Archive for May, 2007

Ponding Part 2…and a Waterlilly

Posted in Uncategorized on May 31, 2007 by Hitty Jean

Dan, Tater, Dassa and I returned to the pond last Saturday, just for fun.  (Pit-Pat was at a friend’s house so we will have to go back again sometime.)  The dogs came, too. 

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On the way out of the Arboretum where the pond is, we came upon this very cool "Camouflage" Tree.  The girls loved it. 

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Funny thing is, I saw a show YESTERDAY that talked about this tree (The Arnold Arboretum has one…) and how difficult it was for the Arborists to transplant them.  The tree comes from Asia and apparently does not travel well and greatly dislikes being transplanted…After much trial and error, they figured out that if you kept some of its seeds very warm for a certain amount of time, and then very cold for a certain amount of time, then and ONLY then, would they germinate.  Phew.  It blooms in July.  We will have to go back and check it out.  Cool tree:

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As for OUR pond…we have three Waterlilies!!!  My favorite is the pink one…of course.

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A Visit with Hitty

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2007 by Hitty Jean

Oh, what beauty my gardens keep giving me.  Every time the vases are in need of refreshing, I manage to find beautiful flowers.  I am having quite a bit of fun flower-arranging this Spring, probably because the flower gardens are finally maturing and diverse enough to provide constant blooms.  Below is this week’s bouquet for the living room:

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Look carefully and you may be able to spot the Dandelion and Maple leaf.  Those were Dassa’s additions.  Of course, this flower abundance may come to an end one of these Spring or Summer weeks and there may be no flowers to cut.  Even before the first frost.   Hitty Maple (in white) and Cherry~Merry (in blue) want to make sure that I remember this:

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I think I am pretty good at remembering this…but those Hittys are always close by to make sure we appreciate all the good we have.

What to do on a HOT day….

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2007 by Hitty Jean

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Dassa and I went "BULLFROGGING!"  And I actually caught one!  Twice!  See the feisty guy in the middle of the picture? 

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Bugger got away in the end.  I wanted to bring him home to our pond, but honestly, how was I going to drive home with a nuclear frog bounding around the van?!  We settled for five tadpoles and two snails! 

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Yippee!

Very Big Sigh…Fanny-Mae has run out of Inspiration.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2007 by Hitty Jean

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Awwww….Fan-Dog, what you need is a nice, long weekend!

Garden and Home Tour…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2007 by Hitty Jean

My girls love to play outside…and after a long New England Winter, the anticipation of Spring, which ALWAYS arrives way too late, is sometimes difficult.  But here it is!  In all its glory!  We just came off of a solid week of rain, and things are just bursting out everywhere.  It is wonderful!!!  So…usually I push girls on the swings for just about as long as I can stand it…THEN comes that dreaded question I always ask:

"Does anyone want to go on a garden tour?"

Often I get at least one taker.  Sometimes more, and when they are babies, forget it.  They have to go where I go, so I have a captive audience!!!  I just can’t imagine why it is more fun to pull your sister in a wagon (downhill…as fast as you can go) than it is to listen to mom prattle on about flowers and weeds and how much things are growing…etc.  Truly, you guys.  Someday you’ll thank me for this bounty of knowledge I have imparted on you!!!

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Take these beautiful little babies, for example.  The ones on the left were planted this year.  Then we have some that self-sow!  The little one in the upper right is an example.  How cool is that!?!  Not to mention that by the time summer ends, these babies will look like this:

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And then, there are the Camas bulbs we planted one Fall.  When they came up in the Spring, I had completely forgotten what on Earth they were.  So, we called them the "Mystery Flowers," while we waited for them to bloom and identify themselves.  It was SO COOL when they finally bloomed and we discovered that they were CAMAS!!!  Tater was studying Native Americans at the time, and many ATE Camas bulbs as a staple of their diet.  Truly, those women spent day after day digging Camas roots.  Aren’t the flowers just exquisite?!?

