Archive for the ‘summer’ Tag

Summer’s End?   2 comments

Just when I found a way of facing the facts of life, the coming winter life, that is, I find things have been turned topsy-turvy. You see, I’d found solace in the thought that Mother Nature would be taking a well-deserved rest after blessing me with such a beautiful summer along with an abundance of vegetables, and bouquets of flowers, potential  bouquets, that is, since I only picked  flowers on two occasions.The problem, although it’s not really a problem, is that my garden doesn’t want to stop so she can rest, and she doesn’t seem ready for even a short nap anyway.

The tomato plants are continuing to furnish me with daily portions

DSCN2098as well as promises of more to come

DSCN2097Yellow Squash, though tinier than in the dog days of summer. get a bit bigger every dayDSCN2093While even tinier zucchini hope they’ll be big enough to pick before the first frost gets hereDSCN2094I don’t think any eggplant will emerge from these lovely purple flowers

DSCN2091But maybe I’ll pick a pepper or two tomorrow

DSCN2099Even my container annuals, which in other years I discard in August because they’ve grown leggy and sparse, don’t  seem to know it’s October 15 and not August 15.DSCN2110DSCN2112But then I look at the deck from a different angle.

DSCN2105And I look up the road.

DSCN2106But still, with October temperatures like these……….

DSCN2114……the plants aren’t the only ones who are getting the most out of this summer that won’t quit. I’m still working in my summer office.

DSCN2107And as for The Mars, Marble, Marcel, & MarceauDSCN2115I don’t have the heart to tell them (or my outdoor green friends) the weatherman is warning of frost on Saturday night, and temps as low as 29 Sunday night.

Go Figure!

How Do I File a Complaint?   2 comments

Last week was hot – almost too hot for me. And that’s saying a lot.

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It was the first time in my sixteen years at The House of Mars that I had to run all three window fans at once, along with the ceiling fan in the kitchen. Normally I only use the fan in the bedroom , and only at night if I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. Most summers that only happens three, maybe four nights.

But hey! I’m not complaining. I love the heat. And I’m not one of those people who philosophizes about how it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. I say BRING IT ON. Heat and humidity are what I dreamed about all last winter.

Speaking of winter, I do have something to complain about.

Hey V bite your tongueNobody’s talking about winter. That’s a bad word in July.

(Can you hear that? That’s my inner voice speaking. )

But actually a bad word in July is exactly what I’m complaining about. Many many summers ago, come the end of July, my mother would start with the comments –

“Before you know it, school will be opening.”

“We’ll have to go look for clothes for school.”

Well, there went my summer The clock was ticking.

“Look, the stores are already advertising  Back to School sales.”

Yep, the alarm was set.

Well, it’s happening. Last week while it was still mid-July and 97 degrees in the shade, what did I hear on TV but a Staples stock up for school ad. And yesterday a famous Footwear ad  about how this school year can be the best yet if you get cool shoes.

But actually now that I’ve gotten how I despise rushing the end of summer off my chest, that’s not what I’m complaining about.

This is

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Posted July 23, 2015 by virginiafair in Summer

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Facing the Dreaded End   3 comments

But the ending always comes at last.

Endings always come too fast

They come too fast, but they pass too slow.

I love you and that’s all I know.

If you’re an Art Garfunkel fan you’ll know that verse from All I Know, written by Jimmy Web. It was an ode to a failed romance. I admit, when it was current, I was in just such a situation and found it comforting to sing along at the top of my lungs anytime it played on the radio. But today, with Eastern Standard Time back in position, November upon us, and alas! temps in the 30’s I’m singing it to last summer.

But before I let it  go, thanks are in order to a few hearty and loyal friends who have stood by through thick and thin and to this day, refuse to desert me.

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And these guys are super-loyal. They’ll be out there every day of the long winter, just as they were on the hottest driest days of summer.

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So will they

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This summer was unique in that it was the first year I grew tomatoes.  Here are the last three; the last three definites, that it

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And the maybesDSCN1762

Anyone have a recipe for fried green tomatoes?

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Posted November 3, 2014 by virginiafair in gardening

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Making Summer Last   2 comments

Summertime and the living is easy. Fish are jumping and the cotton is high.

This song spoke to me when I was a child. It was the epitome of  long lazy days made expressly for play. Summers seemed  to last longer when there was nothing to do but go out and play from morning to night. When did they start to fly by in the wink of an eye? I’m on a mission this summer – to try to make this summer go as slowly as it can. I switch radio stations in the car if I hear the words Back to School. I grab the remote when I hear the word football coming from the TV.  I delete e-mailed ads that mention Fall Fashions or Back to School.

Just the thought of winter sends shudders through my soul. You see, I’m chilly when the temperature dips south of 75 .  I am that one person in the world who actually loves, yes loves heat and humidity. So if you ever run into me on one of my kind of days do not, I repeat do not, make the mistake of complaining about either the h or the h. If you do, you’ll hear me growl “Would you prefer the polar vortex?

