Friday, September 04, 2009

Summer Work and Play

Blogging has taken a backseat to summer activities during these past several weeks. The days fly by and are filled to overflowering with things to be done, but happily, also with some recreational activities in between. There are never enough hours for me in these treasured summer days.

I'm sad to be missing all the gardens and activities of my blog friends, and apologize for not visiting you all much lately, but I do hope to catch up with your posts sooner or later. I appreciate each and every one of you who stops by and leaves a comment (and also those who don't leave a comment ;) ). They are all such a pleasure to read.

Gladioli are blooming in Hubby's vegetable garden. I had just 3 beautiful spikes last Sunday for the church bouquet, so I filled in with a few other things that are still blooming in the garden: Phlox, white Feverfew and yellow Golden Glow.

I wanted a photo using natural light instead of the flash, so I took the bouquet outside.

This peach Glad is "Early Bird" (Netherland Bulb Co.). I noticed that it's a perfect match for the "Seapearl" rose, and enlisted my patient Hubby's aid to snap a photo.

He planted this patch of beautiful "Strawberry Blonde" Sunflowers (Burpee) on the edge of the veggie garden. Posted by Picasa

The blooms are not all the same, with a few yellows in the mix, but most are a combination of this gorgeous rose-pink shade and cream. The above flower is my favorite....almost solid rose-pink.

The front porch garden is chock-a-block full of volunteer Sunflowers that grew from fallen bird seed. My intention was to weed them out, but it was one of the many chores that I didn't get around to. When I finally did have time the flowerheads were blooming and I didn't have the heart to pull the plants out. Besides, why waste all that free bird food?

Now the Goldfinches and other birds are having a feast. I love to hear them chatter as they feed.

The Nuthatch has been a regular visitor lately too. Posted by Picasa

We were richly blessed with a houseful of family this past week. Our oldest daughter came up from NY City, and our niece and her family were here for the week as well. The last time we saw that little family was 5 years ago, and the two children have grown so much!

One of the highlights of the visit was a cookout up behind the barn. Hotdogs, sweet corn on the cob and s'mores never tasted so good!

We ate sweet corn for lunch and dinner almost every day. It's one of the only veggies that has done well in the garden this cool, damp summer. Our tomatoes have late blight, like everyone elses' in the northeast it seems. We have one cherry tomato plant which must be more resistant, because, although it's affected to some degree, has kept producing some good fruit. Also a few bigger unmarked fruits that I picked green have ripened, and mmmm, are they delicious!

During the week, our daughter and niece's husband (NH) painted the barn and outbuildings. They worked very hard and did a fantastic job, which included cutting away a jungle of brush, and braving a hive of honeybees that have taken up residence in the back wall of the barn. After NH was stung on the hand 3 times they sensibly decided to give the bees a wide girth, and left that section unpainted. We'll have to have a beekeeper in to remove the hive. In the meantime though, I'm sure the bees are doing a great job pollinating my garden, and that explains why I see so many of them.

What a joy it was for Hubby and I to have two dear little children around for 8 days! You can guess what the little boy liked the most :) He got to ride on all the, green and blue. The cats were a close second, and they received lots of attention from both children, which was greatly appreciated, for the most part.

The little girl is a bookworm. She was overjoyed to find bookshelves filled with plenty of reading material. Here she's reading a book of stories about fairies, filled with beautiful black and white illustrations (plus a few wonderful color plate pages), many of which were colored by me as a little girl. It was my favorite book as a child. What fun it was to see it enjoyed again. Posted by Picasa

Little girls can look at the slender stalks of Gaura and see a cloud of upside-down pink butterflies, dancing like ballerinas above a clump of pink Snapdragons and white Alyssum.

Do you see them?

We also enjoyed a family picnic, spending a glorious day with siblings, their children and grandchildren who we don't get to see nearly often enough.
The weather was perfect...plenty of sunshine, and no rain for a change, so the kids had a lot of fun in and on the wonderful pond which is on the property belonging to one of my husband's sisters and her husband. It's the perfect spot for a picnic.

The highlight of the day for the boys was this huge frog, which they found when upending one of those blue boats, getting ready to put the boat in the water. Posted by Picasa

You've never seen such excitement and scrambling as the frog tried desperately to escape before finally being nabbed by little hands. They kindly let it go after they had examined it thoroughly.

On the way home we saw this beautiful rainbow, which seemed to me a symbol of the joyful day we'd just spent.

On the Sunday after, our niece's parents (Hubby's oldest sister and her husband) came for the afternoon, and our son, DIL and our grandsons stopped in for a brief visit on their way home from a weekend up north. So the little second cousins got to play together, and we had the pleasure of seeing our little boys for a short while.
The only sad note was that our youngest daughter and her boyfriend couldn't be here for the festivities.

Now the house is quiet again, and our days are slowly getting back into a routine. We miss having the company around, and were very sad to see them all leave, but there's plenty of work to be done. The chilly nights and mornings hint of fall, which is just around the corner, and time is running out for the many chores still on our lists.
The garden still has quite a bit of color....

Although this photo was taken on August 20th, this clump of Gloriosa Daisies (Rudbeckia hirta) are still going strong. I love the coloring of this one! Posted by Picasa

The past several days have warmed up to be perfect for gardening, and the cats have enjoyed them as well....sunbaking as only cats can :)

On August 17th, when this photo was taken, the Golden Glow was standing tall and beautiful, with Gloriosas at their feet, but then we had a day of heavy rain, and they were beaten up and knocked down. There's still a little color in the clumps, but they're looking pretty straggly and in need of tidying. If you click to enlarge you'll be able to see the cows grazing on the hill in the background.

That's Murphy in front of the Top Driveway Garden, where Rubeckia triloba is blooming, among other things, and the field corn is looking good in the background.

For the past several days I've been working in the Rock Garden, down by the road, and in the Lily Garden. Jasmine was there, keeping me company, along with several other cats, as usual. I'm never lonely!
Notice that the rust colored Gloriosa is still blooming, though fading now.

Barbara, I was excited to discover that I have your Verbena bonariensis blooming in the Rock Garden :) It's difficult to distinguish, but if you enlarge the first photo (above this one) you may be able to see the stalks to the left of center, above the white Feverfew. I'll try to take a better photo when the stems have more blooms.

Notice in the background of this photo (click to enlarge) that the Driveway Garden is still showing quite a bit of color, due mostly to the Phlox and Gloriosas, but there's also a Butterfly Bush blooming beautifully, and the climbing rose is producing its second burst of blooms. The two white Daylilies, White Temptation and Joan Senior are still offering a few blooms each day. I'm amazed at how long their bloom time has lasted.
Reuben is there on the fence, in his alloted spot of the Lily Garden, and Murphy is trying to bully Phoebe into giving up her perch. Posted by Picasa

In my opinion she gave up much too easily :)

Here's Jasmine in one of her favorite spots. The containers are doing well, still showing lots of color.

Hannah has an itchy ear. I must remember to put some earmite drops in it...Posted by Picasa

The time is fast approaching when the hummingbirds will begin their fall migration southward. We're always so sad to see them go.

If you see these two little wiseguys, will you please tell them we miss them?

I hope you've all enjoyed summer as much as we have.

Happy Spring to all our antipodean (an-tip-o-dee-an) blog friends on the other side of the equator!
Posted by Picasa


Urban Green said...[Reply]

wow! what amazing pictures!
it's a pleasure visiting your blog.
glad to know you had a great time with family...cheers!

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

What a beautiful post Kerri. I felt like I had a nice visit with you catching up on family and garden both of which are beautiful.

It appears that the cats are dispersing looking for love all over the garden with the children gone. I know you all miss them.

Beautiful beautiful glads.

Needled Mom said...[Reply]

It sounds as though you have had such a delightful couple of weeks with family and gardening. The pictures tell a beautiful story.

I love the photo of the "bookworm" and I think they should make a staue of that pose. And....little boys and a giant good does it get?

