carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Getting Ready For Florence

Let me just say.  I would really rather have my Aunt Florence visit than this hurricane…

There has been chatter about this storm for over 10 days now.  It begins to wear on you.  But on the other hand, when we were in Italy, we had very little idea when some major weather event was going to happen.  In Italy, I did learn to keep a collection of empty plastic jugs that I could fill with water if I had a clue that we were going to lose power, which meant losing the pump for the well.  Here in the US, every Spring, I use up the supplies from last year and restock my ‘hurricane kit’.  This is a carryover from looking after my Mom when she lived in Florida.

So since we had adequate supplies, I only had to worry about gas in the car and the always essential, pink fizzy wine and Cheetos! And of course, the always important, trip to the library.  Grocery stores were a ZOO!  Parking lots, don’t even ask!  We live in Cameron Village so I know a few parking places that others might not know of.  And I know the ‘flow’ of the village, the busy times, the slower times.    So it wasn’t too bad to get in and out.

Our neighbors have made sure that we know if we need their help they are there.  They are absolute champs at moving all the flying objects off the deck. (see a picture later) This morning I went out to move everything from our deck.

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Not sure how the begonia forest and jungle will fare in the storm.

You know who came out to help me

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And everything is tucked away.

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It gets to the point when you say “I’ve done all that I can do’.  We just don’t have the space to move things inside.  But those young neighbors did a spectacular job.

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Look at those garbage cans….  such a good job.

So we will see what happens.  I worry the most about this tree.

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It made it through Hazel and Fran and goodness knows how many other storms and has been examined and declared healthy.  So I am sure that it will be fine.  Plus we sleep and live on the ground floor…..  Updates later.

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The Ultimate Garden Compliment

Hummingbirds fighting over your plants….. Yes, that is it.

We have had a good bit of rain this summer.  Some times it comes down as a gully washer, sometimes nice and gentle.  For me it has been a little tricky about when to put out plant food.  One day last week I realized I must have timed it just right when I looked out my kitchen window and saw this.

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Most everything blooming together at the same time.  (Sorry the color is washed out.  Still using my tablet instead of a camera)

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And as I went back in there was a hummingbird fight going on over head.  Made me feel good that my plants were such a treat that they were worth fighting over.

The pampered hydrangea still looks good.

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The elephant ears have done so well

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They will definitely go back there next year.  I am thinking that if I can get some bamboo I might make a trellis to help support them.  The lower plants are sort of lost and still have to be watered some times since the big leaves are like umbrellas.  For some reason I have lost my lambs ear plants here and out front.  I don’t know if it is too damp or what.

The begonias are doing well

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Again, the color is not true.  They are a very pretty rosy pink.

I have been going to the State Farmer’s Market.  Managed to get my knives sharpened there too. Only been trying to get that done for MONTHS!  (Becks https://beckscutlery.com/)

I had some time to wait while my knives were being worked on so I looked at plants which I normally do not do.  Of course I had to buy one.

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A very dark, almost black purple vinca.  Real tickled to find this.  It will move into its own pot, if it ever stops raining long enough.  And next to it, a little airplane plant that I pinched from a public planter.  Gotta get that in dirt soon too.

The deck has taken on a nice jungle feel.  Guppy and I brave the mosquitoes and sit out there for a bit most every evening.  And I try to remind her how fortunate we both are.

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A Big Week

Guest Post:  By Guppy, The Lucky Dog 3

Well this second full week in June was certainly a busy one for me.  On Tuesday I went to see my new vet, Dr. Melissa Hudson at Northwoods Animal Hospital in Cary.  Link to Northwoods  She said that She had known Dr. Hudson since she was a pup.  Apparently, She used to come here all the time many years ago, bringing good dogs to see Melissa’s father, Dr. Dan Hudson.  Going all the way back to Bailey, the cocker spaniel.  That was a really long time ago and then there were the two Afghan hounds, Shamir and The Contessa, and then Hawthorn and even the Sainted Siena came here.  I’m guessing that the only dog that She had, that never came here, was Nerone.  (Sometimes Ben calls me Nerone.  That’s okay because he was a pretty good looking dog so I don’t mind being mistaken for him)  Anyway, my Dr. Hudson was pretty nice and didn’t do any thing really awful to me.  So I guess I won’t mind going back to see her again.

That night after we finished at the vet, we went home and got Ben and then it was off to dog school for graduation. Link to Dream Dogs  I think I did pretty well.  I lost a few points on ‘recall, come and sit’.  I got distracted by my friend Grace.  (She’s just so cute and stylish.  And petite.  She reminded me of my puppies)  Otherwise I did real well on all the exercises.  She and Ben were so proud of me.  She said that one of those Afghans, The Contessa, had flunked dog school.  Can you imagine?

