Birds vs. Laundry

Hi there!

Just a quick hello today.  I thought this was rather funny.  It was SUCH a lovely day this morning that I had to hang my laundry outside.  But as I was hanging it, I could see the birds gathering around.  Lots and Lots of birds.  I should have just called it a day and brought the sheets inside…

 

A little bit of purple is just about everywhere!

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I hope I made you smile!  (I rewashed the sheets and hung them inside…)

In peace,
Dana

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Taking a moment to SIT in the garden

Are you like me and constantly on the go?  I mean I am constantly on a schedule.  There is just so much to plan and do and enjoy…

Running out of time, Running late, Running on time, or Running out of time: Which is it for you?

I love this clock which I saw in Glasgow.          “Go! Go! Go!”

But every once in a while, usually dictated by my body shouting that it has had enough, it is necessary to recharge.

View in the garden

Views in the garden today

Today was that day for me.  Life has been pretty full for us lately, all good, but it has me rather run down.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to rest today, and really enjoy my garden (after a few chores, of course!).

Hawthorn tree in full bloom

Hawthorn tree in full bloom

What I really wanted today was a nap; but between the sunshine, and the neighbouring farmer working his field, that was just not happening.  So I did a few jobs that have been on my list:

  • Turned over a new flower bed.
new flower bed

new flower bed

  • Turned over the compost.
Compost looking pretty good

Compost looking pretty good

  • Marked with stones the hyacinth before they fade away.
Pink & White Hyacinth from early spring

Pink & White Hyacinth from early spring

Same garden, but the pink hyacinth are replaced by purple flowers.

Same garden, but the pink hyacinth are mostly gone and now it is a purple garden with lilacs, allium, Columbine, and Iris.

After those jobs were done, then I sat in the grass and watched, and listened, and simply enjoyed the garden.

view in the garden toward one of our cherry trees

view in the garden toward one of our cherry trees

view of our "messy" garden that will hopefully be cleaned up this summer...

view of our “messy” garden that will hopefully be cleaned up this summer… You can see some orange California poppies

Christmas tree

allium garden

allium garden (*great* year for allium this year, following last year’s poor show…)

Blue Tit bird feeding babies in the basketball hoop pipe...

Blue Tit bird feeding babies in the basketball hoop pipe…

Wow, what a feeling that was.  It was kinda strange because I really and truly have a hard time sitting and relaxing.  The weather was definitely a huge help. We have had very sunny, warm and simply perfect days.

Monkshood & bee

The bees were busy but hopefully also enjoying the good weather!

I hope that you are able to take some time out to enjoy all that is around you, too.

In peace,
Dana

 

Wordless Wednesday: Betty’s quilt

Betty's quilt

Betty’s quilt

Last week’s Wordless Wednesday featured a picture in my friend Susan’s kitchen. This week I am featuring a picture from my friend Betty’s kitchen.  I wonder if this is going to be a new trend?  🙂

I’m really failing on this “Wordless” part because I must tell you about how wonderful Betty, and her husband Harold, are!  I took this picture in their kitchen last summer when I had the pleasure of visiting them. They were our next door neighbors for ten years when we lived in Central New York.   Their house is filled with so many neat antiques.  They are both 87 years young and still doing the things they love to do, like gardening, quilting and painting!

Simply amazing

Simply amazing

Betty made this quilt and I think it is so beautiful!  Just looking at it makes me smile and think of how much we enjoyed being their neighbors and having an “extra set” of grandparents right next door.

Capture the moment, share the love, and cherish the memories.

In peace,
Dana

Doing what makes you happy

bouquet of daffodils (no flash)

bouquet of daffodils (no flash)

Oh my goodness gracious me!  I am in need of slowing down and taking some nice deep breaths!  Phew! Life is going way too fast for me. Anyone else feel that way?

Narcissi Blazing Starlet

Narcissi Blazing Starlet

I returned to the outside workforce about 18 months ago after being a stay-at-home mom for 16 years.  I absolutely love working, but boy it can be tough trying to do it all!

Ice King (carnation like daffodils)

Ice King (carnation like daffodils). You can see the raindrops on the flowers!

