Friday, June 22, 2007

June in PA

Just thought I'd share a few pictures of the lushness that is June here in PA.

The first picture to the left is our driveway. I think in the spring, I posted a picture of the tulips & daffodils lining it. Well, by June, the bulbs have all gone and day lilies have taken their place.

We love to make the day lily buds into a delectable stir fry with a little ginger and sesame - yum!

If you followed the saga last year of the gourd arbor, you may remember this structure.

This year, we decided, with the cost of vegetables soaring, to do something a little more practical with it.

Toward the front are tomatoes, in the middle are sugar snap peas and on the other side are more tomatoes and some great Italian beans.

The vine in the very front is a passion flower vine. This isn't for eating, but just for "pretty". The blooms are so intricate and gorgeous that they look like they are artificial, or perhaps just alien!

You can see that the sugar peas are ready for picking. We had a meal or two already with the Italian beans. They are so hearty - we just love them.

And there is definitely something different about the food you grow yourself.

Picking beans just before putting them in the pot means none of the natural sugars are lost. I was surprised that they actually had a sweet taste. Can't wait to try the sugar peas tonight.

Finally, here's the sight that greets me each morning as I wander out to the soap/jewelry studio.

It is apparently irresistible to hummingbirds. I'm not sure it all shows, but I love the crazy mixture of reds, pinks, hot pinks, oranges and yellows with a little shot of light blue.

The most easily identifiable red flower is Monarda or Bee Balm. A few lingering pink climbing roses are on the right. The light blue is flax and the yellow is a Stella d'Oro day lily. The dark blue spikes in the right are meadow sage.

I try to plan it each year and add something here or there. I always forget what is already in the garden and somehowit all goes together. Some years the monarda take over and some years the calendula, which you can't really see yet will hold sway. They aren't done with their battle yet, but it always ends beautifully.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Working my way back

Sorry I've been so lax on the blogfront. If you read my last post, you know we are dealing with some changes in our life. Bob is getting better - a little each day, although he has his ups and downs. And I could regale you with tales of the new foods we are trying - or twists on old foods. We have switched fromm butter to Smart Balance and you won't be seeing red meat on our table for some time. Lots of veggies and fruits. We're actually finding that we enjoy this food better. (Well, at least that's what we're telling each other!)

Meanwhile, soapmaking goes on and orders come in and go out. We've started making a lot of lotion sticks - the Bug Off! one seems to be catching on along with the fragranced ones. Also, the Extra Essential lip balm seems to be leading the pack in the lip balm department. I posted a picture of the two new products to the left.

I've not been making beads but hope to get back to the torch soon before my re-learning curve becomes too steep. I did put some new bracelets together and hope to get the website updated soon. Don;t have any pictures of them yet.

I think it's a good indication of my preoccupation with personal stuff that I was looking forward to a class last night on soldering but only remembered after the class was half over, so I missed it. Luckily, the second half of the class is next week and I actually had learned this skill many years ago when I took jewelry making classes in college, so this is sort of a refresher course for me.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Who said that?

What's that saying? Oh yeah, "Life is what happens while we are making other plans."

I was looking at my calendar and seeing a little area starting to clear in June and July - not a lot, but there was hope for a little slack. I'm not complaining, mind you. This is my own doing, but we just seemed to be overbooked for the past couple of months.

Then, life threw us a real curve ball. My DH, Bob apparently suffered a "small stroke". He spent a few days in the hospital and has been home since Sunday with very little actual residual effects other than a halting speech pattern and a right arm that has been a problem for quite some time - now we know what was happening with it. The prognosis is good - a full recovery is expected, but wow.

I chose a couple of my favorite pictures - wish they were clearer, but the top one is Bob in the middle of a sculpture in Barcelona - near where the Olympics were held there. It is a picture I especially like because it is who Bob is. Joyful, loving, playful, and in that picture, so relaxed and happy....

The second one - to the left was taken in Mexico at the top of a pyramid. We went there 3 years ago to celebrate Rob graduating from high school and while I waited at the bottom, and against Bob's better judgement, the two of them climbed every pyramid in sight. (He's such a good dad!)

I believe we have reevaluated our priorities. No more smoking, we're eating healthy and everything goes on the back burner until my guy is back to full steam. Another crisis in our life that serves to make us "pull the wagons in a circle". We are so lucky that has always been our response. I guess that's what marriage is all about.

Somewhere along the line, the shelves that were groaning with soap have stealthily emptied themselves, even as we (thought we) were leisurely refilling them, so it's time to stay home, take care of the man and make soap.