The flowers are, as usual, just gorgeous. I'll bet you hate to see these summer months come to an end.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...[Reply]

Hi Kerry! Nice to see you again on Blotanical! This post is very sunny, cheerful and full of fun! I love the kids, the flowers, the cats, the water,..., everything! Thank you!

em said...[Reply]

kerri, what a lovely post! sounds like a truly wonderful family gathering!

my fav photos are the so sassy nuthatch, the girl reading (what a great braid, and i love the story of the book that you tell), and the golden glow in front of the red barn. the red barn color could make a great shot with the yellow flowers in front, but closer... would make an high impact banner? if those flowers have revived at all... but all i can say, is "wow." what a beaut bouquet as well. too bad summer is ending!

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...[Reply]

What a warm-hearted story! A delightful story of family, farm, flowers and fun!


Marrissa said...[Reply]

What a beautiful post Kerri, and as always your photos are amazing! Spring has finally come here in Oz according to the calender but it will be a few weeks before we'll be enjoying the warmth I think. Hope you get to see your beautiful family again real soon *hugs*

Linda said...[Reply]

What a lovely summer you've had Kerri (in spite of all the rain). Being surrounded by family is just wonderful.
Thank you for sharing all your beautiful photos.

sweet bay said...[Reply]

Wonderful post Kerri. So many beautiful pictures. The Gloriosa Daisies are spectacular, and I *love* your bouquet. Looks like you had a lot of fun with your family! That's one happy goldfinch feasting on the sunflower seeds and I loved seeing all your kitties.

Robin's Nesting Place said...[Reply]

This is a heartwarming post. The goldfinches have just about eaten all of the seeds from my sunflowers. I love watching them eat from the flowers this time of year.

Sunita said...[Reply]

Kerri, I do so love your posts filled with absolutely delicious photos and wonderful narrative! It looks like a great time was had by all and that you're getting double the pleasure by reliving all that fun. Thanks for letting us in too :)

Debbie said...[Reply]

Keri, what a wonderful post. I just love the flower photos. There is nothing like spending time with family and you sure look like you have been enjoying some great family time.

What a joy it is for me to read your blog. Thank you so much for cheering my day.

Cat with a Garden said...[Reply]

We truly enjoyed this post. What a wonderful time you had with your extended family. And we loved seeing your beautiful cats!
Purrs from your feline friends, Siena & Chilli

GardenJoy4Me said...[Reply]

Kerri what a wonderful post !
All of these gorgeous pictures (I love seeing all of your cat family especially .. they are such pretty characters : ) .. the plant pictures are awesome .. that bouquet was perfect ! .. it was like seeing summer give in to Fall very politely ? haha .. I'm sure the smores were delicious and I would have loved having a plain roasted till black , marshmallow .. I am a BIG kid !
Speaking of kids .. your crew was too cute .. and they did have an amazing time there .. you will miss them for sure, but that is what makes it doubly sweet in appreciating them when they do visit you : )
Hope the bees made it to a new home safely and the stings are long gone !

Pam/Digging said...[Reply]

What a delightful family reunion, and you have the perfect place for it. From books to bullfrogs, you have everything children could want. And your summer garden is gorgeous, Kerri.

verobirdie said...[Reply]

Kerri, this is a great post. The first picture had me saying WOW!
THe family gathering seems to have been such a joy. Sure you miss them all...
I'm glad you did not weed the sunflowers :-)
take good care!

Karen said...[Reply]

As always your photos are gorgeous! Such cute kids!

MissyM said...[Reply]

Wow, what beautiful pictures. I adore that Strawberry Blonde Sunflower!!

Patsi's 'Garden Endeavors' said...[Reply]

Truely heaven.
Glads,sunflowers,your adorable cats and family.
Nice job.

Barbee' said...[Reply]

What a fun and beautiful post! Loved it!

Roselover said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri
I am one of your "lurkers"! Love your Blog. I live in Australia and at the moment would love some of the rain that you get. My gladi bulbs are just poking their heads up so hope they flower as nicely as yours have

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...[Reply]

Every time I see pictures of your gardens and barn and the rest of your yard I think of how wonderful it would be to live there. It sounds like you've had a busy, but fun summer with your family and the kids.
I loved looking at your pictures and reading about what you've been up to.

Roses and Lilacs said...[Reply]

Enjoyed your post so much. I always love seeing your many flower beds and your kitties. You have the perfect place for family parties and barbeques.

Love the plants you call Golden Glow, they look perfect beside your barns.

*Ulrike* said...[Reply]

What a wonderful post! It was so relaxing to read about your family, flowers, and that big frog!! That was so nice that they painted the barn for you, and I am glad that they left the honeybees alone till the beekeeper arrives. Maybe you might get some honey out of the deal!!!

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri! What a wonderful post! No wonder you haven't been blogging as much! Your fabulous life needed you to live it. :-)

Those glads are really pretty. I only grow plain red ones, but I'm going to seek out some other varieties, because they do grow well here. I don't mind digging them in the fall either.

You need to check my blog post for today. ;-)

Isabelle said...[Reply]

As usual you make your life sound idyllic. I'm sure you never have any dusting to do, any cleaning, any worries - just flowers and cats and fresh air. That's right, isn't it?

Happy autumn.

Val said...[Reply]

Yes, its been a good summer for me too, but here in England the weather has been a bit damp and cold really too.

Always lovely to visit your garden in the summer!

Annie in Austin said...[Reply]

Your summer looks quite lovely, Kerri - and the memories you've made with the young memories should stick with them forever - from frogs to swimming, barn-paining to fresh-picked corn.

All the photos are lovely, but my heart was touched by the one of your bookworm niece immersed in a book with your hand-colored illustrations.

My sunflowers are the smaller-headed native kind, but they're also covered in goldfinches - if any of my photos of them looked like yours I'd faint away in shock!

Thanks for letting us in on the fun!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Sandra said...[Reply]

My Fav pix was of the g/children having lot(s)of fun in and on the wonderful pond !! =)

Giddy said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,

Like you, I'm catching up with my blog friends. Nice to see your garden is being appreciated by family and furry friends!

John said...[Reply]


Thank you for sharing. Womderful pictures, & I am sure you and hubby had a great time with the family.

Marlene Depler said...[Reply]

Great photos! And what wonderful summer fun you had with your family!!! Bye, bye summer! (My garden will soon be coming to an end. I still have some roses and pots in bloom.)

Today it really felt like fall here in Colorado. The high was in the 50s, and it was cloudy with rain part of the day. We took in a soccer game for our 4-year-old grandson and then a football game for our 11-year-old grandson. Tonight we had our son and his family for dinner.

Hillside Garden said...[Reply]

Kerri, I can send you mails, please will you check your mail-box? Two mails are coming back yesterday!


Alice said...[Reply]

A pond as well? I didn't know your property had ALL the makings of a holiday resort.....hmmmmm, we'll keep that in mind.

It was lovely to read of the wonderful times you had with the family, to see all the colour still blooming in your garden, the cats at play and the visiting birds, and how much you've enjoyed the pleasures that summer brings.

Once again we're welcoming Spring, but since meeting you, Kerri and Ross, my welcome is always tinged with a little sadness for the approaching Fall and cold weather coming your way.

Thank you for keeping us cheered and inspired with your fantastic photos, Kerri.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

What a fun, family-filled summer you have had! Tell your little reader to keep it up. Nothing better than having your nose in a good book, except maybe gardening!

inlandempiregirl said...[Reply]

It is hard to decide if I like the bird or cat photos the best! You always catch great images of both.

Babara said...[Reply]

Dear Kerri
What a joy seeing all those wonderful pictures of a "rich" summer full of flowers, happy family gatherings and garden "inhabitants". Seems to have been the perfect summer. And what a delight too to discover "my" seed...the verbena bonariensis. It traveled a long way and I am glad it is in your garden now. I hope it will reproduce and fill your garden beds next summer ;-) !!
Warm regards,

Roselover said...[Reply]

Here in Australia we are experiencing a very dry Spring with bad bushfires here on the Gold Coast yesterday. So we could do with some rain very soon. Love reading about your garden, pets and family

Retro Gal said...[Reply]

I love it when I happen upon perfect photo shots, which is not as often as I would like. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.