Monday, June 18, 2012

Garden Report June 18 2012

We are still having cooler than expected weather, which I think has slowed some things and helped my hydrangeas and transplanted hostas settle in.

Blooming this week are Evening Primrose, The Fairy (which was slow to take off but is now showing enthusiasm), Astilbe, Heuchera, Lavender and Stella D'oro Daylilies. I tend to consider the blooms of the particular heucheras I have as a distraction because they are not the most striking feature of the plant. The evening primrose that I planted last year has spread to cover easily three times the area that I planted, and has also come up in an area where I do not remember planting them at all. They might be a menacing thug, except that in their main home they are in front of a mass of threadleaf coreopsis that should be a match for them. Also they are pretty.The coreopsis is backed up by some obedient plant that has shocked me with its vigor and Russian sage which looks flimsy and puny this year but because I took only teeny tiny bits of it last year I think next year it will be a formidable opponent. If the Russian sage does not look stronger next year I will move it to a sunnier location not I will move it to a sunnier spot next year. The lavender in that bed will be too crowded by the evening primrose and one of my giant hostas, but next year I will have more sunny bed space and I will move it over to a better spot for sure. The heather that is camping out in the back of that bed will also be moved to the sun.

In bud are red and orange daylilies, threadleaf coreopsis, echinacea and hydrangea. I would have expected to have the butterfly bush starting to bud by now in Oklahoma, but our spring started later and has been very cool so far.

I'm not sure if this week will be typical of where my garden will be this time next year because of the cool weather. I'm a little behind on weeding because of Jennifer's two week visit. I did weed last week, but not to the extent I might have done had I had a little more free time.

My main concern right now is that I have nothing at all in bloom in the front yard. The liatris and Rudbekia are budding, and one of the new hydrangeas has buds. There is plenty of Montauk daisy for fall bloom.  I planted a little bit of Rosa Rugosa but it is not going to do anything this year - I had to chop the plants I took out with an axe and while I think it will grow well from the roots I don't there is time this year to see much of anything. Once it settles in it will bloom off and on most of the summer, but it's a long range plan. Shana wanted pots on the front porch and I think she is right. I was holding off on the expense,  but if we don't get pots out this year we will next year, and they will be nice and big. The front porch faces west so I know sun lovers will do well there.

Jennifer's Summer Tour 2012

The Very Serious Boy at Boston Garden
Jennifer's gone on to Cleveland, Ohio for the next phase of her Summer Tour 2012 and I still had pictures in my camera that had not been uploaded. We were pretty much finished with beach visits although we did revisit Sandy Neck. The second week of her visit was more about visiting towns.

We took a day to go to Boston for a quick visit. Part of the fun was taking the subway. Logan has a big interest in trains and this was his first experience on the T. When we went in in the morning it was pretty easy, especially since we picked it up at the end of the Red Line but coming back the train was jammed to the ceiling with people. Lucky for me as a grandmother with the "baby" on my lap I got a seat leaving Park Street Station. We didn't do a lot in town, staying mainly around the Boston Common area. We visited Boston Common with its nice children's playground and had a nice lunch at Max & Dylan's Downtown which was pretty empty by the time we got there, so we were able to get a table in a quiet area where we had in some hope of a little boy eating. Then we went practically next door to the Brattle Book Shop  which had caught our eye by having a huge outdoor shopping area. Loads of people were shopping in this fascinating shop, both indoors and out. I picked up a book for Logan about Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki which had been published for the younger reader with a wealth of pictures. I remember being interested by this trip and had read the adult book about it when I was a girl. Logan was very interested in the book, much to my satisfaction. Jennifer picked out a couple of vintage storybooks for Logan. I replaced my copy of Stitch & Bitch by Debbie Stoller, an 80's vintage Better Homes and Gardens knitting book, and a nice book on colorwork. This is what we though was suitable for dragging along with us through the streets of Boston! We went on to window shop on Newbury Street and made our pilgrimage to Lush before returning to the Cape. 

We spent a couple of hours of a rainy afternoon at the Cape Cod Children's Museum. There were plenty of kids to play with but not too many for Logan to enjoy playing with everything. It is a good place to go with a little guy, lots to do and not overwhelmingly large. We went back home to cooked up come roast chicken and macaroni & cheese for dinner. We don't have a chance to cook together very often these days, so it was a treat to share the kitchen.

