Monday, August 31, 2020

The End of Summer #MusicMovesMe

Once again, it's Monday.  It's time for music, and it's time for Music Moves Me!

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join!  Just remember our simple rule:  you must include at least one You Tube or Vimeo video or your post may be subject to removal or labeling "NO MUSIC". You are welcome to write about music. too but there must be at least one music video.


So let's get started.

Each month, we have a guest co-host.  The guest co-host for August is Stacy from Stacy Uncorked, Her theme for today is "Songs About the end of Summer".

There are so many of these songs.  Where do I even start? I decided I would stick to songs (mainly) from the 1960's because that's when I was growing up.

How about a song about the end of summer and being separated from his summer love?  Here is Bryan Hyland and Sealed With a Kiss, a 1962 cover (never knew it was a cover!) of a song from 1960.  The video itself certainly isn't from 1962, with the go-go dancers in the background.


A Summer Song by Chad and Jeremy, from the summer of 1964.  This song has been covered by countless artists since then.

Johnny Rivers and Summer Rain, from 1967.


The year before, there was a hit, not about the end of summer, but about a young man worried that he might lose his love, while school was out, to a summer love.  From 1966, the Happenings and See You in September.


More recently, Summer's End by the Foo Fighters.


Finally, I hesitated before posting this song - for about a second.  John Prine was someone I never heard of prior to his death from COVID-19.  He was an amazing songwriter.  Here, in his "Summer's End", he tackles the opioid epidemic from the viewpoint of a young girl who lost her mother and the girls' grandfather, who lost his daughter.

Summer will end soon enough.

That's a wrap. Thank you, Stacy, for being the guest co-host. See You In September, same time, same blog.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Be The Warrior

 It's a topic none of us want to talk about.  But we must.

The untimely death of Chadwick Boseman at the age of 43 reminds us again:  colorectal cancer, more and more, is becoming a young person's illness.

Years ago, my next door neighbor's daughter in law battled stage 4 colon cancer even as she mothered two school aged children.  She survived.

A co worker's brother was diagnosed in his 20's.  He did not survive.  The co worker has two children in their 20's now.

A former co worker lost her grandmother and mother to colon cancer, both at the same age.  Fortunately she and others can get life saving screenings.  But insurance (except if someone is high risk, and not all cases in the young occur in high risk individuals) may not cover the test in full if you are under a certain age.

If cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer are increasing in the young, why aren't testing guidelines being adjusted?  When young people present with symptoms, it sometimes takes a lot of convincing to get a doctor to order a colonoscopy.

I ask my readers:  if you are over 45, get that screening that's recommended for you by your doctor. If you are under 45 and have symptoms such as blood in your stool, changes in bowel habits, or pressure like needing to "go" but you aren't ready to "go", please see a doctor immediately.  If you are blown off, please, see another doctor.

That's what a warrior does.

Chadwick Boseman was a warrior, on the screen and off it.  May he rest in peace. 

May the fight against cancer continue, and end successfully.  May all the warriors in this battle find strength today to continue the fight.

I've only seen portions of the movie "Black Panther". It will be shown on television tonight, 8 pm EDT.

From the Black Panther soundtrack, The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar in "Pray For Me".

I invite you tomorrow to read (or, better yet, participate in) a Monday weekly blog hop called "Music Moves Me" where bloggers who love music gather to share their favorite songs, or songs from the theme for the week (alternate weeks).  Tomorrow, the theme is "Songs about the end of summer". 

"See" you tomorrow!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Happy Independent Bookstore Day

Today is Independent Bookstore Day.

Where I live in upstate New York, there are no independent bookstores in my immediate community.  That's a sobering thought.  We used to have one but it closed, partially because of the poor health of one of the owners, but I had also heard a rumor that they had tried to open a coffee bar and, for whatever reason, they couldn't.

When I moved here in the mid 1980's there were several independents in our area.  One, I know, went totally online (Gil's Book Loft) and, from what I can tell, may still be operating.

