Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

September 29, 2012

I just couldn’t let September end this way!

Filed under: Walking the Dogs,What's Blooming — Karma @ 10:08 am
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Gee, what a slow and blue blogging month it has been for me.  The End of the Earth and the End of Summer – that’s all I blogged about.  I couldn’t let it end this way.  I did get out and take some cheerful pictures last weekend, the first weekend of autumn.

In the comments of the “Transition” post that I linked to up there, Michaela and  I were having a little discussion about taking pictures of pretty flowers in someone else’s yard and whether we should do it.  For several years now, I’ve admired the dahlias in the front yard of a house up the street a little ways from here.  They are right along the sidewalk, and I’ve always meant to tote my camera along and take some pictures.  This time I finally did it.  I’m afraid this is really not a  great representation of all the beauty in this yard.  I still felt a little funny shooting someone else’s flowers, so I just did it quickly, didn’t change lenses when I probably should have and got back in my car really quickly!

Dahlias 1

Dahlias 2

Dahlias 3

This last shot gives you the proof of where I was standing, plus it is a really cool looking dahlia:
Dahlias 4

The dogs and I also went on our first walk of the autumn season.  There were still plenty of wildflowers in bloom and the air was warm, so it did help ease my transition and my mood.

I thought this looked like a little bouquet that Mama Nature had left behind:

natural bouquet

All along the path, I found little reminders that there is beauty to be had in all seasons.

autumn grasses

wild flowers 1

wild flowers 2

Queen Anne's lace

In addition, as October approaches (would you believe I just typed “August” there instead of “October”?  Apparently my wishful thinking continues), I hope to rejuvenate my blogging habits.  Robin, over at Life in the Bogs has provided links to NaBloPoMo’s blogging prompts for October.  While I am sure I will not make the commitment to blogging every day in October, the prompts provide some interesting food-for-blog-thought.  I’m hoping to tackle a few – maybe you’d like to also?

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Robin provides more inspiration in her idea for a group blog walk.  She had mentioned over the summer about how she’d like to take a really long walk someplace she doesn’t always walk, take photographs and blog about it.  She suggested some of us might enjoy doing the same.  I may have helped a little bit in this inspiration by suggesting that she turn it into a blog-along type of event by choosing a time period to complete the walk and allowing us to share our blog posts with her.  She chose the week of October 8th, and I’m hoping to participate if Columbus Day provides this area with some nice weather.  I hope you’ll think about walking along with us.

fading susans

I will have to decide soon if there will be an October photo hunt too. If inspiration strikes me, I will try to post something during the first week of the month.

Now, that’s a bit better, right? No more gloomy funk. Here’s a better kind of funk to end the month 😉

July 10, 2012

A Few Firsts of the Summer Season

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 9:47 am
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Summer, summer, summer; I love it so.  And not just because I still have 7 more weeks before I have to go back to work!  The days are long and seem to pass slowly with no particular place to be.  It is warm and green and lush.  Some of my favorite things about summer are also starting to appear around me, a bit early I believe.

On July 4th, I harvested my first cucumber and summer squash from my garden.
first harvest

Zucchini quickly followed and I already have a few over-sized specimen.  Meghan and I ate the first zucchini like this:

Breaded and shallow-fried, delicious.

Like many flowers in my yard and gardens, my daylilies seem to make later appearances than others I’ve seen around town.  My first opened on July 5th this year.

first daylily

And now that the butterfly bushes are in full bloom, the butterflies have returned to my yard.  Surprisingly, the monarchs were the first I saw this year.

First monarch spotting

King of butterflies

The swallowtails, hummingbird moths and a great spangled frillitary have all made subsequent appearances.

Another of my favorites of the summer season happens this weekend – the annual camping trip.  I know that camping is not for everyone, but you can read about what makes this tradition with my group of friends pretty great right here.

Now that the heat wave that has had so much of this county in its grips for a while has started to ease back, I hope you are getting out and enjoying summer too.