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(Photo credit Robina Thornton)

Anyway, She said we are going to work all summer on exercises and then in the fall I can go back for ‘Distraction Dog’.  I’ll learn how to ignore squirrels.  I was going to work on that this summer since some group has opened a day camp for young squirrels in the big tree by the deck.  (Sometimes there must be 15 or 20 of them up there!)  but what happened to me next will keep me from doing that.

On Wednesday, She and Ben took me back to Saving Grace, the rescue place that I came from.  link to Saving Grace  I know that She and Ben hugged me and told me that they would be back.  I didn’t want to go.  It took a whole lot for me to walk through that gate.  I was real upset and depressed.  I was there for a long time.  She said it was only two nights but it felt like a really long time to me.  Anyway, they gave me big ole shots that hurt.  They are for my heartworm.  So now I need to be quiet for 60 DAYS.  The nasty heartworms die and break off.  If I get too excited too many of them might break off at a time and that would be really bad.

I was moping around on Friday, really sad, napping in my little box when one of the nice volunteers came to get me.  The volunteer walked me out and there was She waiting for me.  I was soooooo happy.  And Ben was in the car.  She says that all the papers are signed and they are really my people now.

 

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I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am.

 

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Deck Pics

From walking Guppy I realized that I always post pictures of the deck taken on the deck rather than looking at it from a distance.

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I do enjoy having flowers on the deck.  Birds have made a nest in my $5 fern from the Lowes reduced rack.  They dash off everytime someone goes in and out.

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The blue thing to the right of the door is a stack of chairs to use when we have folks over.

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All the rain has set the elephant ears off.  They are really doing well.  You can just see bits of the pink flamingo that I got at the Dollar Store.  It was just the right size to squeeze in there.

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This is my favorite to look at.  I like all the shades of green, the purple of the elephant ears with the purple pots.  And the pinks and blues.

Guppy and I brave the mosquitoes and sit out there every night.  Since I have started walking her and seen other units on the property I am glad that we have the one we have.  Not every one has such a nice private space.

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Garden update

I whined so much about having to cover my hydrangea that I thought it deserved a post.

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It is at the base of a cherry tree half of which broke off a few years ago.  It was ugly, so I thought placing the pot here would make it look better.

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Last year when I bought it, it was a wonderful blue.  I’ll have to do some PH adjusting of the soil to get it back to blue.

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The perennial bed that I started in the front is not as showy as I hoped for.  Very few of the day lilies have bloomed.  Maybe they just need another year to get adjusted.  The cannas will have to carry the show again.

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Tour D’ Coop

This year I finally got to go to Tour D’ Coop.  A tour of chicken coops in Raleigh.  A fund raising event for Urban Ministries of Wake County.  Wow, what could be better?  Seeing chickens and giving to a charity.

I have known about this for a number of years.  I didn’t get to go last year because it was on the last day of our move and I had to clean up where we had been staying and I was exhausted!  So I was really looking forward to today.  Turned out to be a really nice event.

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Since I didn’t get started at the crack of dawn I concentrated on the coops in downtown and what is now known as mid-town (North Hills if you have lived here a long time).  Two areas of town that I have previously lived in.  It was kind of fun to poke around in my old neighborhoods.

Generally, folks who keep chickens are interested in where their food comes from, so they also have nice gardens.  And some unique art and a quirky thing or two.

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This was interesting, a solar chandelier in the chicken coop.

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What a good use for a golf bag caddy.  (There are a lot of clever folks out there)

I liked the folks who took the time to put up info about each chicken

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All the coops were well built and maintained.  The most interesting to me was the one at an office building.

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This structure was built on to the courtyard area of the office building.  I talked with a staff member of the practice.  The doctor’s wife did not want chickens at their home so they ended up at the office.  The staff member said that they can be seen from several offices.  Staff members come out for their break or lunch with the chickens.  What an employee benefit!

I had never seen this before.

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Suspend a whole cabbage or head of lettuce and watch your chicken jump to get it.

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A last thought….

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We’ve been DOGGED!

Introducing Guppy

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She came to us from  Saving Grace in early May.  We don’t know too much about her past.  She likes to remain mysterious and really does not like to have her picture taken.

It has been two years this month since Nerone died.  Ben and I had been talking about getting another dog.  The expense was one thing that was slowing us down.  But we were gifted with a small amount of money so that helped to cover her adoption costs.

I started looking a few months back for a ‘rescue’ dog.  Always the best kind.  There are a number of organizations here in Raleigh that handle adoptions.  Lots of paperwork to fill out for each of them.  References!  One wanted vet records for any dog we had owned in the past ten years.  I tactfully explained to the lady what it is like to pay for, pack and physically move (yourself) from the other side of the pond.  How, perhaps, I had not moved Nerone’s records which were in Italian….. Still she persisted.  ‘I’ll just call the vet.’ she said.  I pointed out that many Italian businesses did not use the internet the way Americans do and that there was only one person at the vet in Italy that had some command of the English language.  That wasn’t enough.  Finally, I listed the last vet we had here in Raleigh in the 1990s, the vet we had in Virginia until we moved to Italy and gave her a link to my blog, most particularly Nerone’s guest posts on my blog.  Something in that group must have worked.  We were approved.  By that time, we were 4th in line for the dog I picked out.   So no go there.