There are times I find myself completely out of breath just *thinking* about all that my husband and I do for our family.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing!  It sure does make time all the more precious though.

six different varieties

six different varieties

My garden is my place of peace and where I “catch my breath”.  I love working in the garden and seeing how it changes from season to season and year to year.   Mostly, though, I love flowers.  🙂

nameless daffodil

nameless daffodil (read: I can’t find the name of it!) with tiny white specs on the tips of each petal.

There was a lot of rain today. It takes more than just rain to stop me from gardening, so out into the garden I went to weed …   until my fingers were too wet and too cold to do anymore.  THEN I cut some flowers to bring inside, cause that just makes me smile.

a rather gray day...

a rather gray day…

I went around the yard and cut five stems here, five there, and a few stragglers more there.  That is all it takes.

using the flash

using the flash

It’s the first time I have used my new pottery vase. Dunbeacon Pottery is made in West Cork, and I bought this vase at the RDS in Dublin this past December at a Craft fair. You can checkout  Dunbeacon Pottery here:  http://irishdesignshop.com/collections/dunbeacon-pottery  I love supporting crafters!  I really like the colors that this artist used.  I have a much larger vase and a wee vase that match this one. (’cause why buy one when you can get three?)

full view

full view (no flash)

I was really trying to use natural light which was hard to do with it being so gray outside.  So I put the flowers on a step stool near a window.  This intrigued my cat to come and investigate what I was doing.

Kitty smells the flowers

Kitty smells the flowers

I have to say that most of these daffodils are fragrant, but it was funny to see the cat go over to them to have a smell!

I think I'll sit here in front of these pretty flowers that mom is taking pictures of...

I think I’ll sit here in front of these pretty flowers that mom is taking pictures of…

She is a very good cat and a well loved member of our family.  She, I think, also enjoys being in the garden with me while I work!  Here’s a look at some of the daffodils out in the yard.

Ice King daffodils in April sunset

Ice King daffodils in April sunset

Narcissi blazing starlet in the ditch-wall garden

Narcissi blazing starlet in the ditch-wall garden

But sometimes, I’d just prefer to have them inside with me.

just another angle

just another angle

I hope that you are able to slow down, breathe deeply, and enjoy what makes you smile in life…  at least for a little bit, every now and again.

In peace,
Dana

I am an American

Happy Independence Day to my American friends and family!

Stars and Stripes napkins

Stars and Stripes napkins

It is a day to celebrate everything that being an American entails, but most of all our freedom.

Red, White & Blue

Red, White & Blue

It is a day for parades, picnics, bar-b-ques, being with friends and family, and fireworks.

Roses and Iris from the garden

Roses and Iris from the garden

It is a day to celebrate.

Showing my American colours

Showing my American colours

Happy 4th of July!  I hope it is a wonderful celebration for you and your friends and family!!!

our American flag

our American flag

In Peace,
Dana

Having it all… and a garden, too.

Playhouse in the springtime

Garden by the Playhouse in the springtime

I have had this title floating around in my head for quite a while now.  Isn’t  “having it all”  what everyone strives for?    I think most of us probably do have it all, in one shape or another – it just depends on how you measure “it all”.

misty morning (up too early to drive my daughter swimming before school...)

misty morning (up too early to drive my daughter swimming before school…)

Over the years I have learned to not wish for anyone else’s life but my own. Oh I used to think about all the other people who I was convinced had it better than I did!  It is so easy to think ‘doesn’t she have everything?’, or ‘doesn’t he have it so good?’.  I think there is a story to tell in everyone’s life.  Some stories are much harder to read than others, but everyone has a story.

a view from above

a view from above (foxtrot tulips)

Recently I had the situation where I really thought I was having a bad day.  But then I learned someone else’ story that day.  Yeah, my day was a walk in the park compared to her day.  Sometimes you just never know what is going on in people’s lives.  If only we could all be a bit more patient, kind, understanding…

Ballerina tulips with our playhouse as a backdrop

Ballerina tulips with our playhouse as a backdrop

My life is quite full just with our three kids and their activities!  Then add in my coaching swimming, working, trying to keep the house looking like a hurricane hasn’t passed through (too recently), gardening, and balancing life with my husband and kids.  I’m sure everyone’s life is equally as busy and full and rewarding!

weeds are just a part of the garden

weeds are just a part of the garden

Life is so full that time in the garden is precious these days. Precious and rare!  Our garden is  where we find peace and enjoyment, despite the amount of work it takes to care for it.  For me, time in the garden is how I recharge. I’m in the process of learning how to just sit and relax and enjoy the garden after a full day.  “Just sit” doesn’t come easy to me, so it is a learning process, but I’m getting there.

