Friday, June 29, 2012


It's going to be a hot one today! Temps are supposed to climb to 105F and a good portion of the east coast will also be dealing with temperatures over 100F. It's going to be downright dangerous to be out and about if one doesn't take proper precautions. I will be spending the afternoon and evening at work, but if I were off today I would close the blinds, turn up the a/c, and stay inside! Heat like this, with high humidity, is no joke.

Stay cool, all my friends here on the east coast of the USA. Summer is here and it's not playing around!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summertime reads

There is nothing quite like summer reading. For practically my whole life (at least 30 years of it!) it's been a summer tradition to spend as much time as possible with my nose buried in a book. I'm not sure where this love of reading came from--no one in my family liked to read except me--but it's made my life immeasurably better and richer. Although I still live within 30 miles of where I was born, I've always felt like a citizen of the world thanks to the other lives I've lived vicariously through books.

So far this summer I have been on a journey through the seven kingdoms of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series. I'm somewhat surprised at how much I'm loving these books, given that I'm not normally a huge fan of fantasy fiction. Actually, I do seem to be reading more books in this genre lately. I guess there are some perks to working in a bookstore (even a corporate giant bookstore), one of which is getting exposed to genres and authors that I would normally pass on.

I'm glad I decided to give these books a try. The plot is exciting and keeps you guessing, the scenes are rich with vivid detail, and the characters are easy to either love or hate. There are kings, usurpers, and smallfolk, ladies and whores and treacherous friends, poisonings and beheadings and chivalry, and dragons! Summers can last for decades, but so can winters and darkness and cold. Wars are raging, houses are fighting for control of the realm, and winter is coming...

I love this series. It's a total escape to another world. Today is sunny and cool, perfect for lounging around in the hammock with A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in the series. I just got a copy yesterday. It's exciting to have a new book to enjoy on my day off!

  What are you reading this summer?

Friday, June 22, 2012

And finally, fireflies

Last night on our regular stroll around the neighborhood, we saw the first fireflies of the summer! I was beginning to wonder why we had not seen any yet. It seems well past time. Possibly there aren't as many in town. We lived in the country for awhile, on 14 acres with a pond, and we saw lots of them in those days. It seems like they normally show up earlier in the year, too, but I'd have to check back through my handwritten journals to confirm that. I was beginning to wonder when they would show up!

Anyway, nothing says "summer" to me quite like these wee little living torches.

The world is full of wonders, both great and small.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Solstice

Summer, then, is something earthy, in no sense celestial, and the occasion we call the summer solstice is one of those astronomical incidents that have no effect whatever on the growth of a corn crop or a carrot in the kitchen garden....So a passing wave to the summer solstice while we go about our summer business, as we have been doing almost a month now.
Hal Borland

Happy Summer Solstice to all! We've definitely been about the business of summer for awhile now at my house!  It's been a cool, rainy one this year, although in the past week it's suddenly turned hotter and there has been no rain for over a week now. Still, everything is unusually fresh and green and growing for this point in the year, and I am grateful for the outstanding weather we've had so far. It still hasn't turned unbearably hot or dry.

Several of the young trees in our yard are growing fast and absolutely flourishing this year. Our blueberries are fatter than usual and juicy.The lavender and rosemary plants have turned into small hedges, and I have fat buds forming on my stargazer lilies. The grass in my (barely cared for) backyard is lush and soft from all the rain, perfect for walking around barefoot.  Young fledgling birds crowd the feeders each day, and a big resident squirrel family crowd around underneath, and keep one eye peeled for Ginger. One of her biggest joys in life is charging out of the garage and sending all the squirrels racing up trees and fences in a big frantic burst! Of course, they stay nearby and wait for her to disappear back into her lair. Then they're right back to their constant grazing. We have the fattest squirrels in the neighborhood!

It's a good point in time on the great wheel of the year.  I'm loving every minute of it.

Friday, June 15, 2012


It is a beautiful morning here in my little corner of the world! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the humidity is low, and the world is full of green growing things.

And we have blueberries!!!

Loads and loads of big fat berries nearly bursting with juice (thanks to all the rain we've gotten this year) are ripening quickly. Our friends are making dates to come berry picking. Our families, too. Just this morning I went out at dawn and picked a quart of the biggest, juiciest berries I could find and sent them to the family of GB's doctor friend. He's going to their house to service their aquarium today (which is how he became friends with them). We can never thank the husband enough for all the wonderful care he gave/arranged/oversaw for GB while he was so ill.......but his wife and kids love blueberries, so blueberries they shall have in abundance!

 Everyone else has to come pick their own, though :)

We have only been eating the berries fresh so far. I'm thinking that a dinner of blueberry pancakes, accompanied by real maple syrup and spicy pork sausage, is in our very near future! It's my favorite way to serve fresh blueberries. Followed closely by my grandma's blueberry cobbler.

Pictures and recipes to come!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The twelth of June

Today is my wedding anniversary.

Six years ago today GB and I got up at dawn, drove to a nearby courthouse, and were married by a notary at 8am. We exchanged vows in front of a fountain, which came on and splashed us just as he put my wedding ring on! It was funny and sweet, and afterwards we drove to the coast and camped at Huntington Beach state park. It was a lovely vacation spent on the beach, by the marsh, and wandering through the nearby sculpture garden. Huntington Beach and Brookgreen Gardens will always be two of my favorite spots on the face of the earth. A week later, we came home and announced our marriage to our family and friends--yes, we eloped! Everyone was so surprised!

It has been a good six years. Many things have changed, and we've been through lots of joys and trials, but we're still happy and in love. I can heartily recommend marrying your best friend--it was the best decision I ever made!

Happy Anniversary, my love. May we celebrate many, many more happy years together. I would marry you all over again!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Flower Mandalas

Recently two blogs that I read inspired me to create a flower mandala from free things I could collect in my backyard. Thanks to Lunaea and also Joanna for the lovely idea! My mandala is not nearly as beautiful as theirs, but I had fun creating it! It started to rain as I collected and arranged my materials, and you can see the raindrops on the petals. I really enjoyed making this and would like to do it again soon with other things I can collect on my daily walks.

My midsummer flower mandala:

Friday, June 1, 2012

A morning in June

It's a beautiful, warm, sunny morning. Everything is lush and green and full of life outside my window. The fledgling sparrows are all over the bird feeders, young squirrels are on tiptoe underneath snatching seed (with one wary eye on Ginger the whole while) and scores of bees are cavorting in lavender blossoms. The blueberries are hanging heavy on the bushes, and are just beginning to turn a pale, faint blue. The copious amounts of rain we've received this year are filling out the walnuts in our trees, and this may be the year we finally have a nut harvest. Another sunflower has bloomed next to one of the bird feeders, and stands a proud 5 feet tall, overlooking the herb patch. The neighborhood smells of lemony magnolia flowers, large as dinner plates and opening in dozens of trees; gardenias, and freshly cut grass.

  In short, it's a wonderful morning!

And best of all, GB has been feeling better and better. So much better, in fact, that he is off for the very first time this morning at one of his aquarium maintenance jobs. This is his first day going to work since December. I am so proud of him! And finally, there is the beginning of a feeling of hope inside me that finally, finally, things may be getting better and back to normal for us. 

Welcome, June!

Fiery daylilies blooming in the backyard this morning.