, with many changes which some employees still aren't on board with. Had to be done though-we were growing so fast there was no control anywhere. I thought the change was invigorating, but at the same time challengeing and difficult. I think it will be another year before things settle down. Good for you that you can get 1.50 pomegranates.!

Okay, so here is the front yard project --this is a before shot-notice the dead lawn and the cats laying on the string I was useing to lay out the path..


This is my one and only in progress shot-for now anyway. I hope to have this path finished shortly..


...and here is a pic of me and DD in Pacific Grove last weekend


Talk at y'all later. Time to read the paper

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:32PM
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Monique , I was going to ask the name of the plant/shrub in Davids card, but I see he already ID'ed it. I'm a sucker for varigation. Nice job on the window boxes.

Babs, Hi. I miss you here too. I hope life is being good to you. I bet the boys are getting a little excited about the holiday looming. Hoping you will be able to join us more on holiday break.

Ah Michelle, I bet you were apprehensive about leaving the farm today. I hope they caught him so you won't have to worry. Looking forward to seeing the tree in the urn.

Chelone, your walk sounded a little to refreshing. LOL
I had a very pleasant one today. I think the temp was near forty but the snow is still abundant. It made a lot of noise as there is a layer of ice under the snow. The woods and fields were quite pretty though. Lots of critter tracks. Something with feet much larger than Rebels and his are large. I'm not sure but I think they are bobcat.

Cindy, sounds like you are busy busy. Hope santa has a new pc on his list for you. I like that mushroom rock.

Another gorgeous bird shot Deanne. How do the fish react to the change in environment so suddenly? Glad you have that chilly chore done.

Mary, I miss your more frequent posts, but understand how busy all you working moms are. Been there done that. I am already tired of being in the house so much. There is only so much that interests me indoors. I feel it will be a long winter. Especially since we normally have better weather than we have had this fall.

Hey to everyone. My eyes are getting heavy already, so I'll turn on the tv and turn in. Norma

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:56PM
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Kathy the front path is a nice addition. Love its curves.
Nice shot of the rocks and water too. But I have to ask which is mother and which is daughter? Looks like sisters to me. Norma

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:04PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

(What a record for me -- 2 times in a day to check in -- trying from the dying home p.c.)

Kathy - how neat to see your home -- love that walk - as yoou know we're all crazy about "curvey" -- the walk will be smashing when it's finished.

And hey, now we can all "see" ya behind the cool hat - altho Im not seeing much age difference between those 2 ladies in the pic, so Im guessing!

And oddly, my roses havent dropped their leaves either yet despite temps in the 20s for the last several days.

Norma - have to tell you - your garden b-day shots are wonderful! I got Indian Giver this year too but it is not looking anywhere as near as grand as the set you've got - wow. I only hope mine turns out 1/2 as beautiful in the "coming summer".

Sue & Jerri - again, I sure wish I lived closer to you - I'd adore to give my DD her Xmas present of a dog under the tree -- she's so down about not finding one yet -- I think she had her heart set on the one she bonded with a month ago but the rescue folks gave to a "family" (like a working couple arent a family or something)... so I think she's mourning it and not being open to others they've looked at. I guess when the right time comes, one will leap into their arms... Being a maltese owner myself, I think they're "perfect" but my SIL wants a more "manly" dog...LOL.

Deanne - Im right w/ you on the hibernation thing - personally I think I must be part bear because I think it would be wonderful to sleep til Spring (might help w/ the lb thing too - what nourishment DO bears get over winter? Ignoramous nature person here....

Marian - Im sorry about your Blue Spruce (I think they're one of the most lovely of conifers); but as you say, a new opportunity has now opened for your garden.

'bug - you had a most marvelous, homey time w/ your new extended family - the warmth of love and glow is apparent in all your photos - how wonderful to be part of it - thanks for sharing them w/ us.

Ok - Im tempting fate here w/ direct typing/dying p.c. - hopefully this will post...(& yes, V, I think Im waaaaaay behind you on the reading - it's kind of like dropping into a movie in mid-run - not quite sure what's going on, but I'll pretend while I can!)

Know I missed a bunch of other people (Hi Michelle, glad you werent burgeled(sp?)...)Woody, Chelone, Monique, David & all others - hello; just afraid to post longer from here!!