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And Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me.  How on Earth she came up with her color combinations is beyond me.  I love the contrast of a green, leafy tree against a cloudless blue sky.  That blue…sigh…

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Oh, and those dear, sweet late-bloomers.  I just love them.  We have a Bleeding Heart that is WEEKS behind its relatives.  By the time the others have finished blooming, I believe it will have just started.  And while the photo above shows our now bloom-free Magnolia tree, we have another that seems a bit senile.  It blooms at the same time as this one, but then it puts out a few more flowers a bit later.  Then, when you think it is finally finished with its stuttered blooming, it does this:

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Silly, senile Magnolia!!!

This plant is just about to BURST:

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As are the Peonies.  Oh, I love them.  They are, sadly, in a neglected area in the backyard.  They need to move to the front, where they will be enjoyed by passers-by.

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But that’s not to say that the front isn’t sometimes neglected as well.  These poor Hydrangeas will be blooming by the 4th of July!  I need to get in and TRIM them and WEED.  (Did I mention that I don’t care for weeding?  Eeeeeewwww….)  A fresh layer of mulch would be nice, too.  That’s part of Dan’s job description, though.  Not mine.

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Oh, and Dan?  Could you please paint that window frame?  It is eeeewwww also.  But THIS window (below), I love!  Dassa chose the flowers for the window box.  I usually just do Impatiens every year.  It does get to be a bit dull and a change is nice.  I just worry that these flowers may not get enough sun.  Time will tell!!!

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My little Dassa loves to go to the "Flower Store" with me.  She is a great flower picker-outer.  She chose these, too:

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I’ve noticed that if I do not pay attention, I end up with all blue and pink flowers.  I probably never would have picked Petunias that look like Peppermint Candy, for Pete’s sake!  But I love them!  And we need more red in our yard!  PLUS, we had the PERFECT pot!  Dassa also loves orange flowers.  I am an orange lover.  You either are or you aren’t.  But I never really liked Marigolds.  They just seem like weeds to me.  Dan loves them.  He will go on and on about how easy they are to grow and how they bloom all summer and add color and…so FINALLY, I planted ORANGE Marigolds.  For Dan.  Dassa picked them out and was so very excited to show her daddy.  A very cute moment, brought to us courtesy of Marigolds.

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Poor little wee Jax.  He wanted to come on the Garden tour with me.  Actually, he just wants to run off and terrorize the neighborhood.  He’s really good at it.  Did I mention he is a rescue dog?  Surely we will go to heaven for taking him in.  He’s lucky he’s so darn cute.

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I love to bring flowers inside, too.  The Mums were given to me on Mother’s Day.  Of course some crazy squirrel (or child?) had to go and squish the plant.  I saved the flowers.  And I also picked the THREE Lilly of the Valleys that we got in our yard this year.  I almost picked some of the neighbor’s.  But I resisted.  They only had about four.  Surely there will be more next year.

I finished my living room curtains this week.  They came out really well, I think.  But why, oh WHY do I always end up with browns, greens, rusts and eggplants for my interior colors?!?  I really love pastels, as well as bright, sunny colors.  What happens?  So, a rust colored damask (Sunbrella…these windows get a TON of sun and our last curtains disintegrated.) is the curtain fabric.  It is BEAUTIFUL fabric.  SO easy to work with.  It was super pricey, but I got it at a HUGE sale and so we ended up with these very shi-shi curtains for less than two-hundred bucks!  Dan loves that part.  He loves the curtains, too.  Which helps me to like them more.  I do like them, I just wish I could live among pinks, light blues, grass greens and sunny yellows.  Upstairs, maybe.

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The dogs love their beds in this window.  (Doesn’t add much to the look.)  When the curtains are closed, the room feels so cozy.  Like a nest.  (I like when I feel like my home is a nest.  I call my bed my nest.  I even have the word "NEST" hung above it.)  Here’s the other window:

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There’s that poor, squished Mum outside, next to the INCREDIBLE Azalea.  (But of course some punk kid had to go and ruin it by leaving a laundry basket on the porch.  ???)   I love nesting!  Gotta go get busy!

“Staying at Home”

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2007 by Hitty Jean

I have always wanted to be a HOMEMAKER.  Always.  But how did I get here, and how do we make it on one income?

