Friday, May 27, 2016

Cherries for cherry pie, happening right my backyard

I'm obsessed with the Cherry Tree in our backyard. I don't even like to travel when this tree is producing cherries. Basically I can never make as many pies as I would like too every year. I think last year I made 7, or was it 9? - which is very time consuming. Sometimes I bake them at night & leave them out to cool on the counter, then have pie for breakfast. Onetime my husband, who is the epitome of self control had his cherry pie a la mode for breakfast. That is how good the cherry pie from this tree can be - pie that is so good it can break a man of his steel will!
It's too early to tell if we are going to have a big crop since the cherries at this stage are the same color as the leaves, so it's a bit hard to see just how many are up there. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

#tbt Inspiration from the Rijks Museum

I love painting and I love looking at paintings. For the last four years I have been focusing on animal portraits with their humans. It is no easy task to paint a picture like this. And although my art is nothing like the painting pictured above, I am inspired by it for sure. Notice how the hunting dog is timeless and never out of fashion, yet it is painted in 1833!  Devoted, humble, stately are typical dog characteristics that Kruseman captured in his portrait. My favorite parts of this painting are how the artist painted the dog's fur, the woman's shoe peeking out of her dress and her exquisite hair.
What do you like about this piece, if anything at all?

Portrait of Alida Christina Assink painted by the artist Jan Adam Kruseman 1833, photographed by me at the Rijks Museum February 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More Wildflowers along Nature's Trail

As much as I love plants & flowers, I am no expert on them. Other than a few common names, I rarely know most flower's names. After finding these tall ones at the Massapequa Preserve last Sunday, I googled "purple wildflowers" into the google images search bar. I then scrolled through a wide variety of purple blossoms until I found a bunch that matched mine exactly. Dame's Rocket is her common name. I'd love to know how someone came up with that title! Sounds like another Google search is in store. Meanwhile thanks to Wiki I did find her technical name "..Hesperis Matronalis is a herbaceous plant species in the Mustard family".

Monday, May 23, 2016

"Pink Flynn" from Rhode Island School of Design's ISB Gallery

A couple of weeks ago while visiting my son at the Rhode Island School of Design, I also made sure to visit the RISD Illustration Gallery. If you're ever in Providence, I suggest you check out their ISB Gallery located in The Illustration Studies Building at 55 Canal Walk. Below is a description of this insightful children's book pictured above. As a lapsed Vegetarian, I can very much relate to the storyline in terms of what happens when one makes a radical change in their life. Basically, not everyone around the person who does the changing likes it so much. The good thing is, you find out who your true friends are. Illustration is a means of story telling and to me this story is about learning how to be true to yourself while also understanding your impact on those around you. Pink Flynn is a story about the reality of life that all of us as humans will experience in one way or another. The beautifully executed illustrations help soften the blow of the reality of this thought provoking story, as the reader can't help but take pause and ponder the imagery encouraging us to think about what it takes to evolve in this complicated world.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

the Gypsy Moth Suppression Program

I only spotted this one nest this morning but it was all I needed to bring back memories of the Gypsy Moth invasion Long Island had back in the early seventies. The part of Farmingdale I lived in during that time had a small wooded section of land I used to ride my bike past and I remember seeing hundreds of these nests in the trees. It was a literal invasion. Though I can't remember the last time I've seen these nests anywhere on Long Island, a quick google search revealed this Wiki map proving they are well on their way to world domination.
More searching revealed a Gypsy Moth Suppression program that has been going on since the early 1900's. It turns out these caterpillars basically like to eat trees. If you look closely at the upper mid to right side part of the nest you will notice a caterpillar on its way to breakfast.
If you happen upon these hungry little caterpillars, don't touch them since their hairs can cause a rash. You can read all about Gypsy Moth Management here.
I also spotted this Lacecap Hydrangea during my early morning trail walk too, and you all know how I feel about Hydrangeas...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Waiting for the Sun to come out so I can go play some tennis..

We played one early evening a couple of weeks ago over at these courts at "Heisser Lane" which is what we always called this park when I was a kid. Everyone referred to it as such only because a road by the name of Heisser Lane exists alongside it. The actual name is Allen Ellsworth Park.

Friday, May 20, 2016

#flashbackFriday...Thinking of my time in Berlin last January

I first became aware of this angel from the Wim Wenders film "Wings of Desire" and like the angels in his movie, this monumental angel bears witness to all life around it and has literally seen it all - from humanity's best inclinations as well as its worst. The black and white imagery from "Wings of Desire" is stunning. To see this angelic monument from the movie in person felt surreal. Below is me trying to fit my inspiring angel and I into a selfie as I rode my bike around the column's traffic circle - one last time before leaving Berlin.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Poppy came out today.

The petals on these Poppies look like tissue paper but they feel incredibly soft. I look forward to seeing them every year. Their orange color is so bright my eyes catch their glimmers through the fence even if I am standing very far away.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


This Allium is from another Springtime bloom over at the Farmingdale Teaching Garden. I thought this gorgeous color might perk up this cloudy Tuesday - not that I mind the rain.