I used to buy from them when they were brick and mortar.  Online, I haven't. Go figure.

Now, if I want to shop in an independent bookstore, I have to travel over 20 miles, to a small town called Owego, once named "The coolest small town in America". River Row books is well worth the visit.

When I travel, I look for independent bookstores.

I do like them.  A lot.

But I will also admit, I am not a huge buyer at independent bookstores.  I don't frequent Amazon for books, either.  Before the pandemic, I almost lived (according to my spouse, anyway) in one of several local libraries.  I  haven't been to one since, although I've taken enough advantage of curbside pickup at a local library that the librarian who usually answers the phone knows who I am.  

And, a fun fact.  Several years ago, a cousin found me on and she works in an independent bookstore.  When I finally visited her for the first time, one of the first questions her father asked me was "what are you reading right now?" 

Bookstores deserve our love, even though I don't always do what I should do.

Do you have an independent bookstore in your city or town? 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Closing August Out #SkywatchFriday

Our slide into fall is getting faster and faster and faster.   The days get shorter every day.  Some of the cloud patterns (my spouse, who is an amateur meteorologist, says) are changing into fall patterns.  Some days, there is actually a little chill to the air (to me, anyway) in the morning.

I decided to share some photos of August skies that seemed interesting for whatever reason.

Let's start with the dramatic, at what has become a favorite noontime walking area for me. Actually, all but one of these pictures were taken in places I like to walk.

Another day and in a different spot, you can get a totally different view.

How about a highway/cloud sandwich?  I was walking along in a county park, when it seemed to me the clouds were sandwiched between two overpasses.
I call this one "tomato sky".  This is in our community garden near Binghamton, New York.

Finally, on still another favorite walking trail, the clouds seemed to be hugging the hill on the left.

Are you ready for more skies?  Here's the place to go: thanking Yogi for another #SkywatchFriday.

What do you see in your skies today?

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Mischievious Norway Maple #ThursdayTreeLove

This Norway maple sits in the front of a neighborhood house where I live in upstate New York, in the United States.

It has a nice, full canopy of leaves.  Too many leaves, perhaps, because an electric line runs through the tree.  And leaves, in high wind, do not mix with electric lines.

Tuesday, a windstorm blew up as a cold front passed through our area and a transformer at the end of our block blew.  Two electric company trucks came to fix it.  One parked under that tree.  You can barely see one of the trucks in the bottom of the photo.

A man with a long electric saw on a pole came not long after, and started to trim several trees on our street.  This was one of the trees right before the trimming..  It still looks pretty majestic, though, even after its "haircut" - even though the tree must have helped cause a power failure, I still appreciate it.  All of us do mischief now and then.

We are expecting more bad weather tomorrow and I hope the haircut was enough.  The main culprit may well have been the catalpa tree I blogged about several Tree Loves ago - it got a more extensive trimming.

I don't know if this maple tree was the culprit - but it may well have participated in a group tree effort.

Join Parul at Happiness and Food and other tree loving bloggers each second and fourth Thursday of the month for #ThursdayTreeLove and see what mischief other trees are up to.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Power Failure Excitement #WordlessWednesday

Yesterday was the afternoon the power went out on my block and a neighborhood toddler's day was made.

About 2:30 pm yesterday, a cold front came through and the wind suddenly was gusting strongly.  I heard a "bang" in the distance and our power went out.

Although our electric utility's website insisted we didn't have power outages in our area, we obviously did (and a neighbor's electricity was also out) so I reported it.  Perhaps 10 minutes later two trucks arrived.

The other neighbor without power has a young son, and he was so taken by the trucks.  One of the utility workers allowed the boy's father to hold the son. The worker opened the cab and allowed the father to hold his son so he could see all the controls.  I'm sure it made the little boy's day.

It was so sweet to watch. (This picture was taken a few minutes after - they were on the other side of the truck.)

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for a sweet #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020


Yesterday afternoon, after work, I clicked on Facebook and was met with news - another person from my childhood has passed away.