We visited the aquarium at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Thursday including the daily seal feeding. What the aquarium lacks in glitzy display standards it makes up for in information and the feel of a behind the scenes experience. Afterwards we took a stroll on the pier, then shopped in downtown Falmouth, including an ice cream at Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium. The chocolates looked beautiful and even for someone spoiled by the delicious ice creams available everywhere on the Cape in summer their KGB ice cream is something special. Dinner at Betsy's Diner finished the day.

Jennifer and a dummy
We took advantage of beautiful weather Friday to drive out to Provincetown for the afternoon. We enjoyed lunch at Patio and enjoyed a walk on Commercial Street. We browsed through quite a few stores, but our favorite that day was Luxories, where we indulged in some beautiful things. Sadly this shop does not have a website, but their inventory of imported treats at excellent prices was just what we were looking for. Jennifer picked up some bracelets and gifts; I selected a beautiful scarf/shawl (the indispensable accessory for Cape Cod's changeable temperatures) from Turkey and a bracelet of water buffalo horn plus a bracelet for Shana. We had a coffee and a rest at Wired Puppy, then on to the Whydah Pirate Museum. Logan was charmed to be greeted by a man in pirate dress who gave him a piece of pirate treasure. Jennifer and I were fascinated by the jewels in a cannon. It is a small museum, but quite interesting, and its site on Macmillan Wharf is not only convenient to parking but beautiful. On the way home we stopped in Hyannis at The Cape Cod Brewery just minutes before they closed to get our Cape Cod bear shirts. They were already out of large and extra large shirts so we took mediums and ran! I was prepared to run in the next day and mail Jennifer's to her, but they would have been sold out before I got there. Lucky we drove fast!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Beach Blanket Logan

For a change of pace we went to the beach today. This time it was the Mashpee Town Beach, which is on the south shore on the Vineyard Sound. You can see Martha's Vineyard from the beach, and the water is a little warmer. This week it's hovering around 60°. The beach is long but narrow with excellent access from the parking lot - when you park you are right there on the beach. Sadly today there was a lot of seaweed in the water, which was less than optimal. But the weather was perfect and there was plenty of room to play in the sand.

We were not planning to stay long - I have to work today, but we left even sooner than planned. Logan was surprised to hear that he was not a pharaoh and he could not compel his mother to build the pyramid of his dreams. When the screaming gave way to shoving and sand kicking we packed it in.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Just Another Day at the Beach

I know - how we suffer, but someone has to make the sacrifice of making the rounds of the beautiful beaches of Cape Cod ! Today it was Sandy Neck in Sandwich. It's a rocky beach, very uncomfortable for the feet, but accessed by a beautiful boardwalk across a large marsh. The water was still cold (about 48°) but it felt a lot warmer than Nauset. We could sit on the rocks with our feet in the water and watch Logan play around in the water. He was having a lot of fun jumping from rock to rock and yelling things in pirate talk, but the tide was coming in fast so we cleared out sooner than he wanted. One of our special treats was seeing kids fishing off the boardwalk for crabs with chicken legs for bait. Kind of gruesome but fun. They were not keeping the crabs - just filling up buckets with their catch and throwing them back Logan can hardly wait to try it.

We went on into Sandwich Center and poked around in some of the shops. I found a cute container for the potpourri in my guest room, and made note of an especially appealing watercolor/multi media work by Mary Ross at  My Sister's Gallery. We also indulged in treats from Beth's Special Teas which is not only a really cute little cafe, but also serves wonderful pastries.

