Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Time

We continue to enjoy the iris in the front yard which were a legacy of Pat and Lloyd Berardi when they moved to their new condo.  The plants expand and grow more bountiful each year.

Our water lily pond proudly shows flowers and wonderful pads of green.  The lillies are protected by lattice work and netting atop the pergola built to shelter them.

Aging rocks from a brook line the perimeter of the oval-shaped lily pond.  We like the effect of the lichen that spreads on the rocks each season.

Our feral cat, Millie, has taken to using a bench on the deck for her afternoon nap.  She will run away if anyone approaches, but continues to be more friendly -- at a distance.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Our two cats face off:  feral Millie on the left and Queen of the House Suki on the right.  Sometimes they howl and take turns in chase.  In this case, Suki is guarding the door against further invasion.

The painted turtle invasion continues.  Here another female buries some eggs.  We hope to see some babies in the future!

An "old?" snapping turtle has taken residence in one of our ponds.  Scarred and without a left front foot, we hope she has found a safe and comfortable house.

Suki has been enjoying her resting spot on the sewing table.  In the winter she has wool knitted squares in the base of  the basket.  In warm weather she prefers a layer of tissue paper to mediate the warmth!

It's tough being royalty!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Garden flowers

Clethora or "Summer Sweet" forms a nice hedge along the southern edge of the tea garden.  Stone islands and an oval stone path contribute to this location.  Maybe a Japanese tea house will be added someday to complete this garden.

A nice clematis, several years old, is making its yearly appearance.  It is situated on one of the corners of the horse barn.

A mini white geranium is in full bloom.
Somewhat misplaced in our perennial garden, we still enjoy this abundant display.

This blue clematis and the white one below are on either end of a pergola situated in the path leading to several of our gardens.

We enjoy all our flowers very much.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Garden helpers

We no longer attempt to take care of all our gardens without help.  Our friends, Monica and Karen, were on hand again to help with the weeding in the perennial gardens.

By afternoon the gals were still doing the tedious hand weeding.  We added mulch in all the beds, which makes them look great and hopefully will discourage some of the weeds.

You can see Monica's dog, Trevor, behind Karen.

Our friend Bill tackles the vegetable garden with the large, powerful Troy-built "horse" tiller. 
The peppers, tomatoes, onions, summer and winter squash, spinach, string beans, and basil are all doing well.

We weren't sure what this plant was.  The three-leafed end of the stem worried us as a possible "itchy" invader.  The development of flowers relieved our anxiety as the astilbe revealed its identity!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Peeps Meeting

The Peeps (Art Quilt People) group gathered for their regular monthly meeting.

Suki was quick to join the group and was happy to have Priscilla's attention during the meeting.

Mary showed us the piece she made for her Modern Quilt group and also shared the technique she uses for facing.


Jeanne made this lovely small purse that she'll have as a project at her next retreat.

And this is one of the smaller framed pieces that Linda has been working on.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sewing Day

Priscilla came for a visit and some sewing time -- something we haven't had much of a chance to do since she moved to the Southern Tier.

She made a start on a new quilt, featuring some great needlepoint canvas pieces of tigers.

These are a couple of her wonderful saris from India that haven't been assigned to a project yet.

Beth recently returned from her winter home in NC and came to visit us.  She had her new camera lens with her, but didn't spot any wildlife in our pasture.

Beth made good progress on a new jacket that she modeled for us.  The jacket on the chair is one she made over the winter and wore on her trip to New Zealand.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Barn Updates

Our two large barns on the property are showing their age.  One was built in the late 1960's, and the newer one, in the early 1970's.  We have decided to fix up and clean up.

Here, carpenter Paul is moving an old sprayer headed for the scrap pile.

The east side of the horse barn was in need of much work.  A support post needed replacement and cross pieces above the door were split and needed new wood.

The south side pasture stall doors all needed major work.  Paul replaced the lower panels and siding.  Two more larger stall doors wait their turn.