As  I scrolled through my wall, memories came back, memories of a boy who couldn't wait to get home, because it was Wednesday.

On the North End of Boston, everyone knew what Wednesday was.  I grew up in New York City, and I am not of Italian descent, but I loved that commercial.  I never dreamed I would marry someone raised in that tradition.

Anthony! Prince Spaghetti Day! 

 I grew up and so did Anthony Martignetti (yes, his name in real life was Anthony), the boy in the commercial. Yes, he (and his TV commercial Mom) lived in the North End of Boston, where the action took place  Anthony was 12 when he was chosen for the commercial, which was made in 1969.

Oh those days when we could run through crowds without fear of getting infection.  Nostalgia.

Then reality hits.

Anthony Martignetti passed away in his sleep last night at the age of 63.

A cause of death was not released, but (apparently) he had non-COVID related pneumonia recently.

The other day, one of my spouse's cousins sent me a picture of my late mother in law and her, together during an event in 2014.  The cousin spoke of my mother in law's lasagna.  When my spouse made that lasagna for me almost 50 years ago, I knew I wasn't going to let him go (especially as I hate to cook).

No, mil's lasagna didn't use Prince pasta and spouse's family's pasta day was Thursday, not Wednesday.  His Mom used Ronzoni, a brand you can still find in New York City to this day.  Italians are passionate about their pasta, its shape, its texture and other fine points I've never quite "gotten".  I just love the end results, especially when fresh tomatoes come from the garden and I can go outside and pick fresh basil.

Prince? That's more of a New England thing, although nowadays, it is made in St. Louis.

But, at one time, it was manufactured in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Here, in fact, is the story of Prince Spaghetti.

I really do need to pass along one of my spouse's Italian recipes nowadays.  One of my favorites (no recipe needed) is fresh tomatoes served with fresh mozzarella cheese and some fresh basil with a sprinkling of oregano.

And then there is my annual tomato sandwich.

But I could sure use a good Prince Spaghetti day every now and then. 

How about you?

P.S a postscript - I didn't know Anthony Martignetti personally, but, in that commercial, you felt like he was a friend, someone you would have wanted to know.(I would have loved to have eaten at his TV Mom's table, too.)  Guess I need to choose my words better next time!   May Anthony Martignetti rest in peace.

Monday, August 24, 2020

From The Autobahn to The Name Game #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday.  It's time for music, and it's time for Music Moves Me!

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join!  Just remember our simple rule:  you must include at least one You Tube or Vimeo video or your post may be subject to removal or labeling "NO MUSIC". You are welcome to write about music. too but there must be at least one music video.

So let's get started.

Each month, we have a guest co-host.  The guest co-host for August is Stacy from Stacy Uncorked, Her theme for today is "You Pick."

This one's going to be a little different.  I'm going to start with an earworm that took root in my ears this past week.

The Five Stairsteps and "O-o-h Child" 

The next couple of songs are memories of when my spouse was in military basic training years ago, and I lived with relatives (paying room and board) in another state for a couple of months.  There were a lot of good times, and, thanks to the musical tastes of a teenaged cousin, I discovered some new (to me) groups.

Kraftwerk  - Autobahn.  I ended up buying the album, and I will not post the full song, which is about 22 minutes long.  I will post, instead, the single from 1974.  This group is German, and the lyrics are in German.  They are about (drum roll): driving on the Autobahn. Speaking of misheard lyrics, the first stanza is not about fun on the autobahn, but Fahren (which means to drive) on the Autobahn, something my spouse has wanted to do for years  Guess it may be a while now before he can.

Speaking of electronic music, the other song comes from an album recorded by Larry Fast under the name Synergy.  I love every song on this album (which I owned in both vinyl and CD) but the one I will bring you today is one you may know because I've had it on my blog before. This song has been covered so many times, from the 1930's to the Ventures and beyond.  From 1975 (a cover of a song from 1936 by Richard Rogers written for a musical comedy On Your Toes):  Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. 


