Monday, May 28, 2012

Farmland Fun

     Early yesterday morning I was able to get this closeup of a Monarch butterfly in my garden. Each time that I got close it would fly off, but I knew that if I waited patiently, the butterfly would return to the same spot, and it did.
     Then it was off to Davis Farmland in Clinton, MA, with seven of my favorite little ones and their moms, my cousins. Davis Farmland has baby animals, farm equipment to climb on, a playground, pedal cars, a sprinkler park, and more. Honestly, what more could a child want? The best part beside all of their smiling, happy faces? I got to spend time with the newest member of the family who is just three months old. What an absolutely beautiful baby he is!

     Today was a full day of gardening. Here's Emma checking out the rose that I planted. The buds are yellow, but they open as a white flower. I'm happy that I am finally making some progress in my gardens, but there is still so much more to do.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's Not Just Puppies That Get into Mischief!

     This morning I went to my friend Marilyn's house as we were going off to do some shopping. She was a bit late returning from doing a quick errand, so when she got home we entered her house together. This is what we found. Meet her new adorable, friendly kitten, Mimi. The shredded roll of paper towels cascaded down onto the kitchen floor. This was a moment that I just had to capture.
     Next it was off to Distinctively Sweden Etc., a shop in Plainville that Marilyn wanted to visit. It turns out that it only about a mile from one of my favorite quilt shops, Quilter's Stash in North Attleboro, so we stopped there as well. I picked up a piece of fabric which will make a great inner border for a quilt that I have just started. I'll share more about this quilt in a few weeks.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

     Have you ever thought of traveling to India? If the answer is yes, then you should see  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. In this film, a group of British retirees travel to what the brochures had indicated would  be an enchanting retirement hotel where they might stretch their saving a bit further. Each has his or her own reason for wishing to reside at the "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful." Upon arrival they discover that the hotel is not exactly what they had expected.
     The cast of veteran actors is very good as is Dev Patel as the young hotel manager who has big plans for improving the crumbling, antiquated hotel.  Judi Dench is solid as usual, but it is Maggie Smith who steals the movie with her disgruntled personality and funny, caustic comments. You will definitely have a few laughs. You will also get a sense of life in present day India.
     Overall, I would say that it is a pleasant movie aimed at a somewhat older crowd. With all the superhero extravagances now playing, it's nice to have the option of seeing a movie with a simple, engaging storyline. I would give it a B-.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Family Day at the Swan Boats

     This morning I went with my cousin and her three year old daughter to the swan boats. Three buses of eager preschoolers and their families went, and I was lucky enough to go, also. It was a wonderful way to spend a morning.

     The swan boats are one of Boston's greatest treasures. On the gentle, short ride around the lagoon you are followed by ducks seeking food and two swans who summer there. We also enjoyed the Make Way for Ducklings Sculpture with Mrs. Mallard and her little ones: Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack.

     It seems remarkable that the swan boats which first graced the lush landscape of the Public Garden in 1877 have been operated by just one family ever since, the Paget family. If you wish, you can read more about the history of the swan boats by visiting Swanboats of Boston.
     Today's visit to the Public Garden brought back happy memories from my childhood. After church on Sunday mornings, my dad and the neighbor next door would fill his station wagon with kids, and we would go to the swan boats, the Franklin Park Zoo, or some other fun place. That's the wonderful thing about the swan boats; they have been delighting generations of children and will continue to do so, hopefully, forever.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In My Garden This Week


     I shot these photo yesterday knowing that rain was forecast for today.  Poppies do not hold up well in the rain, so I wanted to capture them as soon as they opened. Isn't the color glorious!  Next it was on to the blue flag irises.

     Emma came over to check out what I was doing sitting cross legged on the grass.

     This is what I was doing.

     On the side of the garage, I planted more snapdragons. Some of last year's plants are now in bloom. Why snapdragons you might ask? When I was about six or seven, my cousin gave me a box of her Honeybunch series which I loved.  In what I think was the first book in the series, Honeybunch Plants a Garden, the little girl planted snapdragons. I remember asking my Aunt Alice, a wonderful gardener, what snapdragons looked like. She brought me into her garden where she had a large section of them. I loved them then, and I have planted them ever since.

     FInally, over the weekend I put together ten hanging pots plus two pots for the deck. My color scheme this summer is pink, white, and purple. 

