It didn’t last long, but at least it was there, however briefly. I didn’t think I took a lot of autumnal pictures, but between August and September, Garry and I too more than 3000 pictures, so I guess we were busier than we thought. I sometimes take a couple of hundred bird pictures in the morning, before coffee! In between the cooking yesterday, I got some great pictures of the last set of orange-billed Cardinals. Each set of fledglings look different than the others. The DNA in these birds is working overtime.

And I still have bunches of River Bend pictures from both me and Garry. So we’ll just celebrate fall a little while longer. It’s still “fallish” outside and the oak leaves are still green.


FOTD – October 4 – My Mums

It occurred to me that I too have mums. Not recently mums, but mums nonetheless. In the memory of mums that were and the foreshortened autumn that burgeoned brightly and ended almost before it began …


FOTD – September 26 – OH THAT FOLIAGE!

I have not had a really great day. Actually, I was doing just fine until suddenly, I wasn’t. I had a great morning and even finally made my banana bread. Different recipe and it came out just about perfect. The the migraine arrived and a few other things, probably connected to having been on antibiotics for close to a month at this point. My innards are not behaving well. To explain how well they aren’t working, we had mac & cheese for dinner. The ultimate, purely American comfort food. But it was comforting.

Garry took pictures yesterday too. I haven’t processed a lot of his yet because I keep falling asleep at the computer. I had a good morning, but the afternoon didn’t go nearly as well. I was hoping the banana bread would make up for the lack of a functional afternoon, but alas. It’s just a banana bread.

So here are pictures and I truly hope they will suffice.



We had hoped there would be more color in the trees. Our street is brilliant with color. In fact, our entire property is brilliant with color. The aspen are all golden, the maples are nearly scarlet and the sassafras are deep yellow with polka dots. Along the street, the colors are smashing. But compared to the sunflowers along the river at River Bend, well … there was no choice. The winner? Sunflowers — 100%!

At Riverbend
Along Blackstone someone planted these with a little placard.
More sunflowers


FOTD – September 23 – Early Autumn Foliage

It went from being brutally hot to cold in about four hours about a week ago. I finally gave in and pulled out the comforter and my feet are always cold. It’s not like I’m walking around in summer clothing. I’m wearing jeans, a long sleeved shirt AND a corduroy overshirt. I’m freezing and seriously thinking about turning on our brand new boiler. I hate turning on the boiler this early. I also hate freezing. Meanwhile, the birds are eating as if they’ve never seen food before. The dog always eats like that, but the birds tend to be a bit more restrained. Not this year. And we’ve having a super-year for acorns too. The top of our car is all dimpled from big heavy acorns falling on it. Owen is sure this means we are going to have bad winter. I don’t know anything anymore.

Our maple tree
More maple
Out the window

But we have some color in our leaves. And I processed a few pictures.


FOTD – September 2 – Little Pink Roses

I haven’t done one of these in a long time because my flower garden is a horror show. We’ve had almost no rain. It has been exceptionally hot and humid, so no one has been outside to even try to care for the garden. Usually I get out there and do my best. I chop and hew until it looks at least acceptable. This year, I haven’t done it. The weather has been too hot for anyone with asthma. The longer the garden has gone without any care, the wilder it has gotten. Most of the garden has been taken over by Butterfly Weed, which should be good for butterflies, although I have not seen any butterflies despite the bonanza of flowering weeds.

Pink roses — even without rain

Today, as we were coming home from voting, I stopped to see about the garden and surprisingly, some roses are actually blooming. That’s amazing given that we’ve had almost no rain and such extreme heat. Those are some sturdy roses. These are all pink, but there are a couple of red rose branches which look like they are thinking of blooming soon, too. Amazing. Everything is dying, but those barbed-wire roses just keep on going.


FOTD – August 7 – Anthurium

I actually didn’t know what the flower was until Judy Dykstra-Brown looked them up and told me. What has turned out to be so interesting is though the orchids in the pot flowered once and seem to have died, the Anthurium are flowering and seem to be exceptionally long-lasting. Also, they are flowering in a window that gets very little sunlight. I didn’t know you could grow flowers in that much shade. The brighter part of the window is where I have the orchids and Christmas cactuses. The anthurium lives at the other end of the double French doors, probably because in that same pot came a lot of shade-loving plants including ivy which has been growing like mad. I think there must be 10 or 12 feet of it. I have it coiled around a chair and the pot. I suppose sooner or later I’ll have to trim it, but it’s so healthy. I hate trimming healthy plants.

The anthurium are hard to photograph because of the light. During the hour or two when there IS sun, the brilliant red flowers glow and are hard to photograph. If I shoot them late in the day when the sun has moved to the other side of the house (northwest as opposed to northeast), it’s too dark to get detail. This is one of those times when I wish i hadn’t given away my indoor lights. I used to have a whole set including three 5-foot lights on stands plus a table stand and umbrellas for lighting bounce. I used them a lot when I was running an antique business online. Many of my pieces were small and lights were necessary. And of course, I sold a lot of dolls and the clothing needed lighting. Doll buyers were also very picky about the condition of hands and hair and facial paint.

The other thing I sold a lot of were cast iron bookends and door stops. When I started buying them up, they were cheap. A year later, they weren’t cheap, but I had a huge stock of them. Most were made in the 1800s, but a huge number of were destroyed during World War I when they were gathering up metal to make whatever they were making.

Han Dynasty pot – the first mass produced kitchenware

And when 2008 rolled around, I packed it in. Nothing I sold could be called a necessity. It was all luxury stuff for collectors, but after 2008 and for a few years thereafter, no one had spare money and I had to pay for my “shop” on Ruby Lane. I bought a lot of my pottery for resale, but I couldn’t sell it. It wasn’t that people wouldn’t buy it. I just couldn’t sell it. A Han pot in perfect shape that’s a couple of thousand years old? Han was officially from 206 BC – 220 AD, the longest lasting Chinese dynasty. I also have Tang, Sui, Juan pieces and more. I had some other stuff that broke in a terrible crash — caused by me. I was cleaning and I stood up and my shoulder knocked two cabinets off the wall. I lost at least one Xing pot that was stunning and another from the Juan period that was certified. Most of my stuff isn’t certified because getting certification is expensive. It has been visually certified, but not laboratory tested.

Qing dynasty rice bowl, typically used by field workers. The blue chicken is a cultural thing. The bowl is almost 200 years old — and it isn’t even close to my oldest pieces of pottery.

That’s the story of my collections and why i have so much stuff … and why it is so hard to find homes for it. The people who were collecting it are now my age and I bet they are having trouble finding homes for their collectibles. Our kids don’t have houses and a lot of them have had trouble finding decent-paying work, even with college degrees. It turns out those college degrees aren’t worth quite as much as they were when i was growing up. They are probably worth even less now, at least in the job market. You have to have a skill that companies need. I could write – a saleable skill.

If I hadn’t had that skill, I’d have had to find some other field of endeavor. I warn kids to think carefully before investing huge amounts of money to get a degree that might not earn them a living. A degree in Medieval French literature isn’t a big job getter. With COVID-19, i have to wonder how this world will economically survive.

It’s a good time to be retired. A good time to be raising flowers and shooting pictures of birds. A bad time to be trying to build a career. Does anyone want to adopt a lot of hard-plastic strung dolls dating from the 1930s to the 1960s? How about caring for some very old Chinese pottery? Not looking for money. I just want it to be properly cared for and protected. It’s living history and I want it to survive.


Sunshine in the Garden

I loved your Pick Me Up today, probably because I love sunflowers, though I have never successfully grown any.  But since you brought the subject up, I thought I’d send you some more garden sunshine.


FOTD – July 27 – Daylilies

The flowers are blooming and wilting in one day from the heat. And we could really use some rain … which we might get. Tomorrow afternoon or evening, assuming the weather guy is right. These days, it’s a “best guess” kind of thing. Everything is growing like crazy, discovers how hot it is and wilts almost instantly. I water everything I can get to with the hose. Not a lot because water levels are a bit low, but at least to help get them through the day.

More daylilies
A clump of daylilies
One daylily



QUEEN ANNE’S LACE – Marilyn Armstrong


This wildflower pops up in various parts of our property from time to time. It’s naturalized in the U.S. and Australia, wild all over Europe and parts of Asia. It doesn’t grow here consistently but sometimes, there it is. It’s also sometimes called a “wild carrot.” Has anyone ever eaten one?

Queen Anne’s Lace
More lace

A GREAT DAY FOR THE LILIES – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – July 6 – Daylily

Today was as close to a perfect summer day as you could hope for. It was warm, dry, breezy, and sunny. Not terribly hot and not at all humid. Owen decided to put up the shed that has been waiting for a dry spell and in the process, moved my swing into the middle of the backyard. It’s a big improvement.We have an Amish community down the road and they sell outdoor furniture. I bought this from them close to 20 years ago. it’s still in fine shape and where it is now, it might actually get used.

Duke likes to sniff the plants

While I was taking pictures of the shed going up, I realized we still have a lot of daylilies, so I took pictures of them too. While I was at it, I took pictures of  the rapidly growing hemp, the fuchsia (which fell from its hook and now sits on a small table) … and the Duke who just likes hanging out on the deck.

The wild daylily garden
No squirrels for the Duke

We’ve been putting black sunflower seeds down on the grass below the deck, so the squirrels are having a fine old time munching them down on the lawn instead of trying to get them out of the feeders. It’s probably a lot more comfortable for them and pouring seed over the side of the deck to the ground isn’t nearly as much work as filling feeders. But pictures are hard to take when the squirrels are down there and the Duke doesn’t get to sniff all around the deck in the hope that there will be a live one.

The fuchsia has survived a lot of damage this year, but still blooming!

There will never be a live one waiting for the Duke. They just hop on a branch and depart, leaving a sad dog who had hoped for a big squirrel day.

CATALPA TREES IN BLOOM – Marilyn Armstrong


In addition to the flowers, we have a lot of Catalpa trees. They are supposedly hard to grow, but we didn’t grow them. They just grow around our property, almost like weeds. I think they are beautiful, but they do tend to pop up in the middle of the garden. All of a sudden, a Catalpa tree is growing in the middle of the tiger lilies.

I took a few pictures. I had to take these pictures from quite a distance away because these are pretty tall trees. They don’t bloom until they are quite big.

Full tree Catalpa
Catalpa flowers
More Catalpa in bloom