Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thankful Sunday--July 24, 2016

I am thankful for my iron skillet.

I grew up cooking in iron skillets. In fact, I didn't know they made any other kind. We crisped our bacon, fried our potatoes, and cooked our pancakes in them. We browned our hamburger, wilted our lettuce, and creamed our sausage gravy in those iron skillets. And every morning, we fried our eggs over-easy, and when the leaves started to turn, we fried our green tomatoes in them. too. Because they were well seasoned from years of use, nothing ever stuck.

A couple of years ago, I got one of my mother's iron skillets and I use it all the time. For this piece of family history, and very useful skillet, I am thankful. 

Note: The skillet belonged to my grandmother before my mother.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Good Morning

The dawn is breaking. It's early morn. I say good morning to Ward, then quietly get up so he can go back to sleep. Downstairs the cats are howling loudly to get feed and be released from the basement where they are banished at night. I feed the cats and then go to check my email and blog. The cats soon join me to see what views the morning has to offer. The birds and the squirrels do not disappoint.

What to do next? The day is full of limitless possibilities but must be considered carefully because the afternoon is going to be sweltering. Definitely time for indoor activities once the sun is high in the sky. The chores for the day seem unappealing. Clean the kitchen that was left in a mess after last night's dinner when we picked blueberries instead of washing dishes. Wash some clothes from the pile in our bedroom. Paperwork is also calling. I've tried to muffle its calls by piling more on top of it, but it's not working. I'm also thinking that I'd like to go on the county's farm tour this afternoon if I can figure out how to beat the heat.

Where to start? I think I'll take a walk and think about that as I see how the rest of neighborhood is waking up. See you later.

How did you start your day?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Second Look--July 20, 2016

This was another typical summer week with  hot and humid weather without much rain. Without that rain, the ground is starting to get parched and some of the plants look stressed. However, two new flowers made their appearances--tiger lilies and black-eyed susans.

Because of the heat, I'm not spending much time outside, so I have some very impressive weeds. (No pictures, maybe next week.) It's amazing how big some of them can get despite the fact that the weather is hostile to many other plants.

Here are a few things I saw this week 
during a Second Look.

Black-eyed Susan, BTW, this is Maryland's state flower.

The squirrels continue to amuse and frustrate us at the same time.

 Amazingly, we still have a couple pansies blooming. A rare thing this time of year with the heat.

Balloon flowers (Platycodon)

I'm not sure what this bird is, but my best guess is a juvenile sparrow of some sort.

Tiger lily

Swallowtail butterfly


Young rabbit

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thankful Sunday--July 17, 2016

Decision making, can be a balancing act.

I am thankful for new ideas. 

Yesterday, I was talking with Theo who was having a problem moving forward from something he was working on. We talked a bit to understand the problem and how it might be solved. Then I told him about something I learned when I was his age.

I was working in my first real job for a large corporation and at the time, the company had one its most successful presidents ever. I read an interview with the president about his managing strategies and one point of the interview struck me more than all the others. He said the most important thing was to make a decision. Any decision. Even if it's wrong, it moves moves things forward. You hope it's a good one, but if it's not, you learn from it and move on.

In my inexperienced, idealist mind, that was a new and somewhat outlandish idea for me. I thought you always had to make the right decision. And if you weren't sure, you had to study the issue more until you were convinced you were right. (Or as right as you could be in an imperfect world.) Of course, that meant that sometimes, I didn't do anything and nothing progressed. So this idea of just making a decision was very profound to me.

Now, it seems so obvious. I will never know every variable to make a perfect decision. I just have to do the best I can and move on.  If I'm perfectly honest, I still struggle with making most decisions, but I move forward much faster than I used to. And as the years go by, it gets easier and easier.

So for the idea I learned from my company's president and all the others along the way, I am thankful.

(So did this story help Theo? Well, he's thinking about it. Time will tell.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Second Look--July 13, 2016

There haven't been any huge changes in my outdoor world this past week. Day lilies still dominate the blooms and hot and muggy days out number the cooler ones. To make it really feel like summer, the warm afternoons are now filled with gnats. Really annoying, but beats the black flies my sister deals with in Maine.

Here a few things I saw this week 
during a second look.

Skipper butterfly on a cone flower. If you look closely, you can see its proboscis extended into the flower. No matter how often I see an insect collecting nectar, I am still excited every time I see it. This time was no exception.

Marigold. All of the marigolds we have this year were reseeded from last years flowers.

Some giant mushrooms/fungus showed up in the yard this week. Notice the 12"  (30 cm) ruler for scale.

Close by there was another set of yellow ones. Once again, notice the 12" ruler for scale.

Queen Anne's Lace with black spot. I studied the spot or lack there of a couple of years ago. If you're interested in the results, you can read here.

Day lilies

The wren's nest finally has eggs in it. I suspect that there will be more.

There have been a lot of rabbits around this year.

Zinnias and marigolds.