“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pay It Forward

I think I did my pay it forward thing tonight.

This older (based on her voice) woman has been calling me on my cell for the past month.  I think the first time I missed the call and called back. 

When I said, "Hello! You called me?” she said, "I don't know you", and that was that!

Then about once a week she continued to call. I picked up and she said "Mary?". The first couple of times I just said, "No Mary here. You must have the wrong number", and she would apologize and hang up.

Just a few days ago I was getting a bit annoyed and said, "It will always be me at this number. Maybe you need to send Mary a note to get a new number.” She agreed and I thought that is it.


Tonight Jean called yet again.

I give her this. She is persistent.

So, being in a charitable mood (!!) I said "Perhaps I need to help you find the correct number."

Jean was SO thrilled.

So as I went through a few searches for Mary, Jean opens up to her new best friend and tells me how she was/is in the hospital in East Hartford after suffering a blood clot (I translate "stroke"). She feels she hasn't forgotten much, but maybe a few things. Hmm!

After five attempts I find a site that shows a land line, although Jean says Mary no longer has one and is only mobile. But the name and address and age are a match and so I CALL Mary at that number that is ONE NUMERAL different than mine.

It rings.

Jean audibly giggles.

Well it isn't a totally happy ending yet.

And rings!

I have my land line on speaker and the cell phone on speaker when the answering machine picks up.

And so I leave this very loud and clear message with names and phone numbers and how Jean is really looking forward to hearing from Mary, and I hang up.

Jean is just so relieved that you can hear her smile.

She promises to let me know what happens and that she really owes me.

I wonder if she will remember!


I started this as a Face Book post and it just got so long that I decided to finally get back to the blog.

Some of my past year has been staying with my mom who had a revision (replacement) of one of her hip replacements one year ago this week. It’s been a rough, rough year, especially for her. Because she is far away, I count on the staff at her place to help her a lot. I thought about Jean after I hung up and perhaps her frustration of trying to find her friend. My mother has not been able to handle the phone as well as she used to, and I know she’d like to talk to her friends more, but it’s just not that easy anymore, and I know she also gets frustrated.

I didn't think this far ahead as it was happening, but I hope what I did for Jean works out and that we all do something for a stranger once in a while just because we can. No pay back - or forward!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hartford Connecticut's Bushnell Park Carousel and Elizabeth Park, West Hartford

After the rains of Hurricane Arthur, yesterday involved more of the activities that the Fourth of July normally would have included: outdoor fun, and hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Kristin and Jake were here for the holiday week-end while their kitchen was getting painted and prepared for new appliances and renovations.
For a little entertainment we stopped at the local elementary school playground to stretch our legs and test the swings.
Next we drove into a fairly quiet Hartford, CT to see the 100 year old Bushnell Park Carousel.
It is a wonderfully maintained work of art, and for one mere dollar, you can have a long, fast, dizzying ride on these precious antiques. The horses were a bit wild, so Jake chose a chariot.
This carousel, as well as many others, is repaired with the help of the artists and craftsmen at the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol, CT, also a wonderful place to visit.

Lastly we drove over the border into West Hartford to 116 year old Elizabeth Park to see the famous Rose Gardens.
From the cool shade of the Gazebo
Welcome banner created from grey santolina.

 My only disappointment was that we didn't see any brides, as it was a Saturday. 
As you can imagine, it is a popular stop for bridal parties for photographs.
Another salute to our flag. 
I hope you are enjoying the park offerings in your community.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wet and Happy Fourth of July

 Happy Independence Day Friends! 
Its raining and cool and we love it, and the gardens love it. 
Its the heat break and rain that we needed.
Hurricane Arthur has cancelled all the fireworks around here till tomorrow, but our little firecracker is having fun in the rain and puddles. A town event for children had great attendance in spite of rain that poured at times. You would have thought that playing in the rain was a planned activity.

All the animals in the barn at Northwest Park in Windsor were visited and spoken to(Baa! Quack! Etc.) and then we got to the car before the next deluge for the ride home.
Have a great holiday!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Solstice

  Hello Summer!
Caliente Deep Red Geranium
Stella Dora lily
Verbena bonariensis
We had a gorgeous start to summer, with clear, blue skies, so that we could enjoy the full affect of the longest day of the year.
coleus from seed

The gardens are slowly developing, and as evening came, I took a pictorial survey.
cosmos from seed
pansy from seed(a little late!)
 All of these shots were taken after 8pm as the sun was setting. Isn't the light wonderful!?

A month ago my more established gardens looked like this:
Front path garden
Back yard herb and perennial garden
Even though we have had cool and wet weather until the past week, look what a difference a month makes.
I am so lucky to have had a lot of the perennials given to me by old and new friends or I would be a poor girl if I had to purchase all these plants.
Back yard raised bed.  I've already had to pull mint twice to save St. Francis from disappearing.

There is a fledgling veggie plot and strawberry patch coming along in the back yard also, all started from scratch, and when they are presentable you'll get a tour there also.

Meanwhile, smell the roses and the honeysuckle and enjoy the season.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Welcome Spring

Last Saturday - the Ides of March - my father would have been 101 years old. 

To celebrate his life, I scratched a few furrows in the little raised bed that was still partially frozen, and planted peas. Since then I've gotten a few more flats seeded and now its officially time for gardens to get going.

Red Currant Tomato

 My window sills have a few seedlings started in January and February, but now its time for the big push. 
The humorous part though, is I don't have a big enough garden for all that I'm starting. As a matter of fact, the yard is a mess from the garage construction, and still has a massive pile of snow from the plow.  