I first visited those relatives (who lived over a thousand miles from me) in 1968 and this is one of a couple of songs I associate with that trip:  Mason Williams and Classical Gas.

My next song is definitely not electronic, but is also a memory. In 1962, Joey Dee and the Starliters had a hit with "Peppermint Twist".  At the time, growing up in New York City, WMGM was one of the stations I listened to - until the late afternoon of February 28, 1962 when the station switched formats and also call letters, becoming (or going back in time, as you will) WHN.


Now, my final song is a song that, growing up around 1965, we all sang.  I never knew that Shirley Ellis (actual last name Elliston) was a school teacher, and would make up songs to teach.  And I never knew there was a "long version" of this song.  Enjoy, if you've never heard the long version before!   If this song doesn't get you to feeling good, you are really having a bad day.

And that's a wrap!

Join me again next week, same time, same place, for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Musical August Memories

With the bad things happening - COVID-19, wildfires, derachos, hurricanes - it is so tempting to slip back into the past.  The past where nothing ever went wrong, and we can bask in the rosy glow of good memory.  Bad stuff happened, but not in these memories.

These are good memories, memories of music, memories of a time that seems carefree now.

August is full of cancelled events this year.  The latest one would have been today - Porchfest. 

I'm going into that past, a past where a neighborhood could invite musicians to play on their porches, and people would father together, social distancing an unknown concept, and enjoy each other's company. 

 We could be neighbors without fear. 


It was all free.  You could wander from porch to porch, and crowd in all you wanted.


We are left with memories, and we walk alone.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

National Be An Angel Day #BeAnAngelDay

 Roy Ackerman over at Cerebrations introduced me to the National Be An Angel Day (which is today).

To quote, "National Be An Angel Day encourages good deeds and kindness to others. By supporting those in need and inspiring others to kindness, we display an act of an angel here on earth. The day also recognizes those who've been angels to us."

Angels to us....think back.  I know there have been angels in my life, some I've known for years, some who came into my life for just a few moments or days.

Here are some ideas to honor the angels in our lives.  

It can be anything from forgiving someone who has wronged you, thanking your local mail deliverer (so important in these times), checking in on an elderly next door neighbor, donating time to a cause that benefits your community, and so much more. 

I wanted to end this post with a suitable flower to gladden your heart.  Of several photos I took in my flower garden today, this one struck me as the most beautiful.

A gladiolus (representing strength and integrity) and a phlox (harmony, partnership, unity); qualities we all need in our lives today.

Not much into chain emails or blog posts, but this one deserves to be passed on.

Friday, August 21, 2020

August Storm #SkywatchFriday

These pictures are from earlier in August.  

Near dark, a storm blew up.

Although it looks black and white, I assure you this and the photos following were in color.


A couple of minutes later and a slightly different angle.  Things weren't looking good.

By the time it was fully dark, the rain started coming down heavily.  Here's the rain, taken from a break in our tree cover from my front door.  It's still in color but it looks so black and white type moody.

So what happened next?

All we got was a lot of rain and my flowers perked up the next day.  But so many have been impacted by storms and fire this summer.  It's a sad time, and we can only hope that, for all of us, all the skies will clear one day.

Joining Yogi and the other bloggers who watch the sky at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The First Breaths of Fall

Yesterday, my day lilies bid me farewell.  

It's a sad time for me, because of what it symbolizes this year.


If you believe our farmers markets, it is still summer (for the most part).  Spouse and I luxuriate in just picked corn (we don't grow our own).

Carrots, beets, peppers, and more are for sale.  It's a wonderful thing to behold.

But the first signs of fall are arriving.

The late season wildflowers are starting to bloom. The crickets are chirping louder and louder.

I dig into my memories.  Back to school is just around the corner.  But this years, memories mean nothing.  This is a year unlike any year in my life.  Or your life, unless you were alive in 1918.  Both my parents were, but they were too young to really remember.

