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October 2016

Juggling On a Friday

I really can't believe it's the middle of October already.  

Thankfully, we've had several very nice fall days lately.  Lovely afternoons where I can sit in my swing for a few minutes and . . . well . . . just pull things together in my head.

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Which is a good thing.  Because I've got a lot of stuff going on right now.  

Many, many balls in the air.

(And if you don't happen to hear from me for a day or two?  It probably just means I got hit in the head with one of my flying objects...)

(Such was the case yesterday.)

Have a great weekend.  (I'll be remembering that last year at this time . . . I was at Rhinebeck!

 

 


Will Ya Be Havin' a Pint? (Part I)

My sister and I spent the last 3 days of our trip in Dublin, off the cruise ship and on our own.  One of our first items of business?

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Why. . . a trip to St. James Gate, of course!

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You can't actually have a tour of the Guinness brewing facility at St. James Gate, but you can visit the Guinness Storehouse -- which is a pretty marvelous "museum" that tells the history of Guinness, and walks you through the steps of their brewing process.  With, of course, a couple of opportunities to sip a pint or two along the way.

Our first pour. . . 

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and my sister's first sip!

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Now, my sister is pretty much a wine-drinker . . . and she had never tried a Guinness before.  She loved it -- and so much more than the whisky!  

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You start the tour of the Guinness Storehouse on the main floor . . . and you work your way up and up and up . . . until you're on the very top floor -- which is a pub with a 360-degree panorama view of Dublin.

It is AWESOME.

(Here we are, with the Trinity College campus behind us.)

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We had a great time!  

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History.  Education.  Fun.  Plus . . . Guinness.

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Really.  What more could you be askin' for?

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(Stay tuned . . . for more Dublin.  And more Guinness!)

 

 

 

 


Still On the Patio

As the temperatures drop, I have been wanting one of those groovy-looking patio heaters.  You know the ones?  Tall.  Sleek.  Attractive.

Because . . . I want to stay out on the patio, enjoying drinks and snacks and looking at the garden . . . in my flip flops . . . for as long as possible.

So I sent Tom to Lowes.

And he came back with a perfectly serviceable, function-over-form propane tank-top heater.

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Not even a little bit attractive.

But you know what?  It WORKS.

As the sun went down and the temperature dipped into the low 50s, Tom and I enjoyed our drinks and snacks and conversation on the patio.  Without coats.  Without blankets.  

Comfortable.

Toasty.

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Thanks, Mr. Heater!


Friday Mailbag

It's been a long time since I dipped into the Friday Mailbag!  Let's have a peek. . . 

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Dear Next-Door Neighbors,

For 13 years, you have been the Very Best kind of neighbor:  Respectful.  Private.  Quiet. (Well. Except for that one time when one of your kids got the car alarm stuck at 2:00 in the morning and y'all couldn't turn it off.)  Tasteful landscaping.  Well-mannered guests at your parties.  Non-intrusive in every way. (Well.  Except for the English ivy.)

But your concrete project this fall?  Pushing it.  Because hours of jack-hammering?  Jarring.  Maybe give us a heads-up next time, huh?  (So we can leave, too.)

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Dear Gmail Inbox,

Who knew . . . that it would be so easy to KonMari you!  Wow.  All those emails -- years and years of emails -- that I thought I might need or that I was too lazy to delete in the first place . . . GONE.  Just like that.

I feel so much JOY.

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Dear Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs,

You're drunk.  Go home.

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Dear Blog Friends,

I can't thank you all enough for your words of support and thoughtful wishes and general bolstering of my spirit after my mom's death.  You are all wonderful -- and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Have a great weekend!

 


It's the Berries . . .

My garden is winding down for the season.  The leaves are turning color, and the flowers are on their last gasp. 

Now is the time for berries to shine!

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This absolutely lovely plant is the beautyberry -- and the berries?  That's their actual, un-retouched color!  I cut the plant to the ground in the spring, and the foliage is all rather nondescript during the summer, but - oh, my! - does it ever SHINE in the fall!  One of my favorites.  (The squirrels and birds are big fans as well.)

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These are the fruit/berries of my Washington Hawthorn tree.  They are lovely berries -- and such a treat for neighborhood squirrels and - one of my favorite birds - the cedar waxwing.  I didn't plant the Hawthorn; it was here when we purchased our house -- and I have a rather love/hate relationship with the tree.  I love the berries in fall.  But.  The tree has HUGE thorns (thus, the name), and early on, while doing some pruning, I impaled my thumb joint with one of the thorns.  (I nearly had to have surgery to correct the damage.  Thankfully, it healed without.)  I have since made my peace with the tree, and enjoy the berries (and accompanying wildlife) every fall.

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A couple of years ago, I "rescued" this porcelain vine from a clearance table at Lowes.  I had no idea the berries were so beautiful!  This $1.00 plant gives me so much joy every fall -- the colors are glorious.  (And the birds love it, too!)

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These are not berries . . . even though they kind of look like them.  These are seeds emerging from their seedpod on my star magnolia.  They're so exotic-looking -- and were such a surprise the first time I found them. 

The garden brings joy in every season.  In the fall?  It's the berries!

 

 

 


All in a Name

This hydrangea in my front garden is officially named Pinky Winky . . . 

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It's a great plant!  Flowers in summer; turns pink in the fall; big blooms; drought tolerant; forgiving and easy to grow.  Really . . . spectacular blooms.

A garden designer/friend of mine just planted one in the garden of a client who also happens to be a single guy.

Know what she told him it was named?

Mucho-Macho!

(It's all in the name.)


Travelogue Tuesday: Welcome to Dublin

Usually, when your cruise ship docks in a port city, it is not terribly exciting.  Because it generally looks very . . . industrial.  Kind of like this:

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Cranes.  Warehouses.  Shipping containers.  Freighters.  Sometimes even trains.

Interesting, I suppose.  But never very scenic.

So my sister and I usually just patiently wait while the ship docks, getting ready for our day and looking forward to going ashore to explore a new place.

Imagine my great surprise then . . .  as we were approaching Dublin . . .

I was sitting on our little couch (knitting, of course) and absently looking out the veranda window - when a great flash of RED flew by.

Was that a lighthouse????

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By, golly. . . it was! 

I grabbed my camera and yelled at my sister (who was just getting out of the shower).  We'd never seen a lighthouse in port before!

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Welcome to Dublin!

(Stop by next Tuesday for more about our time in Dublin and County Wicklow.) 


Garden Volunteer

To me, a weed is just . . . a plant that shows up unbidden in my garden.  A "volunteer" . . . so to speak.   Sometimes I let the volunteers stay and play, on purpose.

One of my personal favorite "volunteers" is the pokeweed.  I often let a few of them stick around in my garden.  Which is probably a huge mistake (because they have a tremendous tap root, and I'll actually never get rid of them at this point).  But it really isn't a bad looking weed.  Nice and full; almost like a sturdy shrub you might even plant intentionally.  And look at these sweet little flowers!

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And then THIS happens.  (I mean, really!  Look at the color of that stem!  This is not color-enhanced or edited in any way.  This is just what it looks like.)

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And then THIS happens!

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Birds love' em.

But they're poisonous to humans.

But. . . oh, well!  At least a few of these . . . are fun to have in my garden.  (But I won't snack on those gorgeous berries.)