But hope springs eternal - at least for the gardener!

Friday, February 14, 2014


Here is a big reason I am glad to have made the move back to Connecticut. 
My fourteen month old love!
Happy Valentine's Day All!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gardening With Your Garbage and Recycling - 2

The next romaine stem I rescued from the compost bin was prepared a bit more per instruction in the article I posted a week ago.
Look at the result. 
Just three days and we are sprouting.
This is fun!
My lunch is growing my lunch!
Meanwhile the first one seems to have run out of steam, but we'll give it a bit more time.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cabin Fever Festival, Windsor, CT/ Ice Festival, Ligonier, PA

We have four town facilities that we use for going for walks and hikes with Jock. Northwest Park is the largest, and has umpteen choices of lengths and variety. Basically, you could switch and join and combine and walk all day if you wanted to. Its mostly woods and field type trial, some going by a reservoir and some by barns and soccer fields. Depending on the weather and time, you can be in mostly shade or predominantly sun.

These days, I prefer as much solar help as possible. I don't recall the last time above freezing. Poor Jock's feet are either not as tough as they used to be, or the cold is just taking its toll. We tend to choose our destination by temperature this past month. Some days we get to the park, only to turn around minutes later because Jock begins to limp on three legs, trying to hold up one foot, then another. Its also hard to tell if its just the cold, or the product being used on the roads to melt the ice. Either way, we haven't taken too many walks past a half hour in the past month. We've tried greasing his feet with salve before we head out, but its hard to know how effective that is. Its actually too bad we didn't attend the Cabin Fever Festival yesterday as one of the features was a show with huskies from the Connecticut Valley Siberian Husky Club. Maybe they could have given us some advice.
Left over today was this ice sculpture that I imagine will be there for a while with our weather staying frigid for the rest of this week.

It was a fun reminder of the week-end Ice Festival back in Ligonier, PA, also this week-end. 

If you are passing Ligonier in the next week, I bet you can enjoy the many sculptures there - and maybe a hot drink too!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gardening With Your Garbage and Recycling

Part of this post is old hat. I have been reusing containers for seed starting for years.
Tube holders from a medical lab.
For an Earth Day project 24 years ago, I had my daughter's first grade classmates all bring in a small container to start marigold seeds. In our unscientific study using milk containers, plastic cups, tin cans and detergent caps, the ones started in the detergent caps tended to be deformed. Hmmm?
We crushed egg shells and stirred up coffee grounds to add to the bottom of the pots just to start talking about compost and feeding the earth. It was pretty basic, messy and fun, and yielded at least one flower for each student. Before school let out for the summer, a lovely garden was planted at the school entrance.

So look what has started in my Cracker Barrel "green house". Lupines from the farm garden. I think they are the purple ones, but we will have to wait and see. Usually I have such a hard time starting lupines, but these are at 50% germination so far, and in 10 days. Pretty pleased if I do say so. As soon as the first seedling popped, I moved the container from the warm spot, to the cool window sill, to try and keep them from bolting. Lupines are a childhood memory for me, so I love to see them in the garden.

This time of year I start to horde all the used plastic silverware that shows up at parties and wherever, and clean it to use as plant markers. The Popsicle sticks are okay for starters, but they rot and disintegrate by the time some of the early starts get into the garden.
I do find them handy to help me keep track of the seeds I collect, and have the labeled, flat little stick ready to go with the seeds.
Wisteria Seed 
How many times have I wrapped seeds in a napkin or old envelope, leaving myself a part of the flower or plant as a hint, only to open it up and puzzle over where it came from and what it is. By then the "hint" is a brown, dry crumble. So labeling fast is smart, but I'm still learning that lesson!
So here is something new that I learned and tried, just a week or so ago. Growing Romaine lettuce from the stem or the heart. The article says to leave a couple inches and perhaps a leaf or two. I had already used this lettuce, and this stem was plucked out of my compost after the reading of the article. I figured, "What the heck!" and threw it in my bowl with some water. And just to be clear, this lovely bowl was found in the town's recycling shed.

One week later, and fresh water every day or two, there are four new shoots. I can't wait to see how this goes. The suggestion is that I can put this in the garden when the temperatures are appropriate. That's such a long way off, but I may try a container from my recycled collection.
Pepper seeds from last night's dinner.
I grew up growing carrot tops in water, and bean seeds in cotton balls in egg shells. At my school in Sheffield, England, the class was called "Nature". What a nice way to learn science.

Below is the article that I saw, and if you search "things that grow from garbage" you can have a lot of fun till spring really arrives. Meanwhile my seed order went in last night, so there is more fun to come.

Garden with Garbage: 10 Foods You Can Grow from Scraps


Monday, January 20, 2014

Really - Alright

Phew! We're back online!
I have all sorts of blogs in my head and photos taken, but then I couldn't open Blogger. I think it started a month ago with a fix for one problem, that caused another issue, and next thing you know, I'm getting messages from my computer that I have to go online to decipher. Well, I'm back - at least for now.

I always like to start January with some seed starting, and so I had to go and hunt for my supplies in the yet to be organized basement. I started a few seeds with dreams of the coming spring and my newest garden.
This is a memento of  my herd. Weird maybe, but so be it. 
I thought it a neat image in the snow.
When the polar vortex come through, even the dog wanted to stay in and quilt. We have a few projects underway and I'll have to download those photos from another camera to show you.

So lets hope I can get on a roll and catch up with you.
Happy New Year - a bit late!