With the first fall winds comes the hints that our lull will be over soon.  Outdoor dining will disappear as the temperature drops, along with other ways we have learned to move our activities outdoors.  

It is what it is, a saying my spouse's cousin has used for years.  She's a no-nonsense lady, and strong.  But I don't feel too strong right now.

No matter.  We have no choice.

We are all going to have to be strong, and face the fall ahead.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Flower Barn #WordlessWednesday

Today, I am (somewhat) taking the day off and depending on my "guest photographer" to provide the picture.

My guest photographer lives in rural upstate New York and takes a picture of this barn every year.  

This year, I want to share it with you.  This picture needs no words.


Joining up with Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Final Blueberry Moment

I've never picked blueberries four times in a single year.  Until this year.

I admit it.  It was recreation.  A chance to get out of the house and be in nature.  Be outside, where (at least for now) it is safer.  I can't say "in silence" because it wasn't silent.  The murmur of pickers near me, ordinarily not an issue, signaled that maybe it was time to pull up my mask.  But only one time was it that crowded.

As someone now semi-retired, spouse and I were able to get there right when the U-Pick farm opened, which helped a lot.

So we picked early berries, late early berries, mid season berries and late berries.  The late berries, we were warned when we arrived at the check-in stand, were either sweet and soft (they would start breaking down right away) due to the heat, or in better shape but tart.

After a short discussion, we decided these would be more for baking, and we chose "sweet and soft". 

Each year, this farm hands out a blueberry recipe brochure to its customers, and I chose one of their recipes, one I haven't made for many years:  Let's call it Double Blueberry Pie. I used the farm's recipe with some small modifications, which you may or may not want to make. I saw so many similar recipes online I decided I could put this online -

1 pie crust (Mine was an experiment, and maybe I'll blog about it one day.  Let's just say I used a homemade graham cracker crust.)  This is a no bake pie, unless you bake your own crust, but it does require a little cooking.  Nice not baking on a hot day.  Our summer has been hotter than normal.

Please keep in mind I try to bake on the "light side" so you may want to go back to the original - for that reason I made some notes.


4 cups fresh blueberries (divide into 2 parts, 2 cups each) (apparently you can use frozen but I haven't done it myself, so I don't know if it will work with frozen.)

1/2 cup sugar (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup.  I didn't think it needed that much)

3 tbsp cornstarch

A pinch of salt

1 tbsp lime juice (because that's what I had - the original called for lemon juice)

1 tsp dried lemon peel (not in original)

1/4 cup cold water

1 tsp light butter-like spread (because that's what I had.  Original calls for 1 tbsp butter).


Combine sugar, cornstarch, water, salt until well blended.  Add 2 cups blueberries. Cook over medium heat until the blueberry mixture thickens. 

Then, add the spread, lime juice and lemon peel.  Let cool.


When cooled, place the reserved 2 cups of blueberries into the pie crust.  

Pour the thickened cooked mixture over the uncooked blueberries. Cool some more and serve at room temperature or cold.  Hopefully your pie will look better than this, which is reason #479 why I don't publish a cooking blog. (Yes, the crust was a fail, and I will blog about it one of these days.)

And if I did have a cooking blog, it would probably be titled "Because It's What I Had" or something similar, like "I Never Got the Hang of Pie Crust".

That, my dear readers, is the last you will hear from me about blueberries this year (probably).  Can you tell I love them?

We froze several bags worth for the winter, remembering how frozen fruits and veggies vanished during March, April and May.

So....are you a good pie baker?  Or not?

Monday, August 17, 2020

Family or Sibling Songs #MusicMovesMe

Once again, we've reached Monday, and it's time for Music Moves Me.  

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join!  Just remember our simple rule:  you must include at least one You Tube or Vimeo video or your post may be subject to removal or labeling "NO MUSIC". You are welcome to write about music. too but there must be at least one music video.

So let's get started.

Each month, we have a guest co-host.  The guest co-host for August is Stacy from Stacy Uncorked, Her theme for today is "Family or Sibling songs."

