February Jonquils

I’m typing this post with my right hand only since I had my left shoulder operated on a few days ago. It’s healing very well but I have a huge sling/icing contraption that keeps my left arm fairly immobile.

In the mean time I took a stroll through the yard a couple of days ago and saw shoots of daffodils.

Not long before we'll see hosts of golden daffodils.

 Like any large yard, we have microclimates: some parts of the yard are warmer and some are cooler. In front of the Cottage which has some nice morning sun, the daffodil buds were starting to open.

Not long before these flowers will be fully blossoming.

 Sure enough the very next day these yellow daffodils are in bloom.

These pretty little jonquils have deep yellow trumpets and butter yellow petals.

 These 2 photos are of the very same flowers shot one day apart.  It won’t be long before spring is truly here and all the bulbs will be blooming. My favorites are the delicate white ones that bloom later in the season, in the mean time I’m truly grateful for these yellow harbingers of warmer weather.

I love that daffodils are also known as jonquils as well as narcissi. By which name do you refer to them?


Can You Really Call It a Basement?

Most of our house is built over crawl space. There is one underground room that houses our furnace, hot water heater and sump pump.

Last year during Hurricane Irene our electricity went out and our basement flooded because the sump pump stopped working.

The sump pump in the basement.

Water climbed up the walls about 6 inches and covered the pilot light in the hot water heater.  We had an issue relighting the water heater but that has been resolved along time ago. (We couldn’t live without hot water, after all.)

The walls were another situation entirely. On the bottom of the cinder block walls grew a soft white crystalline fuzz that looked something like polyester quilt batting or fiberglass insulation.

Wall fuzz

We knew it had to gooooooooo.

So Charlie dressed in his hazardous materials uniform and washed down the basement walls with a chlorine bleach mixture.

Charlie bravely goes where no one else will.

Then he rinsed the whole place with water which he sucked away with our wet-dry vacuum.

The wet/dry vac sucks up excess water.

I don’t go down the basement very often but it looks and smells much better.

The fuzz is gone and the walls are clean and dry.

Now we just need to add a few shelves or cabinets to hold the paint and tools we keep down there.

Do you have a dirty (but necessary) job awaiting you?

Can You Find the Critter?

Can you find the well-camouflaged critter in this photo?
Perhaps you picked him out immediately. If not, here he is with one eye showing.
I see you.
Here’s a repeat of the first photo with a little garden toad circled in yellow.
If you still can't see him keep staring until you do.
Isn’t that amazing!
Have you seen anything amazing lately? Did it startle you?

A Little Bit of Home in Paris

The Glade is in Maryland. Imagine our surprise while walking in Paris to discover “Le Maryland” at47 rue de Turbigo – 75003 Paris (Tél : 01 42 72 28 65)

Le Maryland - cafe, tabacco shop, brasserie

Even sporting the Raven’s (Maryland’s pro football team) colors it its awning.

Perfectly placed at the intersection of 3 streets.

We didn’t stop in for a coffee but probably should have. When I tried to find something more to say about “Le Maryland” on the internet I discovered there is more than one in Paris.  Is it a chain? Owned by someone with a connection to Maryland?

Do you like to travel? Have you found mysterious ties to home in exotic places?

French Food Photos

While traveling in France we had some of the best food we’ve ever had.

Pizza topped with a lovely bit of salad.

Just a plain salad had exquisite ingredients.

Fresh greens with Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

 I believe French food is delicious because the ingredients are individually delicious. (I’m not discounting in any way the fine chefs de cuisine whose cooking is beyond compare.)

A vegetable vender in a community market sells beautiful salad ingredients.

Check out a close-up of the radishes in the lower corner of her display.

These radishes are as beautiful as a bouquet of roses.

The French take great pride in their poultry as well as their fruits and vegetables.

A lush display of chicken with all the parts in tact.

A butcher shop offers all kinds of fowl: grouse, chicken,

The partially filled cooler indicates that people are buying this poultry.

In the US our poultry is totally cleaned and denuded.  My grandmother knew what to do with any of these whole birds; I would be lying if I said I did.

Left to right: grouse, partridge, duck

We noticed that most of the food in France tasted more intensely of the essence of that food than it does at home. The grapes, for instance, are oh so “grapey”.

Have you had any great food lately?

Batten Down the Hatch

Our sailboat, Tyche, is still up for sale.  In the mean time Charlie decided to make a new hatch (the door into the cabin) using the old one as a pattern.

The hatch cover was a little worse for wear.

 The hatch cover is made in three parts of 3/8 inch plywood which slide into a groove in the opening that leads from the cockpit to the cabin.

The hatch is made in 3 pieces.

The new plywood sheet was not large enough to lay out the sections adjoined like they would be on the boat so we staggered them to make the best use of the wood on hand.

We laid out the old hatch pieces on a new piece of plywood.

Charlie and I each took a hand in cutting out the pieces.  Some were straight cuts, some were beveled .  .  .

Circular saw set to the correct angle made the large cuts.

 and some had to be finished off with a jigsaw (or in this case, a Sawsall).

A reciprocating saw made the inside corners neat.

Each section is beveled to fit into the next section so water cannot easily infiltrate between the sections.

The sections fit together with a beveled angle so water can't sit on a horizontal area which might rot the wood.

In addition a batten is screwed onto the back of each section of plywood overlapping the adjoining one to further dissuade seepage.

The purple board shows the batten attached at the back; the white board shows how the batten is offset at the top of the piece.

I painted the hatch cover with exterior paint to further protect it from the elements.

Each section was painted white, front and back. Sorry, fore and aft.

After cutting the hatch cover and attaching the battens, Tyche is now secure from wind and water. The sections easily slide into place and are further secured by the pop-top which allows headroom while in the cabin and security when the boat is docked.

The new hatch is a snug fit.

Great job, Charlie! I’d love to check it off our “To-do List” but alas, it wasn’t even on the list.

Do you get sidetracked into projects that you never see coming?  Do you put it on the list so you can check it off?


What a word! Handkerchief. Or the plural, handkerchieves.

Embroidered cotton hankerchieves from China

I looked in my scarf/gloves/handkerchief drawer and found the following vintage handkerchieves all make of super fine cotton.

Souvenir handkerchief from Canada with a map

Also called a hanky, a handkerchief is a small square cloth used to wipe the nose. 

Souvenir handkerchief from Alaska with map and sightseeing highlights.

I carry one more for tears than for . . . well, you know.

Another souvenir handkerchief featuring Rhode Island.

I’ve been in a service where a friend was moved to tears and I was honored to offer her my impeccably clean hanky.

This handkerchief has pale blue embroidery and a lace corner.

My father always carried 2 handkerchiefs (an alternative correct spelling): one for him and a clean one for me.

I love the cutwork and delicate embroidery on the corner of this hanky.

Some are boldly printed with holiday themes.

Three green and white Irish theme handkerchieves one with a cut edge.

Some handkerchieves are both embroidered and tinted.

This Christmas handkerchief features embroidered holly on ombre tinted sheer cotton.

Some are delicately embroidered.

Handkerchief embroidered in white and grey – two tones for greater depth.
Other hankies have a more homespun style but still have some embroidery to distinguish them.
A little posy and lace decorate this red handkerchief - perhaps a Valentine.

 We don’t carry or use handkerchieves much anymore. They’ve been replaced by paper products.  There was a time when a lady wouldn’t have been caught without one.

This unusual hanky has cut out corners, scalloped edging, and a tiny 3-D applique.

I think I’ll begin to carry a handkerchief with me. I might as well use the ones I already own rather than let them grow old and take up space in a drawer. Don’t be surprised if the state-inspired handkerchieves end up framed.

Do you have an old-fashioned habit?