Saturday, January 28, 2006

M&M Colors

In a kindergarten room where I worked during this past week, the kids made a bar graph using colored M&M’s.
The children each received a fun-size pack of M&M’s which they dumped out onto a paper towel and sorted by color.
Each time they filled in a square with the corresponding color to a piece of candy, they got to eat that piece.
How cool is that?
I don’t remember learning to count ever being that much fun when I was at school! :)

Australia Day

January 26th is Australia Day.
Our daughter Kathleen, who was born in Australia, called to ask what the Aussies were commemorating with that holiday. I wasn’t sure…I couldn’t remember, but I thought it might be when Captain Cook discovered Australia. Wrong! I asked my husband, who was born in this country (he’s a fair-dinkum Yank. That means ‘true-blue’ for all the non-Australians out there), and to my surprise he knew! Well I wasn’t really all that surprised because one of the many things he likes to read about is history. We spent three and a half years, between in 1979 and 1983, living in Australia, and during that period he read several history books about that country.
Of course he dug out "A pictorial History Of Australia" and looked up ‘Australia Day’ for me to read about.
Here is what I read (just the relevant paragraph)……

‘Captain Authur Phillip had returned to Port Jackson in the Supply and in the afternoon of 26 January he led a party of officers and marines ashore in Sydney Cove. The Union Jack was hoisted, toasts were drunk and volleys fired and three cheers were given by all. Later that day the rest of the fleet arrived and next morning the work of creating a settlement began in earnest.’
The year was 1788.

Thank you Kathy for your question. I relearned something old.

Later that evening I was reading a blog called Gardening for Dummies by Stuart in Western Australia, and he had a post about Australia Day (Stuart, I borrowed your flag, hope you don’t mind). He said Australia Day was the equivalent to the US 4th of July holiday. Well, sorry to disagree Stuart, but it’s not! (I suspect you were just generalizing).
The US Independence Day (July 4th) celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This was the document declaring America’s independence from England. No more bowing to King George III!
That happened in 1776.

The Aussies have never declared their independence from England, which seems to be just fine with most people. I guess they never felt the need to be separated from their English roots.
That’s the way Aussies are :)

One more thing happened that day which made it a very special day indeed. A dear friend called from Australia to wish me a happy Australia Day!!
Thank you dear friend. You made my day :)

I hope all you Aussies out there had a happy Australia Day!

(I want everyone to count the number of times I used the word ‘day’ in this post :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


It's a wonderful white world of winter outside tonight. We had a snow storm this morning which made driving to work a treat...I'm being facetious here, but it really was quite beautiful. I saw a big pine all covered in snow with the wind bouncing it's huge boughs up and down. I've never noticed that before. Amazing! The snow was being blown down in big fluffy blobs from all the big maples and pines. It looked like 'raining snow'. So, while I was a little nervous about all the snow I had to drive through, I also greatly enjoyed the journey :)
Here are a few bright close-ups of the gardens to add a little color to our otherwise 'all-white' day........

Yes, the bees do love the echinaceas (purple coneflowers). Why are they called purple? They look distinctly pink to me! Have you seen the white ones? So pretty.

That little fence garden is very photogenic :)

Ah, the lovely lilies! This one is Janice Brown.

There's a sweet little story behind this lily and 5 others scattered about in our gardens. Maybe a subject for a future post? We'll see....

au revoir for now.....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Spring and Summer Colors

I hope these flower pics add a little color to your day.

Here's a host of golden daffodils........

Same garden below, a little later.

These peonies have huge blooms and there's the weigela (for Alice) in the middle.

Weigela again...closer.

Same garden yet again......mid-summer

The scanner didn't do these phlox justice. I lightened the picture but it's still too dark.

Here's "Mr. Lincoln"....

And here's me, camera in hand, with Kylie in the garden, where I love to be :) I don't know why Kylie keeps showing up on my blog. We do have 2 other children! Stay tuned.....

I hope you had a pleasant and relaxing weekend.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Seasons on the Farm

I scanned some photos today and had this idea to post photos of our farm in all seasons. Since it's winter here I'll start with that season....

No, we don't have this much snow right now...the lawn is bare again today...but no doubt we'll end up looking like this before winter's over. Remember the Christmas of 2002 all you North Easterners out there?

Alas, soft spring sunshine and pastel flowers are a long way off yet, but we can dream.....

Summer is the best of all in my opinion! Every day we can spend outside in the sunshine (or even light showers) is a gift! Lovely warm sunshine and shady trees. With the flowers come the butterflies and hummingbirds. Sitting on the porch, watching the world go by and smelling the flowers.....heaven!

Fall is such a beautiful season in this part of the country....

Hope you're all enjoying your day.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Few More Colors Of Summer

Could you all use a few more hours in the day? I sure could. There's just not enough time to read all those great blog posts out there, leave comments, write your own posts, e-mail friends...etc, etc....and do all the other necessary everyday living sleeping :)

Here are a few more pics of our summer gardens......

This is looking towards the front of our house. I wish that daylily in the foreground was still blooming. It's called "Cleo" and is mauve and pretty. I'll have to scan in a pic of it at a later date. Lots of monada, phlox, achillea and gloriosa daisies in this garden. Shasta daisies way in the background on the right. There'll be close-ups of those in the future. They run rampant in my garden! I'm trying to be more ruthless but I do love to have someone to give them to so I don't have to throw them on the compost pile. Is anybody out there ruthless or are we all the same when it comes to throwing out plants?

