Monday, September 27, 2010

Right now in the garden

This summer I didn't spend much time in my garden. It was just too damn hot and I just didn't show it the usual love. It was somewhat neglected. The above plant was a surprise this year. I planted it two summers ago and thought it was an annual. We pulled it out that fall and there was no sign of it last summer. This summer two plants sprouted. It's name is Datura and produces white trumpet like flowers tinged with purple. They bloom in the evening and only last one night. It's also called Nightshade. I didn't know it at the time but this is a toxic plant and has caused deaths.

What I like about it is the spiny fruits. They eventually open up to reveal black seeds.

My clematis didn't do as well as past years but what did bloom is pretty.

I love blue flowers and there aren't many varieties. This is Black and Blue Salvia.

My garden had trouble with powdery mildew this year. It infected my bee balm, trumpet vine, peonies and some of my black eyed susans. The conditions were great for it. It was very humid this summer, my plants got crowded and there wasn't enough air circulation among the plants. I will have to be more vigilant next year because it can winter over in the soil and plant debris.

These were my pink cone flowers. We usually cut them down after they're done blooming but again I was neglectful which turned out to be a good thing. I just read in the newspaper this morning that the birds will eat the seeds all winter.

This is yarrow that I lifted from my sister's garden. You have to be careful with it because it can be invasive and take over your garden. It died off after I transplanted it but just recently it came back to life.

For the last several years Hubby has taken over a spot in my garden and planted tomatoes. He used to plant beef steak and cherry tomatoes but the dog was eating them off the vine. This year he planted plum tomatoes. They didn't do so great. Many of them are still green and those that started to ripen tended to fall off the vine. You can see Cody is still interested but we put a small fence around them. I told him next year; no tomatoes.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Today Hubby suggested we visit the Naples Grape Festival which we've never done. Naples is located about 50 miles south of my town of Rochester NY. We took the scenic route but actually that's the only way to get there. Naples is a little town down in a valley of the Finger Lake region of New York, the perfect area to grow grapes and that equals wineries. There were lots of people, lots of arts and crafts, lots of food and lots of grapes. Grape pie, grape cookies, grape fudge and plain old grapes. Heaven if you're a grape lover. I like grapes but not in a pie, cookie or fudge.

One of the houses in town. I love the color purple but some things just shouldn't be purple like cars and houses. I saw this house and loved the purple, it was the right shade and a perfect fit.

One of the wineries..

I think she's got the wrong festival.
This is a Grape Festival not a Renaissance Fair.

I've not seen anyone looking like this in the city.

Even the fire hydrants in Naples are purple.
Another thing that shouldn't be purple.

One thing about living along the festival route you can put your junk out to sell in your yard. I couldn't help but wonder who would buy a used breast pump?

All in all it was a pleasant day for a drive and people watching. Oh and I bought some earrings.

Monday, September 20, 2010

(not my house but one a few streets over)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

If this doesn't make you smile
get thee to the hospital ASAP.

(double click image for larger view)

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Monday, September 06, 2010

Bulletin Boards

It's the eve of back to school for another year, I'll soon be meeting a whole new crop of 4,5 & 6 year olds. This will be my 11th year in elementary school working with kids that need the extra assistance for whatever reason; ADD, ADHD,autism, behavior issues etc. Previously I spent 18 years in the corporate world and this is where I belong. I've worked 2 years in second grade, 5 years in fifth grade and now this will be my fourth year in kindergarten. I've enjoyed every grade I've been in but fifth grade was special. I worked with the same teacher and we could read each other's minds. The fifth grade team was wonderful to work with and we had fun every single day especially at lunch. I cherish those memories. But all good things must come to an end and after 5 years I was moved to kindergarten. I was devastated. What I didn't know was that was the beginning of the end for this particular team. Our leader of the pack retired the next year, two teachers moved to the middle school and our special ed teacher moved to another grade. What I discovered was while I missed fifth grade I loved kindergarten. I'd found my niche. People kept asking me the same two questions:

Q. What grade do you like better?
A. That's hard to answer because I like them both for different reasons. With fifth graders you can talk about more things with them, current events, boys, girls, television, home life etc. Plus they come to you with previous knowledge. I loved helping with the big state report, learning about Canada and Mexico, balloons and gases in science, having my own reading group and the dreaded health unit on human growth and development. But in fifth grade other things start happening, they become more interested in the opposite sex, the girls are starting to develop, the boys are starting the whole testosterone thing (less so than the girls). The girls start to get really clicky, catty and ruthless, the boys, not so much. You can have quite the range of emotional growth too. I see it mostly in the girls. Some are still at a third grade level, they still love puppies and kittens and seem more innocent. Others are wise beyond their years. You'd think they were 16 rather than 10 & 11. In about April each year they start to stink. I mean that litter ally. They return from P.E. or recess or even come to school that way and could use deodorant. Can't their parents smell them? Honestly we have to spray air freshener. They also aren't impressed with you anymore. If you're not there they hardly notice, well some do and they don't hug you so much either. Oh and they can tie their own shoes.
Now kindergartners , they love you, are so happy to see you every single morning even if I have to come down hard on them everyday. They hug you, tell you they love you, invite you to their birthday parties. One even told me that his mom could pick me up if I could come. They're so good for your ego. The hard part is they come to you with little or no previous knowledge. More students than not can't write their name, identify numbers or letters and their sounds and some don't even know how to interact with other children. Most are eager to learn and you can really see how much they grow throughout the year. The daily routine and whole organizational piece is hard for them plus winter time is tough with the boots, coats, hat, mittens. I always dread that. In the end my answer would be that if I had my choice between fifth grade and kindergarten the winner is kindergarten - hands down.
Q. Which grade is harder?
A. No thought required, the answer is kindergarten.

Some of my favorite things to do with the little ones are art projects. Often times I trace the objects and they cut them out and glue them together to make the final project. Then they either go home or on the bulletin boards.

These two I did on my own for the first day of school last year. Since I work between two classes, two boards well actually four, two AM and two PM.

The nice thing is that my niece and nephew come in just before school starts and helps me put the boards together. What's also nice is I get to use my creative powers and think these boards up.

Heavens, we can't have anything remotely Christmas,
no trees or Santa so we call this a winter bulletin board.

Now this project was hard, I don't know what I was thinking. I only ended up doing it for one teacher but 32 kids. I drew their silhouette (that was a trip getting them to sit still), cut them out, mounted them and asked them all the same three questions. I filled out the slip at the bottom and at an open house their parents had to identify them by the silhouette and the answers to the questions. I don't think I'm doing this one again.

Go Fly a Kite was somewhat hard for them. The triangles were cut out but they had to match them up to make the kite. Even I had a little trouble with this one :)

March comes in like a lion...

and goes out like a lamb.

April Showers...
This one I traced the umbrella, they painted it with water colors
then I cut it out because it was done on heavy paper.

Bring May flowers.
I traced, they cut.
There you have it, just a tiny glimpse of kindergarten. They also learn their letters and the sounds they make, numbers and addition, how to write sentence using correct punctuation, learn about animals and insects and learn how to read. You'd be surprised, Kindergarten ain't what it used to be.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Hurricane Earl...
Please go easy on my beloved Cape Cod tonight.