Before I begin to present my selections, I want to pay tribute to singer Trini Lopez, who passed away last week from COVID-19 at the age of 83.  Two songs immediately leapt to my mind.

If I Had a Hammer, co-written by Pete Seeger, was a hit for Lopez, reaching #3 in 1963.

Lemon Tree was a cover of a Will Holt song.  Besides Trini Lopez, this song has been covered by many artists.

I remember both of these songs from my child.  Trini Lopez, RIP.

And now, to our theme.

I don't want to pick any of the "obvious" songs but there are some really good ones out there.  Because I am an only child, and someone who lost her mother not long before I turned 13, I am also going to include a couple of tributes to parents.  My father raised me after my mother died suddenly, and had to put up with my teenaged years on his own.

I am going to start with a song I've had on my blog, but it isso good, it is going to be repeated. 

First, from Mike and the Mechanics, 1989's "The Living Years", about a son's conflicted relationship with his late father, and what he regrets now that he, himself is a father.

Elton John's 1973 hit Daniel is sung by Daniel's younger brother. There seem to be differing interpretations of the song - I would just sit back and watch the reaction at the end of the performance.

Night Ranger and 1983's "Sister Christian".  I saw them in concert several years ago, and this was one of the last songs of their set.  It was worth the wait.  This song is about the songwriter's younger sister Christy, and his feelings that she is growing up too fast.

Finally, as a (maybe strange) change of pace is a song that maybe is more about vampires than a rejected boy's longing for family.  From The Lost Boys soundtrack, performed by co-author Gerald McMahon, is 1987's Cry Little Sister.  I happen to love this song.

And that's a family wrap!

Join me again next Monday for another episode of Music Moves Me - same time, same place.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Memories of Back to School

The Back to School sales are in full swing.

The Sunday newspaper is full of ads for crayons, markers, marble notebooks, plus other necessities such as see through lunchbags, face masks and hand sanitizers.  

How can these types of ads bring back memories of growing up, when so much has changed?  But they do.  As I grow older, it seems I just want to slip back into memories sometimes, instead of moving forward.

Were things simpler in the early 1960's?


I remember how a rite of passage was the increasing size of my crayon box.  In elementary school, very September, I would be given a box of Crayola crayons for the school year. As I made my way through early elementary school, I worked my way up from a dozen crayon box, to 24, to 48, and finally, the coveted 64 crayon box, complete with crayon sharpener.  The smell of crayons sticks with me.  These still exist, although some of the colors have changed.

There was the back to school briefcase (we didn't use backpacks in those days), smelling heavily of leather.  I started out with marble notebooks and graduated to looseleaf (they call them "binders" where I live now) books and spiral notebooks. 


Cigar boxes that served as pencil boxes.

Textbooks needed to be covered.  My parents would take brown paper from the laundry who did my Dad's shirts (a luxury my Mom used) and make book covers.  My Dad was really good at it; I never got the hang of it. I also remember book covers from the local milk delivery service with logos of New York colleges - Cornell and Colgate stick in my mind.

The day we were herded into a large room and waited to get our polio shots.

Not all the memories were pleasant.  I can remember physical discipline was used in my first grade class.  And  the fate of those who needed special education was not necessarily a good one, as I found out when I married a man whose younger brother is autistic and learned about his elementary school days. 

But some of my memories were very nice indeed.

I'm sure you have memories, too. I'd love to have you share them in the comments.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day August 2020

I refuse to believe it is the middle of August.   Where has the summer gone?  It's time for another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and I hope you, my readers, are all well.

 In my Zone 5b garden in upstate New York, summer is on the downhill slide.  The days are getting noticeably shorter.  Fall is around the corner - winter squash has started to hit the farmers markets. Our garden is pumping out zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes.

And flowers are peaking.  Some bloomed inbetween July 15 and August 15, such as my astilbes. 


