Rethinking some plant placements

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I went online to see if there was anything that I could do to revive my ailing azaleas, not the dead ones, there is no Lazarus serum for them lol, but I was hoping that I would find something, alas the only thing that I found was what not to do when planting azalea, plant them with exposure to afternoon sun and/or wind corridors. Unfortunately these are precisely the two things I did, however, I imagine that if these past two winters hadn’t been as devastating as they were, I might have had an easier time with my azaleas.

So now I am contemplating transplanting them to another shadier location, sheltered, that gets great morning sun exposure followed by the afternoon spent in shade. I hope that if I get it done this weekend, it will give them both the time to get stronger in order to thrive and survive next winter. What is the worse that can happen? They can’t do any worse where I move them than what they are experiencing now.

   
   

Regrettably I am having similar issues with my creeping pholx, but I am not going to transplant them. I hope that they will recover on their own, they were so healthy each and every year up until now, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that maybe having a few more weeks to recover will allow them the opportunity to grow.

I am still such a neophyte when it comes to gardening. Happily I do enjoy both the challenge and the learning process that comes with gardening.

Scent of lilac in the air

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One of my favorite scents has come alive with a vengeance in my backyard, my lilacs are in bloom and it is wonderful! If I could, I would freeze time in order to keep them in bloom, I would move a chair right under the lilac bush and write while bathed in the calming scent of lilac.

Lavender is usually what they use in spas when they apply aromatherapy, but if it were up to me, I would add lilac to the mix. I have lavender in my backyard as well, but they don’t bloom until well into the summer months, which is actually great because when my lilac are gone, it is wonderful to have another soothing scent to luxuriate in.

I forget what those cute blue flowers are, but I wish that I had more of them, last winter was so harsh that I am lucky that I have that one plant; other years I had an entire section filled with them, I am grateful to have the one, maybe he will go forth and multiply.

Jack is having a wonderful time teaching Lulu the ways of the backyard. Our son installed the fountain over Mother’s Day weekend and Jack likes playing with the water. I just hope that Lulu doesn’t get too carried away with it, with her you never know. lol. The area surrounding the fountain still looks relatively unhappy, but I am sure that in a few weeks, it will look much fuller.

Daily prompt: These dishes won’t clean themselves

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What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?

My first chore assigned to me by my mother was drying the dishes at the tender young age of 6 and I received a quarter a week. I then graduated to washing and drying the dishes, ironing followed and later vacuuming. My sister eventually inherited the dishes and then she gained dusting, but I held onto the ironing and vacuuming along with the grocery shopping. I can honestly say that I never minded doing the ironing or the vacuuming while I was living at my parent’s house.

Fast forward many years and I now dislike all aspects of housework because it never stays neat or clean for long and it is such a repetitive process with little to no internal satisfaction because you just know that it won’t last at all. But if I were to pick just one chore it would have to be dusting. I despise dusting, I have allergies, nothing ever stays dustfree and dust is just everywhere, just when you think that you got it all, you turn around, there it is,laughing at you “you can’t get rid of me! Why you ask because I am you, all of the dead skin cells, so that is why I am your nightmare, you are dusting all of your dead skin, a little macabre n’est pas?”  

I hate dusting.

In a New York minute

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http://youtu.be/LxGr5doGJmY
One of my favorite songs referencing New York, lovely and mellow, lingers in the mind long after the song is over. What I love about these quick in and out trips to New York is that it forces you to focus your attention to one area and you get to capture its unique flavor amidst all of the cacophony.

My focus was Rockefeller Center, I have always loved that little pocket of international flavor right in midtown. I have very fond memories of visiting no matter the season, it is always special, I remember there being for the longest time, a French bookstore where I would spend hours perusing each section, either for my personal reading needs or for school, I loved that place, it’s closed now, such a shame.

The Scribner Bookstore, now a Sephora, was another treasure of mine. It was as beautiful on the inside of the building as the outside and I was so sad the day it went out of business, probably 15 years ago, another casualty of the mega bookstore phenomena, a tragedy for the bookworms of the world.

If you look closely at the picture of the imposing dooway, you will see the name Cole-Haan engraved on the wall on either side of the doorway, I am a huge fan of Cole-Haan shoes, when I can I go to their outlet stores, around the time they launch their huge clearance sales and BOOM make a purchase or two. This store is most probably their flagship store, so I enter, look and catalog for future reference, always a pleasure to peruse lovely shoe design even if you aren’t buying at that very minute.

When I left Cole-Haan, I casually looked over to my left and shockingly Saint Patrick’s Cathedral sat there in all of her naked glory, released from her long hibernation of renovation and restoration. She had been covered with tarps, surrounded by ugly scaffolds for such a long time, to see her all shiny and clean, I had to take a picture.

So this was New York, in a New York minute.

Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of my friends  and family! I was very pleasantly spoiled this year. My Mother’s Day brunch of Eggs Benedict was to die for! My husband had the inspired idea to substitute thicker cut prosciutto instead of the customary Canadian bacon and it was delicious, the prosciutto gave it a slightly saltier taste  while at the same time giving the dish a rich sweetness, it truly was inspired. I had three and almost licked my plate it was so good.

My husband got me my scratch tickets and bought me a lovely handbag. Our children did a lot for me this Mother’s Day; our daughter cleaned the house and helped with the brunch while our son helped with the garden work; pruning the roses dead canes  and fishing out all of the dead leaves and debris in the pond, afterwards installing the fountain to prevent the water from ever becoming stagnant; we don’t want mosquitos.

I am very lucky to have a husband and children who take the time to show me that they appreciate me and love me. I wish that for everyone in the world.