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Well, before children, and even during Tater’s first year of life, we were pretty much a two-income family.  I hated it.  I just couldn’t bear going to work and leaving my precious angel behind for someone else to care for.  It broke my heart and I cried about it every day.  Every day.

I always knew I wanted to be an at-home mother.  But Dan just didn’t see how we could make it without my meager income.  Looking back, we both realize it was his fear of being the "Breadwinner" of the family that kept him from being entirely enthusiastic about me becoming a "homemaker."  And I know he  still worries about it.  It’s a great deal of pressure to provide for a family of five, plus two dogs and a fish!  Yikes.  It does worry me as well to think about it…and all the "what ifs" that go along with it.  But it is the best decision we have made (aside from getting married and having children) EVER!

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Being a "single income" family is freedom.

Freedom to not have to worry about who will sacrifice less at work by staying home with a sick child.

Freedom to be EASILY able to pick up a child from school when the nurse calls.

Freedom to focus on the HOME and FAMILY, without any outside commitments (job-stuff) pulling you away.

Freedom to run errands while the children are at school so that the weekends can be free for FAMILY and FRIENDS.

Freedom to be at home when you are expecting a delivery/repairman/whatever "between 9am and 1pm." 

Freedom from worrying about who’s turn it is to do what at home.  Now that I am a "Homemaker", the roles are pretty traditional here.  Dan is good though…he does all the grocery shopping.  And cooks from time-to-time.  Roles are traditional, yet respectful.

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When I first left my paying job, it was an adjustment, I must say.  But I was soooooo happy to be HOME that I would have done just about anything to make it happen.  We sold my new car and purchased a used one with cash.  We refinanced to get a better rate on our mortgage.  We stopped using the credit card to buy things.  Using only cash definitely helps us to stay within budget.  I also have a very generous mother.  A HUGE bonus.  She loves to buy the girls shoes and clothes.  (And toys…though I wish she would cut back on that.)  We don’t take super-fancy vacations.  We don’t buy new furniture.  (We got our living room couch when the new neighbors couldn’t fit it in the doorway of their house.)  Now that they are older, the girls ask family members for money on their Birthdays and at Christmas to help pay for Summer Camp.  Our family is all too happy to oblige, as Camp is so much more meaningful than some plastic something that will end up forgotten or thrown out.  I am sure there are many other ways we economize…but it isn’t sacrificing to me.

Shortly after I had left my job to become a Homemaker, I ran into a neighbor who had her first child around the same time I had Tater.  She knew I had gone back to work and was floored when I told her I had recently quit.  "You STINKER!" was her (odd) response.  "I highly recommend it," was my (rude?  oops.) answer.  She then went on (and on and on…) about how there was NO WAY she could afford it.  Oh, I felt guilty.  And privileged.  How did I get so lucky?!  I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.  Poor soul really wanted to be home with her family, but there would be NO WAY to make ends meet.  Oh, so sad for her.

Well.

Very shortly thereafter, I saw her driving a very nice, brand new car.

???

Staying home is often a choice.  Yes, there are lifestyle changes.  Yes, there are sacrifices.  Yes, you will have to give up some THINGS.  But you are saying yes to your FAMILY and yes to your HOME.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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Must go now.  Have to say a prayer that my husband stays healthy and keeps his job….

A Visit with Hitty

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2007 by Hitty Jean

This week, Sissy Sara is showing off the new shelf in our dining room.  I am trying to finally decorate this house I have lived in for 15 (!) years….it really needs a great deal.  Unfortunately, I have a husband with strong opinions and different "decorating sense" than me.  Sigh.  But as of late, I have simply been decorating without asking.  My rule has been, only things that make my heart "sing."  And without asking Dan’s opinion.  Well, okay, sometimes I do…like for the fabric we purchased to make new living room curtains.  It has to be a sun-friendly fabric, so for such a purchase, I consulted him.  Also, he (wisely) holds the credit card.  :o)  But, truly, those Hittys have the best decorating sense.  They liked what I did with the shelf, but something was missing.  And they knew just what it was!  A copy of Hitty, by Rachel Field.  Of course.

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