But my daylilies hung on - two of them are blooming today and have enough buds for tomorrow and maybe the next day.  Their names are lost in the mists of my terrible record keeping.

 Here's the other.

Once again I have so many flowers, I've resorted to collages for many of them.   First up, my zinnias.  I somehow missed my Tequila Lime, but here are the others.

 These include peppermint stick (first and last in the first column), White Wedding (2nd row top) and Zahara Yellow (bottom right).  

Orange.  Clockwise from upper left, Alaska nasturtium, orange cosmos, a French marigold, and blackberry lily.

White. Nicotiana and white alyssum.

Pink/Purple. Clockwise from middle, pinks, mystery (more in a minute), Guacamole hosta (which sometimes looks white to me and sometimes purple-ish) and the same flower as the right side.  Just different lighting. Sometimes, flower color depends on lighting.  This is a flower that blooms in light to moderate shade and I can't remember what it is.


Yellow-ish.  Bottom, My last two (literally) pansy blooms.  It's been a long run but they have succumbed to summer heat.  On top is a perennial variegated Mexican sunflower (I think) except the variegated leaves aren't right now, and Superbells Lemon Slice.

So much for the collages for now.  My tall phlox has escaped the mildew that normally plagues it by now.


The leaves of this tall hisbiscus have a hint of purple in them.  This plant has exploded in blooms this year.  Unfortunately, the Japanese beetles love to munch on the leaves, so it's a battle.  One of my husband's cousins insists hisbiscus won't grow where I live.  Well, they do.

I will leave you with several more collages.

At my community garden, sunflowers (I don't have room for them at home.)

From upper left: petunias, another petunia, another petunia, orange geranium and a petunia, a pink strawberry (everbearer - its fruit is small, tart but delicious), purple aster.

Come join me again September 15, when the bloggers of Carol of May Dreams Garden's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meet again online to share their flowers with you all.  By then, my fall flowers will be in full swing.

In the meantime - please visit other GBBD'ers to see what they are presenting this month!

Stay safe, and see you soon!

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Golden Sunset #SkywatchFriday

I was relaxing at the end of the day.  No way I was going to watch the sky tonight.  Just wanted to lie there on the couch.  No way I was going out there.  Nope.  It was time to chill.

I looked out my back window and saw the sky lighting up, several minutes after sunset.  My adrenaline started to flow.  I donned sandals and went out there to get a better view.  Spouse followed me.

This is what I saw.

So we started to walk west. 

We shifted our vantage point.

Geese flew right over us.  My first picture didn't "take" but I got this parting shot.

 This is when I really knew it was going to be good.  After this, it rapidly faded.


A final salute from a contrail, so rare nowadays, as the sun bid us goodnight.

Worth getting off the couch for!

Joining Yogi and the other skywatching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Catalpa Beans #ThursdayTreeLove

 On this second Thursday of the month, I was stuck.  I would have been happy to blog about rosehips, zinnias or blueberries, but none of these are trees.

And on this second Thursday, the topic is supposed to be trees.

No problem!  On the way home from an exercise walk, I spied this tree.  A catalpa!  This is a native tree (Catalpa speciosa) with beautiful, showy, fragrant blossoms in the late spring/early summer.

 This is what they look like in bloom, but bloom time (late June) is long past.


This is what the tree looked like on Tuesday.  See the long "beans"?  Those are the seed pods of the tree.  Sadly, they are not edible.

These trees are messy when the flowers fall.  The beans will stay on the tree a long time, though and give the tree one of its common names, the cigar tree.

Joining up with Parul at Happiness and Food each second and fourth Thursday for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Nonelusive Butterfly #WordlessWednesday

When it comes to wildlife photography, I do not do well.  The main reason is because creatures do not stand still and wait for me to poise them, unlike, say, flowers.  Flowers look at me and I look back at them and all is good, except when the wind blows.

But this butterfly was so intent on his (or her?) Queen Anne's Lace flower, it just waited for me to get close enough to take some pictures with my old iPhone.

As you can tell, I'm a beginner with butterflies.  This year, working from home since March, I've taken walks several times a week on a floodwall which has been full of wildflowers.  I'm seeing lots of different butterflies - definitely sulphurs and monarchs.   Is this an Eastern Swallowtail?  I couldn't get a non blurry picture of it because these are enlarged.

Still closer.  At this point the markings sure look like pictures of black swallowtails I saw online, but where are the blue dots?

As close as I can get.  My uneducated guest is that this is a black swallowtail female getting ready to lay eggs.  My reading indicates black swallowtails like to lay their eggs on plants of the carrot family.

I really need to get a butterfly guide, but in the meantime, is there anyone who can tell me more about these pictures?

Joining Sandee for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Voting In 2020

I was going to blog (yet again) about blueberries today, but I changed my mind. Voting is suddenly (these past few weeks) in the news, big time.

At one time not that long ago, we despaired at low voter turnout.  People just weren't that interested in voting, it seems.  But then things changed. 

Now, we may well have record turnouts, except that we are in the midst of a pandemic, and wondering how we can vote and not get sick.  This has led to a cascade of events that could not have been foreseen even six months ago.  The post office has suddenly become a center of focus, along with the right to vote by mail.  There's something a little different I want to focus on today, though.

I think most of us are aware that, when our country was created, more than half its residents did not have the right to vote.  Even today, there are still efforts to disenfranchise people.

Every person who can possibly exercise their right (their duty, really) to vote this November needs to be able to do this.

This original post (with edits) is from November of 2018, with some edits, but it retains its truth today.

Why must we vote in November?   All our votes are important, but, my please consider this:

Consider this ballot box.
Consider the small crowd that gathered in the village of Lisle, New York on June 1, 2018 (some of them descendants of a certain woman).

Consider what happened in the building to the right on January 5, 1918.  The building is vacant now, but history happened here 100 years ago.

Perhaps this newspaper will make you wonder.
This may help you guess.

It's hard to believe, but 102 years ago, women in New York State still did not have the right to vote.  In fact, the first woman to vote in New York State voted on January 5, 1918, in the building you see above.

Her vote was placed into the above unassuming box.  You know, Januaries tend to be harsh around here, with lots of snow and cold.  Someone at the ceremony to dedicate this sign told me it was 20 below zero F the day Florence B. Chauncey voted.

Mrs. Chauncey was the wife of a local minister, and the election was to determine if Lisle would be "dry" or not (i.e. no alcohol sales permitted).

She fought for the right to vote, yet never told her children she was the first women to vote in New York State.  But she always asked them, once they were adults "did you vote?"  Because she knew how precious that right was - the right she had to fight for.  Along with many other women, some of whom ended up in prison for the "crime" of voting.

I thank certain dedicated women (and men) of the early 20th century, who fought for my right to vote.  It wasn't just to vote for banning (or not banning) liquor.  It was voting for President.  For Congress.  For local and national leaders.  I never take that right for granted.

The 1918 1920 Presidential election that came after the above election - keep this in mid - came right after another pandemic, one which ended up killing millions of people worldwide.

People of color also had to win their right to vote, and win it, again and again.
Now, we are at another crisis point in our nation's history.  I fully expect the coronavirus to still be with us on November 3.  We have a great number of problems to overcome just to be able to have good, safe and secure ways to vote on November 3.

Now, and in November, the future of our country depends on you.  And me.  All of us.  Men and women, of all skin colors and ethnic origins, although I'm talking mainly about women today.  In most cases, if you aren't a white male, those who went before us had to fight for that right. Please, don't turn your back on that right or make choices that aren't thoughtfully considered.

To quote the late Brent Taylor, who died fighting for his country in Afghanistan:

"As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election .... I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us."

Remember: even one vote can determine the course of history.  Might it be your vote?  And with that, the crux of the matter:

Let's make sure this election can happen, and that it will reflect the will of the people. Keep yourself informed on the election, but equally, stay informed regarding your ultimate right to vote.