I had the idea to get a smaller dog.  Sort of a Jack Russel type (like Eddie on Frazier).  Didn’t bother to discuss this with Ben.  I’m looking at sites.  Most dogs seem to be Chihuahua types, Beagle types or Lab types.  No in between.  No mid-size.  No dogs with long fur!  Finally one appeared on the Saving Grace site that was a terrier type with some fur, not too big.  So with much appointment making Ben and I went out to see him.  He (the dog) could have cared less.  We were disappointed.  So the volunteers brought out some other smaller dogs, lap dog types.  One sat in Ben’s lap.  I walked it around.  Ben made a face.  “There’s hair on me.”  Ohhh, clearly Ben doesn’t want a small dog.  Who knew.  It is really busy there and volunteers have figured out that we really don’t have our act together.  So we leave.  Agreeing to keep looking at the web site.  As soon as I saw Guppy on the site I was emailing away.

When a dog comes to a rescue, they see a vet and have the appropriate ‘operation’ to stop producing more rescues.  We saw Guppy two days after her ‘operation’ and she came home with us that day.  She is very polite, well-mannered, curious, loving and is gradually trusting us more and more.  We are all going to dog school to polish up our behaviours.

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So, we have all agreed not to worry about the past and focus on our bright future together.

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Well, what happened to April?

I don’t know about you, but those winter months seem to drag by.  Then it is Spring and the months seem to pick up speed.  April was certainly that way.

I have been having camera issues.  So no pictures.  But then it finally occurred to me that I have a tablet which takes pictures.  Of course it took me about an hour to get my tablet to talk to my laptop and get just the few  pictures that I wanted,  transferred.  Finally, I got it working.

So a brief recap of April.  It was still cold at night.  Hydrangea was still wearing a towel on many nights.  Robins appeared on the lawn wearing hats, gloves and mufflers, asking for directions back to Florida.  Ben’s nephew and two of his daughters blew in from Kansas for a soccer tournament in Greensboro.  We toddled up to meet them for lunch.  Before Easter I started working on stenciling a faux tile pattern on the steps.  Who knew that would take so long.  Each step took about 3 hours total and had to be done in stages.  What with doctors’ appointments and exercise classes I would fit short 2 hour work sessions.  (American steps, 10 inches, Italian hips much larger.  I could really only perch on that little edge for so long anyway)  Finally, I finished at the end of the month.

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Before

 

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after

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I also touched up the backs of the steps.  They had gotten scuffed.  See how they go from dark to light.  I used those colors and the gold that is on the wall  and just a bit of red that is near Ben’s office that you can’t see.

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So that is April.  Already exciting things for May….

 

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Ah, Spring in North Carolina

Now that it is mid-March I think I can write about Spring.  I saw a cartoon where Mother Nature is saying “You can’t have all 4 seasons in one week!”  And the state of North Carolina says ” OH, Just Watch!  Here, hold my beer!”  That is what this week has been like.  Monday, March 12 it snowed and Thursday, the 15th it was 70 degrees.  We are not in the mountains, instead towards the eastern part of the state.  Go figure!

Anyway, February was wonderfully and consistently mild.  The cherry trees bloomed early and were outstanding.

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They bloomed.  No cold snap or heavy rains to damage the blooms.  Looked good for 2 weeks like they should.  The Asian Magnolias or Tulip Trees or whatever you want to call them were spectacular.  Sorry, no pictures.  I was having camera issues.  The blooms were so full and large on these trees that petals dropped and covered the ground while the trees still looked good.  For here, the variety that is planted usually is not that showy.  The buds will get nipped or something will happen.  But not this year, it was their year.

Last summer I saw an offer for 50 mixed daffodil bulbs from White Flower Farms in Better Homes and Gardens for a very good price.  So I went ahead and bought them.  Planting them in the fall.

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What a show they have been putting on.

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The first one opened on February 4.  Gradually more and more have opened.  And it was a nice mix of bulbs.  I would buy it again if I just had more room.  When I planted them I also stuck a day lily in. We’ll see how they look this summer.

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So, is all this snow?  No, flower petals from the tree out front.  See the hydrangea at the base of the tree?  Monday as all the snow and sleet came down it was asking for a coat and gloves

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I have been very conscientious about covering it up every night.  Hopefully the tender buds have been saved.   Never a dull moment here.

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Basketball, Basketball, Basketball

How I love watching ACC basketball….  We spend several week nights watching.  A big part of Saturday and then again on Sunday.

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And sometimes the games overlap so that I have to watch one on TV and one on my laptop.

Actually one of the best things about moving back to the US.  Now I am wondering if I will ever be able to see an ACC basketball game in virtual reality?

 

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