     Thanks for stopping by to see what's blooming in my garden this week. In case you are interested, these photos were all taken with my Canon PowerShot SD960 - Digital Elph, a truly wonderful little camera. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Puppy School Graduate

    Here is Emma with Jenna, our instructor. I took three photos and while Jenna looks great in each photo, Emma is blurry in all of them. She's a bundle of constant energy.

   I don't want to brag, but Jenna said she was amazed at how well Emma responds to the "come" command. She said she couldn't ever remember having a puppy who was so fast and eager to complete this command. This is definitely where Emma excels. That's the  good part; we do still have to work on the "down" and "stay" commands. I'm going to work with Emma for awhile to be sure she has mastered these first commands before taking her to the intermediate classes in July.
     Emma enjoyed going to the classes, meeting other dogs, and receiving so much attention from other customers and employees in the store. My favorite comment came today from a man who asked me if she came complete with batteries when I got her. Huh???  He went on to say that she looked like a wonderful little toy dog and then proceeded to get down on the floor to pat her and make a fuss over her. She responded by licking his face and rolling over for a belly rub which the man cheerfully provided.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spring Beauties

         Early Monday morning I spent some time photographing in my backyard. This stand of irises has been blooming faithfully in the same corner of the yard my entire life. I follow the guidelines in Crockett's Victory Garden, to keep them going.  [Jim Crockett was the host of a very popular gardening series on PBS, and I always refer to his book when I have gardening questions.]

         Lilies of the Valley grace another corner.

     The iPhone camera is wonderful for quick grab shots, but for photos like these you really need something more. My equipment is simple. These photos were all taken with my Nikon D60, 18-55mm lens with a 3T close-up filter, and a tripod.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Who Made This Mess???

    I was only in the kitchen for a few minutes this morning, and when I returned to the sunporch this scene greeted me. There were scraps of chewed paper strewn everywhere. Although Mr. Froggie was clearly right in the middle of the shredded magazine pages, I think it is safe to assume that he wasn't responsible for the mess.  Miss Emma on the other hand had such a sweet, innocent look on her face that it was all I could do to keep from laughing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

First Trip to the Groomer

     Emma took her first trip to the groomer on Tuesday, and here's the result two days later. I was concerned with how she would do, but Cheryl at Pooch Paws in Hanover said Emma was very good for a puppy and took it all in stride. They do as much as the puppy will tolerate and  want the first visit to be a fun experience. I admit I kind of miss her scruffy puppy look, but it's important to get puppies used to the grooming process.
     Last night, four of Emma's "Aunties" came to visit. Emma is a most enthusiastic greeter who loves having company. No one had the heart to tell her that they weren't there just to see her.
     I don't want to jinx it, but I think the sun may actually make an appearance this afternoon after the gloomy, dreary, wet weather that we have been having. I hope so as Emma and I haven't taken a walk since Monday morning when we went with a friend to walk at Nantasket beach.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

More from the Arnold Arboretum

     Here are three more photos taken yesterday morning at the Arnold Arboretum.

     This is definitely a place I intend to revisit. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Arnold Arboretum

     This morning I paid my first visit to the Arnold Arboretum in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest arboretum in North America. Next Sunday is Lilac Sunday, but since I had a previous commitment, I went with two of my friends early this morning to visit this lovely spot.

     Due to our recent warm weather, the lilacs are about two weeks early this year. Each lilac bush is labeled with the type of lilac and its country of origin.

      The light wasn't great this morning, but it was still a pleasant place to take a walk. Though the hour was early, there were many runners, walkers, birdwatchers, and lilac admirers strolling the grounds. I know it is a place to which I will return. I will feature more photos from this visit in my next posting.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New York Beauty Floral

     Here's the New York Beauty Floral piece that I just completed. It was begun in a class taught by the pattern's designer Pat Delaney at the  Heart in Hands Quilt Shop in South Weymouth, MA. Pat talked about choosing colors, values, shading, scale, fabric selection, etc. which I found very helpful. Many of these florals I had in my stash, but the class was an excuse to go purchase more. I had initially planned to add some embellishments, but I've decided it's just fine as it is. Overall, I'm thrilled with how it turned out. While my piece is a wallhanging, you should have seen this pattern done as a bed quilt. The arrangement of the circles was different, and Pat's large quilt was truly magnificent.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pansy Power

     I love daffodils, tulips, violets, and all the flowers of spring, but by far, pansies are my favorite. Their cheery faces brighten any day, even a gloomy, wet day like today.