Sunday, August 28, 2016

Poem of the Week: The Herefordshire Landscape

The Herefordshire Landscape
from: Aurora Leigh

I dared to rest, or wander, - like a rest
Made sweeter for the step upon the grass, -
And view the ground's most gentle dimplement,
(As if God's finger touched but did not press
In making England!) such an up and down
Of verdure, - nothing too much up or down
A ripple of land; such little hills, the sky
Can stoop to tenderly and the wheatfields climb;
Such nooks of valleys, lined with orchises,
Fed full of noises by invisible streams;
And open pastures, where you scarcely tell
White daisies from white dew, - at intervals
The mythic oaks and elm-trees standing out
Self-poised upon their prodigy of shade, -
I thought my father's land was worthy too
Of being my Shakespeare's...
Then the thrushes sang,
And shook my pulses and the elms' new leaves...
I flattered all the beauteous country round,
As poets use; the skies, the clouds, the fields, The happy violets hiding from the roads
The primroses run down to, carrying gold, -
The tangled hedgerows, where the cows push out
Impatient horns and tolerant churning mouths
'Twixt dripping ash-boughs, - hedgerows all alive
With birds and gnats and large white butterflies
Which look as if the May-flower had caught life
And palpitated forth upon the wind, -
Hills, vales, woods, netted in a silver mist,
Farm, granges, doubled up among the hills,
And cattle grazing in the watered vales,
And cottage-chimneys smoking from the woods,
And cottage-gardens smelling everywhere,
Confused with smell of orchards.


HT: The Independant 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Our Steampunk Wall

 We finished decorating the living room, which, I believe, finally concludes the house reorganization brought on by refinishing the floors!

We were looking for this wall to look a bit more deliberate, and then we found this geared clock.

And then we remembered that we had my dear MIL's geared cat....

And things kind of got out of hand from there!

But I really like the way it came out.

One nice side effect has been printing and framing all the pictures of our ancestors from about 100 years ago.

The oval one is a bit hard to see, but it's my great grandmother as a young woman.  She was in her 80s and 90s when I got to know her, but she was such a lovely and loving person, it makes me happy every time I see her!

First Day of No School

For our First Day of No School, we went playground hopping!

And swimming!

And working on personal projects like this Bionicle armor Leena made!

And I've been working on plans for our Big Trip, Awesome History, and Chemistry!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016


 I've always liked licorice allsorts, but it took me a while to realize that they were called that because they were "all sorts" of licorice.

As we finish our summer, we've been doing "allsorts" of things!

We made some really delicious ice cream.  I guess it was actually frozen yogurt, but it was lemon and cherry flavored with mini chocolate chips.

Mmmmmmm.  Maybe it was many chocolate chips!

We also have been making popsicles.  Our current favorite is nutella pops!  It's just nutella mixed with cool whip and milk and frozen, but it tastes exactly like it sounds!!

Continuing the yummy treats theme, Klenda whipped up two fabulous chocolate souffles for the feast of the Assumption!  They were also exactly as delicious as that sounds!

We also did a big water balloon fight (which I wish I had thought to get in pictures).
 We've been doing a lot of bird watching.  This is the time of year when lots of juvenile birds are out and about, and they are delightful and hilarious to watch!

We had a pair of juvenile cardinals,  some young grackles, and about three dozen sparrows mobbing our feeder.  A jay swooped in and everyone scattered except a juvenile sparrow who hopped at the jay and startled him off!

The picture is a red tailed hawk who hung out outside our dining room window.

The most fun has been the five hummingbirds at our feeders.  These tiny birds are very territorial, and one female is convinced she owns all three feeders.  She chases and chases, and the others swoop in to steal a sip while she is off chasing someone else!

I've been getting ready for my Chemistry class!

We've been doing a bit of redecorating.

Oob and Choclo fell in love with this fuzzy rug, and when asked where we should put it, they wanted it in the basement to lie on while they read comic books...

Mostly we've been working on giving the living room a steampunk theme.

We're not done yet (more pictures later) but it's coming along!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Poem of the Week: A Time to Talk

A Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Poem of the Week: Ulysses

By Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

HT and the rest of the poem at Poetry Foundation

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Visit to NJ

I had a lovely visit with my folks this past week.

I took up the new car, and took my dad out for a ride.  It's such a beautiful time of year in northwest New Jersey!

 The sunflowers were blooming in the farm up the street, so that was our first stop.

Then, since we were out anyway, we decided to go down by Paulinskill lake to see if the purple loosestrife was blooming.

 It was!

This is an invasive plant here because it has no natural predators (it's a garden escapee originally from Europe). 

It really does cover acres and acres of boggy land, and I'm sure it's crowding the native species, but the bees love it!

And when we came back, Dad looked over the car, topping off fluids, vacuuming the interior, and giving it a good wash into the bargain- the car did not look this good when we bought it!!

Then I helped my mom with rearranging her office.
Mostly this involved sorting out computer cords and trying to reconnect everything correctly.

Happy Mumpy!
I considered calling Bill, my favorite network engineer, but, for the life of me, I couldn't come up with a question beyond, "Where do all these cords go?" That hardly seemed a fair question to ask over the phone!

 In a minor miracle, we figured it out and everything works!

Last, but not least, I got to play Mumpy a few hands of Pig's Knuckles, and, if you can believe it, I skunked her twice!

I won her paper towel holder!

My sister thinks Mumpy might have stacked the deck, but it was Mumpy's special paper towel holder, so that hardly seems likely, now does it?