Monday, September 1, 2014

Phlox First - Then, Mum's The Word

So, you think it’s still Summer, do ya? Sure, the calendar tells us September 22nd is the first day of fall. Nonsense. All New Yorkers know that this simply isn’t so. Summer is over, even though today we'll hit a sunny, mid-eighties temp. It’s Fall. How do we know?

It’s September 1st. This month doesn’t say, “Summer.”

It’s Labor Day, for sure. We’re watching the US Open - John McEnroe is in our living room, commentating to his heart’s content.

We closed the pool. Yesterday. It was overcast and gloomy. Why wait for exactly Labor Day or “...a few days, maybe, till the weather gets cold.” A rhetorical question.

A few yellow leaves have already fallen on the pool’s debris-catching net, to be removed when all the trees are bare. Ugh. What a thought. Bare trees. Hopefully, we've a couple months on that front.

We cleaned pool gardens of wilted perennial debris, but not the abundance of still-bloomin' hydrangea, morning glories, daisies, day lilies roses and you get the gist. Another season gone by. And it began...

...that is, my loooong nails are snapping off, one at a time, in anticipation of cold weather to come. I guess they figure, “Why wait?”

The kids start school on Thursday, much to their chagrin. Even they opine that summer has flown by way too quickly. Doesn’t it always?

It’s pitch black outside at 5:30 a.m. Poor kids. They’ll feel like they’re awakening in the middle of the night. Additionally, it’s turned hotter and steamier than it’s been all summer. Uncomfortable classrooms are on the horizon.

Tomatoes!! ‘Tis their season. It’s time to indulge, Friends. Juicy, red beefsteaks are the last hoorah of summer. And nearby in farm stands everywhere... 

...are colorful mums. Soon, corn stalks and pumpkins shall join them. Fall decor. Gotta love it.

Happy September 1st, Labor Day ’14 - the unofficial beginning of Fall. Mum photos to come.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Keeper

They started hitting on us when we were about 55. Give us a break, AARP! What were you thinking? Taking the proper degree of offense, we started tossing mail and magazines. That's a boatload of paperwork. But this? Duuuuude!! And looking so handsome!! Hey, he's a top-five favorite actor for me. This, I'll keep. Jeesh, what fabulous circles we travel in. :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bloomin'

Here at the Old Homestead, we're bloomin' prolifically. Morning Glory from old, dormant seed decided to grace us on the pool fence. Nearby, yet another Rose Of Sharon is smothered in light pink. At the foot of both, Autumn Joy is turning purplish pink. An orange flower on a random weed is unidentifiable. Across the yard, my favorite Rose Of Sharon blooms large in two shades of pink.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

LakeScape Today - "Where the clouds are hung for the poet's eye…" ND

Mambo Update

This is a real-time photo of Mambo. He's taking his mid-morning nap. We've been fetching newspapers, gardening and doing other morning chores. Time for a rest. Thankfully, he's been fine, since the scary episode, two weeks ago. Thing is, there's more to tell:

Our vet recommended anesthetizing him for diagnostic purposes, the day after an emergency visit, saying it might be oral cancer causing his mouth discomfort. I was surprised he didn't suggest giving it a day or so, to see if it might be a virus or something less radical. Alarming the humans always makes them more vulnerable. Well, because Big Dog perked up so quickly on the very same evening, we decided to hold off. Meanwhile, we asked for prices for (a) just diagnostics and (b) diagnostics and cleaning teeth. Have you ever noticed there is no price chart in a vet's office? It took three days for the "estimates" to come back to us. $600.00 for (a) and $1,000.00 for (b). Can you imagine what the cost would be without first asking?

When we went in for a re-exam and update of shots, doc said, "The swelling I thought I saw in his mouth does not seem to be there, any longer." Then, he tried to push an extra vaccine on us, telling us he was overdue for a booster. Ahem. We'd never begun this particular regimen.

