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June 2011

Just Plain Foliage

Projectspectrum

When most people think of "gardens" . . . they think of "flowers."  And, yeah . . . flowers are usually the showpieces of any garden.  Beautiful . . . but short-lived and fleeting.

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(And, in the case of my peonies this year, VERY short-lived.)

The real workhouse of any garden, though, is the foliage.

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I plan my gardens . . .

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and I purchase my plants . . .

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oftentimes, just for the foliage!

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So many greens!

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So many textures!

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And not a flower in sight!

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Just plain foliage. . .

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is never plain!


Everywhere I Look

The weather brought a slow start to my garden this year.  Everything is far behind "usual"  -- and it seems that I really can't quite get caught up with all the chores this year.  Things I usually do in April or May, I'm just now getting to doing.  Here it is, mid-June, and I still have entire garden beds to clean up, and  I'm a month behind ordering and laying down my usual "bark fines" mulch.  Everywhere I look . . . so much to do!

Garden problems are also raising their ugly heads.  Beds that need to be re-worked because they are overgrown or just not looking good anymore.  Plants that just didn't come up this year.  Plants that need to be divided or moved.  Diseased plants that need to be dug out entirely and replaced.  Everywhere I look. . . problems.

As a gardener, though, I know that's ALWAYS going to be the case.  My garden is a work-in-progress.  Never quite finished.  Always something to do.  Ideas overflow.  Sometimes I need to remind myself to stop looking at the problems. . . and start looking at the beauty around me.

Like. . . my wisteria.

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Two years ago, the Men in My Life built a pergola for me in the backyard.  It was a blank slate for me.  I dreamed of the pergola . . . covered in vines.  Last year, I celebrated two wisteria blooms on my little vine at the side of my pergola.  This year, 16 blooms!

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Sixteen blooms, hanging from the top of my pergola.  Just like I'd imagined.

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I need to remember that, as a gardener, I will always see what needs to be done and where the "holes" are in my landscape.  What I need to focus on, though, is the beauty that surrounds me.  Because. . . it's everywhere I look!


Sunshine Song

Today is a special day. . .

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one requiring a soundtrack.

 

When Erin was a baby, she was colic-y in the evenings.  She responded well to walking and singing . . . so Tom and I walked her. . . and sang her every song in our repertoires.  Childhood songs we could remember; school fight songs; college drinking songs; musical soundtracks; Stairway to Heaven.  If we could remember the words (and sometimes if we couldn't), we sang it!

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As Erin grew older, and long after the colic disappeared, she requested certain songs from us.  For some reason, she loved it when Tom sang "Ballgame Song, Daddy" (Take Me Out to the Ballgame).  From me, she always wanted "Sunshine Song, Mama" (You Are My Sunshine).

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Today is Erin's birthday.  22!  You are my sunshine. . .

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Keep spreading it around, Erin!  Happy Birthday!


Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song

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As most of you know by now, The Soundtrack of My Life is always running through my mind.  Everything I do (and everything I make) seems to have a song attached.  So. . . this week's Ten on Tuesday topic is both intriguing AND challenging for me. 

This week's topic:  Ten Favorite Love Songs.  Ten?  Only Ten?  I'm not sure I'm capable. . . of getting to ten.  But I'll try!

1.  Fields of Gold - Sting

 

2.  Layla - Eric Clapton (Derek & the Dominoes)   

 

3.  Because the Night - Patti Smith

 

4.  Songbird - Fleetwood Mac (Christine McVie)

 

5.  Your Song - Elton John

 

6.  Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers

 

7.  Best of My Love - The Eagles

 

8.  The Air That I Breathe - The Hollies (k.d. lang has an awesome version, too)

 

9.  You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder

 

9.25.  Me & Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul

 

9.50.  Sara Smile - Hall & Oates

10.  Our House - Crosby Stills Nash & Young

 

Okay.  So I was close -- just a couple over!  What are YOUR favorite love songs?

 

 


What's Wrong With This Picture?

Here I am.

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Modeling my newly-finished sweater.  (Raveled here.)  It's a great sweater and I'm very pleased with it.

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It was fun to knit.

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I love the color; the yarn; the fit.

It's versatile, too.

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So.  What's wrong with this picture? 

Why. . . it's the middle of June.   And I'm comfortable in a WOOL cardigan!  That's what's wrong with this picture!

