Flowers

Peony Heaven

peoniesIn our family, when something is abundant we call it _________ heaven.  For the last couple of weeks, peony heaven describes the bounty that has existed in the garden.

peony bouquetThese beautiful blooms don’t last long especially if there is rain that weights them down, so I cannot resist cutting a few every day.

IMG_1497In a variety of containers, they are placed on every flat surface in the house

IMG_1509from the kitchen

IMG_1508to the bathrooms.

IMG_1446Their variations amaze me.  There are tree peonies the blooms of which remind me of a ballerina’s tutu.

Peonies come in  shades of pink ranging from bubblegum pink to luscious fuchsia.

white peonyThere are whites, some with layered petals reminding of ruffles,

IMG_1435others flat with yellow centers and tinges of pink.

IMG_1565What is sad is that these beauties last for such a short while, but even as they fade and petals drop I see them as works of art.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Travel

Days of Wonder IV

IMG_1252As wonderstruck as I was  being surrounded by Alaska’s natural beauty, there is more to its southeast coast.

There are mountain goats climbing high on craggy mountains, 

sea otters floating on the water, bears and moose coming out of the woods, birds of all kinds fluttering about.

There are harbor seals floating on beds of glacier ice

and sea lions soaking up the sun.

Eagles soar over the water,

their sharp eyes looking for a meal to snare.

Once I spotted an eagle’s nest and only after looking at my photos did I see a white head sticking out of the twigs.

Perhaps most exciting of all are the whales that make way to Alaska’s waters to feed.  Every time a blow was spotted, everyone on the boat ran forward or back to get a view.

More often than not all we saw was the whale’s back,

but sometimes it came out of the water, mouth open wide.

Other times its tail came up and we learned that was followed by a big splash fluke.

There is so much to tell about the wonders of Alaska, and I hope you’ve gotten some insight from what I have shared over the last several days.  One trip is not enough to take it all in, but one is better than none.  Oh, should you decide to visit, I highly recommend a small boat cruise as the smaller boats have much more flexibility than the big ships.  We chose Alaskan Dream Cruises and couldn’t have been more pleased.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

SaveSave

Texas, Travel

The Wild West

Compared to Houston, West Texas is like another country.  

It is wide open spaces with rolling hills and deep canyons.

It is where animals roam free

and cactus blooms add  their own kind of beauty.  As you can see, they are for looking, not touching! 

There’s not much to do in most of West Texas, but if you like to be away from it all and experience the great outdoors, Cibolo Creek Ranch, literally in the middle of nowhere, is perfect.

The decor fits the environment, rustic with wonderful accents.

While at the ranch, it’s OK to take siestas on the inviting sleeping porch

or lounge by the pool under blue Texas sky.

Before the day gets too hot, going with a ranch hand to explore the surrounding area is a real adventure.

The ride is teeth jarring and can be a little scary as the trail gets a bit close to the edge.

It appears that the craggy landscape is best handled by mountain goats who seem nonplussed by its roughness.

Though pretty desolate now, there is evidence that the area was once occupied, likely by Indians who were tough enough to survive its challenges.

As amazing as the sights are,

it’s good to get back to the ranch for a refreshing pause.  A stay at the Cibolo Creek Ranch doesn’t make the west seem too wild.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

 

musings

Musings

Morning. First one up. Quiet. Gray skies over the hills.

A good day to stay inside. A pajama day.

Time with a daughter. Sharing laughter remembering funny things.

Tears. Saying I’m sorry.

It’s not always easy to be a mom or a daughter. In The Nix is a line reading “The things you love the most will one day hurt you the most.” Sad that loving can be a painful part of relationships.

Important to remember love is patient and kind and keeps no records.

Life….not always perfect. Accepting imperfection a challenge.

Thoughts on a day becoming brighter as sun begins to move clouds away. Maybe a metaphor for love being stronger than pain.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine

Sunday Wanderings

Me: Hey, we’re running out of time for a last adventure before we go back to Houston.

