Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29 2015

It's officially over 100 today (102 to be exact) and it seems only the insects are enjoying the heat.  So here are some random shots of butterflies, Echinacea and black-eyed susans to brighten your day.  And yes, I am a little bit obsessed with the butterflies, as you can see.

As for me, the hydrangea and the neighbor cats, we're all remembering fondly the very cool weather of just a week ago, and at least the cats and I are staying close to the A.C.

Hope all goes well there..

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19 2015

It's been quite a while since I've posted - over a year.  I guess time does fly whether I'm watching it or not.  In the depths of the past winter, I could harly believe ANY temperature would ever seem too hot again.  But of course now that the snow is just a distant memory, and even the seven story snowpile in Boston has finally melted, today's 95+ degrees with humidity about the same has indeed hit the "too hot" button for me. While most of the flowers and vegetables remain as confused as I (very cold all May and June and acutally July until yesterday), we have had a good crop of cilantro, harvested a dozen or more decent garlic bulbs, are starting to get really tasty cucumbers, and have had intermittant strawberries for a few weeks.  Alas, the tomatos and peppers are not having fun yet, as they prefer many days like today.  Perhaps they're yet to come...

For your viewing pleasure, here are some summer color shots - at last!  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16 2014

Valentines' Day in the frozen tundra - Here's what our celebration looked like: two home-made cards (guess which one is the calligrapher's), box of chocolates, and Brian made my very favorite soup, cream of zucchini. Simple pleasures - plus the power did not blow out as everyone anticipated.

And while all that was happening indoors, here's a taste of what was going on outdoors: Icicles growing daily, mounds of snow everywhere, and visible evidence we declined to take the latest suggestion to shovel our roofs - Brian had more than enough to do just to dig out to the car and generator.

This last round of storms has been so brutal there really isn't much time or energy to do much else other than try to stay ahead of the next round. Brian does the shovelling, I do the woodstove cleaning, laying the fires, and making huge batches of bean,barley and vegetable soup, something easily microwaveable for the inevitable outage when we can run the generator, but alas, not the stove or the computer. So far we've been able to get to where we had to when we had to, and nobody's lost any weight, so we're good.

My best news for last: another successful adoption in which I took a small part. I got to do the home visit for little Sammy, to make sure he was going to loving folks in a reasonable place. Lucky dog - they have 3/4 acres of fenced yard for him to play in, and were so taken with him when they drove out to his foster family to meet, the deal was sealed right there and he went home with them. Oddly enough, both husband and wife work where one of my former calligraphy students works, so I not only got great reports from them, but a back channel confirmation that they are boring everyone at work with stories of their great new family member. Best part of rescue..

And that's it from here. Hope all goes well wherever you are, and that spring finds us all REALLY SOON!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9 2014

Starting the New Year with plenty of winter scenes for our friends NOT living through it. It's been a wild ride so far, down to many degrees below zero, back up to the high 40s, then back down again to even more degrees below zero. It's pretty, I admit, but only if there's no need to go out and actually deal with it. Here are some snow shots and my best attempts at capturing the really beautiful frost patterns on the porch windows (again, disclaimer, not the best photographer).

There's very little left of the summer gardens, after all the precipitation and wind and temperature swings all my green buddies have either given up or gone underground. But as an antidote to the already seemingly endless winter, I've sprouted some arugula seeds on a windowsill and am hoping to be able to get a few leaves for sandwiches some day soon. We shall see.. In any case, even windowsill gardening seems better than no gardening at all.

The bluebirds cleared the berry bushes before the first big chill, and I haven't seen them since. I hope they are somewhere safe and warm. Thus far I have successfully resisted the impulse to make tiny parkas for the birds, it's just so hard to believe such delicate looking creatures can make it through these brutal winters.

And that is all the news I have at present. I hope things are milder wherever you are, and that 2014 brings good things to all - we can always hope, anyway. Be well!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15 2013

We have in fact survived the third storm in a week. The difference is that this one actually brought quite a bit of snow (about 8") to us, while the others just left some ice and a few pockets of white. It's definitely winter here - but I see from our friends in Jerusalem that they had quite a snowfall too! I assume it can't be a bad thing to be in sync with Jerusalem in any way.

