Friday, August 3, 2018

MIA, Thoreau

Hi Dear Folk,

I do seem to have been MIA, just all sort of lose ends to tie up.

Don't you think one should have some reading matter for such a long trip?  So besides my book on Norway, the discard from the library I have decided to read Thoreau, also a discard from the library, and since it's in paperback circa 1980 edition, should be just right for packing in my backpack.

I have never read Thoreau so it seemed the appropriate time to do so.  I have only read the first five pages and I'm already enjoying it enormously.  I would consider it an American classic along with The Scarlet Letter.  If you have never read The Scarlet Letter you really must, especially if you are an American.  My goodness that is a very potent piece of writing.

Thoreau says.

"Men have an indistinct notion that is they keep up this activity of joint stocks and spades long enough all will at length ride somewhere, in next to no time, and for nothing:  but though a crowd rushes to the depot, and the conductor shouts 'All aboard!'  when the smoke has blown away and the vapor condensed, it will be perceived that a few are riding, but the rest are run over- and it will be called, and will be, a melancholy accident.'"

Doesn't that remind you of your 401K plan?

Here are my prairie bonnets, I just fell in love with the name.  One thinks of Little House on The Prairie, and settler bonnets just when you say the name.

They love all this rain, every day we have a rain storm.

My old lady seventeen this month.  When you look at her closely you can see she's getting older, but as my son says she did catch a mouse this week, so she's not so feeble.

All my cats live to quite an age and we have come to the conclusion it is because we let them outside in the garden.  They get a lot more exercise and it stimulates their brains.  I remember Tinkerbell the Himalayan, used to do circuits of the house and check out anything that was new.

I had to make a few returns today, one being to the dreaded Walmart, yes the line was yet again a mile long and there dangled a sign to insight me to riot, "Fast Service" really?  Take that sign down.  I get right to the front and my customer service person had to leave.

I did have interesting company though.  In front of me stood two black ladies, I at first thought they were friends and were there together, but it just turned out they were in line like me.  The one lady started to talk about her husband, how he always phones and checks to see how she is.  She said and what's more he's Jewish.  We've been married since the seventies.  The other lady said she'd been married 38 years and I didn't get to say how many years I'd been married.

The one lady married to the Jewish man, said he doesn't do a stroke of house work, but makes lots of money.  She said Jewish men don't clean.  Well I had to say something since a best friend I have Martin, who I've known since I was eighteen is Jewish and he even had a cleaning business at one time, and does clean, so I did mention this.  She said her son didn't do a stroke and was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  It seems her husband's family have had a bar in Mt Airy area for well over 60 years.

She showed us a picture of her son, and we said he was a good looking boy, and she said she'd had him at 40 and was an only child, in turn I said I had my one and only at 40, then she said do you know I'm 82, well she looked about 72, I've always looked young for my age. She proceeded to show us photos of herself at 38 and her son.  She said he was born looking quite white and people thought I was the maid, although as he grew up his features were like mine, so people then knew he was my son.

She said I asked my husband why he married me?  And he said to look after me and so that I could live in the way I should.

It's amazing what people tell you.  She did forget her keys on the counter, and when I looked at them they were to a new Cadillac.  The line did seem to go quicker than usual.

Counting down now, up, up and away on Sunday.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Too Much Rain In A Year of Fires and Droughts

Hi Dear Folk,

We have had so much rain, and really weird rain at that, one minute sunny, next minute clouds and squalling rain and then again back to sun.  My garden loves it, but I can't sit out in it, because no sooner do you comfortably get set up and then a shower comes through.  Humidity has been up there.

It has rained so much the basement has sprung a leak.  We had a French drain and sump pump put in within the first year of buying this house and that has worked well until this year, and all of a sudden water is coming in from a different area and we again have puddles of water in the basement.  In fact that's where I've been with Mr. B.  clearing things away from that area and sorting yet again.  The basement must be the most sorted place in this house, it always seems to need doing.

Now The Boy is pretty much taking over the garage, not completely, but still, I shall expect certain things moved out of my basement, although he says his summer tires and wheels have to stay in the basement, at the moment the winter set are there, because they must not get too cold. OK!!!