Hubby: So what do you have in mind?

Me: Hmmm, how about a couple of days at Moosehead Lake?

Hubby: OK, if you can find us a place to stay.

That proved to be a challenge, but luckily Blair Hill Inn had one room available.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur room was beautifully appointed

with spectacular views of the lake and mountains.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, what’s special about the Moosehead Lake region? It is all about the outdoors-fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hunting, hiking-in a pristine environment.

Speaking of hiking, the Appalachian Trail runs through the region and ends at nearby Mount Katadin.

It’s not likely I’ll ever do the entire 2100 mile trek, but I have a bit of it under my belt!

For campers, the area has several state parks with ample campsites.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome folks had seasonal touches which made “roughing” it seem rather homey.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALike most of Maine, the population is sparse, and Kotadjo states it best!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s said that moose outnumber humans 3:1, but we saw nary a one. Only a lone deer crossed our path.

When we got to Kotajdo, it was about lunch time and there wasn’t much on the road ahead of us. That meant stopping here where an enterprising soul provided staples for hunters and fishermen and served a few sandwiches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA. We were the only people there whose dress gave us away as visitors. When our Texas license plate was noted, there was some surprise we weren’t driving a pickup!

The Moosehead Lake region is unspoiled, and every effort is made to keep it that way. Whenever there is a proposal to increase development be it residential or wind farms, it meets strong resistance.

While that may not seem like progress, it is one of the reasons Maine is one of this country’s gifts when it comes to natural beauty.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Dishing It and Digging It

Boating, Maine

Between Happy and Sad

I like many things about fall. Rich color and texture, the smell of wood smoke, falling leaves on morning walks, pumpkins and gourds, the feel of fleece against my skin, morning coffee in front of a fire all make me happy, BUT there are some things that make me sad.
img_2391Early October means putting Pipe Dreams into winter storage and that symbolizes the loss of something I love about being in Maine.
Among my happiest moments are those when we leave Rockport Harbor behind and go exploring. Sadly, this is the last outing and the memory will have to last through the winter.
As we venture out, I see sights that are so familiar yet manage to look different every time. In the distance overlooking Penobscot Bay is Beech Hill, today shrouded by mist.
Heading out to the bay we pass Indian Island with its now inoperable lighthouse. Changing light and shifting tides always make me think I’m seeing it for the first time.
Perry CreekOur plan is to spend the night on the boat so we go to Perry Creek, a favorite spot. It’s a popular boating destination, but tonight the summer crowd is gone and all is quiet except for a soft breeze blowing through the trees and the sound of water gently lapping against the hull.
That makes it very easy to relax while the hubby and I enjoy predinner snacks and a game or two of backgammon. Yes, life is good.
We called it a day beneath a star filled sky, but we woke to a world blanketed in fog and with its own kind of beauty.

Close by a heron lingered patiently as if waiting for it to clear.

After a while a gull left its perch to check things out.

We sat munching a simple breakfast and watching the tranquil morning unfold around us.

Times like this are such special gifts, but nothing lasts forever so when the fog cleared we headed back to Rockport Harbor, and I savored every glimpse of places that I love.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

Boating, Maine

Magic Moments

After scanning the cruising guide and choosing an island to explore, it is not hard to imagine that magic moments are ahead.

It is always magical to head out on a calm sea beneath a sky so blue and clear it almost seems unreal.

With children on board, it is a magic moment seeing the excitement over “driving” the boat ably assisted, of course, by Otto the auto pilot.

Once arriving at the chosen island and securely anchoring,

it is a magic moment watching a child making his first effort at rowing the dinghy ashore.

A magic moment is hearing shrieks of laughter as cold water washes over bare feet

and sharing a child’s excitement at finding a walking stick and pretending to be an explorer.

It is magic to find an abundance of sun warmed and sweet raspberries and eating them as fast as they are picked.

A magic moment is the sun shining on a child’s face as he dozes and dreams of the just finished adventure.

Magic moments are what make cherished memories.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind