Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Fall Began in August #WordlessWednesday

August 28, in Binghamton, New York.

Taken August 28, 2022

I know we have a drought.  But isn't it a little early for fall?

Please tell me it is too early.  It's August 31 today, right?


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Casting Our Musical Fates to the Wind

Binghamton held Porchfest 2022, in the Abel Bennett Tract (a historic tract on the West Side of Binghamton, New York) Sunday.  Here's my Sunday post previewing it.

Each year was different.  This year was - a bit unexpected.  This is a bit long, so please bear with me.

But first, what is a porchfest?  It's a neighborhood celebration of music and the arts.  People open up their porches to musicians, who play half hour sets. (Some acts draw big crowds, well, big for a city of 47,000 people).   You wander until you find a band you like, or check the schedule and visit the bands of your choice.  Neighbors talk to neighbors. People run into people they haven't seen in a while.  

Our 2020 Porchfest was cancelled due to "it that will not be named", but in 2021 it returned to Binghamton, somewhat shrunken.  This year it was back and (I think) bigger than ever.  And we saw all of the above.  A lot of bands, a lot of porches, a lot of neighbors saying hi, and someone even thought we were a former neighbor of theirs (we've never lived in that neighborhood).

Before leaving home, we did a quick scan of times, acts, and places and decided on a couple of streets.

On the surface, Porchfest is unchanged from the last pre pandemic Porchfest.  People settled in front of an act they liked, or wandered up and down the street.  This year though, it was so big that a local hospital offered some of their lots normally unused on Sundays, and a shuttle system was arranged.  The shuttle was supposed to stop at the lots, and then was supposed to stop at several named locations in the performance areas.  In theory, not having to hunt up parking sounded great, especially as several streets were closed to traffic.

The reality was slightly different.

At a hospital lot, we gathered with others and waited.  We were all in a good mood.  The bus showed up.

I was expecting a school bus, or even a large golf cart (the literature talked about golf carts), but, to my delight, a city bus showed up. It was a hybrid electric, and it was air conditioned. 

Doesn't that look inviting?

We got on.  The bus took off.

At some point, after several twists and wide turns where the bus had to try to turn onto narrow streets with cars parked on both sides, we (and some others) realized the bus driver was not stopping at any of the concert drop off points.  

By this time we were far from the streets we wanted.  And, I was getting a vertigo attack, something I am prone to. (I've ridden city buses many times, and have no idea what caused the vertigo.) But I could barely see where we were going when it kicked in.  There was some kind of film on the windows of our bus which had an advertisement printed on it.  Maybe that had something to do with the difficulty.

Some of us called out for the driver to stop and told him he had missed some stops. Turns out he thought we would tell him when to stop.  We thought he would just stop where he was supposed to stop.  Isn't failure to communicate wonderful?

He finally stopped, we got off with much of the bus, and there we were. Fortunately, we knew the area although it was hard for me to get my bearings but we were pretty far from where we wanted to be.

Our musical fates were cast to the wind, so to speak.  I was in no shape to walk back to the houses hosting the acts I wanted to hear.   So we ended up listening to bits of several acts we hadn't chosen.

What had fate chosen for us?  If I told you The Parlor City flute Ensemble, a flute ensemble playing music from the 1890's-1930's, would you believe me? (We stayed for about 15 minutes and left only because I needed to move around).  


This may (or may not) be a group called Happy to Be Here.  They did seem happy...

After about an hour and a half of listening to several bands, I knew I had to go home.  We returned about 5:30 in theafternoon, which may be the topic of another post, because it deserves more than a paragraph.

Some houses had Ukrainian flags and at least one had a fundraiser for Ukraine

In the meantime, here's a couple of other pictures.  (I didn't take any videos, which I do some years.  I just wasn't up to it.)

I Could Wish I Had a Porch Like This One

Now, fast forward to today.  We were planning to visit the New York State Fair (some 80 miles/129 km away in the Syracuse, New York area away), to see Herman's Hermits.  But we decided not to go (alas). There are thunderstorms predicted in the afternoon starting at 1pm (the concert is at 1pm) and there is the possibility of severe weather.  Once the storms start, it's supposed to rain the rest of the day.  Spouse may have risked it if we lived in the Syracuse area, but we don't.

But, it's all good.

We've learned from experience that you may not get what you want, but sometimes what you get is just as good, in an unexpected way.

And who knows what I'll end up doing today, instead?

Monday, August 29, 2022

Novelty Songs of the 60's and 70's #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and it's time for music!

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only-meaning at least one music video, please!)   Our head hostess is Cathy from Curious as a Cathy,  and she is joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and (last but not least) me.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so easy. All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video or your post will be subject to removal or labeling "No Music").That's all it takes!

Each month, except December, we have a guest host. For August, we welcome Adventures in Weseland for his final August guest host gig. 

His theme for this week is "You Pick". 

Last week's theme, "Songs I Heard on the Radio" was so much fun that I will continue with it, with some inspiration with one of the playlists created by a weekly contributor to Music Moves Me, John at The Sound of One Hand Typing.

How about novelty songs I heard on the radio during the 60's and 70's? Some of these may be a little dated but here goes anyway.

Let's start with a couple by Ray Stevens, who made a career out of these novelty songs:  first,  Gitzarzan, from 1969. 

Next,  "The Streak" from 1974.  Yes, people still sometimes do this, but back then, it is something that - to use a phrase not yet invented - went viral.

I wonder if children still sing this at camp?  "On Top of Spaghetti", from 1963, sung by Tom Glazer with the Do-Re-Mi Children's Chorus.

Some sage advice from 1965:  "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd", from Roger Miller. 

You may want to skip this next song (it was, after all, not played by at least one New York City music station when it became a hit in 1966) but I love it.  Another Music Moves Me blogger (John, above) had it on his playlist last Monday and it brought back memories.

What I didn't know is that the performer of this song was a genuine singer, sonwriter and music producer by the name of  Jerry Samuels.

As Napolean XIV, he wrote and sang the hit "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Haaaaa". I read that his identify was revealed (on the radio, perhaps?) by WABC DJ "Cousin Brucie" Morrow. Both WABC and another New York City rock stattion, WMCA, stopped playing it.  Samuels explains, however, that the song was about a runaway dog, and not a person with a mental health condition.  Here's the song, for your enjoyment (or, again, feel free to skip it.)

 Steve Martin is one of the all time comedic greats.  "Dull, boring and omnipresent" entered my vocabulary years ago and remains there.  This song, "Grandmother's Song" is none of them.

Let's wrap up with  a medley song by a novelty group. 

"Stars on 45 Medley" (mercifully shorted from the original title) by the Dutch novelty group Stars on 45 was a hit in 1981 but its music is of an earlier era.

And that's a wrap!

Join us again, same time, same place, for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Porchfest Preview

It's time for fun and to celebrate and it happens later today. It's time for Porchfest 2022, taking place at theAbel Bennett Tract (a historic tract on the West Side of Binghamton, New York).

What is a porchfest?  It's a neighborhood celebration of music and the arts, organized by the community.  People open up their porches to musicians, who play half hour sets.  There are vendors.  Some closed streets. This year, there will be a shuttle.  It's a massive undertaking and my congratulations go to all the hard working people who get it done every year, in the tradition of the first Porchfest, held in Ithaca, New York in 2007.

(Ithaca's Porchfest was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021, but it's back on September 25 this year.)

Our first Porchfest in Binghamton was in 2015, with 50 bands on 20 porches, and wasn't even officially sanctioned by the City of Binghamton.  Today, there will be 165 bands on 59 porches or other venues, all between (officially) noon and 7pm. It's family friendly, alcohol free (although there are restaurants serving alcohol) and best of all, FREE.  Although, contributions and purchase of T-Shirts and other merchandise is more than welcomed.

An article explaining it all.

I understand that at least 130 communities, some outside the United States, will have a Porchfest this year.

As for Binghamton, here's a sneak preview of what could be described as a large block party.  I'm not prevewing the music, which will range from hip hop to steel drum to flutes, but, rather, a couple of houses that were already decorated Saturday.

Here are some of my past Porchfest posts:

Porchfest 2021 

What Makes a Community a Community? 

Porchfest 2017 

I will have more in a few days.  In the meantime, please enjoy this preview.
Another view of the above house.
Decorations in a neighborhood yard.

Finally, a throwback to the Porchfest of 2019.  Looks inviting, doesn't it?

It's supposed to be hot and humid today, but I don't think that will stop the enjoyment.

Finally: If you are in the mood for music, join me tomorrow for Music Moves Me.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Late August Flower Surprises

I was planning to blog about flowers today, and Nature helped me with the topic.

 First, from Thursday, a zinnia at our community garden plot with a bee.  It's a thrill nowadays to see a bee and I'm happy it was enjoying the pollen of this flower.

One of my yellow Candysticks with its speckles.

Finally, an orange zinnia.

But Nature wasn't done.  My front yard flower garden had a Friday surprise for me yesterday.

Many perennials (plants that come back year after year) bloom once a year. When they are done, they are done.  There are some varieties of some perennials that will take a break after their normal bloom and "maybe" (if conditions are right) rebloom.

This year, apparently, I have four rebloomers. One is short and hard to photograph when my back is bothering me, so I won't.   The last two were purchased this year.

 I don't remember this one having the green tint earlier in the year, but it does now.

This new (to me) day lily is called Fashion Police.  When transplanting, we accidentally knocked off its flower scape.  I don't know if it's a normal rebloomer but it has a flower stalk now and this was the first one to open.

Finally, one I've had on my blog before.  New to me, we were told at the time of purchase that it might rebloom. 

Re-introducing Citrus Kick.

Nature is full of surprises.  I'm so happy to have these three bonus flowers to enjoy for the next several days as all the buds open.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Reflections Puddles and Rainbows #SkywatchFriday

August is drawing to a close, and is reminding us that fall will be with us before we know it.

So it's time to gather some memories of August.

Earlier this month, spouse and I went to a car show in Bennington, Vermont.  When I got back home and looked at my photos, I discovered I had picked up some reflections of the sky.  So, for your enjoyment, here are some of them.

I was meaning to take a picture of this hood ornament but the reflections are a bonus.

This sky reflection is like abstract art, I think.
Perfect for Bennington, which is located in the green state, this reflection shows off what may be the Green Mountains (more probably, though, it is the Taconic Mountains) on the side of the vehicle.

Let's fast forward a little, to last Saturday.  We were on our way to a local garlic fest, and stopped for a light.  This is a historic firehouse that housed a restaurant for many years.  The restaurant is no longer there, and the building is vacant (for now).  I caught a reflection of the sky in its windows.

So, today I have some good news.  We have been getting rain on and off in the past week or so.


And we have puddles again.  My spouse has been practicing taking pictures with his recently purchased iPhone SE 3rd edition. It's hard to see, but some of the blue patch of the sky is being reflected on the path.

My spouse also took this picture of an after sunset glow after a rain.  I was occupied and unable to get out there.  I think he did a nice job.

Finally, this is a rainbow he captured a little earlier on the same evening.

Joining with Yogi and other skywatchers each Friday at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Japanese Pagoda Tree #ThursdayTreeLove

There aren't too many summer flowering trees here in the Southern Tier of New York State.  Crepe myrtles don't grow here (not hardy enough, although they will survive in the New York City area.) I don't consider Rose of Sharon as a tree, although maybe one could.

Several years ago, I started to notice a tree that was blooming in late July or early August.  Many of those I saw were in locations where I couldn't easily photograph them.  But I finally did, and a friend's sister (a plant expert) identified them as Japanese Pagoda trees (Styphnolobium japonicum), a native of China.

To my delight, I saw one of these trees on the grounds of the library in Endicott, New York.  For about ten years in the 80's and 90's, I worked in Endicott in walking distance of their library, and was a frequent visitor.  I don't remember this tree.  I wonder how old it is.
Here's a closeup of the flowers, which have a slight scent.  The tree is a member of the pea family, and is a good urban tree.  At this time it isn't thought of as invasive.

Here's more about this tree.

Joining Parul at Happiness and Food for her twice a month #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Story Garden Flowers #WordlessWednesday

On August 20 I went to a garlic festival in Ross Park in Binghamton, New York.  On the same property there is a children's museum called The Discovery Center.  For several years, they've had a story garden. It's free and it's a wonderful place for both children and adults.

I've been there before but never in August.

Some pictures.

Let's go in.

A spot devoted to butterflies.

One of many mailboxes where children can leave letters to storybook characters, next to a planter of caladiums.

A hydrangea. 

How about another?

What a wonderful place to spend a few minutes, or, if you are young at heart, even longer.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Facing the Future by Remembering The Past

A heads up: this post includes some discussion of a book that takes a deep dive into COVID's affect on those who experienced the pandemic, especially in the second part of the book.  It may hit too close to home for some.  The research this author did for this book, incidentally, is outstanding. So onward to my thoughts:

A few days ago, I finished reading a book by Jodi Picault called "Wish You Were Here". It's my first book by her, and if this is like her other works, it won't be my last. (I hope the next one doesn't disappoint - I've had that happen with prolific writers).  

In a nutshell (because if I revealed the plot, it would have to contain a major spoiler), two 30-somethings, Diana and Finn, have their entire lives planned.  They will marry, buy a house, get a particular breed of dog, have two children, and visit a list of places.  Diana is an associate art specialist at a major New York City auction house.  Finn is a surgical resident at a major Manhattan hospital. 

Their careers are both on track.

Diana and Finn have purchased tickets to visit the Galapagos Islands, where Diana suspects that Finn will propose to her. It's the trip of their lifetimes.  It took them four years to save up.  They are supposed to leave in mid-March, 2020.

And then....COVID.  Everything changes, and the book is an examination of life during the first months of the pandemic from several different angles.  The book, for me, was a wrenching, emotional experience.

I had forgotten so much about those months.  Perhaps we all have, in a kind of mutually agreed on amnesia.  We don't want to remember.  We think, perhaps, that forgetting will make it easier to move on.  Or maybe we still deny it never happened.  Denial can be a type of forgetting, too.

But we need to look inward and to document our experiences.  We should ask ourselves, in that review, if our actions are making the world, or at least our neighborhood, a better place.

Are we bringing happiness to others?  Do our words, our writing, our photography, our volunteer work, our paid work, bring meaning to us?  Joy, or another positive thing, perhaps, to others?

This book stayed with me after I turned the last page. I stayed in its world.  As harrowing as what was presented could be, I didn't want to let go.

Those books are the best kinds of books.

But other things happened while I was reading the book.

Hydrangeas, Ross Park, Binghamton, 8-20-22

While I was reading the book, I read a blog post by a fellow midlife (or later) blogger, Laura, who has written candidly on her blog about various challenges in her life.  She considers some of her health challenges a gift, teaching her to look at others with compassion.  One of her latest posts bluntly discusses "What It's Like to Age Faster than my Friends".

Here is the blog post, and I invite all my readers to read and ponder it.

It seems to me (and many other people I've read) that we in the United States have become more selfish.  Less caring of our neighbors and community.  Some have turned to social media with posts and thoughts that will terrify you.

Finally, a man I went to high school with, the life partner of a friend of many years, and a man who fought his years long battle with cancer with grace and courage, would have turned 69 on Sunday.  But he passed away recently, so, instead, his birthday was marked with remembering the good man he was.

We are all granted a number, the number of breaths we will take in our individual gardens of life.  Most of us don't know that number.  But some of us do. I have been blessed by a lifetime longer than that of many people on this Earth, including my mother, and several "in real life" friends who passed in their 50's and 60's.  In a couple of years, I will be as old as my father was.  

Both my parents passed suddenly.  Here one day and gone the next. Both had health challenges that impacted their life spans.

So what am I doing with the years and health I've been blessed with?  Have I tended my garden of life?  Or is it getting overgrown with weeds, drooping in a drought brought on by not enough of the rain called self love?

We live in perilous times.  Anxious times.  But that makes self care, and finding meaning, even more important.

It may be time to reexamine our lives once again, and remember what we've been through in the pandemic times.

If we forget the past, we won't have a roadmap to the future.  History teaches us that without a roadmap, things never end well.  

What road will we choose?

Monday, August 22, 2022

Heard It On the Radio #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and it's time for music!

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only-meaning at least one music video, please!)   Our head hostess is Cathy from Curious as a Cathy,  and she is joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and (last but not least) me.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so easy. All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video or your post will be subject to removal or labeling "No Music").That's all it takes!

Each month, except December, we have a guest host. For August, we again welcome Adventures in Weseland.

His theme for this week is "Songs You Remember from the Radio".  This has been a fun post for me to put together and I hope it brings back a lot of memories for you, my dear reader.

I'm old enough to remember lots and lots of songs from the radio.  Today, I'd like to take a trip with you through my childhood and early adulthood.

I grew up in New York City.  In those days, I would carry around a transistor radio, which had terrible music quality.  But who cared?  Music videos? They didn't exist back then, although we had Dick Clark's American Bandstand on the black and white TV showing us live (or maybe taped live) performances.

Let's set the mood.

770, WABC (AM of course, because that's what we had back in the 50's and 60's) was my main station and I breathlessly waited for Tuesday evenings when the new music survey would be released.   This is a compilation of recordings from various New York City stations of the 1960's.

There was also WMCA, where The Good Guys reigned, but WMCA would not survive the advent of FM radio.  But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Some of my favorite songs are from the late 1950's and 1960's. Of course, I heard them first on the radio.

Tequila - the Champs, from 1958.

Michael, Row The Boat Ashore - the Highwaymen, from 1960.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)- The Tokens, from 1961.

Then, the times started to change.

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones, from 1964.  Oh, how we loved to listen to one particular lyric, and I think WABC censored it by cutting an entire verse from the song (I'll let you guess which one.)  Oh yes, radio censorship.  There was plenty of it.

This song wasn't censored; it was just too long for a lot of stations.  This is the whole song: Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone.

Moving ahead to 1968, length no longer seemed to matter.  "Hey Jude" by the Beatles ruled the New York airwaves. 

I think the last song I may have heard on WMCA was Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which brings us to the 1970's.

The 1970's brought FM radio, and I switched my listening to stations like WNEW-FM and WCBS-FM, until I left New York City in 1974.  Let's get some songs from the 1970's.  Again, all of these were heard first on the radio.

Angie - The Rolling Stones,from 1973.

From 1975, Black Water - the Doobie Brothers.

I've had Year of the Cat, from 1976 - Al Stewart on my blog before but it deserves to be in this post, too.  I associate this song with several long trips we took in the 1976/77 time period, and listening to this song on the car radio as the miles rolled past.

Nowadays, if I listen to radio, it's satellite radio.  It's commercial free, but I can still miss the radio of my youth and early adulthood.  Of course, satellite radio can satisfy that need, but still...

Finally, it's time to honor with RIPs to my favorite DJ's from WABC, including Dan Ingram.  Another WABC DJ of my childhood, Bruce Morrow, is still active (at the age of 86), with a four hour podcast every Saturday night.  He's made the circle back to WABC, which is no longer a music station.

Finally, RIP to the Nightbird, Alison Steele, of WNEW-FM, who died from cancer at the young age of 58.

And that is a nostalgic wrap!

Join me again next Monday for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

A Cruise-In Showstopper

For me, anyway.

At a recent cruise-in held at a supermarket in our area, I saw this car.  This is a Saturn Sky, a roadster Saturn (remember Saturn?  We actually owned one years ago) made between 2006 and 2010, according to information online.  Neither spouse nor I knew that Saturn ever made a car like this.

But not with those doors.

I couldn't get close enough (especially as it was threatening rain and we were getting ready to leave) to take a really good picture of this.    It's a bit amazing to me how some people will modify their cars, but it's definitely a mod that draws attention.

I don't go to these cruise-ins often, but when I do, I'm normally looking for classic cars (like the 1949 Cadillac I saw at this same cruise-in, and I'll get that picture out another time).  For now, I'm just amazed, knowing I have a lot to learn.

 Now, I'm in the mood for a song mentioning Saturns. Here's Brad Paisley and She's Everything.

In the mood for more music? Join me tomorrow for Music Moves Me.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Garlic Festival 2022

 We've had a garlic festival held by the American Civic Association (ACA) in Binghamton, New York, for many years.

It's a fundraiser for the Association, which has many programs to benefit immigrants, and was (sadly) the site of a 2009 mass shooting, which I've blogged about before. (No links today. I've blogged about it too many times.)

That festival even helped the community heal.

Here is a post from the 2011 festival.

This year, for the first time, the festival isn't on the grounds of the ACA but, rather, at our historic zoo.

Sad to say, the festival has been declining in recent years, and COVID didn't help matters.  The sponsors hoped the change in location would help.

Well, a lot of people showed up for the food, the entertainment, and, yes, the garlic.

I am not going to complain about the drought or the relative lack of garlic for sale (We got there an hour after it opened and vendors were already selling out) or anything else (like the lack of parking, which was a little surprising). 

I'm just going to show you the garlic.