Parrot tulip

Parrot tulip

How about you?  Can you “just sit” and relax in the moment?  I hope that you too, have the “all” that you need in life.

Peace,

Dana

a not entirely stormy sky

a not entirely stormy sky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Weekend in the garden and boy was it lovely!

Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria

What a wonderful weekend I had in the garden!  The weather was perfectly spring like.  There was so much weeding and cleaning up to do it was a bit overwhelming at first.  Ever feel that way?  All I could do was start with one little job at a time.

Primrose

Primrose

There are lovely signs of spring.

Anemone Mr. Fokker

Anemone Mr. Fokker

I also had some new plants to plant, and others to move around the yard. My husband is very good and does the planting for me, even the movings around of plants (sometimes more than once).

Anemone

Anemone

I had forgotten that I had some very pink anemone growing in a container.  What a lovely surprise to see them this week!

Anemone

Anemone

Our strawberry plants are in a mess.  You should really clean up the plants around September.  Some how our schedules got in the way of our gardening last fall.  So we  are now in the process of cleaning them up and what a job it is!

Strawberry beds in need of attention

Strawberry beds in need of attention

I cut back all of the green leaves of my Hellebores. Some of their leaves were turning black and it wasn’t pretty.  They have been flowering all winter, so if you are looking for a winter blooming plant, this is definitely one to get (and so many colours to choose from).

Hellebores

Hellebores

Our winter garlic is finally up, growing and doing well. And look at that, another strawberry bed in need of attention!  (arg!)

Garlic bed

Garlic bed

Garlic

Garlic

This is the first daffodil in my yard.  It is kind of lonely all on its own. Hopefully the others will be up soon!

Daffodil

Daffodil

I’m so happy to have had time in the garden this weekend! I hope spring has sprung for you, too (or will soon)!

Happy spring!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: A shining Star with roses

A special star made for me by a friend

A special star made for me by a friend

I know what you are thinking: Roses again?!?!  I do apologise, but as always I left myself no time and I knew exactly what I wanted from them so it just had to be!  I haven’t cut all of them but the weather is supposed to turn really cold this week so I’m guessing it will be the end for them.

getting ready for Christmas ever so slowly

getting ready for Christmas ever so slowly

I’m afraid that when I checked the pictures on my camera they all looked “in focus” but as it turns out they weren’t all in focus!  But I had one shot to get it all done so we’ll just have to imagine that this is in focus 😉

having fun with decorations

having fun with decorations

I like the Christmas balls in the vase!  So simple and fun.

an Angel candle from Celticheritage.ie in Kinsale which I purchased at a Craft Fair this weekend

an Angel candle from Celticheritage.ie in Kinsale which I purchased at a Craft Fair this weekend

I went to the National Craft & Design Fair in Dublin with a friend this weekend.  It was fantastic!  It was so wonderful to see all of the beautiful crafts.  I did my best to support as many of our National Craftspeople as possible!  Merry Christmas to me!

flowers in a vase

flowers in a vase

My favourite purchase is definitely this angel. I think she is just lovely (and not Christmas-y).  I especially enjoyed meeting the artist who painted her.  It is fun to get to chat with the crafters and see their wonderful work!

but the flowers need water so here they are on my counter

but the flowers need water so here they are on my counter

After taking pictures of the flowers in the round vase with the ornaments (and no water) I threw them in a small square vase with water.  Not much work required there.    They should be happy enough this week.

In a Vase on Monday with a Star

In a Vase on Monday with a Star

The star was given to me last year by my friend Susan who had made it for me.  I thought the pink was rather unusual for the lights, but I absolutely love it!  She cut the branches, which came from her yard, hot glued them in the star shape, spray painted it and added the lights.  How cool is that?

