I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Mustang

My dad loved cars.  American ones.  We always had a "new" car.  It wasn't always off the showroom, but it was new for us.  He was a salesman and his job took him past every car dealer in the state.  When he came home with a 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang, the rumor was that it was the first Mustang in Connecticut.  I tried to verify this recently with the dealer (who is still in business) to no avail.

I happened to marry a guy who's first car was a 1966 Mustang fastback.  Unfortunately, we haven't been able to locate any photos of his specific car.  Needless to say, my father was delighted when I brought him home.

This car is the ultimate American cool car. 

Dad's 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang

A 1967 Mustang.  Same barn; different season.  However, I have to admit that I don't remember this car at all.  As I said, cars came and went quickly for my Dad.

We decided to rent a convertible on a recent trip to San Francisco.  As far as we were concerned, it was the only car worthy of driving up and down the West Coast.

In all fairness, it was his first car.  He drove.

An addition...we drove by this car at a dealer in Maine.  What a fabulous color!  Hi C Ecto Cooler anyone?
Here's the sticker.

The 2015 Ford Mustang.  Looks fast, but seems to be lacking that vintage appeal.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's Snowing Again!

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise this morning.  It snowed all day yesterday and we accumulated about ten more inches on top of what we've already received.  The piles of snow haven't been this high in a long time.
My husband and I both agree; it's beautiful when you don't have to drive in it.  It is after all, New England.


Can you see the reflection in the door?

Traffic is minimal this morning.

This is our Christmas tree.  We put it here for the birds.

The woodpecker enjoys a fresh suet cake.

Ahh; the sun.

The amaryllis reaches for blue sky.

The Blue Jays' size scares the small birds away.  He looks quite regal; don't you think?

About a foot more and it will be up to the bottom of the window sill.

And then, just a few hours later......it's snowing again!

We were supposed to get a dusting to two inches.

We have two inches after the first hour and it's still snowing heavily.
We'll see what tomorrow brings....

Monday, February 17, 2014

Driving to Mount Rushmore

In January of 2012, my son was beginning a new semester at a school in Colorado.  For me, Colorado seems a world away.  Of course he wanted to bring his car.  I immediately offered to make the trip with him (OK, I told him I was making the trip with him).  I got out the map and plotted our trip.  We were going to Colorado via Mount Rushmore.

It was a trip I will never forget.  We set off early in the morning on a Friday and we were in his 1997 Volvo 850 Wagon that had clearly seen better days.  I have to admit that while driving down I-95, there was something special about driving this particular car and listening to Led Zeppelin Whole Lotta Love on the radio.  Time was erased.  It was liberating.

Every time we stopped for gas, we had to add oil and antifreeze.  The car was packed to the gills with college stuff.  We were eating the left-over Christmas candy for a snack.

We made it to Chicago the first night and ended up somewhere in the middle of South Dakota on the second night.  We dined at Al's Oasis. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect.  We left Connecticut in the rear-view mirror and were now in uncharted territory.  People on the highway stared at us.  Was it because they didn't see many Connecticut license plates?  Was it the stickers all over the window or was it because we were losing parts as we were driving along?

After a brief stop Sunday morning at the infamous Walls Drug Store, we continued our journey.  The Badlands had begun to show up ahead of us.  This Yankee was definitely not in New England anymore!  The South Dakota countryside is stunning in a way that's uniquely different from our coastline and rolling hills.  The unexpected beauty of this deserted stretch of highway was breathtaking. 

When we exited the highway to get to Mount Rushmore, my heart started to race.  This was something I had only read about as a child!  I never expected to really go here.  As we began the trip up to the visitor's center I cried.  The experience was moving beyond expectation. 

We are definitely not in Connecticut any longer!

You can see for miles and miles.

A dining experience we won't soon forget!

The terrain begins to change.
This car deserves it's own post someday.

Simple beautiful against the blue sky.

Seeing Mount Rushmore for the first time.
We made it.

Every state is represented with a flag at the monument. 

The morning was crisp but not cold.  The sky was incredibly beautiful. 

It's hard to imagine what the landscape looked like before.

This gives you an idea of how the carvings sit on the mountain.

We were presented with this view of George Washington as we left the park.

And it was on to Wyoming.....
Happy Presidents' Day!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ride a Sno Jet!

Helmets anyone?
When I was a little girl in the late 60's, we would make the two day trip up Route 5 to Marshfield, Vermont.  My father's aunt and uncle lived there and it was always a wonderful trip!  I have great memories of being outdoors riding snowmobiles this time of year.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

My husband sent these to me today; beautiful.

by Edgar Allan Poe

Romance, who loves to nod and sing, 
With drowsy head and folded wing. 
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been - a most familiar bird -
Taught me my alphabet to say,
To lisp my very earliest word,
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child - with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal condor years
So shake the very heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings -
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away - forbidden things!
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bringing Spring Indoors

I have always loved "forcing vases".  Also called "bulb vases" or "hyacinth vases", I find them fascinating.  They allow us to bring spring inside during the colder months and follow the progress of the growing bulb. It is very interesting to watch and is a great lesson for small children.  Check with your local florist or nursery to purchase bulbs you can force.  You can find books on how to force bulbs (more specifically) at your local library.

Sometimes I order bulbs through the mail, but time got away from me this year and I never ordered any.  I found it difficult to find bulbs this winter and ended up with narcissus, which is fairly common, and amaryllis, which is often found around the holidays. 

I pick up these specialized "vases" whenever I can find them.  I particularly liked the color of these.  There was a third one, which was yellow.  I didn't buy it.  I should have!
From a page in an old Peter Henderson catalog.

The roots become quickly established.  I add water almost every morning.  The water should be up to the bottom of the bulb.  This one needs watering, however, if you submerge too much of the bulb in the water, it could become moldy. 

The amaryllis is my old stand-by.  This was a favorite color and had four blooms on one stem.
The Prudential Center in Boston a couple of years ago; amaryllis en mass.  Beautiful.

You saw the blue bottles in the post "Consignment Finds".  I love this color combination.

I wasn't sure what color this would be.

The red was perfect as it drew attention to the little bit of red in the painting.  After the amaryllis has finished blooming, I put the pot in the basement for the summer months.  It needs a cool and dark place.  Shortly before Thanksgiving, I bring it upstairs, trim the dead stalks off of it and begin watering it for the next blooming season.

The pink in the hyacinth matched the antique pitchers perfectly.

My sisters gave me this arangement last Christmas.  The sticks helped to hold up the narcissus when they became too tall to stand up on their own.  The aqua wash basin is an antique.  Don't you just love the color?


On a walk through Newport we came upon this shop window that used bulbs for the display.  Very creative and pretty.  A dose of spring on a chilly winter day.

Another lovely example of an amaryllis.  Scroll fast through the next few photos!

I like to set the bulbs near a window where it's cooler.  Dusk brings a different kind of beauty to the bulbs.

The windowsill looks out over the snowy garden.

The garden is reflected in the photo.  You'll notice that I use a hurricane candle to hold up the bulbs once they begin to get tall.

The blooms don't look real; they are so perfectly designed.

These bulbs were set in stones and the container is set in an artisan pottery bowl for added color.  Stones will anchor the bulbs. 
The tiny blooms up close.

Every day the bulbs reach for the sun.  I turn them so the stalks will grow straight up.  I always plant my narcissus bulbs in the garden once they're done blooming. 

This is one of my favorite bulb vases.  I love the etching in the glass.  Perhaps it's an older vase.

The result is simple and elegant.