June 27, 2012

Buddleja and a Peninsula

I’m here with a little announcement this morning: feel free to take an extra day or two to finish up your photo hunt this month if need be.  Reason?  I have a last minute trip to Cape Cod planned for tomorrow through Saturday.  Saturday was the date the photo hunt was due, but now since I won’t be home until Saturday night, it is unlikely I will post my own hunt before Sunday since I’m not done taking my photos yet.

I didn’t want to head off to the Cape without leaving you with a few new pictures though.

I haven’t seen many butterflies yet this summer – but some lovely photos over at Robin’s place have me hoping I will see them soon.  My butterfly bushes are just beginning to bloom..
butterfly bush budding

and the milkweed is out too.  I’ve left some stalks here and there around the yard especially to entice the monarchs.

milkweed

I thought butterflies, and maybe the hummingbirds too, would find these lantana attractive but so far they don’t seem to be of much interest.

lantana

I’ve been enjoying watching the color-changing that the blooms go through as they mature.

fresh raspberries

The raspberries are ripening regularly now, and I’ve been enjoying eating a daily handful.  I suspect we will have quite a few to pick when we get back.

Our weather forecast for the Cape over the next few days couldn’t be nicer: upper 70’s to low 80’s with mostly sunny skies.  My mom tells me the summer kick-off sand sculpture event in her town is happening over the next few days, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing that.  Last year I saw what was left of the sculptures after a couple weeks had passed.
sand sculpture

It looks like we have a nice few days to look forward to – I hope you have something nice to look forward to too. I’ll be back in the blogosphere on Sunday, and also looking forward to seeing your photo hunts. (Gee, that’s a lot of looking forward! 😉 )

Are you wondering at all about my blog post title?  I was having trouble coming up with a title for this post even though I knew what I was going to write about, so I decided to wait until I was finished writing to title it.  I thought of “Down the Cape” or “Capeward Bound” as possible titles but they seemed blah to me.  I googled “butterfly bush” for possible inspiration and that’s where I found “Buddleja.”  According to Wikipedia (and I know you have to take information found on Wikipedia with a grain of salt), Buddleja is :

commonly known as the Butterfly Bush,[4] is a genus of flowering plants. The generic name bestowed by Linnaeus posthumously honoured the Reverend Adam Buddle (1662–1715), a botanist and rector in Essex, England, at the suggestion of Dr William Houstoun. Houstoun sent the first plants to become known to science as buddleja (B. americana) to England from the Caribbean about 15 years after Buddle’s death.[1]

The peninsula, of course, is Cape Cod.  Buddleja, peninsula – they kind of rhyme, no?   If that title doesn’t get me noticed by WordPress, I’ll never be “Freshly Pressed,” lol!

June 22, 2012

What I’ve Been Up To

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 12:16 pm
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I’ve been out of school for a week now and I thought it was about time to show you what I’ve been up to and what’s going on around the yard lately.  Of course we had recital this past Saturday, so getting ready for that took up time but I’ve been puttering around taking care of other tasks as well.

garden progress

The garden is progressing along nicely.  I’ve had one major weeding session since planting everything a few weeks ago and I’ve been pretty good about remembering to water in the morning when needed.  Fairly low maintenence so far, and I’ve got…
baby cucumbers

baby cucumbers,

baby summer squash

baby summer squash,

baby zucchini

baby zucchini, and even

baby cayenne pepper

a baby cayenne pepper!

The raspberries are coming along too..
raspberries

..I’ve already eaten a few!

As for those flowery-type thingies that I love so much, the bee balm is back..
bee balm

..and I’ve purchased and re-potted a few others, like this geranium,
geranium

and this cute purple, puffy algeratum:
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In addition to weeding, watering and repotting, I’ve been scrubbing and conditioning too. No, not me! Well, okay, yes me, but I was referring to this:

pool finally clean!

After quite a bit of opening work, the pool is finally ready for use.  Just in time too!  Here in the northeast, as is much of the country, we’ve been experiencing our first official heat wave of summer with temps in the 90’s for 3 days in a row.

I’ve also been taking care of this little patch:
yard work

This past spring, hubby finally finished burning all the debris that was left behind by all the violent weather we experienced in these parts last year. Unfortunately, we had to use a spot in the middle of the lawn to do it since the fire had to be a certain distance from the house but within reach of the garden hose.

I shoveled out the pile of coals, loosened the earth beneath and planted this patch of new seed: watching grass grow
Scott’s tells me I’ll have nice thick grass here in about a month.

I won’t let you think I’ve been doing nothing but work over the last week.  I’ve had plenty of time to enjoy myself in my happy place, too:

My happy place

Happy summer everyone!  So what have you been up to lately?

May 28, 2012

Feeling Accomplished and Tired!

Here we are at the end of a glorious 3-day weekend – (thank you service people who made it possible).  I made use of every moment and accomplished plenty in that time span.  Some of the accomplishments were enjoying time with friends and relaxing on my deck, but those are important too, right?

Memorial Day weekend is planting weekend for me.  It is always when I have the time to plant my veggie garden and generally have no more worry of a hard frost in this area.  Tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini make up this year’s patch.
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That took most of my day yesterday, a sunny day with the temperature around 90 degrees. I continued today (after mowing the lawn this morning before it reached into the 90’s again this afternoon) with my traditional row of marigold “sentinels” at the edge of the garden.
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You know, I was under the impression that the scent of marigolds was supposed to help repel critters who’d like to get their paws on what the garden has to give, but not two hours after I finished planting those marigolds did I find a chipmunk happily digging away and stuffing his cheeks right next to one of those marigolds! Curious, eh?

I also planted my herb bucket with basil and parsley after mercilessly hacking away about half of the chives that have a tendency to take over the whole bucket.
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I started filling some of my containers with annual flowers as well, but those don’t look too impressive yet, so I’ll save those for another day.

Another color of peony opened this weekend too:
peony1

While in one of those quiet moments relaxing and appreciating on my deck, I caught sight of a bird I’ve been wanting to photograph for a while now:
oriole1
This gentleman was fairly high up in my oak tree, so I wasn’t entirely sure at first that I was seeing a Baltimore oriole. But then he turned his backside toward me, and that made me sure I wasn’t just seeing a robin with a really dark head and a really bright chest!
oriole2

And so, dear readers, I’m quite tired as I type this late Monday evening, but it is a good kind of tired.  Memorial Day weekend was all that I could have asked for and I truly appreciated it.  How was your weekend?

May 26, 2012

The Peonies are Coming!

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 8:52 am
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This post title kindly brought to you by dear friend Renae, who made this exclamation in the comments of my last post.  For a special birthday 3 years ago, Renae made me a quilt she titled “Forty Freakin’ Peonies” so she knows how dear to my heart these lovelies are.
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It is Memorial Day weekend, so I hope you have a weekend of fun on tap with family and friends.  Mine is looking to be busy with a party to attend and lots of planting and yardwork beckoning me outdoors.  Here are some peonies to enjoy, and I hope to catch up with everyone very soon!
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(I wish we had smell-o-blog for this one! So deliciously fragrant!)
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May 22, 2012

Happenings

Filed under: For the Birds,What's Blooming — Karma @ 4:42 pm
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It has been more than a week since I posted – I’ve been a bit of a slacker, I suppose, but then this tends to be the “When I Feel Like It” way.  It has been a busy week as we approach the end of the school year (16 days of school left for me!), recital around the corner and spring in full bloom.  In addition to all the good, a drop of the bad had to rear its ugly head as well.  On my way home from work yesterday I was the victim of a motor vehicle accident.  While I was stopped behind several cars waiting to take a left turn, a very young and newly licensed driver hit my car from behind.  I am fine, but my poor car is damaged yet again and having a reunion with the body shop it has already visited 3 times in its past (none of those incidents my fault, by the way!)  So how about the photos of the nice stuff that happened this week?

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Mandaville hanging flower basket from my daughter for Mother’s Day

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Peonies, ready to bust open

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My little lupin, in light and shadow

ducks
Mr. & Mrs. Duck, stopping by my still covered pool – the water on the cover is sure to contain a variety of tasty insects

A pair of hummingbirds has returned to my yard. I was distracted getting ready for work one morning in my attempt to take these pictures:
humming1

humming2

My dearly loved bearded irises have started to bloom:
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While sitting outside hoping to find a nice shot for Scott’s Blue Hour assignment, due this week, I was thrilled to come up with this iris photo:
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I’m particularly happy with how that one came out.

I’m not as happy with how my blue hour attempts came out. I’m still deciding whether I will choose to post them tomorrow for Scott’s deadline.

What’s been happening with you?

May 7, 2012

Hearts ‘n’ Flowers

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I was working outside this past weekend, trying to get caught up on some of my outdoor “spring cleaning” chores that have been neglected this year.  You might remember a little adventure I mentioned a time or two that caused me not to be at home during our spring break from school – the time that I normally take care of these things.

I worked on cleaning the flower bed in my front yard, and felt satisfied with that work for the day.  There was much bending, pulling, pushing and such, and rather than have my back go out from trying to do too much, I decided one flower bed spruce-up was enough for one day.  The sun was out and at a lovely angle for taking photos, so I decided to grab my camera and spend some well deserved time behind the lens instead of the wheelbarrow.

Problem was when I tried to take a picture of those white bleeding hearts.  I noticed all sorts of leftover winter debris invading my pictures.  “I’ll just move a twig or two out of the way,” I said to myself.  It wasn’t working.  But I was determined for pictures of the cute little hearts.
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Rip, prune, yank, rake, pile, push.  Those were my next actions.  You see, my butterfly bushes surround this particular bleeding heart plant.  Once I started, I couldn’t stop until it was done.  That ever happen to you?  You make the decision to do one thing, and then find yourself completely involved in a task you hadn’t planned on?  I suppose it is a bit similar to my HCDD, that I’ve mentioned before.

Now the butterfly bushes lean up against my deck and they unfortunately littered their leavings all over, so not only did I find I need to clean up that whole bed, I then found it necessary to sweep up the deck too.  **SIGH**

I did, however, eventually get around to taking pictures of what I found in bloom in the yard.
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Many of my blooms seem less bountiful this year.  I’m thinking it has to do with that crazy streak of crazy-warm weather we had in March that started everything growing and budding ahead of time.  That was followed by cooler, more “normal” temps and everything seemed to stall out a bit.

These azaleas are an exception to that observation, however:
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I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular shrub looking so full and lush.

The “true” rhododendrons (as opposed to my early-blooming “rhodo-azaleas”) are starting to bloom now.  I found this one nestled away in the shadows:
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Now that I’ve confessed my YWDD (yard work distraction disorder), I have one more comment on this spring that I feel the need to express.  I wish Mama Nature could get us a little more regularly into the 70° range.  We’ve been hovering with highs in the 60’s, but the mornings are still chilly and I’m getting really tired of my current wardrobe!  Anyone else having this problem getting ready for work?  I only have so many “transitional season” outfits, and I’ve worn them to death over the last month or so!

I realize that last paragraph was extremely random.  I apologize if you are still reading at this point.  Welcome to my train-of-thought.  Sometimes it is a bumpy ride!

April 13, 2012

A Week of Ups and Downs

I’ve been away from the blogosphere a bit again this week and there’s a blog post inside me just bursting to get out.  This post may be a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, like my week has been, so strap in for a bumpy ride!

Ah, my boys from Boston!  Their week mirrors mine somewhat.  The Boston Red Sox are off to a rocky start again this year.  Current win-loss record is 2-5.  But what a win today was!  They were back home in Boston for the first game at Fenway Park this season.
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(my archival photo from a game I attended in 2010)

They trampled the Tampa Bay Rays 12-2.  I know you don’t come here to read about sports, but I’m just making a connection here, so stick with me if you can.  They won only one game on their road trip, and we fans were feeling pretty low.  They returned home to Boston today and pulled off a colossal win against a big rival.  I may be speaking for myself here, but I’m feeling much better about my favorite team’s chances.

I began my week with my regular Monday blues.  This week at work was probably going to feel like a long one with the promise of our spring break upcoming.  As the week progressed, I started feeling more hopeful.  Then yesterday, SLAM! I had one of the worst days at work I’ve ever had.  But I got up and faced the day again today and was rewarded with assurances.  I came home to an awesome baseball game, and the knowledge that our big vacation is only days away.

I also came home to some new blooms I’d like to share with you.
More daffs:
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The rhodo-azalea that had seemed locked in mid-bud is starting to come around:
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And would you believe the bleeding hearts are beginning to bloom?

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I only have these white ones so far, there’s no sign of buds on the pink yet.  I’m sure these were a case of plants being fooled by the abnormally warm weather last month.

Another new arrival in my yard:
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Can you tell what that is?  I apologize for the poor focus, but I had to work pretty hard to bring you this picture.  We’ve got baby bunnies again!  That fuzzy oval in the top third of the shot is a bunny ear.  My daughter made the actual discovery a few days ago when she noticed the large pile of mama-bunny fur (the blurry pile in the foreground of that picture) well ensconced in the center of our raspberry bushes.  The little buns are burrowed fairly deep in the ground, so getting a recognizable shot was nearly impossible.  We had a frost last night, so I’m sure mama bunny knew what she was doing tucking them in that way.  From what I could see of those adorable little ears moving around, I think there are three little ones.

Those bunnies reminded me that I yet again I missed my blogoversary.  Those of you who have been reading from the beginning may remember that baby bunnies were the subject of my first few posts back when I started this blog in April of 2010.  April 6th was the actual blogoversary.  For those who may be interested in such things, I’ve had 28,623 views since my blog began, and my busiest day was February 28, 2012 with 201 views.  That was the day I posted the February Photo Hunt Wrap-Up.  My most commented upon post was the October Photo Hunt announcement. That was the “idiomatic” photo hunt that folks really seemed to enjoy.

I can tell you that I’ve really enjoyed bringing you my photos and stories for the last two years, and I’m so happy to have become part of a blog community.  As you can see from my blog’s numbers, I’m no super power blogger, but I’m really grateful for you, my faithful readers.

So this up-and-down week ends on a high note: a big Red Sox win, the end of the work week, and our cruise only days away!  We are off on another college visit tomorrow, and I have packing to do, so I don’t know how much time I’ll be spending in the blogosphere this weekend, but please know I’ll be thinking of you and hoping to do some blog-catching up in my spare time.  If we are friends on Facebook, I’ll probably post some pictures from my phone from the cruise while we are still in American waters.  Think I’ll be going a little photo-crazy this coming week?

Oh, and don’t forget to be working on this month’s photo hunt too! Show me your favorites – and maybe one of mine! 😉

April 5, 2012

Poking Around

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 9:32 pm
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It happened today!  My first daffy bloomed!
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My lastest-blooming-in-the-neighborhood daffodils started to bloom today.  There’s yet more proof of the crazy mild winter we had.

I found myself in the unusual position of having an unrushed period of time to myself this afternoon.  There’s no school tomorrow, the girls were at their respective activities, the temperature was relatively mild, and the sun was shining at a lovely angle in the sky.  I finally poked around my yard and neighborhood, camera in hand.  Here’s some of what I found, in addition to the daffodil:
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Lilac buds

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The “rhodo-azalea” still waiting to bloom

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The neighbor’s forsythia, alight in the sunshine
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I’m not sure what type of flowering tree this is (dogwood maybe?) but I loved the way the blooms looked against the blue sky:
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To avoid being too photo-heavy in one post, I narrowed down to 7 shots from the 38 that I took this afternoon!  It felt really nice to be outside with some of my favorite subjects again.

We are off on an adventure in Boston on our day off from school tomorrow.  I hope to have some fun pictures to share with you this weekend.  I hope you’ll be enjoying a long weekend too!

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