There's a whole world of garlic out there, and it's nice to be surprised. (We bought one of these bags) 

German white is more common than some of these other varieties.

We did not pat the farmer, who sold us some Ukranian garlic.

Ah, that beautiful garlic. I could just wish there were more vendors, but it was a nice fundraiser and people were enjoying another summer day outside.

You can't go wrong with that.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Rain At Last #SkywatchFriday

Where I live in the Southern Tier of New York, it's been much drier than usual.  We've been hoping for rain but it seemed like storms were avoiding where I live.

August 15, though, clouds became more numerous.

By August 16, rain was in the forecast for the next day (August 17). Later that day, we saw a fisherman standing in the middle of the river. No surprise - we've seen geese standing in it, too, during this dry year.
Normally, this path would be lush green and overgrown so we wouldn't want to walk in it, for fear of ticks.  But now, the grass has gone dormant and even the weeds are stunted. 

Wednesday, some rains came (not pictured) and were the plants happy!  

I didn't take a picture, but by Thursday afternoon, it was looking threatening again.

First, we got a heavy, unexpected shower in early afternoon.  By about 4:30, when we went to a small cruise-in at our local supermarket, it definitely looked like rain, and we got a drizzle a few minutes later.

We'll take whatever we can get.  And yes, I'll post some cruise in pictures one of these days.

Joining Yogi and other skywatchers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Closer to the Moon Cherries

I love sweet cherries, so I was intrigued when I saw this package at the local supermarket today.

I apologize for the glare, because you can't see the name on these.  It reads "A Half Mile Closer to the Moon Premium High-Altitude Cherries".

Needless to say, the price of these cherries was at a higher altitude than the regular, further from the moon cherries the store was also selling.  I thought to myself, "just a marketing gimmick" and bought the cheaper cherries.  

Cherries are an indulgence of mine; they are imported, at this time of year, thousands of miles from where I live on the East Coast, and we have plenty of local fruit to choose from this time of year.

And, at that, a lot of people in this country are going hungry.  I'm fortunate enough to have the choice of cherries or something different.

The name continued to intrigue me, though, and I looked the brand up.  

Now, this is marketing!

Quoting from the website, "They come from Amigos orchards in Wenatchee, WA, where cherries grow at elevations of 2,600 feet above sea level and higher, or literally a half mile closer to the moon. Cherries soak up the sun during warm days to collect more sugars and restore during cool nights."

The website even has information on how to easily pit a cherry (if you want to use them in cooking, baking, or smoothies).  Or, you can use them in an improved Shirley Temple cocktail or mocktail.

Now this has me thinking.  Should I....?

What is your favorite summer fruit? 

And, does growing cherries closer to the moon really matter?

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Hummingbird on Clothesline #WordlessWednesday

I was sitting in the backyard near this hummingbird's favorite flower container when she (a female ruby throated hummingbird) came by.

She made kissing sounds at me - no, it wasn't the buzzing sound her wings make. Rather, it was a quick series of chirps.  Maybe it was a greeting, but I don't think so.  This hummer does not go to our feeder when I am in the yard.

Instead, she flew to a nearby clothesline.

I slowly lifted my iPhone while she sat there looking at me.  To my amazement she let me take her picture.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Thoughts Of The Midnight Sun

I participate in a Friday meme called Skywatch Friday.  Two weeks ago, a blogger posted a photo taken in Wales of a sunset at about 10pm.

Only once in my life did I see a sunset that late. It was many years ago, when spouse and I stayed one night in a cabin in Minnesota in early June.  And even at that, it wasn't a kind of sunset I've wanted to see all my life - the sunset of the midnight sun.

I have never seen the midnight sun.  For all I know (as I am a very nervous flyer - no, let's be honest, I'm scared to death of flying and haven't been on a plane since 1996) I never will, at least in person. Upstate New York is a long way from Iceland, or Norway, Antarctica or even Alaska.

If I had a bucket list, seeing the midnight sun would be on it.  Why?  Because light at midnight breaks a basic rule of my life.  I grew up in New York City.  I have lived in Florida, in Iowa, in Kansas, in Arkansas, and, for the past 30 plus years, upstate New York.

In all of those places, the sun rises every day.  It travels up in the sky.  Then it goes down and sets.  Then there is dark.  Rinse and repeat, 365 days a year.  It's one of those basic rules.  If the rule ever was to break, I would become scared in a primeval way.  The world has rules it's obeyed all of my life.

If I looked up at the dark sky, and the stars were all in places they didn't belong, how would I feel?  Scared, I imagine.  As a little girl, I had dreams like that.  It makes me wonder, sometimes, if I was remembering a memory fragment from a previous life.  I was very young, but I still remember the fear.  And sometimes, in those dreams, the sun wouldn't set until near midnight.  It seemed right, but also scary.  Again, why?

The sunrise/sunset daily cycle doesn't happen the same way everywhere, and I've known thatsince I was a little girl.  I think I knew it before I ever learned about "why" in elementary school science.  I knew there were places where the sun did not set during some of the year, and did not rise during some of the year.  Or, the sun did rise or set, but not long enough to matter.

I visited Alaska once. It was in September, back in the 1980's, before I developed my fear of flying. Close to the fall equinox, the day length was about the same there as in upstate New York. But the quality of the light was different, noticeably different.  It was - well, not just dimmer.  It was different.  I wasn't big into photography back then, but I may have been seeing an hours long golden hour.  Also, dusk seemed to go on for hours after the sun set.

And the flowers - the flowers!  My spouse and I saw nasturtiums with blooms practically the size of dessert plates (OK, I exaggerate) tumbling out of planters in Juneau.  I saw glaciers with ice so blue that I bought a blue topaz just to remember the color.  (We also saw banana slugs and moss covered roofs, but we won't go there).

I would love to see the Midnight Sun baseball game in Fairbanks, Alaska, one day.  I was surprised to find out how many major league baseball players played ball in Fairbanks before they went on to bigger and better things.  They all got to see the midnight sun.  The sun sets in Fairbanks on the summer solstice (it isn't far enough north for 24 hour darkness), but it never gets totally dark on the solstice.

I  hope to see that one day.  

As the days of my life grow shorter, time gets more precious.  And "one day" takes on new meaning.

I have to decide if I'm serious.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (Drought Edition) August 2022

 Before I begin, if you are looking for my Music Monday post, click here.

It's the 15th of the month, and I am joining other flower gardeners for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  We are officially in a drought in my zone 5b garden in the Southern Tier and my plants are suffering.  The warmer than normal temperatures (fortunately not as bad as some parts of our United States) hasn't helped.  Fortunately, no water restrictions - yet.

There is some good in this - the blueberry crop in our area has been fantastic, but that may be partially a function of last year's wetter than normal summer.  But, watering our community garden and the flower beds (thank you, husband) is not our favorite thing to do.

Fortunately these cardinal flowers (the first year ours have bloomed) seem to be pretty drought resistant.


One of our day lilies is still blooming but it looks like today is the last day.  This plant has large flowers and they are fragrant, too.

The last day for this one was yesterday but I am calling it "showing you anyway". If you see some water droplets on it, it wasn't from rain.

This one also finished yesterday.  Another one (one we just bought in July) is done for now but is sending up a new flower stalk.

Bachelor buttons are also doing well.  I hadn't grown them in several years but I got some free seeds and decided to go for it. 

Our hibiscus is doing just fine for now. In fact, the plant is loaded with blooms.  By the way, to any of my readers who don't think hibiscus will grow in colder climates, they can.  We don't have to take any special winter precautions, either. We even saw several in Vermont earlier this month, on a short trip.  Where we saw them was probably zone 5a but may have been a protected location. 

I wish I could say the same for our tall phlox.  I think it is giving up prematurely.  I did find one decent cluster yesterday.  The rest of them are on their way out.

My one container of lantanas has me totally puzzled.  They have stopped blooming.  I don't think we've overwatered it (I know they like being slightly stressed and we keep them on the dry side.)  This weather, including our warmer than normal temperatures, should have been perfect for them.  Thoughts? Is there a way to get them to bloom again?

Our glads barely hung on until GBBD.

Here are several petunias.  This first container, which I've shown before, is a cross between petunias and million bells.  I am more than thrilled with their performance.  This one is a keeper.

My favorite petunia color.

Finally, a small petunia assortment.  They have become my favorite flower although some varieties have to be pruned back midsummer and I never know what to expect.

Ending with a small bacopa from my hanging baskets.  These are white.

Thanks go to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly meme.  If you want to see more flowers, head on over to Carol's blog and you'll see other participating flower gardeners.