Friday, June 08, 2012

And the Beach Goes on

Today Logan, Jennifer and I went out to sample another Cape Cod beach (Beach #3 if you're counting, and #4 if you count a peek at Highland). This time I chose Nauset Beach on the Atlantic coast, which I think is one of the nicest beaches on the Cape. It's long, the sand is clean and pretty, and it has services: public restrooms, outdoor showers, and a clam shack. It's a wildly popular beach in season and can be really crowded, but today only a very few were there to enjoy its beauty. The heavy influx of tourists is really here in July and although temperatures are cool now the beach is still pretty and I don't get in the water anyway. I prefer to stay out of any water cooler than 80°. When we arrived it was super foggy and really cold. We were there at low tide, so we had a huge expanse of level sand to enjoy. Once the fog burned off and the sun came out we were warm enough, but the water is still too cool to go in. Water temperatures are running around 43° today, so we barely dunked our feet. Logan kept getting himself wet, so there was much changing of clothes and wrapping in towels. Some hardier (crazy) souls actually got into the water and swam. The sand was warm and the breeze moderate - a perfect beach day, and a perfect day to get a little sunburn. I wanted Logan to see some seals, but there were only a few around and he did not have the patience to wait and watch for them to appear. When they are swimming there is not much to see, just little black heads!

Once we came off the beach Logan was covered in sand and got to experience an outdoor shower. He found it thrilling, especially in light of the fact that he enjoys public nudity whenever possible. We went on to Zia's Pizzeria for some delicious sandwiches and baked goods, then drove out to look at the Highland Light. By the time we left there everyone was pretty tired and it was getting late. Once home we got some ribs on the grill and settled in for a quiet evening. Roxy kept slipping out of the house but never left the general vicinity of the delicious smelling grill so we didn't have to track her down.

Earlier in the day Logan and I went to the dump - he was interested in seeing our recycling center. Lots of questions!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different

Our day at the beach looked like this:

Beach Baby

In spite of a stinky forecast Jennifer, Logan and I headed for Chatham this morning with a plan to take a walk on the beach. We had been planning to visit the Chatham Train Depot which is now a museum, but it will not be open for the season for at least another week. We were disappointed but decided to get some lunch and take a walk on the beach. The weather was not great but when you're near the beach you may not consider that a deal breaker.

We stopped at Larry's PX for lunch - both of us enjoy a diner. Larry's has mixed reviews around the Internet, but Jennifer and I each had perfectly cooked cheese and avocado omelets and were very satisfied with our lunches. Logan was not in an eating mood, but we ordered mac n cheese for him anyway. Instead he chose to eat some of our toast and a glass of chocolate milk. We took all of his macaroni home for his dinner.

By the time we got to the beach the clouds were clearing. We took a peek inside the Chatham Light and had the talk from the Coast Guard guide and then went for a nice long walk on the beach. That activity was very much to Logan's taste - running and shouting is the sort of thing he most enjoys. We could not go into the water because of the severe undertow, but only a maniac would choose to go into that cold water anyway. We were not disappointed to have to stay out. By the time we turned back to return to our car our walk just about wore us out and we arrived at the parking lot pleasantly tired.We still had some errands to run and I can tell you they were not appealing at all, except for the quick stop at Marion's Pie Shop for a  bit of blueberry heaven. Logan napped in the car every time we started driving. Tomorrow will not be an active day - I have to work, but Logan and I will take a thrilling trip to the dump in the morning before I need to get ready.

I did promise a look at yesterday's tantrum, so here it is:

Life's a Beach

My eldest daughter is visiting with the Little Prince this week. Of course in honor of her visit we are having cold and rainy weather but we visited the beach this afternoon anyway. It was a nice antidote to the day of meltdowns at breakfast, twice at Target, and lunch, interspersed with contention, testing and argument! Four is a tough age for Mom and child both. I've got a little video of this morning's breakfast tantrum to share on You Tube this week - the star of the piece cannot get enough of watching himself scream and sulk, so at least one person thinks it is extremely entertaining.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

I Talk to the Trees

There are some interesting studies around that explore the idea that plants and particularly trees communicate with each other. Some suggest pheromones, some fungus, and some even think trees may be making sounds in a range not audible to the human ear. I enjoy the sounds of trees that are within my range - the rush of wind through the leaves and the creaking of limbs. Getting up close and touching the trunks you can feel the vibrations going through the tree.  This article in WikiHow suggests some ways to enjoy trees if you are not currently communing with yours. Some of the suggestions may sound kind of silly, but I can tell you for sure time spent quietly with nature has real benefits.

In case these activities don't excite you, this guy has a more active approach to enjoying nature: