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.


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.

"Hey, Mom, where's mine?"


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!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Birthday Boy Bri ♡

Had to laugh, this morning, as I took the requested birthday cake from the oven. The wrens were going nuts in the bird condo, making an exorbitant amount of noise… and there she was. Cake down, camera up… gotcha! A momma feeding her babes - photo below. Ah, there's something so familiar about that. Life imitating nature.
Thing is, Joe and I just cannot believe Bri's 44… the years literally took flight, speeding along at an unreal pace. Even CocaCola knows it's a special day, though their product is rarely a drink of choice. But who could resist such a special salute?
I told Bri it seems like just yesterday, when he rode around on the little train and called out every few minutes, "I love you, Mommy." Ask me how many kids have ridden the train that now awaits Lyla's turn.

And back to the cake. This one has been around a long, long time, but I haven't made it in years. It was a request. Some things never change - well, that is if you don't alter the recipe!
Love you, Honey. See ya later. Happy 44th.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Two! ♡

We blinked and look who turned two!! Sweet Baby Lyla is growing fast, as she develops a dynamite personality. Be happy, Little Girl.
We love you to the moon and back!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Today's LakeScape and Update

Things are hoppin' at the lake house. Big indoor work is about to begin. Our excitement is palpable. We worked hard, today, in preparation. Enhancing the day was Bri's presence, not to overlook all his help. And the appearance over "our" waters of an exquisite bald eagle. WOW! A photo op missed, for sure, with NIK resting comfortably at the Old Homestead. My iPhone managed to capture the most exquisite nature of the day, though… clearly our reward during frequent breaks. It's tough to resist the urge to just sit and admire, but accomplish we did.

No Way!!!

This one's for Andy:

Don Draper had my total attention for many nights, thus causing my WORDS game to suffer. But with "Orange…," I've no problem multitasking. My "old" favorite gamers, all younger than I, are always first choices to play. But there are a few newbies on the horizon. In such cases, the first order of business is to determine if they employ cheater apps. No way! Sometimes, though, I know they're just smarter or luckier than I. "Rhizoid" and "igneous" didn't bother me a bit, as this player pulled ahead of me. Up for the challenge, I summoned up "equine" and my A-game…

And then it happened. A 13th century word. Who knew? 

After Don Draper

"Mad Men." Jon Hamm. Don Draper. Yeah, yeah, the rest of the cast, too. What to do when you've caught up to 6 ½ seasons and hardcore withdrawal has set in. Yes, that's right. All those episodes of eye candy and drama. Clearly my favorite of ALL series we've watched. Next up?

Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not eye candy.  It's gross and good, all at the same time. From the creator of "Weeds" - long gone by, for us. Yep. "Orange Is The New Black" is currently our nightly fare. And have you noticed…

It's getting dark much earlier, again. We're not happy about that. Summertime flies.

"Sick as a dog…"

This phrase has taken on new meaning for us.
Over the weekend past, our best beach buddy seemed a bit lethargic. But Big Dog loves his sleep. So, we figured he was needing extra zzzzzz's. Monday morning, he didn't eat his yummy. Huge sign. Then, he declined my invitation to go outdoors, preferring to stay on his bed. He wasn't drinking, either.

Sometime in the afternoon, he joined me poolside, but could not get comfortable. Then… two huge symptoms… he declined a piece of chicken and started to drool, non-stop. Black Russian Terriers do not drool, unless under enormous stress. I sent a picture via my iPhone to Joe. I'll spare you of that. It wasn't pretty. We agreed something was terribly wrong and Joe headed home. 

Off to the vet. Thing is, Mambo detests vets, thus the need for Joe to take him. When he starts flinging that huge head, there is no getting near him, let alone opening his mouth. So after several scary thoughts from the doc on what could possibly be wrong, an appointment was made for the next morning. He was to be anesthetized for an exam. Thing is…

About an hour after returning home, he checked out his bowl. We half-filled it, adding an enticing ingredient. He ate at his normal slow pace and then asked for a drink. A long drink. Ten minutes long. He must have been dehydrating. The drooling stopped. He had a great night's sleep and awakened yesterday morning symptom-free. Fetched the newspaper. Ate his yummy. Drank voraciously…

We cancelled the appointment, for the time being. What was it? Will it stay away? Did he inadvertently ingest something alien? 

Fingers crossed and little prayers for our buddy's well being… now, we'll make a non-emergency appointment.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Failed Effort

The elusive Mother Hen Wren is really beginning to piss me off. With Pops nearby and making enough noise to scare away a flock of eagles, she lands in a nearby tree. Her head is nearly invisible because of a mouthful of food for babes in the birdhouse. She's a speck, amongst dense foliage. Her instincts and vision are near perfection, as no amount of Elephant Ear leaves can conceal me.
This was my fourth attempt for the safe capture of a mere photo of her at an entranceway to Home, Sweet Home. 
C'est la vie! Here's to the safekeeping of Momma Nature's treasures.