So how am I making my summer last? By handing it over to my senses.

Sometimes hearing gets there first. My ears are early risers. Some mornings, I haven’t even opened my eyes when my ears are already on the job, trying to decipher the calls of the birds who  compete to fill the air with their own particular calls. There are chitterers and tritterers, the chatterers, trillers and squawkers. There’s even a Yankee fan bird who calls Jeter, Jeter, Jeter.

Some days touch steps up to bat.  I step outside and my skin actually sings for joy as the warmth bathes it

Sight’s been putting in duty since early spring, pointing out the first crocus brave enough to break through the frigid soil next to my front walk. Sight also distracted my driving each April morning,  showing me the first leaf buds on the skeletal trees, and keeping track each morning  as   they unfurled and grew  into fragile green miracles. Anticipating the summer to come, I’d always call out the window. “Welcome to the world, little ones.”

As for taste. Coffee never tastes as good as it does when I take that first sip of coffee out on the deck in the fresh calm of a weekend morning.

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Unfortunately I have no time for coffee al fresco Monday through Friday, but thankfully I work in an office complex with lots of outdoor spots to satisfy my senses.

  There’s the bench where I take a five-minute nonsmoker’s break mid-morning.

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Where I walk at lunchtime

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And what’s lunchtime without a place to eat lunch.

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That’s my secret for slowing down summer. It’s like John Lennon said.

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round. I just love to watch them turn.

Actually I’m just sitting here watching my tomatoes grow

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And my peppers

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And my cucumbers

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Life Goes On   5 comments

I finally saw Marcos’ headstone and I must say my reaction surprised me. He is the fifth pet I’ve buried at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, sixth if I count my brother’s dog, Duke. I found his grave immediately thanks to the pinwheel I’d left at the unmarked grave at Easter. Shiny and new, I could read the engraved words before I climbed the hill.

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And I broke down and cried – real tears crying. I never cried at the cemetery with any of my other pets. Not even Fremont. Seeing Fremont carved in stone did stop me in my tracks, and have me uttering his name,  but not like this. I couldn’t even smile at the Handsome Hunk of Dog bit. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’ve loved all my cats dearly but I guess this just goes to show that dogs leave a different kind of hole in your life.

Meanwhile back at the House of Mars, life goes on. Summer has come.

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So it was down with the storm door

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And up with the screen door.

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Which has made Marcel and Marceau happy campers

Speaking of the Brothers Mar, they gradually relinquished their claim on  Marcos’ beds

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so I donated them (the beds, not The Brothers) to the  Putnam County Humane Society. Every once in a while Marceau does hang out on the futon, but his days are limited. Come Bulk Garbage Pick-up day in October it will be out in the street. That will be sad, but necessary since I’m in the process of restoring the room to its original status – guest room. But like the rooms at the Bed and Breakfast I stayed in recently, it will have a permanent title – The Marcos Room

As for The Marcos Room, I’ve discovered that taking down wallpaper is a journey.

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As for me, yes life goes on. Followers will recall I took at nasty case of poison ivy with me to Key West last year. Well last week I took a case to St Thomas Virgin Islands,

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a milder dose, but still annoying.

Oh well, some things just don’t change, do they?

Leaves, Who NeedsThem?   6 comments

Anyone who knows me knows I am always cold. Always.

New York winters are self-explanatory but summers are as bad. Air conditioning! It’s why you’ll never see me without a shawl in my bag. I’ve been known to duck out of a restaurant to grab my spare shawl from the car. The only redeeming factor of air conditioning is I can go outdoors to warm up!

So, with such an aversion to the cold, why am I devoting a blog to winter and how much I love it? Because of the trees. For me, winter is when the trees come into their glory. I love seeing them stand graceful and tall, shorn of their leaves.

Bone structure; people attribute the beauty of women like Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and the model, Imam to their exquisite bone structure. It’s the same for trees, reaching up to the grey winter sky with their skeletons unadorned, their branches raised in a hallelujah proclamation.

DSCN0271A Glorious Study in Monochrome.

I first fell in love with winter forests when I used to drive to Michigan to visit a friend. Summer woods are soft and huggy but you don’t get to see into them. Driving west along Route 80 in January, I’d steal a second from the road to peek into the woods where I could see deep and wide, viewing it as I imagine deer, rabbits, fox and the like see it; even conjuring up the trek of a few Native Americans making their way home. (All this speculation when my eyes were back on the road)

Then, when I moved to the House of Mars, and it came with its own canopy of woods I was always surprised to see that there are houses just above me – in winter.

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See the house?   It’s just left of center.

 In summer, they don’t exist – out of sight, out of mind.

But it wasn’t until Marcos came in to my life that I really began to like winter.  Well, almost. Bundled against the cold we venture out in the early morning with trees our stationary companions. Walking slowly along the same route every day gives me the opportunity to notice things I never notice when driving or running. And in winter I notice even more. Trees and bushes, heavy with leaves, blend into each other, but in winter they glory in their uniqueness.

But let me say no more. It’s their show.

Marcos is  ready

Marcos is ready

 

 

 

What great bone structure!

What great bone structure!

 

 

Hearty Winter Survivors of a Lush English Garden

Hearty Winter Survivors of a Lush English Garden

 

 

Winter Cheerleader's PomPoms

A Winter Cheerleader with Pom-Poms

 

 

My appreciation of winter isn’t limited to my eyes. My ears notice too.  The brook that flows through my little community is louder, clearer, with no leaves to muffle the sound.

Gurgle,  Gurgle

. Gurgle, Gurgle

 

 

Rhododendrons have the amazing power to shrink when the temps dip below 32, only to  bounce back as soon as the mercury starts to rise. But while they’re momentarily paper-thin, the wind turns them into  wind chimes.

Tinkle Tinkle

Tinkle Tinkle

 

Before I go inside, let me introduce you to my new winter best friend.

The Snow Boss

Hi, they call me The Snow Boss

 

And let’s check in on my summer best friend.

 

Wake Me when Summer's Here

Wake Me when Summer’s Here

 

Flipping Out All Summer   7 comments

They say summer 2012 arrived on June 20 at 7:09 PM. But it all depends on which they you listen to. In the United Kingdom, the British they proclaimed its arrival at 23:09. However down in the southern hemisphere  in places such as Argentina, Australia, and South Africa, they see things altogether differently. There they say June 20 marked the start of winter and that summer won’t be here until December.

And then, there’s the House of Mars. I am the resident they and I say summer 2012 bounded onto the scene on June 30 at approximately 5:00 PM. Why so late? Summer does not begin for me until I have bought my first pair of cheap, rubber, easily blown out flip-flops. And when I say cheap, I mean $1.00 as in the Dollar Store.

Most years, starting in May, my friendly neighborhood  Dollar Tree has a table piled high right by the entrance, and just in case you miss them, or you didn’t find the color you wanted, more are hanging by the checkout. But this year –  nothing. I was checking every Saturday and was beginning to fear I’d have no summer this year.  I was getting dangerously close to my temper tantrum threshold. I needed my flip-flops. With one day left before July, I tried again. My visit didn’t start on a high note. Solar lights occupied the flip-flop table, but there by the checkout – there they were.

Sure I could have bought a pair at Wal-Mart or Payless. I even saw some in CVS. But it had to be Dollar Store.  Why? Because that’s the closest thing to F.W. Woolworth in today’s world. I guess I have to go back to my childhood to explain.

My family used to rent a small beach cottage in Cape Cod each summer. We’d arrive at the end of June and while  my parents unpacked  we’d run down to the beach to see if anything had changed over the winter, then  check  out the other cabins to see if there were any new kids.  But while we were finally in Cape Cod, we weren’t officially there yet. That would have to wait for  the next day when my dad drove us  to the Woolworth’s on Main Street in Hyannis– to get our flip-flops. Although in those days we called them thongs, this being decades before underwear usurped the word.

Clad in the sneakers we’d soon be shedding, my two brothers and I would walk (because our mother had just told us not to run) to the aisle where the flip-flops always were. We’d come to a screeching halt halfway down the aisle. There on the left spread out in multi-colored, multi-sized disarray was a jumble of flip-flops. We’d go through them carefully. This was an important decision. We’d be wearing these all summer (unless we blew them out Jimmy Buffet-style.)

Yes, every year we’d ponder, hold-up, try on, and finally when my mother had come to the end of her patience, and make our decisions.  And each year we’d  make the same decision: brother #1 would choose green, and brother #2 would  choose yellow which left  me with blue or red. Usually I got blue.

Looking back I don’t know why we felt we had to get different colors. We were not going to get them mixed up. Five years separated me from brother #1 and he was five years older than brother #2.. If Goldilocks ever wandered in to our cabin and saw them lined up she’d assume they were Papa Bear’s, Mama Bear’s and Baby Bear’s.

This year, I was really drawn to a bright purple pair, a color never available back in the 1960’s. But on closer examination I notice the thong strap was twisted – a sure sign of premature blow out, and I don’t need any help in that department.  My choice was made for me. They only had one color in my size – colossal ten.

So for 2012, I am wearing brother #1’s flip flops

PS.

I got them not a moment too soon. On July 1, I was taking the garbage down to the garbage can. I hadn’t broken in 2012’s flip-flops and had slipped into an old fancier version of flip flops I’d been wearing around the house and yard. Oops, I tripped on a tree root. Coincidentally I’d  bought them during a visit to the Cape nine years ago. Yep I got nine years out of them.  Don’t believe me?

See for yourself.

July 2, while walking in  the city, in a strappy version of flip-flops, I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk.

Man! I’d just bought them last year! 

Do you think I should go back to Dollar Tree and get a spare pair?  The summer is still young.