One of the most cheering things in this snowy and usually grey time is the sight of the bluebirds flashing by. I'm amazed that such delicate, small beings can apparently do so well in such harsh weather. Since our friend Jerry gave Brian a custom-built bluebird house for his seventieth birthday, I do believe they've been around a lot more.
As you can see, this is a three story affair, and seems to have a lot more appeal to them than the single family houses we inherited when we bought the house. I have seen nests in the small birdhouses, but never seen a bluebird anywhere near them. Any thoughts from the realtors out there? I've tried several times to get decent shots of the bluebirds on their favorite berry bush, as they are there most every day and come in groups of about five or six. But alas, the flash predictably scares them off, and shooting through a window without doesn't get much. Here's the best one the lot - can you find the birds? There are three altogether here, too bad that brilliant blue can't be captured (at least by me!).

Last month we had the nicest surprise: a visit from most of the Palmer family. Bob, Maia and Felicia were on their way to a family bat mitzvah in CT and were kind enough to drop by. What a wonderful afternoon, I hated to see them go. We are so lucky to have such wonderful (and faithful!) friends, seventeen years after leaving SB and now in our tenth year (of our alleged five year plan) here in NY state.

On the calligraphy front, my two remaining students and I went to an event at OCCC, a demonstration of brush calligraphy. All I had to hear was the demonstrator was going to use a brush the size of a mop, and I was there! Here's what that looked like:

And from the students themselves, finally finished with the Uncial alphabet:
Marilyn is realy proud (rightfully so!) of her final project. Barb is promising to get one done soon... Good thing I am not an authoritarian type of teacher, I've been awaiting Barb's final projects for several alphabets now.

And as for me, other than keeping up with the class, I did get my newest great-nephew's "welcome" calligraphy done, before he was ready to start school.

Of garden news there is nothing, as even the hardy kale is covered over with snow. We may see it again in the spring but it's hard to tell. And in the dog world, I am happy to report that American Brittany Rescue has placed over 400 dogs in permanent homes this year. But I've had very little to do with that other than helping with the paperwork. Much as I miss Sadie (and I surely do) I am a bit relieved not to have anyone else's legs and feet to worry about in the snow. Come spring when it's just mud and muck, I'll be ready to foster again (I think). Untill then, it's just Brian and I here, keeping an eye on the weather constantly and always really, really glad when a storm like this last one doesn't blow our power out. Happy, happy, merry, merry...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3 2013

It's hard to believe that a year ago we were still reeling from Hurricane Sandy. What a difference a year makes - as on October 28, a year to the day that Sandy struck, my niece Kim presented us with our newest family member. Brady Marshall Miller entered into the world amidst great rejoicing all around. And the very next day, Mom was taken to meet what we're told is the last of her great-grandchildren. They look really glad to finally meet each other, don't you agree?

And interesting to me, at least, is the fact that this little boy will be named in Hebrew for my father, as was Kim and Brian's first son, Cameron, five years ago. As this is the centennial of my Dad's birth, I thought of all the conversations he and I had over the years about his having no sons (I was supposed to be the son!)and how it bothered him that there would be no one to carry his name forward in the klal. My Dad was nothing if not traditional. I'd like to think that he's really pleased that despite being an only son, and having no sons, his name and of course his legacy is very much present in these two little boys. Time will only tell about Brady, but Cameron has proved me right. I thought when I saw his birth photo there was something of Dad there, but couldn't get much agreement. But now that he's very verbal and unstoppably mobile, his sense of humor, and especially his inexplicable "New York" accent on some words, has gotten me more agreement. Fascinating to see the generations unfold.

Back here we are gearing up (gearing down?) for winter. The big pumpkin that I posted a while back with Hyla and Ayro standing next to it has been harvested and provided enough pumpkin puree for 18 pies! Brian is so happy, as pumpkin pie is among the very few desserts I won't eat. He will have all of them for himself. Here's the happy chef in process. And if anyone out there has had pumpkin experience, I'd love to know why we had HUGE vines and leaves, but only 5 pumpkins total. And two of those, when they were bright orange and just about ready to harvest, deflated like punctured tires, leaving behind a rather vile smelling pool of liquid. Halloween early trick? I can't figure it out...

And finally, a belated series of Halloween shots from a happy grandpa in New York City.