There's more. Niece Vicki called me on Sunday. In conversation, she told me her Yorkie, Nala, was sick two weeks ago. Symptoms: drooling, cough, lethargy, mouth sensitivity, refusal to eat or drink. Identical to Mambo's. Her vet took a less dramatic approach, suggesting that it could be just about anything, including the ingestion of something alien from the outdoors. He suggested watching Little Dog for a couple days. Nala recovered quickly, as did his big cousin. How freaky is that, though? We're separated by well over a hundred miles. Is there some airborne bug attacking canines? Or did each find a slug on which to dine?

I'm not being smug. Just hoping for continued good health for 10-year-old Nala and 7 ½-year-old Mambo. But seriously, what is wrong here? Think we need a new vet?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

LakeScape - Today

by Joe

Josh Groban and the Neil Diamond Connection

We enjoyed our first Josh Groban concert, last night, at our gorgeous Bethel Woods. He's an incredible talent. His brilliant, powerhouse voice is frequently operatic, as several songs performed in Italian demonstrated rather well. He plays a mean piano and rhythmic drums. He's funny… very funny… and spontaneous. He's cute. And he's generous, in sharing the stage with fantabulous musicians. Watch for violinist Christian Hebel, a rising star in his own right and clearly a crowd-pleaser. 
The biggest surprise of the night, though, took me back decades, as Josh began his Neil Diamond tribute. Whoa. Didn't expect that one! He sang ND's Play Me beautifully, bringing me back to a concert moment of a lifetime.
Mr. D's stage-in-the-round stopped directly in front of little ole me, sitting in clear view in the fifth row. (link) He sang to me. Joe captured the expression that I'm positive was one of recognition. After all, how many times does an artist have to see a fanatic, before she begins to look familiar?? When the stage moved on, fans in seats surrounding us leaned in to say, "He SANG to you!" Countless ND concerts before and since have afforded us some incredible Beautiful Noise. I so hope he comes out again in 2015 to treat us to some deep cuts. Caroline can stay home, 'cause the die-hards are craving Coldwater Morning…ahem... If You Know What I Mean. I digress...

It was a great night that ended with an encore in honor of Robin Williams. The ever-bittersweet Smile took on new significance.

We look forward to a repeat. Music for the soul. An astonishing voice.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Whoosh!

Time together with the kids always seems to fly by, but especially so when conditions turn on the proverbial dime. No, no; I'm not speaking of infamous New York weather.




On Wednesday, the lake was calm and the kids excited. Gramps fished and kayaked with Hunter, while Chloe got to know her new pal, Adam. Lifeguarding duties were fun for me, as I chatted away with Adam's g'ma and parents. Truly a spectacular day of fun in the sun.
We'd planned dinner at the lake. When Hunter didn't have an appetite for steak and fries, a favorite meal, I knew something was up. And it was. His temperature spiked to over 102. It was a nerve-wracking night, though his fever came down. Poor little guy only wanted his Mom and Dad to soothe him. But then…

Yesterday started off well and he wanted to recover here, till another sudden spike to 103.6. Another dose of Motrin and off to meet Christian, our visit sadly aborted. But the good news is that our boy is on the mend. He owes us some days!

To Note: Forgot to get parental permission to use more identifiable pics of Adam. Soooo, "The Splash" shall have to do! Cuteness is nonetheless obvious, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cousins Take A Night Swim

Aubs and Gav are going to their second special week at Frost Valley. Sooooo, we had to squeeze in a late visit, for the Fab Four to spend some quality time together.


They immediately paired off, with the girls hitting the pool and the boys playing Minecraft.
An early dinner of kid-friendly fare was quickly followed by a trip to J's for ice cream. Ah, perfect timing. It was dark enough to go night swimming. That, my Friends, has been a rarity during this summer's chilly weather. But they're tough and they had a blast. Can you tell?

