Six on Saturday – In and Out – January 12 2019

We may get some snow tomorrow. Perhaps 1 – 3″. I am hoping to get a photo of my red twig dogwood (Arctic Fire) against a white background. If I do, I’ll post it next week. It’s been cold enough that the ground is frozen along with the remaining puddles.

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2. I checked the lenten roses but the buds are still furled. However, in one of my raised beds a  lone hyacinth is emerging. A squirrel must have planted it.

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3. Fred the French Gardener posted a photo of moss and I could see some outside my office window. I put on my chicken boots and went out for a closer look.

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4. The slender Hinoki cypress in the front of the house has lovely foliage.

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5. Inside I was thrilled to see an open bloom on the first orchid I have ever managed not to kill. The blooming stalk is very long so I’ve propped it on the clivia (which shows no evidence of flowering yet).

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6. I need to cut back my the geraniums in the inside big pots, but that will be a job for tomorrow when there is snow on the ground. This morning I enjoyed a spot of color.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look — even on these dark, cold winter days. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

Write on Wednesday – When I Have Nothing to Say, Someone Else Does – January 9, 2019

I follow a number of blogs. One of the ones I actually read when it comes into my email box is The Passive Voice. The tag line for this blog is “A Lawyer’s Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing.”  The Passive Voice finds interesting articles and blog posts that bear on publishing. They are usually short but have links if you want to read the original.

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Today when I am immersed in revisions to my novel, and have nothing thoughtful to say, I suggest you check out The Passive Voice. There’s always something interesting  and thoughtful there.

 

Six on Saturday – Lean In – January 5, 2019

A statistic last week indicated we have had over 70″ of rain this year, double the usual amount. No wonder we feel inundated. Many local farmers have lost their winter wheat crop as seeds rotted in the ground. Last spring some planted corn three times.

For us home gardeners the rain is a big inconvenience. Lots of leaves still on ground that’s too wet to work on, and piles of tree trash that gets deposited on the lawn with every big blow. But although I have been a gardener for more years than I like to admit, it continues to amaze me that life in the garden goes on. You just have to put on your wading boots and lean in.

  1. Other SoS gardeners have been showing blooming hellebores. I thought I checked last week and didn’t see anything. Obviously I didn’t lean in far enough. I only saw buds on one plant this morning and I haven’t kept records in the past, but buds the size of Christmas tree lights (not the little ones) are impressive for January 5.

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2. Raindrops in the early morning decorated a small leafed maple.

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3. In one of my raised beds at home I had transplanted some beet seedlings from my Community garden bed last summer. They never did a thing but I didn’t pull them when fall clean-up was delayed by wet weather. They are showing growth among the fallen leaves. I wonder if I will actually get beet roots in the spring. img_8104

4. Fennel doesn’t surrender to the weather and tends to self seed which can be a problem. This is in a raised bed. I’ll keep it because the Black Swallowtail butterflies pupated on the stalks last year and the foliage is a tasty addition to winter salads. I can see some rabbit damage.

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5. Even the dried heads of hydrangea Limelight are beautiful in the early morning mist.

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6. In an effort to organize seeds this winter I purchased some half priced Christmas storage. The seeds won’t care that the boxes are red and green. With lidded containers I’ll be able to get the seed box off my work surface.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look and lean in. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Write on Wednesday – Words To Live By All Year – January 2, 2019

There’s a line in the Christmas play that Laura Ambler and I wrote (The Santa Diaries) that seems perfect for this time of year.

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When the character, Will Hawes, knows he will eventually take his place in the long line of Santas in his family, he says, “I finally realized that people still want the same things; a hug, a laugh, a kind word, to not be lonely, and maybe even find a soul mate. And not just at Christmas.”

So lets all laugh and hug (appropriately), and be more kind. The world will be a better place.

Happy New Year!

 

Six on Saturday – Should We Buy a Boat? – December 29, 2018

Yesterday it rained all day. It was so dark and gloomy, I had to push myself to get anything on my list accomplished (see #4). I reminded myself to be grateful that the inches of rain were not 30″ of snow.  Temperatures were in the fifties, so no chance of that, but the back of our property continues to be underwater. Getting to the shed requires tall waterproof boots.

  1. The garden is so wet and bedraggled that I wondered if there would be anything to photograph. When I stepped onto the deck and looked up at the lace of the leafless trees early this morning the moon was still visible, so that’s #1.

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2. The lake behind the house continues to grow. I have no idea what supports the shed next to this wet area. When the ground dries out I need to get down on my belly and take a look. It’s not in the water, but whatever it’s resting on has been wet for months. My gardeners’ heart hopes that any bunny litters under the shed do not survive.

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3. A tree limb, covered with lichens, came down in the storm. They are always so beautiful after a rain.

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4. I managed to accomplish one thing on my “to do” list. I planted the coleus that had rooted in a clear vase on my kitchen counter.

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5. I promised a photo of the dwarf Alberta spruce with the Christmas lights. The lights will stay on until April. Not from laziness, but because they give me pleasure in the evening.

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6. Despite the wet and dark days the wildlife in the garden is active. Out my office window this morning I saw a Northern flicker, a bluejay, a nuthatch, sparrows and two squirrels playing tag in the silver maples.  They know spring is coming as does the sedum Autumn Joy. No lenten roses blooming yet, but I’ll keep checking.

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The days are getting longer, bit by bit, and the garden (and this gardener) is resting. Just for a little while, however, as the garden catalogues are arriving.

May 2019 bring you sunshine, rain and fertile soil…all in just the right amounts.

That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Buds on the Solstice – December 22, 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018: the rain stopped and the skies cleared so I put on my chicken boots and wandered  through the standing water in my garden. I wondered what I would find on the shortest day of the year. It turned out there were lots of signs of spring even though it’s months away. Some of these are clearly flower buds (rhododendron) but some may be leaf buds.

  1. There are buds on the rhododendron Roseum Elegans. Some buds flowered in our late warm fall, but there should be some blooms in the spring.

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2. I wouldn’t have noticed the purple hues of the lilac buds if I wasn’t out taking a close look at twigs.

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3. A flower bud on the “Kleims Hardy” gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides). The shrub didn’t look so good in the fall, but the leaves are now a healthy green.

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4. Viburnum Kern’s Pink. I don’t know if these are flower or leaf buds.

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5. I had a hard time finding buds on the azaleas. But I didn’t know until I saw the photo that the leaves have tiny hairs. Does someone know what their purpose is?

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6. Apical bud of a Bottle Brush Buckeye (Aesculus Parviflora) that I pulled from the ground near a colony at our local library reading garden. I help take care of this garden so have some gleaning privileges. The twig is about a foot tall and I have it in a “nursery” bed. If it survives the winter I’ll need to find a good place for it as it gets quite large.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Write on Wednesday – Maine Welcomes The Santa Diaries – December 18, 2018

Maine wasn’t as cold as we expected, but it does get dark early. It was a short flight from Baltimore and by the time Laura Ambler and I landed at the Portland airport and were in the rental car (complete with ice scraper) it was getting dark. It was an hour drive to Bath. We checked into our hotel, found a place to eat dinner and walked to the theater to see the opening night show at the Chocolate Church Center for the Arts.

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Thom Watson, the producter, told us before the show that the light board had gone out that afternoon and they were using dimmers and spots. The show must go on and it did to a full house. We were entranced.

Chocolate Church Center for the Arts is a wonderful theater space. The bones of the original church are still there, and it has great acoustics. We were told that on Friday afternoon two hundred school children kids had attended a performance of The Santa Diaries, many of them seeing their first live stage performance. The photo below was taken before Saturday’s matinee. The light board was back up.

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The director of the show was Dennis St. Pierre, an Actors Equity  and Screen Actors Guild member with 20 years of professional work in the theater, tv and music industry as an actor, singer, director and producer.  He is currently the interim Executive Director for the Chocolate Church Performing Arts Center and recently created an Arts Education program that allows for collaboration with local school programs. It was that program that brought all those school kids to see The Santa Diaries. What a wonderful gift to the students.

In the opening scene of the show, cute elves deliver packages to Sandy Hawes who believes he has a calling… to be Santa.

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The large cast exemplifies a line in the play…”It’s community theater. Anyone who wants a part, gets a part.” The photo below doesn’t show all the adorable elves who occasionally escaped their wranglers backstage and made an early entrance!

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Chocolate Church did something clever to facilitate scene changes. They created three wheeled set pieces: a left and right window and a center piece that was the fireplace in Sandy’s living room (not seen in photo above). Each of these set pieces could be turned around to show something different on the other side. And for the finale (the community theater renovated after a fire) Christmas lights were turned on to show decorations in the actual theater. The audience went, “Awwww.” It was beautiful.

Before the show on Friday night we walked around the quaint main street of Bath. There was  a snowman with a fire in his belly and kids were roasting marshmallows. With lots of adult supervision, of course. The only thing missing was lightly falling snow.

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If we had stayed longer we would have attended the free community carol sing at Chocolate Church, a tradition on the last Monday evening before Christmas. And we would have spent more time at the Maritime Museum where the Christmas tree was made out of lobster pots.

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At home, on the Chesapeake Bay, we have crab pot Christmas trees .

After three traveling weekends it was lovely to be home and put away my suitcase. Requests for perusal scripts have been coming in from theaters around the country, so it will be interesting to see where The Santa Diaries finds community theater homes in 2019. We already know one production will be in Tennessee.