Monday, October 28, 2013


Well, it finally happened, our first frost… fortunately it was a very light frost. Also fortunately I have all the house plants inside the house and most everything that could be killed by frost outside is in the greenhouse. I was so embarrassed to have to call someone to come and help me move the grill… the tank is full so I could not lift it. Fortunately I had some paperwork for someone to take care of and 3 gallons of water-seal that needed to go to the Train Station, so I let one stone take care of 3 birds. Then I rebuilt the “greenhouse annex!”LOL It filled up quickly. I had taken cuttings from most of the coleus, the frost got the ones left out in the yard. DSC_0299 DSC_0300 DSC_0294 DSC_0298

I covered the tomatoes and they made it… likewise my last serving of beans. Guess I will get to pick them end of the week.

Ice Angel opened early this year and is blooming up a storm. Someone suggested I do a post on a different camellia each week. Sounds like a fun idea except I get so busy, I just don’t have time. Ice Angel is probably about 15 feet tall by now… maybe taller. A beautiful bush! See how little the Buddha is and only 3 feet from the bush. Those wooden posts are 4 feet tall.

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My Birthday camellias out-front are well up over the roof. They have been blooming for over a month now.

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Also higher than the roof is this double pink. Yule Tide has started to open. There are still some azaleas blooming.

But it is going to warm back up. How do I know this? I put the electric blanket on the bed. Yep. Works every time. Put your summer clothes away, storm windows in, close the house vents… and I promise it will warm up.

We have lost some leaves, but the colors, muted as they are here, have finally started to change. Maybe I will have some pretty leaf pictures next week.

I hope October has been beautiful for you!

Sunday, October 27, 2013


(M) A great message.

Thanks to @[131247023568988:274:Liberal And Proud Of It] for sharing this.

(M) A great message.

Just sayin’……….

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Since so many of you have asked about the house in the Poconos, I decided to repost this from 2006.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The Tree House
Do the words Tree House conjure up some image from your childhood, a place where you could go and hide out, hang out, do pretty much what you wanted with no thoughts about the rest of the world? Most people associate tree houses with carefree little boys, messy places, usually, I mean, who “cleans” up a tree house? Most tree houses are in trees but I remember a friend who built one high on the rocks back behind his “real” house in the mountains overlooking the trees below, accessible by a torturous little path up the cliff face. It looked out into and over the tree tops.
Well, some years ago, Anna named the apartment we have in White Haven the Tree House, partially because it is on tree level in the front but mostly because when we went up there, we would have to spend several days cleaning up after my father and brother who had spent time up there the previous fall. Well, my brother used to come up more often when his aunt lived next door. With the aunt gone, he no longer seems to have any interest in going there. And, my father just turned 89 in May, so his visits are fewer and fewer. Pennsylvania is a long way from Florida, especially when you are 89 years old and driving all alone. I live 300 miles away and dread the drive up!
Four generations of our family have lived in this house and my great-grandparents were not the first owners of the house. I remember coming here to visit my father’s parents as a very little child. My grandfather and I used to sit in a big old swing on the front porch during thunderstorms. It was on this porch that he taught me how to tell how far away the lightning was by counting the seconds from the light to the thunder. He taught me distances and directions this way, also. “Now that one hit over near Freeland. That is 8 miles away,” he’d say. And he’d point and tell me the compass directions for Freeland.
The house is divided in to the Big House and a small 2 room apartment. Well, it isn’t all that small, really, but it is 2 rooms and a bath, an entry way and the “cave,” a small storage room in the hillside where we keep the garden tools, snow shovels, coolers, camping equipment, etc. The temperature in the cave stays in the 50-60ยบ range year round. The living room doubles as a bedroom. The kitchen has a modern electric stove and an old wood or coal cooking stove that used to bake the best cookies! Years ago, Gram used to rent out the little apartment, then she moved into it in her old age when my step mother and brother were evacuated from Vietnam and they lived in the big house. That side has a lot of rooms. When my dad was young, it had 6 bedrooms. Now most of the bedrooms are storage rooms or empty. Dad took two of the rooms and made them into one very large master bedroom. We rent out the big side of the house – well, sorta. E is a tenant but also the caretaker. She keeps the grass cut in the summer and the snow shoveled or plowed in the winter and lets my brother know when something isn’t working right.
You can enter the house from different levels as it is built into the mountainside. From the road, there are 6 steps up to the front yard where there is a porch with a door leading into the cellar. Personally, I would love to turn that into a little apartment – stone walls, etc. The cellar is divided into four rooms, one completely underground, one partly in the side of the hill. There is a set of steps up the side to the first floor level, the front porch, a flower garden, the patio, a sun porch and around back to the entrance to the apartment.
We have a driveway at what amounts to a block away (as measured by the block across the street, but we don’t have any streets crossing on our side) and it goes up to a parking area level with the second floor. Therefore one has to go up or down a flight of steps to get in or out of the house no matter where you park. In my old age, this sucks! The old stone steps are narrow and steep. The property then continues on up the mountain where Bill cuts little paths up to the old stone walls and some great old boulders where I used to climb up and have my morning coffee and watch the sun come up over the mountain and the morning fog burn off the river which is probably about 500 feet away if measured in a straight line. However, in the mountains, there is no such thing as a straight line. There is a very steep bank leading down to the river owned by the state now and is part of the Lehigh Gorge State Park. I used to climb up and down that bank like a little mountain goat when I was a kid. It has its own tiny waterfalls, two of them, actually, from the creek that runs thru my lot across the street. The Lehigh River, even on the hottest day of the year is cold. Seriously cold. But, we used to swim in it as kids.
There used to be a house down there, a great little place, and the people had kids my age and they used to let us run all over their place. Their yard was our “beach!” Then the state wanted it for their Park. The people would not sell. This went on for a couple of years. The state tried to take the place by condemning it. The owners fought back. Then one night, it mysteriously burned to the ground. The fire Marshall could not determine the cause of the fire. Right. But I digress, again. So, of course, the people sold it – the land, that is, since the house was gone – even the garage somehow burned down, too. Amazing, huh? And now it is all weeds and rock as part of the naturalized park.
Anyway, here are some pictures of the house, the mountain side (if you live in the Rockies, please don’t laugh at my use of the word mountain here – that is what it is called) the steps, the view from up back. The plants that line the road for a few hundred feet are peonies my grandfather planted eons ago. Grandpop died in 1954. The trees around the house make it impossible to get a picture of the house in a way to show its size, etc. I will do my best to put the pictures on so you can tell what is what, but I haven’t figured out quite how to arrange things on blogger yet. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Arthur, Lancelot, and the Witch


Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom.  The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals.  
So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question.  Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and if, after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death. 
The question? ... What do women really want?
Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query.  But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.
He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone:  the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester.  He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.
Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer.  But the price would be high as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch.  She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified.  She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc.  He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life. 
He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.  He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table. 
Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:

What a woman really wants, she answered... is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared. 
And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom.  But, what a sight awaited him.  The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed.
The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.  The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth, be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.  Which would he prefer?  Beautiful during the day.... or night?
Lancelot pondered the predicament.  During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch?  Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would YOU do? 
What Lancelot chose is below. 
....make YOUR choice before you scroll down below.




Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself.
Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life 
Now....what is the moral to this story? 
The moral is.....
If you don't let a woman have her own way....
Things are going to get ugly!

Just sayin’….

Friday, October 11, 2013


Well we have had a soaking week… a long slow rain slowly soaking in. after several days of rain – a little over 3 inches total, there are no puddles on the ground except where it is paved as the land has been dry for so long, everything has been thirsty. This last “storm” was a gentle nor'easter, the winds were not bad, yet the redbud out front is almost naked. The ground, on the other hand is a crazy quilt of colors as the leaves have covered just about everything and many of the camellias have scattered their magenta petals with the leaves. The mums have faded somewhat and the pansies are buried under the redbud leaves. They will have to dry up a bit before I try to uncover them – again. I took the mower out last week-end to grind up the leaves that had already fallen and make room for the new ones. The sit-down mower just re-arranges the leaves and does not mulch them up. I think it is necessary for the leaves to remain more or less where they fall and disintegrate back into the earth that helped grow them in the first place, so I don’t rake them, bag them, or burn them. I do grind them up into smaller pieces for faster composting and a neater looking yard.

My birthday camellia is covered with blooms. Many of them took a beating in the storm and now the ground is a faded magenta under the bushes. However there are hundreds of buds left. The next to open, a small double pink camellia, has started to bloom.  I love its delicate color and beautiful form. As I went out during a break in the rain to pick a few to brighten up the dining room table, I noticed Ice Angel was opening early this year. I only picked one of them as there were so many little busy bees crawling around on the blooms.

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The English daisies have opened and their butterflies have arrived, right on schedule.

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I am still picking tomatoes and we have had our first serving of yellow wax beans.  This morning I picked a very confused strawberry from the berry patch. I thought it was a leaf and wondered where a bright red leaf had come from. We don’t get many red leaves here, so I went over to look at it. Whaddya know? A strawberry! It was good, too… I ate it before I even considered taking a picture of it.

The front yard is full of “butter-butts” at the bird feeders. When it dries up a bit more I need to bring more feeders out. These yellow-rumped warblers will flit around for a few more days, eat a ton of berries and cause the local wrens much grief. My wrens complain about everything, cats, dogs, kids on bikes out on the road… and other birds.

There are still a lot of butterflies on the azaleas and butterfly bushes. I thought the dragonflies were gone, but I saw one this morning.

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Did you know that honeysuckle blooms again in the fall? Well, it does here.

This is a rough October for me. My brother and I are selling the Big house up in the Poconos. It is too much for us to keep up… He has lost interest and I really can’t do the steps, and there is no way in or out of the place without climbing steps… and my uncle is letting me stay in his cottage next door which requires only one step to get in the back door or 3 steps for the front. I can handle that. And the Big house is being sold to my cousin so it will stay in the family… but still, I am grieving for it. It has always been there; it belonged to my grandparents, and it has always been a safety net for me, just knowing it was there. Oh well. It is just one more thing I have had to give up as time moves on and the world changes. But it is painful, more painful than I thought it would be. My brain is thinking of buying a mini RV, big enough to keep Hadj happy… I still own a lot up there… I can always just go up and park on it, get my mountain and river fix… or not. Too many ghosts up there… too many ghosts.


Friday, October 04, 2013


We had rain only twice in September, I think, for an inch and a quarter, total. Nothing so far in the rain bucket for Oct. But we have a promise of Tropical Storm Karen working her way up here beginning of next week.DSC_0279 They promise 3 days of rain. Lord knows, we need it. Normally I would have drained the hoses and had them back in their garbage can for the winter, but not this year. I got some mums for my birthday, and they need to drink or die. I put some out front next to a campaign sign for one of my “boys.” Well, Ralph has not been a BOY for quite a few years, but once they are your boys, they are always your boys. Who would have believed that skinny little kid would be first a neurological pediatrician, then a Senator, and now running for Lt Governor? But he has always been a good boy, and that is what counts most, isn’t it? Anyway, I have a few of his signs up and this was a perfect place for some of the mums.

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As I said, it has been dry. The deer are coming up into the yardDSC_0281 to drink out of the bird feeders. I find them  drained dry every morning and have finally put a tub of water out for them. When there is water in the ground baths, it stays very busy. I was happy to get this shot since the other birds tend to scare the cardinals away from the birdbaths. Can you see him?


DSC_0284 The veggie gardens are just about done, but I have baby yellow wax beans just coming. This is the second planting in my stand-uppity garden.

The tomatoes have been slow this year. Many of them just up and died. The ones I plant in strange places, after the tomato garden itself was full, are still going strong. Not often one sees tomatoes in an azalea bush! But this seems to be a favorite growing area.

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I was told I did not show any of my window boxes… and these are right outside the window here, with my birthday camellia behind them.


Thanks for visiting my garden!