I'm hoping all bike paraphernalia, all sorts of tools he uses will be moved to the work bench in the garage.  Along with oil, spray cans and other items.  But I do feel good as to what we accomplished today.  Slowly, slowly it's all being down sized.

I don't think that my garden has been as lush as this in the middle of summer for a long while.  It's all the rain and heat.  These tomatoes are growing in one of my giant blue ceramic pots, near to the kitchen.  I feel that I will be going away at the wrong time to harvest all this, but the Mr. can.

Love these Chinese cabbage and they taste good.  I think they definitely thrive off this rain.


Plum tomatoes and broccoli.

Norwegian Blue Spruce.

These tomatoes seeded themselves and just have grown overnight.

My mandevilla which I wintered over.


Part 3 Little Engine Used to Churn Ice Cream

This engine was built by the women of the "Rosie the Riveter" group in Chicago, during WWII at the International Harvester Plant.  It has no brass or copper since they were all used for munitions for the war effort.

It was shipped to Sough Georgia, where it pumped water for more than fifty years.

The timber is central Florida swamp wood.  Wheels from an old saw mill, and churns from white Mountain, New Hampshire.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Part 1 Little Engines Used on Pennsylvania Farms

I have just figured out how to download video from my new camera, it seems that Apple is not totally compatible with it.  On my old Sony camera the videos just automatically downloaded with my photos into Apple photo.

This is one of the little engines we saw at the Kutztown Folk Festival, you connect them with a belt and they will run anything.  Churn your ice-cream, husk corn, run you washing machine, grind your wheat to make flour.

I love the consistent little chugging sound.


Monday Mania

Hi Dear Folk,

I started at 6:30 am and haven't stopped since, well maybe a very short break mid day after taking a shower and laying on the bed in the AC.

If one could have two hundred percent humidity then it would be that.  It's only 84F but the humidity is terrible it's like living in the Amazon Jungle.  Today almost every half hour the weather has alternated between, sun, wind and squally showers.

Mr. B. and I have been working our little touches off in the garage, you would think we would be done, but no there is much more to do.  Mice may be cute, but not up in the rafters with their nests.

I started off my day in the basement, let me preface that 1920's basement.  Cleaned up under the old double sink, scrubbed the floor in that area and washed the rugs, dried them and put them back down.

I emptied the dehumidifier and cranked that up to the highest setting hoping to get a little coolness down there.  The catch basin fills up in about eight hours.

Out to the garage with Mr. B. power washed two trash cans and cleaned them out, after I emptied out all the wood and leaves The Boy put in them from a bough he cut off the apple tree.  I added these to the ever growing kindling pile which now is as tall as me.  We have decided to cut the apple tree down altogether, the squirrels eat every apple off the tree before they ever ripen.  In over ten years I have yet to eat an apple off the tree.  It's in a corner by the garage car door and we need the area really to put the trash cans on, so we do not have to leave them in the garage.  We may pave this over, and leave a strip near the fence to plant sunflowers, one they are tall, and two it is a very sunny area there and I think they would do well.  Rob says he will cut the rest of the tree down.  Apple wood is good to burn, although it's not a huge tree.

Our next yard sale will be a clear out of the basement and I'm hoping to do that in October, we will see.

Ran to the shop to buy a couple of things I need for my trip.  I have two suitcases laying open in my sitting room, with things in them, just staging everything ready to pack.  When The Boy was at college I used his room but can't now.

Yesterday I got the ironing board out, got a dress and a top washed and ironed ready to go.  Of course everything is everywhere in that room and it's driving me crazy.  I guess my previous trips were for two weeks and not two months, so it was a little easier.

I have one suitcase with four wheels on, but went back to my older suitcases for the second one, with only the two wheels on.  I decided to use the medium one, I didn't fancy hefting around the larger one, along with the one I already have.  The two I'm taking are of a similar size.  I am able to take two suitcases because I upgraded my seating, I think it's one inch wider and a little more legroom, but the second suitcase will come in handy.

I just hope I don't meet the same bus driver I ran into a couple of years ago, who was I will just say from central Europe and a nasty bully.  I catch the bus from Heathrow to Cambridge and then the local bus to my sister's town.  Most of the bus drivers have been very nice.

