31 July 2011

line up

new this summer - i've wanted one for a long time. i love putting the laundry out in the morning, love that it dries so quickly, love the smell and feel of the clothes, and love that i'm saving money and consuming less energy. see? it doesn't take much to make me happy!

30 July 2011


here is a fine example of the yellows and golds i was going to try to eradicate from my garden. i transplanted some, pulled a lot, gave bunches away, and tried hard to leave the cool pinks and blues and whites i'd loved in the spring. but no - the golds dominate right now and perhaps will for a while. as i sit with a second cup of coffee on the last weekend in july, i better appreciate these colors than i did back in june.

26 July 2011

the beauty of trees

today, i've found myself thinking a lot about trees. becky, a talented blogger i follow, has relocated from the midwest to the east coast and has written about the abundance of trees in her new town and its impact on the direct sunlight that she's always loved. this really struck me and made me wonder if i might take my northeast surroundings for granted. so i've been very aware our trees today, especially the way the leaves and branches filter the sunlight and dapple the earth. it's beautiful. i can't imagine not seeing that.

later in the day, there's rain. a torrential downpour that lasts and lasts. just when i think it will never end, it lets up and the clouds begin to part. i step outside and immediately, i hear the trees, water dripping from rain-soaked leaves of oak, poplar, and maple up on the hill and from pine needles at the edge of the yard. a rapid, percussive woodland chorus, unrelenting, a song to the breaking sun. i listen hard, mesmerized, and i silently hope becky hears this sound soon. it may help her come to know and love trees as i do.

25 July 2011

christmas in july

for all the photos i take of flowers and gardens and all things natural, i'm just awful with house plants. sunny windows at work help some and i try to have a few plants around on bookcases and windowsills, even though many don't make it. this is a poinsettia i bought in december at a fund-raiser. it was tiny but it had a variegated leaf that was really pretty. it'd be good for the christmas month, i thought. surprisingly, here it is in july, three times the size and covered in green leaves. and thriving, i'm afraid, on neglect. i wonder what will happen to it as summer turns to fall and fall to winter. might it turn back to variegated red, do you think? or with my luck, it may die yet!

21 July 2011


due to the heat wave that's upon us, i was looking today for a quiet indoor activity for the little girl. something she could sit in front of the fan and do. out of curiosity, i downloaded my first children's ebook to my ipad, then watched the little girl interact with it. this is the first time she's used my ipad and, with very little direction, she was able to figure out the interactive features of the story and work her way through the book. she even managed to find her way back to favorite pages and the accompanying activities. as an educator, it was amazing to watch. i truly regret that this photo is not a video. she was so engaged, so exuberant. and her laughter and excitement were contagious. now, tonight, i just can't stop puzzling over the educational merits of this sort of technology with young children.

19 July 2011

the long-awaited poppy

if i could grow only one flower, i'd want poppies. the ruffly foliage, the delicate petals, the ornate pods, the minuscule seeds, the colors. even the name: poppies. there's nothing about poppies that i don't love! 

i've tried to grow poppies and have failed more times than i can count. seeds, plants, seed pods from friends' gardens - nothing works. i thought i finally had a winner here, just one plant, and have been watching it closely all summer. last evening i photographed it beginning to unfurl. then i left the camera and lens on the table so i could run out first thing this morning to catch it wide open and in all its splendor. and here it is. beautiful still, but obviously, sadly, gone by. 
poppy: last evening :-)
poppy: this morning :-(

17 July 2011

herbed butter

this weekend, while buying vegetables and bread at the local farm stand, i inquired about the availability of corn. next weekend, they said. seven more days. time to make dill butter. 

it's easy. softened butter, mixed with lots of snipped dill leaves from the garden. the dill butter is packed into tiny ramekins wrapped in foil. after a day in the freezer, the foil is removed, and the inverted ramekins are run under hot water. in a moment, out slides the frozen molded butter. quickly, it is wrapped back in the same foil and popped back into the freezer. 

until the corn arrives. next weekend. my mouth waters already, thinking of the herbed butter melting on fresh-picked, steaming ears of corn. seven more days!

14 July 2011

glorious morning

a single morning glory, greeting the early sun. shot from the front...
and from the back. 
i like them both. 

13 July 2011


thunder, lightning, then rain tonight, with the promise of cooler weather tomorrow. intriguing the way this open sign looks through my rainy windshield as i wait in the dark for an order.

12 July 2011

july 12 of 12: how to beat the heat

i love summer. lazy warm days, starry cool nights, refreshing air, light clothes, color everywhere i look. but it's days like today when summer is tough to take. it's hot, and for the third consecutive day. i can't sleep. i can't work. all i can do is think about how hot it is. today, i spring into action to try to beat the humidity. this month's 12 of 12 shows my attempts!

fans, strategically placed everywhere. they were on all night, blowing cooler air into the rooms. when i wake up too early all clammy and sticky, i breathe in the morning air. and i can tell it's going to be hot again. 

it hasn't rained in days and the gardens and pots need daily watering. it's easier and better for the plants to do it in the morning before the sun gets too high. i make sure i'm barefoot when i water so i can drag my toes through the wet grass. 

a shower, the first of three i take today.  i keep the water tepid at best. nothing hot for me today - not even water.

minimal clothes. today's outfit - a t-shirt and the necessary undergarments. bare feet. i'm not going anywhere. i have shorts handy in case someone comes to the door. 

combs and barrettes and headbands. i let my hair air dry and it takes a good long time. i don't bother with curling or styling or spraying. there's no way my hair would do anything but frizz up in this humidity. may as well keep it as contained as i possibly can. besides, there will be more showers, remember?

quiet, stay-put work. no housework today, nothing strenuous. i set up in the living room on the couch, directly in front of the fan. the speed of the fan increases as the morning goes on.

lots of water. i love my britta water filter, especially when it's warm. i empty its chilled contents into another container in the morning and refill it. by midday, the water's cold again. some cracked ice, a little crystal lite, and i'm good for the heat of the afternoon. 

hand-washed laundry. just a few items. hey, it's an opportunity to play in water! with bubbles!

another fan, the old fashioned, non-electric kind. the day wears on and the sun comes in the windows. it's hot in the house, hotter still outside. i work for a bit, then sit back and fan myself for a bit. i think i doze off for a bit, too. 

more water. my mother taught me this and i do it all the time. i run cold water over the insides of my wrists. it's instantly cooling. (as an aside, doesn't that stream of water from the faucet look just like an icicle?? i don't know why that surprises me so much, but it does.)

body sprays, cold from the refrigerator. there they are, right next to the mayonaise. a spritz in the middle of the day takes away the sticky feeling and leaves a lingering floral scent. i'll spritz my pillow as well, later before i go to sleep.

and tonight, ice cream. on a hot july day like this one, nothing beats the heat like its creamy, cold goodness.

but note - i did not go out for it. it's not exotic chocolate chip or fruity black raspberry. it's vanilla from the freezer. because i stayed home. it was just too hot to do anything else.


11 July 2011


i know how important it is to recycle, even when you're off on vacation. but is it ethical to transport recyclable items across state lines??? i'd been turning that around in my mind today... but fortunately the attendants at my transfer station did not care. as i was driving away, it occurred to me they probably thought i drank all those beverages myself!

09 July 2011

at low tide

found in a tide pool

a crab, a whelk, seastars, and barnicles

a little girl

and a ten dollar bill, now drying on the counter!

06 July 2011

05 July 2011

the view from the sand chair

normally i walk the beach, pick up rocks, investigate shells. but today, i just sat. my sister says the definition of vacation is the opportunity to be lazy! and i am. 

02 July 2011


every year, during the summer, i spend some time at the ocean. every year, as i walk, i comb the beach, looking for the perfect rock. every year, i bring one home. one only. and every year, every day, i carry it in my pocket until i can get back there again. 

this is last year's rock. i'm leaving it behind as i go off to find a new one. 

01 July 2011

july elderflower

this is elderflower. rub it between your fingers and they will feel wonderfully soft and smell delightful. every year elderflower blooms in mid-june, right around the time that school lets out. this year, here it is in full bloom on july first. quirk of nature? or something to worry about?