Thursday, July 31, 2008

the Dusty Trail

One of our activities whilst a Lake Tahoe was a trail ride. My sister and my niece ride, so they felt right at home and got good horses. However, I don't ride so I got a plod-along gelding names Abbio. He just followed the horse in front of him, so I didn't even have to hold the reins, which made it easy to take photos.

Teen2's horse was even worse. Old Sundance kept stopping to nibble grass causing Teen2 great frustration. My sister traded with her about midway and things got better. Thanks, sister.

Here is the whole gang: my sister, my niece, Teen1, Teen2, and me. We had a nice time walking quietly through the forest, enjoying the pretty scenery and the fresh air, but I have to tell you; it was a little dusty back there at the tail end of the pack.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Exciting Post

Just look what was found on the porch today. It's so much fun to receive something in the post, isn't it? And look, it's from the UK! I wonder what it could be?

OH! MY! GOSH! It's Cath Kidston bags!!! From my friend Debbie. Wasn't that sweet of her? I will now be the chicest shopper in town. Thank you, thank you, thank you Debbie.

I'm so excited I think I'll run to the market right now. Cheerio!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Arrival

Squeals of delight echoed Amongst The Oaks last night when Teen1 got home and found this sitting in the driveway. It was so much fun to see her excitement over the new arrival. I guess this is one of those epic moments for a parent. Kind of like watching them take their first steps, hearing them say "Mama" for the first time, teaching them to tie their shoes, taking them to kindergarten, and watching them master a bike. But this one was special because we did it as a surprise! In fact, when she was riding her bike home from her friend's house, she noticed the bug wasn't where she'd seen it so many times with its "FOR SALE" sign on the windscreen. She told us later her heart did a flip flop and she wondered if we'd bought it, but figured probably not. Needless to say, when she saw the car, she flung her bicycle down and started hopping up and down squealing, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
The car needs some work, but the Lord of the Manor knows all about working on Volkswagens. I think it will be a good daddy/daughter project. She wants to paint it sage green, get a good stereo, reupholster the seats, put in a new headliner, and put her school stickers on the back windows. I think we can do that today. I'm sure it will be real cute, and if I'm lucky, maybe she'll let me drive it now and then.
Beep beep!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Camp Crafts

Remember when you went to camp as a child and every afternoon there would be craft time? Something that involved popsicle sticks maybe? Well, we did that too at Lake Tahoe, but there were no popsicle sticks. Instead we had beads and lavender. It seems we take a craft project with us every time we go camping; sometimes it's T-shirts to decorate and once it was bandanas to decorate with that year's logo. I guess we are just ultra-crafty. Or maybe bored, keeps the kids occupied and it's always fun.

My sister brought all the beading supplies. She set up a table outside and the girls had a wonderful time making bracelets.

I brought some scraps of fabric, buttons, ribbons and a bag of lavender buds. We made a few heart sachets. Here they are sitting on the kitchen windowsill.

I made this skinny heart and it matched the green dresser in my room so nicely that a had to take a photo of it there.

So does anyone else take craft projects to the cabin or camping? What kind of crafts travel well and are easy for everyone to do? Please leave a comment and tell me all about it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Brilliante Award

Dear Tara over at Days Missed on a Hammock has given me an award. Tara and I are working together on physical and fiscal fitness, but I'm not going to tell her the latest condition of my Visa card. Let's just say, whew, the Tahoe vacation has dented it up a bit. But the good news is; I got in lots of walking!

I don't know that I deserve a "brilliant" award. I know my last Sparkly Pink Saturday post was brilliant because of the sparkles, but I doubt I'm brilliant. But thanks anyway Tara. I'm honored and I'll try to be more brilliant.

The rules say to award it to seven blogs, but I always have trouble with nominating so many bloggers, so I'm just going to award it to three and they can choose however many they want too. Now here are the rules:

1. Please put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. You must nominate 7 fellow bloggers for this award.
4. Add links to the recipients.
5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

And here are my nominees:

Mary's new blog In A Soft Light. Her photographic is beautiful and ethereal.

Barbara at Ramblings From An English Garden. She consistantly shows wonderful English Gardens, villages, and historic sites.

And Dana at The Stone Rabbit. She just looks like she is having such a good time at everything she does. And the things she gets her friends to do for Pink Saturday! What fun!

Lastly, here is another mystery photo. What do you think this is?