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:26PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Cindy, nice shot! It looks like more than just a few of us are busy right now.

Honey, before I forget, hugs out to you and Bullet. I lost a dog to kidney failure 6 and a half years ago....tough times.

This week is already turning into a blur. This morning I skipped breakfast and headed over to the local Quest Diagnostics for my pre physical lab work at a little after 7 AM. The physical is next Wednesday. Somewhere along the line something got screwed up and they wouldn't do any bloodwork because they said the doctor didn't order any so off I went to work. Called the doctor's office and they said they did order bloodwork and it was in the computer but faxed me something to bring when I have to go back tomorrow morning. Jeesh! I keep wondering what it would be like to be really sick or something and have to deal with all this incompetence and bureaucratic BS.

Tonight after work I went and picked up the rescue dog whose owner had to go into a nursing home and brought her to her foster home. The poor dog has been living alone in a house since August 23rd with someone going in once or twice a day to feed her and clean up after her. Picture a person who has been locked up for months with very little human contact-dirty, matted hair, disoriented, socially withdrawn...I wanted to cry. In addition the dog is probably 10 pounds overweight-a miniature schnauzer that should only weight 16-20 pounds to begin with. She was breathing heavy from all that weight. Well the good news is she is now in a foster home with people and other dogs. She'll be bathed, groomed, taken to the vet, put on a diet, refreshed in her housebreaking habits and then hopefully placed in a forever home. Unfortunately she's ten and a half so a home may not be easy to come by but we'll find one. In six months you won't recognize this dog. Keep your fingers crossed that her vet visit won't uncover any serious issues like bladder stones and she won't require extensive dental work. Our little group is thinly funded right now.

Kathy, which one is you and which is your daughter?

Deanne, great shot of the little house finch.

OK, I'm about ready to turn into a pumpkin. My company Christmas party is Friday night-dinner with close to 300 of my closest friends and another lateish night out.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:30PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Okay...this is a guessing game. I am saying the gal on the right is Kathy. Will the one who gets it right win a prize?

The roads are clear, and I went to town this forenoon. Nolon chose to stay home. It was a nice day at the Golden Year's class, and I have once again restocked the larders.

My next trip is scheduled for Friday when I am going in for a checkup at my Dr. I have a lot of questions to ask about my present condition. My continuing loss of weight is making me think something is going on.

Sue, I'm sorry about the mixup at your dr's. I hope mine will not turn out like that.

Re: the Blue Spruce...they must not be too successful in this area. I looked for some in people's yards on my way to town and in town, and there are not hardly any. I still plan on planting another. I agree with Cindy, they are one of the most lovely of conifers.

It's been windy all day, and continues to be so, but much warmer. Not supposed to get down to freezing tonight.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 10:12PM
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Aw heck you guys, you are all too nice ! DD is the short one on the right. Floppy hat is me. Close ups would reveal the age difference!
Sue, you and Jeri are so admirable in the dog rescue work you do. I have always felt like a pretty strong person but don't know if I could handle the things you are exposed to. I have decided though that any further pets I own will be adopted from the pound, or rescue pets.

Cindy, all my beds are curvey ! My friend around the corner is loaning me her gardener dude to finish my walk( the young fellow doing mine got a "real" job and is thus unavailable ) and I hope to have it done before Christmas.

And Monique, loved your Daphne pic- I noticed today that mine is budded and will probably be in bloom in a couple of weeks-what a wonderful scent !

Later all.

Kathy in Napa

See you all tommorow !

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 10:23PM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

Belated Happy Birthday Mary, David, and Saucy, from me and Juliette.

Mary my DD, Alena is getting her wisdom teeth out too, so shell be joining your DH in his misery. Hope he feels better quickly. For some reason I still have two wisdom teeth in. Fortunately they never bother me.

Have you ever tried coconut flour? It's said to be equal to wheat flour in baking, with no gluten. I haven't tried it, but as I avoid most wheat bread due to the sugar content, I'm always looking for alternatives for pies, pizzas and cheesecakes, etc. I think you must use eggs to help with the rising, and less water than for wheat flour, but I'm willing to try it. There are some recipes on the Internet that I'm thinking of trying. There's a few coconut flour cookbooks for sale online too.

GB, have you heard of this way of stretching to ease the pain of your Plantar Fascitis? I hope it helps you or something does soon. I hate pain and try everything to stop it. I had heel spurs which calcium, and magnesium helped enormousely with, but nothing but stretches helped my carpal tunnel problems. Good luck.

((((((((Deanne))))))))) I'm so sorry for your loss, of your dear friend and neighbor. I think it's a great idea to plant something in your neighbor's honor. I think the benches in parks, donated in people's name is so neat. Maybe a little area named for your neighbor, or stepping stones where he walked with you, with his fave poem or saying etched on them. I know I'm saying too much, as usual, and too soon. I'm sure he'd simply want you to live, love and laugh well in his honor. I love your pics as usual, btw.

Hi to everyone else. I'm falling asleep at the wheel here, so good night to all, and to all a good night's sleep, per chance to dream a little dream...


    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 4:56AM
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Good tangerine morning. The sky exactly matches the fruit I'm munching for breakfast while "visiting." So good to see Yeona and Cindy and everyone else who's been busy real rather than cyber gardening. LOL And -- I'm thrilled, David, that you've been dropping in more because we are in the same gardening position: Beds ready, lots of plants, what to do????

Thanks to all for allowing me to enjoy the joys and sorrows of being a vicarious pet owner! It doesn't have the same tactile delight of petting, but it's close.

It sounds as though everyone's holiday season is in full swing -- parties, concerts, bells. Fun! Does anyone else get the feeling that this season is a bit less "commercial" than others? I drove by a ma(u)ll on the way home last night and it was almost empty. Last year at this time it was jammed. Hmmmmmmmm

Marie - Your house sounds like a haven for your company! I know the feeling and there's nothing like it, is there? I've found that international students are overwhelmingly charming, considerate and great conversationalists. They also have an amazing ability to adapt. All people their age should take note. I've become convinced that they don't come for the food -- anything could be served and the socializing is really what's important to them. And to be in a home rather than "housing." Glad it was a good time! Kyle suggested that we start a house guest book and we will do that for Christmas. It'll be interesting to see in 20 years who we had for dinner :-)

Thanks for the pics, Kathy!

Bummer about the blood work, Sue. Won't get into the "couldn't they have called the doctor?" routine because chances are you were fasting and it was early?? I get everything in writing now when I'm sent for outside work for this very reason. The people in the system have all good intent; the system itself makes it hard for people to get better.

And speaking of which: I had a coherent 20 minute conversation with my DB for whom I am Conservator last night. He was lucid, had his finances (all $37 of them) in order in his head, has decided to join a walking group at the hospital and got special dispensation to do so though his "level" shouldn't allow it, and will be playing Santa at a Christmas party for the hospital volunteers. Two long years ago he could barely speak beyond asking for a cigarette or Dunkin Donuts Latte. If he did communicate it was through uncontrolled violence and really disheartening attention seeking behavior. He will never be "better" enough to live in the community, but he actually laughed yesterday -- something I haven't heard in literally months.

"All about me" is turning into the deal, here, so will fly off and check in later.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 7:18AM
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Good morning

Cindy - thank you for your beautiful card. Its always nice to hear from you. We won't be heading to DC this Christmas but will save our trip for Easter. Ruth and her family are coming up here for close to a week so we are all very excited.

Kathy - I too was wondering which of the other/daughter do you were;0) I love the front of your house.

Sue - this was a dog rescue in the true sense of the word. I hope she finds a wonderful home after all she's been through. Commiserations on the frustrastions of the medical system.

Michelle - scary to be called that way by the sheriff. Hope the burglar was apprehended before nightfall - I'd ahve been very uneasy in bed otherwise.

Chelone - I just wired the stems of the mini pumpkins and used a few globs of hot glue to secure as well. Annie plays the violin and the concert tonight includes Haydn's Surpise Symphony, some fiddle misic and a jazz piece in which she will be improvising on an electric violin. Could be interesting.

Yeona - Juliette is beautiful! I have used coconut flour, but nearly always mixed with other GF starches - combinations seem to work better than one single flour. I don't know if any flour is equal to wheat as all lack the elasticity provided by gluten, and each absorbs water differently. I have a large tupperware container I store my rice, sweet rice, bean flour, buckwheat (which is Gluten Free), tapioca, potato and various nut flours. By the time I'm done with a recipe the kitchen is usally covered in white dust and various zip-lock bags making us look like drug dealers LOL! Let me know if you'd like me to send you recipes that have worked for me. Cooking gluten free is a challenge but not impossible.

Last night I nearly froze my toes off while David rang bells for the Red Kettle Campagne. It was Candlelight Night in the village and everywhere was lit up with white fairy lights which are always my favorite. It was fun seeing so many people strolling around. I'm glad the concert tonight is indoors though.

Today is our 20th Wedding Anniversary - I'm trying to remember which one that is - bronze? Unfortunately DH is still miserable with his wisdom teeth, and even worse, has to fly to NYC tonight. We're going to celebrate over the holidays instead. I still can't believe two decades have flown by so quickly.

Speaking of time flying, its time to scoot to work.

have a good day everyone


    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 7:46AM
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Good morning!

Happy Anniversary Mary and Dan! I hope Dan is feeling better...having wisdom teeth out can be brutal.

Honey, it sounds like you are doing everything possible for Bullet. I hope you are able to have more quality time with your beautiful boy.

Jerri, it sounds like you are up to your eyeballs in puppies. I hope you are able to find good homes for all of your little furry charges.

I've been reading along....just don't have anything to add to the conversations. I've tried to write but everything sounds either boring or whiney and I'm not willing to subject everyone to my grumblings. :oD

I've enjoyed seeing the birthday cards, the bird photos and all of the other photos. Right now everything here is a bit drab and doesn't entice me to pull out the camera.

We got two more goats over the weekend. We usually would not be interested in bringing a couple of adult goats into our little 'herd', especially this time of year but the owners needed to find a good home for them as the husband was very recently given the diagnosis of ALS/Lou Gerhigs disease. They are having to sell their home & acreage so that they can move closer to family for help & support as the disease progresses. They are having to rehome most of their pets since they will be moving to urban southern California. I had a friend, that I spent a lot of time with, who died from ALS, so meeting these people and hearing of their devastation in getting this diagnosis has been difficult. I can visualize much of what they may encounter in the near future and it dredges up memories that make me incredibly sad.

Well.....anyway. I wasn't going to be anything but upbeat. So....the new goats' names were difficult for us to remember so we've renamed them and now they are Tall and Wide. The male is very........well, he is very Tall and the female is very, very, very Wide. We thought the g'kids would find the names easy and they are fitting. They have always been confined to a barn and smallish paddock area unless they were taken out for a walk by the owners. They aren't sure at all about the wide open expanse of our pasture. We've been keeping them separated from the others during the night, they are in an enclosure that allows them to see the others, but keeps them from being bullied throughout the night hours so they can relax, let their guard down and get use to being around our 'critters'.

Finally yesterday they went out to graze with Boo so that was a very positive step towards becoming part of the 'herd'. Our other 3 goats have not given them much notice other than to butt them to establish the pecking order. To see the jockeying for herd position has always been a bit sad in my eyes as I feel for the underdog (undergoat? lol)....but under these circumstances, knowing that they are frightened and probably a bit overwhelmed, I feel even more badly when I see that they are still not accepted by the others. I know time will make it better....but I want it to happen in hours instead of days/week(s). The previous owners were visibly upset (teary eyed) when we loaded the goats to take them home. They had raised these goats from kids, bottle fed them and the goats were considered comical pets that gave them much enjoyment to watch them kick up their heels, play and interact together. To have to find homes for your beloved pets (whether they be cats, dogs or even goats) when you don't want to give them up, nor do you want to give up your home, acreage and way of living because your world has been turned upside is awful.

Okay, so I didn't stop...and that is where my mind is right now. Being an empathetic person is a good thing....having sympathy for others is a good thing.....compassion is very good......but it all has a tendency to hurt deeply. I guess I'd rather hurt then to not care, I just wish I dealt with it a little better.

So.....anyway.....the twins are 4 months old already, finally not being bobble heads all of the time and they are cooing, squealing and generally being darn cute! Jamie is 3 and acting like it more often than not. His mom isn't letting him get away with much so hopefully he'll get through this stage --- soon?! LOL

Guess that is it for here....

Hello to all.......hope it is a good day!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 9:07AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

An incredibly snowy morning here with wind. We are to have wet snow this afternoon, then down to 23F tonight.

We have been receiving touching thank-yous from various students after Monday's party. One student sent this photo, which shows most of the people staring down at Charlotte!

Martie, we used to keep a guest book in the house and it was lots of fun to look through. Somehow it vanished and has not been replaced. Remembering to get folks to sign it was a problem at first, but then we got the hang of it eventually.

I am so glad you had a good exchange with your brother too! That is a super Christmas gift in itself. I'll try to get a good Charlotte photo for his gift this year too.

I love all the photos...Cindy's "mushroom", Monique's window decorations and daphne, Deanne's finch, Yeona's royal cat, Kathy's beautiful photo at the water's edge, Babs' cards (especially the ferns!) and Wendy's gorgeous hosta shot too. I'm not forgetting Honey's Bullet either, so special!

Mary has me in a somewhat pensive mood recalling the past 20 years. A big congratulations to the lovely couple!

When I think of all that has happened in the world...presidents come and go, Taliban blew up Hindu statues, greenhouse gases, Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson...tsunamis and New Orleans...twin towers...AIDS...Everyone has been affected by these in some way.
Personally the last 20 years have seen very high and very low spots. I prefer to dwell on the highs of course: the move to a rural area, my first vegetable garden, my grown children eager for visits here. Life is at a good point now. And that is my wish for you Mary!

A happy update here is the recent meeting of a forum friend in Berlin with my son!

And DD is feeling much better these days and will meet her DH in Kananaskis Alberta where he is handling an environmental fish disaster. They hope to take in some skiing.

Onward with my day. May yours be a very good one!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 9:15AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

T is now doing Goat Rescues..... LOL!!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 5:22PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

A friend brought her 8-month-old Briard by today to introduce her to Misty, Barb and me. I had never met one before. Shes sort of a rust-colored Charlotte! Shes BIG and friendly. She and Misty had a ball playing together once my friend could be convinced to let her off the leash! Copper is huge compared to Misty and kept trying to pounce on her. My friend was afraid Copper would squash Misty! Misty was quite capable of holding her own and the two of them obviously enjoyed their games. GB you definitely need to bring Charlotte the next time you visit Misty clearly loves dogs in large packages : -) Here they are together

GB nice picture of the snow glad we didnt get it here! Mild and a bit of rain here today and that was all. The shed is going slowly at the moment. Roof shingles are on but the windows arent in yet. It was too cold on Monday and Tuesday for him to work for more than a couple of hours at a time. He wasnt able to be here today. Theres no real rush to finish things really but Im impatient to see it done as much as possible. We do need the windows in to keep the snow out hope we dont get a lot of that any time soon! Keep it all up your way GB!

Happy anniversary Mary and Dan!

Waving hi to everyone else as all the things I was going to say seem to have vanished from my mind: -)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 5:41PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Woody, looks like Barb is signing "SPEAK" to Copper.

Tonight's dinner was a Thai stir fry. Nice and quick!

Goats! My cousin in France used to raise them and sell the cheese too. The kids (children I mean!) always got a cheese for snack time.

Back to knitting.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 8:02PM
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A Cheery Wednesday Hello to all,

So I've now worked 8 days in a row.Kinda getting used to it at this point ! I guess the fact that I am totally buried helps justify all the hours ...I managed to get the new carpeting for the home office/study ordered today , and lo and behold, the unfinished furniture store where I was planning on buying the bookcases is going out of business and having a big sale. So I need to get over there pronto before they are out of the stuff I want.

T , glad you posted your goat story ! Even though there is a sad element, the fact that there was someone like you around to help out these animals in thier time of need is really great.

Happy Anniversary Mary- ! Always nice to know there are still marriges that last long term.

Martie, warm wishes to your DB for continued progress.

'bug, I like the front of my house too! Of course this is California tract housing so about every 5th house in my neighborhood is the same. I'm hoping my project will give me a little differentiation-It's definately not going to be low maintenance landscaping.

A big hello to everyone else, time for dinner and the newspaper..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 9:11PM
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We are going to purchase Flower Girl Dresses and Bridal Gowns
for my cousin next week.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 2:26AM
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