RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY! – Marilyn Armstrong

Flowers Inside – FOTD – 05/16/19

It is cold. It is raining, just stopped raining, or is about to start raining. Most people still have their heat on. I don’t, but it’s not because we aren’t cold. We are cold, but I can’t afford another tank of fuel.

So, we wear layers of clothing. I’m wearing a wool-blend dress and hoodie with wool slipper socks. Garry is equally warmly dressed, except he’s wearing socks and slippers.

This is all one bouquet. It just looks different depending on the angle.
The flowers inside

The flowers are not doing well. They need sun and they aren’t getting any. I feel guilty looking at the garden. I feel I should be explaining that the weather is not my fault. Garry has to explain this to the dogs, too. They don’t like rain. I don’t blame them.

and some very pink daisies

And so, instead of a garden, we have a bouquet on the living room coffee table. It is bright and cheery. Let’s hear it for bouquets and home-grown flowering plants!

SPRING AND CACTUS FLOWERS – Marilyn Armstrong

Fresh forest leaves, a Chickadee, and cactus flowers – 05/12/19

Usually, I limit these posts to actual flowers, but it was such a glorious, lovely, warm, bright day and all the new leaves in the woods look like flowers. Even the birds look like flowers.

A flyaway Chickadee

We intended to go take pictures, but we wound up cleaning the house, which badly needed it. I had to clear the dead leaves off the deck and also clear off at least some of the millions of seeds. Then there was vacuuming and floor washing and sofa cover changing, and the vacuum cleaner bag exploded.

You know. A lovely weekend day at home.

I also have a little bird story.

Very red cactus flower

Yesterday I was in the bathroom about to do something I felt was somewhat urgent, but I made the mistake of looking out the window. “Holy Moly!” I cried. There was a Pileated Woodpecker on the flat-feeder. That’s the really big woodpecker who looks just like  Woody Woodpecker. He has a hammer-shaped head with a huge, heavy beak.  He’s a big guy, too. About as big as a medium-sized hawk.

My azalea

That beak that can break through a chunk of live oak in search of a bug and they have no objection to whacking some other bird over the head if he or she gets in the way.

So the Pileated Woodpecker who I have seen before, but never gotten a picture of him, was right there. There were also about a dozen Brown-headed Cowbirds lined up on the railing, waiting for him to leave. One Cowbird (they aren’t afraid of anything, probably because following herds of buffalo had its own perils) jumped up on the feeder and without a second thought, Mr. Pileated Woodpeckeder bonked him on the head.

Cowbird returned to the railing. Brave, but not stupid.

A crowd of cowbirds

I ran to the dining room, grabbed my camera, turned it on. And, of course, the woodpecker was gone. Vamoose.

Meanwhile, the cowbirds were jumping onto the feeder. I guess they felt they’d waited long enough.

Baby leaves

Me? I sighed, turned off the camera and went back to the bathroom. I’m getting used the disappearing act. So is Garry. He can’t understand how they completely vanish in literally the blink of an eye. But they do. Kind of amazing in a frustrating way.

Baby oak leaves and a very blue sky

So today, I took pictures. Mostly of plants and trees because they do not disappear. They sit still, roots firmly in the ground or in their pots. They let me take their pictures and do not fly away while I turn on the camera.

BLOOMING CACTUS AGAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

Blooming Red Cactus Flower – FOTD – 05/10/19

Just as the pink ones died off, the red ones bloomed. It’s been a really big year for cactus flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever had them bloom so frequently or so plentifully.

How about a few pictures? These are all macros. I got revved up and changed the lens!

Amazing, eh?

That’s some cactus flower!
A bloom and a big bud
The color is perfectly red. Or is it scarlet?

FLOWERS AND GETTING LOST – Marilyn Armstrong

Flowers, but lost – FOTD – May 9, 2019

It was a gorgeous, perfect spring day today. Warm and full of bright sunshine. As we left the house this morning (it’s a 2-hour drive into Boston), I noticed that we had squirrels glued to both feeders in the back.

I would normally have gone back to the deck and chatted with the furry feeders, but I was wearing my good clothing.

And there was no time for one of those me versus squirrel conversations.

Pink tulips

I should mention these are pretty much one-way conversation. I talk. The squirrels give me the squirrel eyeball, so I talk some more, and they go back to eating. Eventually, I will open the door, step onto the deck, and stare at them. They then move a little bit — from the feeders to the railing. And stare back at me.

I can hear them thinking “And what are you gonna do about it, huh?”

Magnolias and new leaves along the Mumford River

I quite like squirrels, but I feel that by the time we are approaching midday, they should go back to being tree squirrels and stop being deck squirrels. Is that too much to ask?

We had to leave. It was going to be a long drive and traffic in and out of Boston is heavy. We were 100% sure to get lost, even though the directions appeared to be simple. There’s construction on 146, too. Of course, there has been construction on 146 for the past 19 years, but there’s more now that it has warmed up.

Snowballs along with the steps in the park

It took us almost 2 hours to get there — and we got totally lost in Boston. So did everyone else. As a result, the memorial began an hour late and ended even later. So it was a really long day.

Since we bought our GPS (maybe 2 years ago?), they’ve redesigned almost all the major roads in Boston and completely rebuilt the seaport area. The last time I was there, it was mostly vacant lots and empty warehouses and a few party cruise ships. So our GPS can’t find anything. Moreover, the directions which we got from the hotel (via Google) said to get off Route 93 at Exit 20, then follow the signs to the Seaport Cruise Terminal.

Snowballs and a wooden bench

Except there were NO signs. We wound up at the airport. We did a couple of loops at Logan, including a round trip through the “Return your rental car here,” except we were in our own car and we couldn’t find anyone who knew how to find the Seaport Hotel.

Massachusetts is infamous for NOT putting up signs. I don’t know whether we are just too cheap to pay for signs, or we assume if you don’t know where you are, you shouldn’t be there.

The park at the Mumford Dam

It turned out that not only did we get lost, everyone got lost. Since this is a big expensive hotel — and NOT brand new, either — the complete lack of signs was infuriating. We almost gave up and went home and might have, but we didn’t know how to get home, either.

Finally, we were stopped by a police detective. He had a gold badge but was in street clothing, so we assumed he was a detective. He pulled us over. Garry rolled down his window. Were we going to get a ticket too? Are the fates so against us?

“Are you guys lost?” he asked. Were we that obvious?

“YES,” we cried in unison. “We are SO lost.”

Flowers and the falls

He led us to the hotel and he recognized Garry — and knew we were going to the “Tom Ellis Memorial.” I was never more grateful to see a police officer.

We knew we had to be near it. We were at the docks, so how far could we be from the Seaport Hotel? It turned out to be about a mile. Make a right, take the Ted Williams Tunnel and when you can’t go any further, make another right.

Azaleas along the path

It was good to be there, though. Many people, including Garry, shared memories and since we are all — how shall I put this — an older group of folk?

We got to do a little crying, shared some laughter about stuff no one else remembers. We saw people we rarely see except at reunions and funerals. Remember when we used to meet at weddings? It was good to hug friends, notice that although everyone looks older, I look even older than they do.

We left Boston exactly at rush hour. Three and a half hours for the homeward journey. I spent a lot of time admiring trees.

Please enjoy the photographs. They are from Tuesday which was every bit as beautiful as today, but we were outside with cameras.

PINK CHRISTMAS CACTUS STILL BLOOMING – Marilyn Armstrong

Pink Christmas Cactus – FOTD – 04/11/2019

It’s pretty much in full bloom, but despite all logic and reason, the red one is making new buds. These are the most blooming Christmas cacti ever!

Pink cactus flowers

FUCHSIA FROM THE OLD DAYS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – January 28, 2019 – FUCHSIA


I don’t have any flowers blooming right now, but I miss flowers and decided to go back into my archives and remember how very much I loved my fuchsia.

I’ve been reprocessing them since I now have a lot more filters than I had when I first got these pictures. As a bonus, there were pictures in there I’d never really looked at before. Actually, there are a lot of pictures in these folders I’ve never used at all.

So – today, fuchsia!

Buds before the blooming
More fuchsia and a little green bug!

AS GOOD AS IT GETS: THE FULL BLOOM OF THE CHRISTMAS CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

As Good As It Gets – FOTD – 12/10/2018

I’ve been following the progress of this lovely Christmas Cactus since its first bud last month and now, it has come, I think, to the end of its peak.

I watered it yesterday. The water quickly made the flowers limp as I knew it would. But the segments of the cactus were beginning to curl inward, a sign that the plant was thinking about dying too. So, there comes a moment when you either water it, or it could up and die.

I picked watering rather than death. This has been an extremely healthy plant and I’d like to give it another year to bloom a few more times. One of these days, I’ll be forced to put it in a new pot, but I shudder at the thought. These guys — as Mrs. Angloswiss discovered — have a knack for self-destructing when you try to pot them. The segments just separate. It’s what they are supposed to do, but it is very unnerving when it happens.

IF you are going to put them in a new pot, let them dry out completely first and don’t do it when they have any buds on them.

Since I didn’t want to lose it, I realized I was going to lose the last of the buds, but I watered it.

It felt like dried sand, so I don’t think it was too early. If I’m lucky, it will bloom again in a few weeks. This is, after all, the season for blooming cactus.

So these are the full blooming cactus. They are not macros, but they are shot very close, but not using the macro lens. I wanted to show more of the entire plant this time. I hope you have enjoyed the journey.

I certainly have had fun showing the process of budding, and blooming.