P.S. I walked this morning; 55 minutes. It felt good to get back to my normal routine.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sparkly Pink Saturday

Who doesn't love cranberry glass? Just as I thought; no one raised their hand. It seems everyone loves it and I'm no different.
I love the way the light sparkles and reflects on it, so I took a few pieces outside yesterday and got these images.

Happy Pink Saturday everyone!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Back from Tahoe

We are back from Lake Tahoe and it was wonderfully peaceful and relaxing. I have views like this etched in my brain. Mainly we laid around eating, reading, and napping. In the afternoons we wandered down to the beach and watched the kids swim.
Over the next few days I'll share some photos of our adventures and try to catch up on my blogging.

P.S. I walked everyday, and some days more than once, so I think I'm doing ok on the exercise.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gardener's Pink Saturday

I bought these happy pink gloves last week. They will be the perfect thing to use whilst working in the garden with these plants, which also happen to be pink.

Happy Pink Saturday everyone.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lake Tahoe

We're off to Lake Tahoe for a few days. We hope to see scenes like this with clean water and clean air. Lake Tahoe is so beautiful. The Lord of the Manor's family has been going there for over 50 years, so I guess we are upholding a family tradition.

P.S. I'll be getting plenty of exercise hiking and walking. But since I'm on holiday, I won't really track it. But I'll have no trouble avoiding Dunkin' Donuts up here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jumping Oak Galls

I know sometimes I give you way more useless information than you really need or want, but golly, I've just got to show you these things. Every year about this time, millions of these little seed-like things fall down from the oak trees. But they're not seeds, because we all know the seed of the oak tree is an acorn. They cover the patio and make a crunching sound when you step on them. And here's the creepy part; if you sit still you can actually hear them hopping. Why? Because there's a little animal in them! I know you're just dying to know what the creature is, so here you are: it's the larva of Neuroterus saltatorius, a tiny wasp, or the Jumping Oak Gall. Amazingly, those tiny creatures flop around inside there enough to make the galls jump 1/2" off the ground! They jump day and night until they eventually end up in low spots; street gutters, joints in the patio and driveway, and cracks in the soil. But they never entirely disappear; we sweep up millions of them every year.

We have lots of galls here; the common apple gall,

some red Hershey kiss galls,
and some pretty pink turban galls,
but the jumping galls are the most annoying because of their sheer numbers. And the fact that they fall in the middle of summer. In your hair. In your sweet tea. In your dinner. Uck. Oh well, I guess that's just life Amongst The Oaks.

If you want to find out more you can check this site. Or you could just go back to your regularly scheduled programming. Sorry.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fiscal, Physical. and Global Fitness

I've been thinking about Tara's Blog a lot lately and I've come up with some ideas to help attain not only Fiscal and Physical Fitness, but Global Fitness as well. These aren't great huge ideas, but maybe if we all did them, it would help a bit.


We all know fast food isn't good for us, but did you ever total up how much you spend on it? If you're like most Americans, it's probably quite a lot. Imagine how much more food you could buy at the grocery store with that same amount of money. And if you stay out of the center aisles (that's where all the processed stuff is) it would be far fresher and healthier too. And since you can shop for groceries once or twice a week, think of the petrol you'll save by not driving out every evening for take away. And, you won't serve your food on styrofoam and plastic that wastes resources and pollutes our planet.


I know this one is going to be harder, heck I can't manage it, but maybe you can. Now wait, come to think of it, I rode my bike to the store once for a gallon of milk so maybe I can do this one. Again: exercise, saving gas, no pollution.


Not only will you expend energy preparing the site and maintaining the garden, but you will enjoy fresh, healthy veggies and save money at the store. And, since you will be growing yours organically (you will be organic, won't you?) you will help the planet by now spewing chemicals all around.


A generation ago everyone took the elevator because it was modern and cool. Heck, sometimes it was impossible to even find the stairs, but lately I've noticed architects are putting the stairs in more prominent locations. I like that. I'm sure taking the stairs burns lots of calories, just ask my calves after a few flights. I can't figure how this on will help your wallet, but I'm sure it will help the planet because it would save energy if we all did it.


Not only will you burn calories doing this, but you'll save money and electricity, and your clothes will smell divine.