After going to the shops, back to the garage to sort out old records, all Mr. B's dads.  Now that we do have a record player and I have more time, I do really want to keep some.  A couple got sold off in the yard sale and one was an old 45rpm I really wanted to keep, Troglodyte Cave Man, it was a fun record, such is life.

Here is the handbag I bought, Italian leather. The smell is heavenly, love the smell of good leather and I like the bright, summer flowers.  Trying to take a bag that goes with everything would be hopeless, so taking a bag that is bright and fun and goes with nothing is fine.

As you can see I love Italian leather, and had a few other items already.

Cosmetic case with hummingbirds on, such a flighty design.  Also two cases in more autumnal colours, which I have packed away here with my journals, pens, pencils and paints.

I bought the canvas bag at Harbor Freight, $10.00 great for holding all these items.

It was cooler over the weekend, well kind of up and down with torrential rain, showers and the humidity.  I did get those two jackets and a coat that I bought at the thrift on sale, all put away and the repairs all done.  The navy blue cashmere jacket needed a military style gold button, I found an odd one in my button tin and it suits quite well.

I also hand stitched all the lining around the sleeve ends on the swing jacket.  This is homemade, in a hounds tooth black and white check, really well made, but the hand stitching was terrible, so undid that and hand stitched it all over again, nice neat job now.

Another hand made item, a sixties black swing cape, in a faux black lamb, cannot remember the name, astrakhan, just came to me, also needed a repair around the attached scarf and that is done.  It's that true sixties style with the slit openings for your arms, three buttons and an attached scarf.  Bought that at a thrift for $6.00 but did need sending to the cleaners to get rid of the cigarette smell, but is great now.

Time to catch up on my journal, it is at least a week behind, but my blog may help me a bit.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Colours of The Twenties and Danish Oiled Table

Hi Dear Folk,

What a beautiful day, 87F with low humidity, my perfect summer day, blue skies to boot.

Why does honeysuckle always smell more fragrant at night?  It does you know!

I baked some little cakes and added some older blueberries that needed using.  Also made some larger ones wrapped and ready for lunches.

We sold our first house to a friend and one of the things he said he liked about the house was the colour of the trim.  It reminded him of his families farm house in northern Vermont, Island Pond.  It was a trim colour we had painted in one of the rooms.  But in having lived in a couple of 1920's houses and having found this paint colour under other layers of paint, I think it was a very popular colour in the twenties and thirties.  Also it might have influenced me in buying this china muffin pan.  The green was often set off with cream.


Not sure if these little garden side tables are from the twenties or thirties, but I think they could be.

Lovely slow morning on the kitchen patio, coffee, reading and communing with Miss Tupp.

I have at last sanded the top of this table I want to put out on the Oak Tree Patio.  It's a nice piece of solid wood.  Mr.B.  must have found this table in the trash, it's been in the garage for ever.

I have added three coats of Danish Oil in medium walnut, now need to fine sand it and add three more coats and do this yet another time, so nine coats altogether and should be good, I hope to withstand water.

I'm not going to bother about the base for now, maybe another year.


PS:  My son made me laugh this evening.  Every so often we will hear these crazy cries and sentences from our next door neighbors son, Rob said "Mum they remind me of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  Every time you hear him think of that and you will laugh"  Sure enough he sounds just like Jack Nicholson in that movie.

These are the neighbors with Kruger the senile pitbull, who never stops barking.  Who is well past his time of when he should pop his clogs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ticking off Boxes

Hi Dear Folk,

I woke up this morning feeling quite light headed, I honestly think it's the terrible heat we've been having and humidity.  I spent the entire morning in my bedroom sorting things out, because that's where the AC is.  Working out what clothes to take for my trip.  It's hard to think of cooler or even cold weather clothing when it's 95F and even a heat wave in UK, but I must be prepared.  I think the average temp in Bergen is around 60F in September and it rains for two thirds of the year.

Now a storm is crashing through, with thunder, lightening and torrential rains, that should cool it off for a bit and the garden always benefits from the rain.  I heard a crash and it was my bouquet of flowers that fell off the table, never mind.  It is so dark now and it's only 3:30 pm.

I even found a bag of shoes that had become mislaid and sorted out a few things for the thrift.  When your closets are the size of a peanut it's hard to keep track of everything.  Came downstairs and made a shepherd's pie, with mince, onion, left over corn and some Chinese cabbage.  Should go down well now it's cooler.

I did find a handbag for my trip, I think I will like it, not to big, but big enough to hold my camera.  It's Italian leather and has that wonderful leather smell.  I got it at Clothes Mentor.  Nice long shoulder strap so I can wear it across my body.

It seems that the ship we are on the Astoria, is the oldest ship in the world still cruising, and is the smallest ship out of the UK.  I like small I'm not into those mega behemoths that ply the oceans.  Will be interesting to see a cruise ship from the forties, although revamped in 2015.

Now it's cooler I'll get my other fingerless mitten finished that matches the green and blue shawl and beret.

Well must go Mr.B. is home early and need to get some cheese on top of the pie and put under the

Sunset in Suffolk, near my sister's house.


ASTORIA | Spectacular amazing aerial views of worlds oldest cruise ship ...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Flam Railway Norway

Happy Decisions

Hi Dear Folk,

It's been a week of gathering.  All of a sudden it loomed that my trip to the UK is not far off, and many things needed to be gathered together.  When I go on a trip I like to find a place where I can put all the items I will need to take.  I also make lists, it seems to calm my brain.

But first just a few things this week.  This was a dress that I thrifted last year and it was too big in the top, first I was going to put darts in, then thought to take the skirt off and make a skirt.  But after looking at it my first ideas was the best.  I put two darts in the front, two darts under each arm, and four darts in the back, two either side of the zip.  These were very small hand stitched darts and they pulled it in just the right amount.  I like it now.

The marble topped outside bar counter.

Drying out my lovely bouquet to make it live a little longer.  I love it outside.  I sit on the Pond Patio and there it sits, and brings me joy.

I worked on these IKEA cushions.  They were quite cheap and I use them on my outside sofa.  They needed a nice wash after having sat in the garage all those years.  One opened up in the washing machine, so had to gather all the stuffing and sew it up.  In fact they almost all needed some sewing and the buttons added to pull them in again as all the stitching had come undone.  That's when your glad you keep all your old buttons.

I don't think I mentioned this a few weeks ago a form was left in my front door, did I want to enter in for the Borough garden contest, and I thought I might as well, since I'm gardening in any case.  Last Wednesday was the judging, there are several categories and I won third place in the back garden category, not bad.  They will have a slide show presentation of all the gardens at their Garden Club Meeting in September, but I will be in Europe.

My Miss Tupp.

Using my new walnut spatula, we got at the Kutztown Folk Festival.

I am so excited about my trip to England and Norway, but also feeling over whelmed and when that happens I know I must not procrastinate, but just get stuck in and get things done.

First we had to make a few decisions about our cruise to Norway, did we want to buy any additional packages and did we want to take any side trips at the ports of call.  These can be quite expensive, we opted for one onboard package, which included remuneration and since we would tip in any case, it seemed to make sense to do this, some other perks come with the package.  A port of call side trip we decided to take is the Flam Railroad, all the other ports of call we will use local transport and do our own thing.

For the cruise I had to get travel insurance, it was one of the requirements.  I can't say I've ever bothered with this, I guess all these years I've being flying by the seat of my pants, so this was a new experience for me and not cheap.  I called around four different places and found what I hope is good, if I have to use it.  It seems to be much cheaper in the UK for travel insurance.  So glad that is done.

I went to my local library to pick up some travel books on Norway, there were not many for some reason, even the librarian acknowledged this.  He said he thought he had some older editions in the discard area and I said would I be able to keep them.  Next day he phoned me and said he had one on Norway and one on Scandinavia for me to keep.  That is great because I can just take out the pages I need.

Rob has bought me online two batteries and a charger for my camera.  The other thing I need to do is to order cash, sterling euros and kroner, then besides the packing, I'll have it together.  Got to work the handbag thing out.

I have a journal I bought in Bury St Edmunds at Paperchase several years ago, it has all sorts of pockets and artwork of London on the front, so I think I'm going to use this and maybe a separate one for my trip to Norway, decisions, decisions, but all fun.

Well must go lots to do.

Have a wonderful weekend.


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