My Babes.
♡♡♡♡

Mouths Of Babes - Hunter

We had a nice day, yesterday. The kids are always happy when we devote our day(s) exclusively to them. Case in point:

Hunter and I were discussing our last visit to their house. He'd forgotten that we were there for a dual birthday celebration, just last month. I suggested that the reason for his memory lapse night be the fact that we didn't have much kid-time, as the adults did a lot of catching up. He agreed and commented:

"That's why I like to visit without my parents, G'ma, because then you focus just on us."

A bit later, the kids were in the pool with Joe. I thought to sneak inside and give my neck/shoulder a break with the heating pad. (Last Saturday, we spent an entire day working at the lake house. I was painting high with my right hand. Seems that my left side was affected…) Well, my boy found me on the couch and wanted to know what's up. 

"Okay, G'ma, I'll lie down with you."

Next thing I knew, he was sprawled out on the couch. I laughingly exclaimed:

"I didn't know you meant that LITERALLY, Hunter!" 

He roared over my comment, after which I told him that he clearly possesses joie de vivre.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Fun Day!

Not to worry, 'cause all the fish caught were tossed back into the lake. As for getting to Blueberry Island, bottom right-hand corner, winds and currents made it a tough trip. But it was all worthwhile. A great day.

Look Who's Here!

So nice to finally have our week with Hunter and Chloe. Early morning game-time shall soon lead to kayaking, if Old Sol decides to cooperate. Won't you please stay tuned...
♥♥

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Michelle♡

It's nearly a month since beautiful Michelle left us. Hard to believe. She is a constant in my thoughts. After all, those who touch our lives truly do stay in our hearts forever.
Remember the rocks Joe found, pictured a few posts down? I've turned them into (link) flippers, to further enhance our lakeside garden, where they'll be a reminder of the never-ending inspiration Michelle gifted the world. Admittedly, they are not nearly as pretty-ful or fun as the original versions… but someone, somewhere is smiling.
Missing and loving that sweet girl… and thinking of her family, always.

Friday, August 15, 2014

There's Something Wrong In Paradise


It's still summer. Or so the calendar says. But WTF? 48 degrees on a mid-August morning is simply not acceptable. It's the reason I'm so gabby, this morning, here on CMI. Can't take my first cuppa outdoors to soak in the sunrise, heat and humidity. Just a quick trip with NIK to assure myself that flowers are still blooming and back in to blah, blah blog. Brrr.

Is there still hope for at least one heatwave, before fall…???

Sweet Potatoes with a Slice

Wish I could take credit for this simple but fabulous idea from the Food Network online. Can't wait to give it a whirl.

So, ya think the Lord has a problem, do ya?

Gotta love the water bottle inadvertently left on set during the "Downton" advertising photo shoot. Oops. Wrong century.
 Thing is, that's nothing compared to what I find after kiddie visits. It's like modern-day collection time. Guilty as charged. But pouring and drinking doesn't seem to work for busy bodies that are always on the move… and hydration is essential. For the record, we employ the rubber-band system of identification. Not familiar? Let me share…
Each child chooses a color, thus identifying his or her H2O. Helps to keep lurking germs from spreading. I hope Poland Spring appreciates this...

Dinner Theater

During a quick visit the other night, our Local Loves executed a newly rehearsed show. In addition to singing, dancing and card tricks, they twirled balloons. Who knew? Ah, the many talents of the young never cease to amaze. :-) Thing is, I'm still wondering how Gavin knew where to find the balloons. Probable answer? There's not a square inch of this house he hasn't explored!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

LakeHouse Update

Here's a little sneak peek of the latest addition to the LakeScape - a portion of our downstairs patio…
And a new bush is already blooming an apricot rose - didn't expect the blessed event till next season…
Last but not least, check out these interesting rocks that Joe found - please stay tuned to see what I have in mind for them…

Just Peachy!