"The Best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain" ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fluorescent Forget-Me-Nots

As the light changes, so do colors. Taken last evening just before the sun went down, the blues and violet blues in this Forget-Me-Not flower patch were so completely different from one moment to the next. With little prompting, these inherited garden flowers of ours have grown substantially over the years from a couple of small flower patches to much larger ones. I enjoy cutting them for resting in tiny vases inside our house where they seem to last forever.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Where Sunrise Highway Meets Broadhollow Road

A typical Long Island exit path from one major roadway to another, here is another shot I took from last weekend while riding shotgun on the way home from takeout. I love the blurry effect this photo has, making everything look as though it is miniature. I also love how the sun illuminating everything is bringing out the natural beauty and lushness of the land.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Farmingdale's Magic Hour

After all the rain we had last weekend, the sun came out briefly Saturday night perfectly timed for an early evening magic hour. I snapped this photo sitting at a red light as a passenger being driven down Main Street. There's nothing like a little sunshine to change the mood of everything around you. I hope you are enjoying this weekend.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I Wonder What Kind of Bird She Is?

How adorable is she? I see lots of action outside my kitchen window but I have never once seen a bird sit directly in front of my window apparently posing long enough to make sure she was noticed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

More from the Backyard Garden

I can't get enough of this color green. The same light from yesterday illuminated our Rose of Sharon encouraging some leafing out. They lag behind the other trees and shrubs that grow in our backyard which is nice since we wind up with their beautiful flowers later in Summer. I especially love this one. We have them everywhere on our property since they literally plant themselves.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Nature's Perfume & Today's Celestial Event

The Lilac's are blooming everywhere on Long Island right now and they smell so incredibly good.
And the sunshine! Earlier today the backyard was flooded with light. Every thing seemed to be charged with enhanced energy and color. It's amazing how sunshine can make everything seem new again.
Speaking of the Sunshine, in case you didn't get a chance to see Mercury make its transit across the Sun today, you can check it out here on Nasa's Instagram. Impressive huh?
Mercury might be the smallest planet in our solar system but it's definitely the most daring.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mother's Day Great Grandma Sophie...

I love this photo of my great grandmother. I love that she looks so happy relaxing in her Adirondack chair where she lived in Great Neck, with her daughter's dog nearby. It makes me happy to relax in my Adirondack chair with my dog nearby too - which makes me feel like we have something in common. I never got to know my Great Grandma Sophie (my middle name is Sophia - after her) but my mom has shared stories with me about how kind she was and how much she cared about her family and how hard she worked. One time while cooking with my mother I remember complaining to her about how I had an inexplicable aversion to measuring ingredients. My mother told me I inherited that from Sophie, who never measured anything and her food always tasted good, just like mine.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

#tbt circa 2009 When I had 3 Kids Living at Home..

Now I only have the hairy one in between the two others pictured here. The one in the loafers is no longer a kid anymore and he's graduating from college next month! Sadly, our silver furred feline Sylvia is no longer with us - but our memories of her will always be, God rest her soul. She became a mother on our property. I heard her kittens mewing by our basement window as I gardened not 5 feet away. It was such a mysterious sound and when I got closer I discovered 4 newly born kittens. I felt such fear for them and their mother - who was nowhere to be seen. I kept my distance from the newborns sensing their mother knew exactly what was happening. I instinctively knew if I could do nothing else the mother needed to be fed if her kittens were to survive. I had to leave my property for food and by the time I returned, she had moved the kittens. I left a large plate of food outside and watched from the window as she ate very quickly. Every night after, she scaled the large backyard fence at 6pm to eat her supper. This was the day we bonded as mothers. She trusted and respected me and I her. I miss you every time I think of you sweet Sylvia. 
Wherever you are, happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Don't They Look Fake?

Thank you Broadway Garden & Nursery for making the world more beautiful by sharing the flower power you planted here.
I remember sarcastically thinking last week as I took this photo that I wasn't sure the sky could get any bluer. Our rain has been wonderful for the garden but I do miss this color blue - not to mention what the sun does as it shines its light through Tulip petals.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Priscilla Sniffs the Forget Me Nots

It is with great intensity Priscilla inspects all that is living in our backyard. I shot this photo back in 2010 when she was just 5 years old. This Summer she will be 11. Where oh where does the time go?
Behind her you can see the established Peonies getting ready to bloom. The poor things took a real hit when we replaced the dilapidated white fence - you might notice it is leaning in such a way only a rotted fence can. Prior to the fence exchange I transplanted the Peonies but they never returned to their original grandeur. Last year I planted some new ones and I am anxiously awaiting their arrival. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Let's Spend the Week Celebrating Mother's Day

I love Vincent van Gogh's work and in my mind Madame Roulin & Her Baby is exquisite. Can you imagine how someone who lived in the year of 1888 may have felt seeing art representing a mother and her child so boldly - both in color and texture like what you see here? If you are a fan of Vincents, you can see this piece along some of his other work at The Metroplitan Museum of Art.
For me a perfect day trip to Manhattan includes a stop at The MET for a hefty dose of inspiration as well as recreation. Long Islanders are so lucky we live so close to this treasure of a gem.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

We're Lucky it only Rained Today

I was at Home Depot early this morning and couldn't help noticing the compost pile over by the exit at the Airport Plaza. It's hard to see in between the raindrops but heavy machinery was busy moving the compost around causing what looked like steam rising up into the air like smoke. It looked so earthy and natural compared to all of the surrounding concrete and pavement.