Now I want you to take all that money you've saved and pay off your credit card debt, because credit card debt is bad, bad, bad. I paid off Teen2's wisdom teeth last month and I feel deliciously light and free. (Name the movie.) That's all the great ideas I can think of right now, but I'll bet you can come up with some. Who has another neat idea for shaping up, saving money, and helping our planet?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's Blooming

I worked in my garden for several hours Sunday; weeding, deadheading, pruning, fertilizing, tidying. Teen1 and Teen2 do the mowing in the summer, so I get just the fun jobs. Woohoo! Everything looked so nice, I took some photos for your enjoyment.

This hollyhock grew from seeds that my niece gave me. I really like the old fashioned look of hollyhocks, but mine have been devastated by snails. I use an organic control (picking them up early in the morning and throwing them in the street) and it's not reliable. Oh well...

This lovely squash blossom is on a tiny pathetic plant. I don't have high hopes for squash this year; maybe I planted too late.

However, these cherry tomatoes are doing really well.

This is the pink rose that I used for my Pink Saturday post.

And this beautiful orange rose has those cup shaped blossoms too. Love it.

P.S. Walked this morning; 40 minutes/5036 steps.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mystery Photo

Being a graphic artist, I like to take photos of signs and letters wherever they appear. So where did I find this, and what is it? Let me know what you think.
P.S. Walked after work; 40 minutes/5543 steps.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Baby Birds Must Fly

Do you remember the Black Phoebes I told you about in May? How they made a nest and raised three babies on our front porch? Well in June the Mommy laid five more eggs and on June 22nd, they hatched. I stuck a little mirror on the ceiling of the porch so I could watch them.
The parents dutifully fed them delicious bugs for three weeks and they grew and grew and soon were barely hanging onto the nest. I took this photo on Monday July 7th when it was really hot. I was worried that maybe they would die from the heat, but the next day they were fine.

I took this photo last Thursday; they were almost as big as their parents. Then yesterday morning the Lord of the Manor went out the front door and exclaimed, "Quick, come look, the babies are flying away!" So we all ran to catch a glimpse of them scattering into the trees. Wasn't it amazing that they instinctively knew how and when to fly away?

And speaking of flying away, that's Teen1 flying away to Auxiliary practice all by herself. Apparently Saturday was a good day for baby birds to test their wings.

P.S. I didn't walk but I wore my pedometer and worked in the garden for hours; 8511 steps, lots of sore muscles.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rosy Pink Saturday

This is one of my favorites because it reminds me of those old fashioned roses in still life paintings from the 1900s. My granny had one of those prints and I remember it vividly. It was a mixed bouquet with petals falling on the table, and a bee on one of the blossoms. My granny also loved roses and had a beautiful little rose garden on the side of her house. I remember following her around as she tended it, amazed at the beautiful things growing there. I've been told that I broke off several unopened buds when I was a small child and I can't believe she didn't lock me in the basement for it. But she didn't, and they developed new buds, and she must have forgiven me. I think. I hope. I'm so sorry Granny. I like that about my memory; I tend to remember the good stuff and forget the bad. Isn't it funny how a bunch of roses brought all that out?

P.S. I walked today; 60 minutes/6036 steps.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Publication

Thanks to Mary at The Little Red House, I found this fun toy at Flicker. I bet you'll have fun with it too. Show us what you create, ok?
P.S. I walked today; 35 minutes/4618 steps.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Creek Creatures

Remember the other day when I walked along the creek and thought I saw creatures? And one thing looked like leaves swimming upstream. With my old eyes I couldn't tell what it was, but when I got home I zoomed in on the photo and realized it was a turtle carrying leaves. Was it camouflage, nest materials, or breakfast? Any ideas?

So the next day I went back again and caught some turtles sunning themselves on submerged branches. Both adults and young ones kept climbing out at the same spot, and when I'd get close enough to take a photo, they'd jump back in almost before I could focus. It was like a game, but I persevered and got a few snaps.

This little guy is on the same branch as the adult above only he can't get as high, but isn't he cute? We are so lucky to live Here Amongst The Oaks surrounded by wild creatures. Isn't it grand?
P.S. I walked today; 45 minutes/5166 steps.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Heat Related Tragedy

Scores of valuable members of our community Here Amongst The Oaks lost their lives Tuesday night when their home melted in the 105 degree heat. I found these remains this morning on my walk. Several survivors were salvaging what they could, but it was a horrible tragedy for the entire hive.

Above (sorry for the rubbish photo) you can see where the hive was and below you can see how it looked last November. I do hope they can rebuild it. Bees play such an important part in our world; it's a shame to see this loss.

P.S. I walked today; 3279 steps.