Do you know what is finally in season? Sure you do. Their fragrance is in the air at farm stands everywhere. Can't wait to devour? Well, just slurp a ripe one right off the pit. But for me…

 Morning cottage cheese just got a whole lot tastier. And with sour cream? There are simply no words. Or how 'bout peaches in wine, served in elegant crystal… or peach cobbler, if you dare bake them. Need more? Here's a tip:

To easily skin them without losing a morsel of deliciousness, dunk into boiling water for a mere ten seconds, remove fruit quickly and peel with your fingers under cold running water. An ice bath works well, too. Be fast. Then slice to your heart's content.

Peaches. Yum.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Super Moon!

I was long-snoozin', when Joe picked up NIK with zoom to capture these fab shots of the Super Moon. An awesome contribution to CMI. Thanks, Honey.

It Seems Impossible...

How can it be that someone who could deliver such joy and laughter and sensitivity was plagued by such inner turmoil? What a crying shame. I'm a huge fan. Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

The Aftermath

Momma wasn't quite finished, after coaxing her babes out of their cozy abode. She waited till all four had executed the Great Escape. The last one worked up the courage more than an hour after the first. Then, they all disappeared. Or, so I thought…

About half an hour after the excitement, I wandered to the pool to do a few laps. There was that noise, again. At first, I thought it might be yet another nest of young 'uns, but no… a glance towards the driveway revealed a marching brigade of the four fledglings, all gray and blending into the blacktop. Momma could be heard in the nearby woods, loudly instructing them in what's next. For about fifteen minutes, each bird flew back and forth over the driveway, very low to the ground. Then, all disappeared into the woods, still chattering.

INCREDIBLE! 

To Note: 
Photos and vids for related stories were taken through a finely meshed front-door screen. NIK with 300mm zoom was in the foyer and on its tripod, pointed towards the birdie condo just beyond the portico. I'd never have been this lucky in results, if I was outside or even near the door. Thanks to those who asked. Need more info? I'd be happy to oblige.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Time to say "Au Revoir"

What a blessing to have witnessed our resident wrens, as QUADRUPLETS got ready to take flight! Momma coached from a nearby branch.
Beautiful Noise from Mother Nature.
video

"Hey, Mom, where's mine?"


video

Monday Salad


The fridge was full of random ingredients left from last week's fare: chicken prepared three different ways, two pastas, grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (a rare indulgence, these days), sweet corn, hard-boiled eggs. With the help of cashews, cucumbers and black olives, everything came together well. A fresh dressing of EVOO, white balsamic, mustard, oregano and pepper completed it to deliciousness. Ahem… I know 'cause I tasted. To be served with lettuce, tomatoes and a side of Summer Blues, dinner is on deck for al fresco dining alongside today's hibiscus blooms.
Buon Appetito!

Fly The Coop, Already!

The baby wrens are about as big as their momma, now! And noisy, too. You wouldn't believe how noisy! Adding to the commotion are the latest round of robin toddlers, residing in the nearby weeping cherry tree. Jeesh! Time to find your own digs, Kiddies. It's like Angry Birds, here at the Old Homestead.

LakeHouse Update

We went to contract on a few major things, last week, including the new great-room kitchen. Pretty exciting stuff. I'm dreaming of cabinets and such. Also, a couple walls came down to create newly designated space. The house echoes. It's wild

This morning, a crew is digging and pouring a stamped concrete patio for the downstairs, lakeside. We're excited to see the results of our design choice.

Work-wise, there's nothing major for us to contribute. Just a lot of decision making. We anxiously await the painting of the two-toned deck, but must hold off till all the new wood and rails cure properly. Patience is eluding me...
During a round of retail therapy, I found gorgeous aluminum numbers. Modern House Numbers has incredible options to choose from and contact with the company is a breeze, thanks to courteous and accommodating Rick. I've already placed a second order, to be used for an upcoming birthday gift. Please see for yourself.

Monday, Monday. Time to catch up at the Old Homestead. Our gardens are crying for me.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Split Time

We had a gorgeous weekend, split between the Old Homestead and the Lake House. 
Two budding chefs kept us well fed.
And it seems that driving a John Deere is in a boy's blood.
We even took the time for kayaking on Golden Pond :-).
Serenity Now!