Nativity creche

Nativity creche

This small nativity scene was given to me by another very special friend of mine who belongs to the church we went to in Manlius, NY.  I love having those connections.

A little ‘light’ on the flower side of things this week. (haha!  did you see that?  light as in star light? O.K. maybe not…)   As we head into the winter I think it is going to be quite a challenge!  Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the garden for this wonderful meme (challenge)!  You can visit her blog and see other links to lovely arrangements, too!  http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com

I hope you have a shining star of a week!
Dana

Christmas Season begins with the First day of Advent

My brother-in-law's beautiful Nativity set

My brother-in-law’s beautiful Nativity set

Christmas season has begun!  Am I ready?  No, I’m not.  But today at church the sermon really touched my heart and now my focus is back on track.  It is so easy to get distracted with “all the trimmings”!  It will be a challenge for me, I know, as I can really try to do too much.  This year my goal is to be conscious of everything I do during this Season of Advent and to focus on what is really important.

I was quite fortunate enough last year to see a wonderful display of Nativity sets (Christmas Crib/Creche).  They belong to one of our lovely priests who has amassed them from all around the world. I have included a few (O.K., way more than a few!) pictures of them below.  They are as beautiful and diverse as the different cultures from which they come!  I’ve also included a little information about what Advent is all about for those who don’t celebrate Christmas and would like to know.

I wish you a blessed advent season!

In peace,
Dana

Christmas Crib Kenya 1 Christmas Crib Willow Christmas Crib Vietnam 1 Christmas Crib Spain 1 Christmas Crib South Africa 1 Christmas Crib Slovakia 1 Christmas Crib Mexico 1 Christmas Crib Nepal 1 Christmas Crib Peru 2 Christmas Crib Peru 3 Christmas Crib Poland 2 Christmas Crib Ireland 1 Christmas Crib Haiti 1 Christmas Crib Germany 1 Christmas Crib France 1 Christmas Crib China 1 Christmas Crib Cameroon 1 Christmas Crib Budapest 2 Christmas Crib Bolivia 1

Nativity made in Budapest

Nativity made in Budapest

 

First Sunday of Advent
30th November2014

The word Advent is derived from the Latin adventus, which means “coming” and refers to the four-week period of preparation for Christmas. Adventus is in turn a Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, which refers to the future coming or return of Jesus. During the Season of Advent we contemplate two different comings of Jesus into our world. The first refers to his birth over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. The second refers to his future return in glory as judge at the end of time.

The theme of the readings during Advent is the preparation for Jesus’ second coming at the end of time, while remembering his birth in Bethlehem.

There are many things in life to keep our attention fixed on the here and now – economic challenges, the scandals in church and state, our efforts at trying to make ends meet, along with all the other day-to-day cares of living.

When the huge tsunami devastated north-eastern Japan in April 2011, the Japanese national soccer team came up with a slogan to encourage their suffering people. It read: “With hope we can cope.” The Season of Advent calls for our hope-filled attention. It reminds us that, as daunting as our day-to-day worries are, we ultimately place our hope in the ever-loving and compassionate God. That is why with all Christians down through the ages we can cry out again in the Aramaic language of Jesus: “Mara tha, Come , O Lord.”

Reality Magazine, November 2014

Let Us Give Thanks

As an American, it is in my blood that Thanksgiving is the 4th Thursday of November. But as a part of a busy family living in Ireland, we’ll be celebrating this weekend. So for now, I offer your this short blog post.

I would like to reflect on my many blessings, and family and friends are, of course, the most wonderful blessings of all! This poem, posted by my blogging friend Michele of The Salem Garden, made me smile and think of all of my friends in very different ways! and since it is all gardening related I simply love it!

May my American family and friends, near and far, enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving.
In peace,
Dana

The Salem Garden

Let Us Give Thanks

By Max Coots

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:
For children who are our second planting, and, though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.
Let us give thanks:
For generous friends…with hearts as big as hubbards and smiles as bright as their blossoms;
For feisty friends as tart as apples;
For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us we had them;
For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;
For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn — and the others — as plain as potatoes, and so good for you.
For funny friends, who are as silly as brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes, and serious friends…

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