Each of the four roof corners needed replacement as did the areas above the stalls.  As with all repair jobs, we kept finding more for Paul to do!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


We have made strawberry jam using the same process for many years.  These repeated activities remind us of early summer.

We bought a flat and a half of berries from a local farm market.

The berries are sweet by themselves, but of course, the recipe calls for added sugar.

We make quick work of smashing the berries by using the food processor.

The aroma of the cooking combination adds to the attraction and makes the cooks want to have the product cool enough for tasting.

We made four batches of the jam, which filled up a lot of freezer space for later use.  Of course, we saved some out for immediate taste testing.

Another good day in the kitchen!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Garden flowers

Our feral cat, Millie, likes to lie on the deck, if at a distance.  She is in front of one of several flower boxes that are on and adjacent to the back entrance to our house.

The wygelia bush, a young Japanese maple, and developing hostas are framing the fish pond and waterfall on the East side.

We have several colors of spider wort.  This blue/purple variety forms a nice cluster that also features narrow pointed leaves for a nice contrast.

Our perennial garden displays transplanted peonies and iris doing well on a bank framed by a timber wall and a picket fence in the background.  There are some eros boulders and lambs ears, along with various evergreens also featured.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

At Schweinfurth

First Friday at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY, was on June 6 and included the exhibit opening and reception for "Art Quilt Maps" by Valerie Goodwin and "Cartography: Artists as Map Makers."

It was a beautiful evening to enjoy refreshments outside along with piano accompaniment.

The sidewalk entrance to the Art Center was festooned with map outlines.

The reception was sponsored by Barbara Feinstein and Emily Klainberg.

A couple of young budding artists were very busy on their sidewalk art project.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Baby raccoons

For the last 2 or 3 days we continued to hear an unidentified "chittering" noise in the barn, and couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

With help today from friends, Monica and Anne, we moved some bales of straw and found a litter of babies between an inner and outside wall of the barn. 

With the frantic noises they were making, we have to assume the momma raccoon hasn't been able to come back for them.

Two of these babies came out of their nest and we placed them in a box.  The smallest baby had made its way out of the wall and ended up in another room.  He had collapsed there, but seemed to revive once he had been warmed up and rejoined his siblings.

We put on a search for someone who could handle their care and rehabilitation and were lucky to locate a local gal who was willing to come to our assistance.   

There were two more babies that were literally stuck in the wall space.  We were able to loosen the siding of the outside wall and reach in to rescue them.

All five babies are now in much more experienced hands, and we hope to get updates and pictures in the future.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Canna Lillies

The cycles of gardening are eternal and remind us of the schedule of the changing seasons at our latitude. 

Here we're placing a clump of canna lily bulbs so the tall red flowers can grace the end post in our grape mini-vineyard.

We dig up the tubers in the fall, store them in the cellar, and return them to the ground in the spring.  Bill is good at unskilled labor.  After 40-years experience, he digs a good furrow (almost straight) !

Marcia does the skilled labor demanded by the process (roots side down, buds up).  We planted two parallel rows between our rhubarb plants.

More unskilled labor...  Bill covers the crop with our soil, enriched with years of  horse stall refuse.  After some gentle tamping on the surface, we wait for rain and sunshine to bring on another summer and fall of beautiful foliage and spectacular flowers.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Turtles on the move

Whatever social network the female painted turtles use is amazingly effective.  All the mothers-to-be seemed to be on the move on the same day. 

This is the first one we noticed, resting under the chair in front of the studio doors.

There are several bodies of water nearby or on our property.  There is also a large swampy area to the south, extending for a larger coverage of turtle attraction.

This nest was being created at the edge of a small hill in our perennial garden.  It is interesting to observe the egg-laying process, where the muddy covering is added for moisture and protection.

And at the same time, this third turtle was making her way into the other end of the perennial garden.