 

 


Everyday Green

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As a gardener, I'm surrounded by green.  Every day.

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But yesterday I realized that I'm also surrounded by "everyday green."  Stuff I use every day -- and kind of just . . . take for granted!

My water bottle, for example.

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Couldn't get through a workout without it! 

Or my incredibly handy market basket.

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I keep this in my car and use it all the time.  For shopping.  For errands.  For carting Jenny's stuff up to the lake.  Incredibly handy.  (And it folds flat.  Bonus.) 

Or my watering can.

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Rubbermaid.  Indestructible.  Steady.  Useful.  I bought this one before Erin was born. . . and I've been using it every gardening season since! 

Or my gardening shoes.

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Steady-Freddies.  Oh, sure.  I've been tempted by the much cuter, happy-patterned gardening shoes available now.  But these green "Sloggers" (that's what they're called. . .) have served me well for nearly a decade, and I imagine they'll hang in there for a lifetime of garden slogging!

Or my other trusty gardening tools.

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I'm surrounded by everyday green. 

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How about you?

 


Turtle Wisdom

There are turtles in our lake up north.  I love watching them.

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They find sunny spots and soak up the warmth.  They paddle about in the water with their heads just barely sticking out.  And they always know just when to duck under water -- to escape and rejuvenate.

Our lake turtles inspired me to buy this little sun-catcher several years ago.

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It hangs in the window over my sink in the kitchen of our cottage.  Reminding me to . . .

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Sometimes, it's just good to take a cue from the turtles.  Soak up some sun. . .

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Paddle about in the water. . .

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Escape and rejuvenate. . .

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Turtle wisdom!

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Getting Off the Crazy Train

I've been riding the Crazy Train for a little while now.

I climbed aboard right after returning from my trip to Paris and Amsterdam.  And I've been barreling along - full steam ahead - ever since.

Now that Erin is graduated and moved. . . now that Brian is home and settling into his summer routine. . . now that Tom is back from his travels. . . now that I've quit my job . . .

I'm ready to STOP the Crazy Train.  I'm ready to get off.

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So I'm headed Up North for a few days.  I'm taking a few books, my iPod, my knitting, and some wine.  And Tom.  And Jenny.

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See you when I get back.  I won't be gone long.  Just long enough to . . . watch the Crazy Train leave the station.  Without me.

 

 


Saying Something

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Today is National Cancer Survivors Day.

LIVESTRONG (really, the ultimate organization showing the world how to LIVE with, through, and after cancer) is celebrating today by asking people to "donate" their Facebook status to National Cancer Survivors Day.  LIVESTRONG and Stand Up To Cancer are giving us all a chance to stand up and speak out . . . to vent your frustration. . . to support your friends. . . to honor someone you've lost . . . to express your anger. . . or to celebrate your survivorship.

So.  What would you say?

I am a Survivor.   Cancer, you are a really scary monster with three heads and vile, dripping teeth and sharp eyes.  But you can't catch me!

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I am a Survivor.  Cancer, you can't define me; you can't limit me; you can't set up boundaries for me.  I'm LIVING!

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I am a Survivor.  Cancer, you have taught me to dance on The Edge.  And I'm better for that.

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I am a Survivor.  Cancer, you're going down.

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And that's saying something!

 


Cool and Green and Shady

Projectspectrum

As Project Spectrum moves into its second month. . . June will be brought to you by the color GREEN!

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You know, I don't have a "favorite color."  In fact, I've always been a bit stymied by that question.  How can you choose just one?  (Oh, sure.  I did go through an intense Purple period back when I was about 10 or 11.  But didn't everyone?)  I like color.  Pretty much all color.  I like mixing and matching colors and working out interesting color combinations.  In the right circumstances, any color can be pleasing.  I can't pick just one as my "favorite."

I think that's why I like Project Spectrum.  It includes lots of color . . . and I can focus on just one at a time. . . for a month at a time.

So, for June. . . it's GREEN.

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Growing. 

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Fresh. 

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Cool. 

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Shady. 

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Relaxing.

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I'm really looking forward to playing with GREEN this month.

(With the exception of the first photo in this post, the green scenes are all from my Memorial Day weekend at our cottage.  Lots of green up there.  Lots.)

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Thank you so much for your wonderful comments regarding my blogiversary and Erin's move.  You are all wonderful -- and I'm so happy to have met you all through my blog adventure.   :-)