The false hope of the scratch ticket

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My husband enjoys buying me scratch tickets whenever there is a special occasion or just when he wants to spoil me. He knows how much I love sitting there, scratching away with a penny (some stupid superstition I concocted on my own, the idea is by keeping it humble with a penny, the universe may see fit to send some winnings my way) patiently waiting for my lucky numbers to match up with scratch tickets numbers and BAM prize for me.

Intellectually I know full well that an easy winning like that is not in the cards for me, but still there is something about the hope of scratching a potential winning covered prize area that is addictively alluring, you can’t help but think “it could be this one” and when it isn’t, you go on to the next, hoping “it could be this one” until you get to the end and there isn’t another one. You then move on to the next one until there isn’t a next one. I can see how so many spend their precious dollars hoping for the pot of gold at the end of the scratch ticket rainbow.

I keep my little scratch ticket love affair to special occasions and what makes it special is that my husband buys them for me, it’s better than flowers.  

Pinks and Purples

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I took these pictures and I was happy with them but then I thought, if I had waited until sunset; that could have been very pretty, if the sunset had been one of those dark pink fading to deep red sunset’s, the type that lends itself to poetry “red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning”

No matter how many times I see my azalea and my weeping tree come to life, it never gets old. I would be miserable if I would ever to become blaze or jaded, that would be my private defeat. As long as I have the opportunity to open my eyes, I want to greet each day with a sense of wonder and curiosity. Spring time is the perfect season to take advantage and welcome the new  and changed world around us.

I think that I am so attached to these two trusty heralds of spring because they have survived all these winters; this past winter killed off the three new azaleas from last year  and the two others from three years ago barely made it, they look so pitiful and beat down, it pains me.  
I have almost settled on throwing in the towel with azaleas; at first I thought the winter before last was an aberration, but after last winter I am scared that this may be the way of our Northeast winters for good and my azaleas can’t handle that amount of cold brutality. I am thinking that I may end up going with some hardy summer time  perennials such as black-eye Susans and some upright Pholx, these two can take a licking and keep on ticking.

But for now, I am holding off doing anything until after Memorial Day, because up here in Blandford, there is no point to planting until after the summer holiday; with New England weather you just never know if you are going to get hit with a freaky frost, even in May.

Dinner at the Hunt and Fish Club

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Last night my husband and I went to dinner with such a lovely couple John and Nadia, they were so open and friendly, the conversation  flowed so easily that time flew by as we laughed, listened, spoke and of course tasted a variety of delicious dishes.

I loved the decor, I have always been a fan of Art Deco and this restaurant was so elegant in its clean lines, yet not pretentious in the least. The food was wonderful and the service quite professional.

My husband made excellent choices for the first courses that we all shared; we had oysters from both coasts, a ceviche of scallops, a tuna tartare, a jumbo lump crabcake and roasted marrow bones to start, a pretty impressive array of tastes, textures and flavor, don’t you think.

The main courses did not disappoint either; my husband and I shared a bone-in sirloin steak which was one of the best steaks that I have had the pleasure of eating in a long time, Nadia had a gorgeous lobster and John enjoyed a Japanese cut of steak that was sinfully rich and luxious in its marbled beefy flavor, it was like nothing that I had ever eaten before, who knew that the Japanese could be so clever in their beef stewardship. The side dishes were probably my favorites, between the creamed spinach and the tater tots, I can’t leave out the grilled asparagus, I can’t say which was my favorite because they were all absolutely delicious.

Moving onto dessert; I adored the lemon cheesecake, I confess that I ate most of it, I wasn’t very good at sharing by this point. The others had more than enough other desserts to try so I am sure that it wasn’t missed, they had a lemon parfait that was beautiful in its presentation and Nadia said that it was to die for, so I felt better.  There was also the panna cotta, the chocolate mousse and some berry concoction, I forget because I was buried in my cheesecake. We had cappuccinos as a finishing touch to all of this decadence.

It was so much fun, eating and learning about these two very charming and interesting people and their lives, it was a great night and I look forward to seeing them again in the near future.

My tulips have awoken!

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When we pulled into the driveway yesterday evening, I was all excited by the sight of my tulips,  standing straight and tall, with the delicate transitional hue of barely there red and almost there yellow, the implications  of full-throated blooms any time soon. My only thought at the moment was to capture it digitally, I was going to say on film, but those days are no longer applicable,  what with my iPad so handy.

I still can’t get over how unbelievably harsh and devastating this past winter was to my poor plants, they seem to be half as plentiful as they used to be prior to the two winters from heck.

I do love the colors, they are so joyous and uplifting, the vibrant greens and the cheerful pinks and blues, puts a smile on my face just looking at the pictures.

One of my springtime rituals

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Every springtime like clock work, I weed out my Bishop’s weed, if you look at the top of the second picture, there is a small patch of the weed, that no matter how aggressively I weed it out, every spring it pops up yet again. The top picture is a stock picture, but it could easily be one from my backyard if I didn’t do anything to keep the Bishop’s weed at bay.

I googled controlling Bishop’s weed and what I found surprised me, the Bishop weed is medicinal! It was used to treat digestive issues, psoriasis, kidney stones, angina and asthma. Its chemical properties include methoxsalen which is now prepared in laboratories, but prior to the lab, methoxsalen was rendered from the weed itself. Between the herbs that I plant each year and my other perennials I have a natural pharmacy right here in my backyard; I think that is pretty darn cool. I don’t have any birch growing on my property but all I have to do is walk to the park and I could either get some Willow tree bark or White Birch bark and whip up some aspirin. lol

Tragically for us, we have lost much of the medicinal lore practiced by many indigenous people because of deforestation, land grabs and forced tribal removal. We have decimated so many native populations and their culture that we have obliterated much wisdom, how short-sighted can we be? It is such a shame that we treat the old ways, the old lore and traditions as something to be thrown away and forgotten or even neglected. It is such a shame. 

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