This one's for Alice (click on the "A Growing Delight" link to visit Alice) who asked to see our barn (or milking shed if you live in Aussieland). It's the very large building in the background and the other shed is for machinary storage. That's my husband, Ross and oldest daughter, Kylie. Visit her at the "Curiosity as a sign of Life" link. You'll have fun at both her and Alice's blogs :) I'll try to find a better one of the barn for you Alice.

Here's a close-up of the sweet little fence garden.

Don't you just love echinacea (coneflowers)? So do the bees :) That deliciously vibrant pink really tickles my senses.

Stay tune for more pics........

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Colors of Summer

On this bleak rainy and windy January day we do have a little summer color lawn, although not as bright a green as on a warm June day.
This is wierd weather for January. We woke up to pouring rain and temps of 45F (7.2C). They've dropped to 36F (2.2C) this afternoon but the wind is whipping and it feels much colder outdoors. The rain has turned to sleet.
I've been trying to get time to try posting photos. I want to show you a few pics of our last summer's gardens. Something to brighten up the winter colors we're looking at outside now. I hope they come out the right size. So here goes nothing....

Wow! It worked! I'm so impressed! See those double gloriosa daisies on the right next to the singles? I was so excited with those. I hope I get some more next summer. Gloriosas pretty much do their own thing. Mine are a mix of yellow, orange and maroon, and just sometimes....when I'm lucky.....I get a double , like this.

Let's try again....

OK! I made this one bigger. I like that better. There's some achillea (Yarrow...Cerise Queen) and monarda (bee balm) in pink and lavender mixed in with the gloriosas in this garden. It's one of my favorites. The petunias were so pretty last summer. We had an unusually longer and hotter season. It was wonderful! Sometimes we hardly get any hot days (in the 90'sF...32 to 35C) at all. I feel short-changed when that happens.
There are some other flowers in this garden that you can't see in the pic. I planted 4 lilies in there this past summer...2 daylilies and 2 asiatic.
One more....

This is looking towards the road in our front yard. That's the other side of the little fence garden in the background. I planted some other annuals late so they're not showing. In the foreground we have red monarda and perennial phlox among lots of other plants which you can't see. There's a weigela in this garden that bloomed beautifully last summer after skipping a couple of summers. Or just giving me a few measely blooms. Feel free to tell me how I can get it to bloom profusely every year, if you know the secret. Is the new growth on old wood or new? When to prune?

These pics were taken with Kylie's boyfriend's Canon Powershot. We're leaning towards something like that.

I hope you're all having a lovely day.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Green and Growing

What, in this frigid landscape am I referring to you may wonder. Our Christmas tree, that’s what!
Yes, I sheepishly admit that our tree is still up and decorated. I don’t generally leave it up this long but it’s growing! It has loads of cute little pine cones sprouting from the branches. We don’t remember ever seeing this phenomenon before with past trees. I’ve been reluctant to condemn it to death, but this week it will be undecorated and out of the house, by hook or by crook! It looks so pretty, but is becoming an embarrassment to me. I have to let go and move on!
Don’t you just hate packing up all the decorations when the season is done? Obviously, I do. It’s a long job putting them out, but at least the results are pleasing. Putting them away is just a long boring job. On the bright side, we’ll have different d├ęcor to look at. It’ll be the same old stuff we had before Christmas but maybe I’ll be inspired to do something imaginative after visiting all those wonderful blogs!
Our lively little tree will have the branches cut off to be used as mulch for some perennials, and then will go onto the compost heap in spring, so it won’t go to waste.
I wish I had a digital camera so that I could post a photo of the little pine cones for you. I did take a couple of pics with my faithful little Vivitar, so you may see a picture eventually. A digital camera is on our wish list. I think it’s time to go shopping for one, so if anyone has any helpful suggestions as to which one to purchase, please feel free to offer your advise. We’ve thought of a bigger one that will accommodate our 300mm telephoto lens (which we use on our dear old Cannon camera) but have just about decided that a smaller one would be handier for carrying around. I guess we should start small and then get bigger later if we want to.
By the way, the sun is shining gloriously on the snow and the temperatures have risen quite a bit. Much prettier outside today!
Many thanks to all who left comments on my blog. It’s so lovely to hear from you! I’m hoping to hear much more and learn much more……

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Winter Is White Again

Yesterday I did something remarkable for January in our neck of the woods...I went out and worked in the garden! I cut back plants that I hadn't managed to get to in November when my activities were curtailed by the dreaded pinched nerve. The temperatures were heading towards 60F and the sun shone magnificently. It was glorious. Ah, to breathe the fresh air and just to be out of the house and moving....lovely!
The birds have been enjoying the gloriosa daisy, echinacea and other seeds, so I wasn't too upset about leaving the stalks poking up through the added a bit of winter interest to the yard. But I needed a job to do outside and that was a good one.
There was green grass to be seen and it was nice to be able to walk in the driveway without skating, as we've been doing a lot lately with all the ice. Getting up to the barn to feed the cats can be quite treacherous.
Today it's all white again. We had rain this morning and then the snow started falling this afternoon. A frosty wind was really whistling through the trees.
I'm looking forward to visiting all the other blogs I've discovered lately, especially the Aussie ones, since I'm a transplanted Aussie. It makes me nostalgic reading about the hot summer temps, the beautiful beaches (I used to live at the beach) and all those places I've been to but haven't seen for quite a while.
Our winters are much too long here in the northeast.....but on the plus side, it does give us a chance to get some things done inside, like spending a little time on the computer or reading a good book or two.
I've seen lots of clever crafts on some of the blogs and have been inspired by the photos and writing. It provides a nice distraction when the weather outside makes one want to stay in where it's cozy and warm.
Until next time....keep writing!