Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Little Things Please

Hi Dear Folk,

I could not get a photo of the little robins in their nest, because their nest was hidden so well.  It sat right up near the light under the eaves in the honeysuckle bush, by our back door. I cannot think of a cozier little home.  They all left a few weeks ago and Mr. B. took the nest out to have a look at it.  What a beautiful piece of work.  The inside was totally smooth, with just a little blanket of very fine loose grass at the bottom to lay the eggs on.

They would both work from sunup to sundown feeding those babies, it is a very intense time for them.  They had a pattern of entering the nest, I would sit in my white wicker chair and watch them.  First they would fly to the roof of the neighbors' house, then to a fence post, then to the shepherds crook in the garden by the nest, and then out and in at a certain angle.  I guess they have to check out everything before they enter.

These two wrought iron flower containers are almost one hundred years old I'm sure, they came with the house and used to sit on our columned patio until we filled that in and built the Simla room there.

They really need a hole or two drilled in them as they tend to fill up with water when it rains.  I have asked Mr. B. to do that but he would need to get a special drill bit and I don't think that that is going to happen any time soon.  So I have an idea of just sitting pots or even tins in there.  I saw a photo on a Japanese Blog La Vie en Rose here where this man had left the lids on old tins, opened but just peeled back and had planted plants inside, it was neat.

Dreamy days just sitting in the garden crocheting, I love that my little yarn holder has a handle, so much easier to transport around, I've noticed that some pottery ones do not.

This is a little table that I so much love, it came from my friend's estate auction, it must at least date back to the fifties or older.

There are my Eiffel Tower scissors sticking out.

One of the pots of bought at the Ollie's clearance, it makes me happy such a Moroccan blue.

This is the matching stool, or at least they painted them at the same time, and here is a little tile table, just right for a cup of tea.

Friday is a holiday this week whoop-de-do.

Take care hope your summer is good.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

100 Year Old Basement

Hi Dear Folk,

I don't know where June flew away to, but one project we have been working on is our basement.  How much can you update an almost one hundred year old basement without spending beaucoup money.

Last April 2014 we had a separate gas hot water heater put in and in October time we had a new furnace put in our other one was very old and very large and had packed up.  It was oil so we also had an oil tank, which sat under the window.  Since I was totally peeved off with having to negotiate contracts for oil delivery every year and since these did not seem to be very user friendly we decided that this would be a good time to change to natural gas, less volatile in the fluctuations in price.  Monthly billing and I think we have saved ourselves at least $1,000 per year if not more, just because the price of natural gas is cheaper and the new furnace is much more efficient.

Did I tell you the story of how the oil company, even though they knew our furnace had stopped working and we had asked them for a quote on a new oil furnace, guess what, still came and delivered a whole tank of oil, when our tank was almost empty we had run it down towards the end of the winter and knew we had to make a decision.

So big run around and fight with the oil company to not pay for that tank of oil which was way over $700.00, for them also to come and suck it out of the tank.  In the end they made us pay breach of contract $350.00 what a gyp.  My husband is too nice, personally I would not have paid it if he had not agreed to pay it and had given his word.  How can we help it if our furnace stops working.  Done with oil.

The good news being no nasty big oil tank sitting in the basement and I have a wonderful little area under the window now, so here we are.

By the way I found this delightful little lamp in the thrift, now need to find a suitable lampshade, for it.  I will sit it down here in the basement on my desk.

So we've been busy painting the walls and floor white.  This is the very wall where the oil tank sat.

Mr. B. did a ton of cleaning and scrubbing in this area with all that oil and men coming in and out, cutting up the old oil tank and disassembling the furnace, but it's nice and clean now.  Here is our new furnace and hot water heater.  The old furnace entirely covered those blocks on the floor and came up to the height of that large pipe going into the floor, it was a monster, but served it's purpose for well over fifty to sixty years, I'm sure this one won't last as long.  Compared with Europe I think boilers/furnaces are much less compact over here in the USA.

Nice clean white walls, nice clean white floor.  I love the view from this window of all the foliage it sits under my rhododendron so when I look out I see all green. The window well is surrounded in bricks and all little creeping wild flowers grow out of the brick.  I have thought of sitting some pretty pots there with ferns in, a little darker and damp in that area, they should do well.

I'm going to make this a little sewing area where I can keep my old sewing machines out and easy to get to if I want to use them.  Also have hopes of taking a long table I have and keeping that up for a cutting table, because if you have to keep maneuvering things every time you want to use the sewing machine you just don't.

You cannot really keep fabrics in the basement it is just too damp.  Although we have decided to run the dehumidifier in the summer to keep the humidity down, even though it is a little expensive to run we think it's worth it.  In the winter it is not a problem with the furnace on.

So now we come to the side of the basement that was flooded out last winter and although Mr. B. cleaned it up, it obviously still needs more sorting and a freshen up paint wise, that is what we yet have to do.  You can see the flotsam and jetsam of a basement, all that people keep in their basements, quite interesting really.

This old filing cabinet is ex army but is great because it comes in sections, that disassemble making it much easier to move around.  Many years ago I had started painting it blue but never finished the front which is still in khaki green.

So will update you when all is finished.

The garden has been somewhat neglected this past week or more, plus it has rained a lot and all things are growing profusely good and bad.

At last we did get one quote on cutting our rotting tree down.

Well that's all for now, so much more to write but no time.

Take care, wishing you all well.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pennsylvania Latitude 39 N

Hi Dear Folk,

I know MIA, action being the operative word.  Trying to fit in all those summer things, mostly gardening and just keeping up.  Also a lot of crocheted bracelets which a friend is taking with her to Estonia, more on that in another post, plus sorting and painting the basement.

Well we have had our longest day and now are heading to winter, how can that be we were just heading into summer. 

On our latitude approximately 39 N, 21st June the sun rise was at 5:32AM and sun set was at 8:33PM, our longest day light hours were 15:00 :38.  The civil twilight was from 4:39AM to 9:06PM, which all seems so short to me when you come from more northern latitudes, I feel a little gypped in summertime. 

It is especially noticeable when camping and on vacation, when you would like the summer evening light to extend way into the night, when you can drive late at night and still see things, or get up very early in the morning and still not miss any of the scenery as you drive.  When we were in Florida camping we especially noticed this because the days are even shorter, being over a thousand miles south of us.

So guess what latitude we are equivalent of, well basically the Mediterranean Sea falling between the South of France and North Africa, Morocco.  Philly is on the same latitude as Beijing, China, and London is on the same latitude as Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I do miss those long evenings of light.  Here though we almost always have heat and more often than not humidity, lots of insect noise, I do so associate that with Pennsylvania nights, along with Dairy Queen a drive up ice-cream shop, warm nights where one wanders in the garden and you just sit and listen, listen to the sounds of the summer.  People having a party in the distance, music playing at the park, sometimes fireworks going off on the weekend.  Night time driving in a convertible.

Well heading to winter but there's some summer left isn't there?


Friday, June 5, 2015

Captain JD Hills February 1915 - 1918

Hi Dear Folk,

I found this most interesting at the 100 years anniversary his letters will be posted, so for the next three years.

Captain JD Hills of the Leicestershire Regiment, wrote letters home to his family, sometimes several a day, from February 1915 to 1918. I have added a link to this Blog on my top bar.  I'm always amazed that some actually made it through that war, when of course so many didn't.  I was thinking of Vera Britain and her fiancĂ©, brother and friends, not one made it through.

The weather has been in the fifties Fahrenheit all week, although it looks better for the weekend. We did receive the much needed rain, but is always feast or famine.

I should get stuck into a big basement clean up and paint, I have to be in the right mood to tackle it after a week at work.

Busy crocheting children's hair posies and trinket bracelet as seen on Mrs Micawber's Recipe for Happiness although at the moment I can't find that particular post, they are fun to make and use up all sorts of odd earing and odd beads that you love but can't use for anything else.

Have a great weekend.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Holiday Weekend, Memorial Day

Hi Dear Folk,

The weather over the Holiday Weekend was lovely.  No plans except gardening and reading. 

Here is my garden over that weekend.  More photos of my tomb stones as Mr. B. calls them.  Excess pieces of tile which someone put out for the trash.  It has taken me several years to figure out what to do with them, but I think this is an excellent use for them.  Weather resistant and just the right size.

Mr and Mrs Robin where are you when you're needed.  I did see her go into the nest with something bright green in her beak so I know she likes them.

A few rose pictures just to remember them.

I dashed to the library after work on Friday, I had asked them to pull these books for me.  The three top ones are all on the Persephone list.  No Surrender, The Far Cry and Vain Shadow.  I started all three but found Vain Shadow the shortest and easiest to get into, so read that over the weekend.  It was just right, an easy fun read.

This book was in the clearance section for fifty cents In and Outs of The Garden by Sara Midda, here is a piece in the New York Times about her.

I love the illustrations and quotes.

Here are some blooms the Rhododendron above and a Peony below.

Another Peony.

My Climbing Hydrangea.

An extra pair of boots have been donated by Mr. B.

Jacobs Coat of Many Colors above.

I think the rose above is Miranda and below is a very old fashioned rose the same as used to grow in my garden as a child.

The Trumpet Vine is taking over and had just better flower for me, it has not done so in the past four years, and it had better do so soon, or it will be severely cut back and even if it does flower after which it will be severely cut back, they can be very invasive.  Hummingbirds love their flowers and I do too if only it would produce some.

Making use of my giant IKEA pots.

Above is my soda bottle drip water system which works very well.

I planted the tomato plant in the morning and put the frame around it, when I came back in the afternoon the grape vine had already wrapped a tendril around the top ring.  Time lapse photography would hardly had to have waited anytime at all to film that.

I do like a nice glass of Drambuie.

To end the weekend a lovely sunset.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Robert H. Truman State Park and Lucifer Falls, NY

Hi Dear Folk,

All morning on Sunday The Boys worked on projects around Rob's apartment, so in the afternoon we went out for ice-cream at Purity see here which is an Ithaca institution since 1936. Rob said you've got to go here. I opted for the waffle cone dipped in chocolate and peanuts with two scoops of ice-cream.  You might as well get the works on the waffle cones as whether plain or fancy they are all $1.00 extra.  Mr B. bought a milk shake, but I must say according to American standards they were rather small, Rob got a sundae, but I think I got the best deal, a scoop of black raspberry and a scoop of maple walnut.

So after that we went to Robert H. Trumann State Park, which is yet another gorge area, about five miles outside of Ithaca.

This is Lucifer Falls, we did wonder where the name came from.

You can enter the gorge via the bottom and walk up, or the top and walk down, we opted for the top and walked down.  Of course what goes down must come up.  We wondered at not only the gorge but all the manmade walls and walkways that just blended in so well.  No easy feat to get all that stone down there.

Just as we were on our way back it began to spit with rain and threatened a thunder shower, but although it rained just a little, we never got soaked by any means so were happy about that, as all afternoon it had been threatening. 

What a lovely end to our weekend here.

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