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.

IMG_8066

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.

IMG_8069

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

IMG_8057

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.

IMG_8063

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.

IMG_8068

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.

autumn joy sedum

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.

rhododendron flower buds

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

lilac bud

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.

hardy gardenia

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

viburnum Kern's Pink

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?

azalea buds

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.

bottle brush shrub bud

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.

chocolate church sign smaller

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.

IMG_7909

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.

IMG_7923

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!

IMG_8009

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.

IMG_7885

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.

IMG_7892

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.

 

 

Six on Saturday – Inside and Out – December 17, 2018

We’ve had hard freezes every night, but inside our little rancher it’s cozy at 68 degrees. We light a fire in the fireplace about five o’clock which keeps us toasty through the evening. Outside there are still things to be cut back. The ground is not quite frozen and more rain is expected this weekend with slightly warmer day time temperatures. The leaves that have blown around plants in the beds may just stay as a thermal blanket until spring. I don’t mind the messy look.

  1. Inside an anthurium is blooming.  The red/orange, heart-shaped flower of Anthuriums is really a spathe or a waxy, modified leaf flaring out from the base of a fleshy spike (spadix) where the tiny real flowers grow.  The spadix, a.k.a.: nose, tail or inflorescence is the actual anthurium flower; it is where the stamen (male part of the flower) and stigma (female part of the flower) are to be found. The stamen and stigma can only be seen with magnifying glasses and appear as tiny bumps on the spadix.

2. Before we had a frost, I cut some pieces of a bright neon green coleus and stuck it in a vase. It has developed excellent roots. I plan to pot them so I don’t have to repurchase in the spring.

3. Outside there is cutting back and cleaning up to be done. I’ll leave the heads of the miscanthus for later, but will cut back the soldago in the foreground.

IMG_7863

4. This fall I was able to get three Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ half price and planted them in the revised bed where the avocado sculpture now resides in place of the river birch. I like the pop of pale yellow/white against the green. Once they get bigger, I can use some cuttings in holiday decorations.

IMG_7861

5. And I planted three white groundcover roses (Blossom Blanket) in the same area. They are small but I’m going to leave the leaves as insulation over the winter.

IMG_7862

6. The herb window box hasn’t frozen yet. I am still cooking with fresh chives, thyme. parsley, tarragon and sage.

IMG_7865

That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners and from verifying information about my photos. This week it was about the true flowers on anthuriums. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

“The Santa Diaries II” debuts in Faribault with humor & so much more

We were filled with gratitude that we were able to be in Faribault for the premier of A Christmas Wedding. The cast was stellar. They did us proud.

Minnesota Prairie Roots

From The Merlin Players Facebook page.

WHEN I ATTENDEDThe Merlin Players’performance of The Santa Diaries four years ago at the Paradise Center for the Arts, I laughed. And I cried. Playwrights and performers brought a moving message coupled with comedy to the stage.

And now they’ve done it again in A Christmas Wedding—The Santa Diaries II. I attended Saturday evening, a day after the play debuted. Writers Laura Ambler and Mala Burt flew in from Maryland to watch as a talented cast—many of whom performed in the first Santa Diaries—took the stage.

The play focuses on a Hollywood couple returning to their hometown for their desired small town Christmas wedding. Except others have other ideas, including making the wedding a reality TV event. So the story evolves with humor aplenty, conflict and discerning what’s most important in life. Choose fame and fortune? Or love, happiness…

View original post 378 more words

Write on Wednesday – A Christmas Wedding in Minnesota – December 12, 2018

You know you are in Minnesota in December when the windshield washer fluid freezes on the windshield.

Laura and I flew into Minneapolis late Friday afternoon with an entourage … our husbands, Laura’s mother and a friend.  It was cold. I don’t think the day time temperature ever got above 20 degrees Farenheit the whole time we were there. Fortunately there was no wind, but there was still snow on the ground from the previous weekend and icy spots on sidewalks.

We checked into the house we’d rented and headed to town to check out the marquis at the Paradise Center for the Arts. World Premier! TMP stands for The Merlin Players.

IMG_7833

That night we were honored on stage…

47682824_10161000727490570_693328367205744640_n

…and presented with a fabulous gift basket which included a handmade ornament created by Stephanie Weiss who plays Martha in the show.

IMG_7839

The show was more than we could have hoped for. Laura and I had not reread it before we went and kept wondering what was coming next. It was lovely to see it that way — almost with fresh eyes.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at Bernie’s Grill, a local institution with terrific food. My husband commented that it was breakfast that tasted the way he remembered breakfast tasting when he was a kid. Bernie’s had A Christmas Wedding poster by the cash register. They were all over town. This is Cary (Laura’s husband), Laura and her mother, Mary.

IMG_7823

I don’t have the show photos yet, but will soon. Then I’ll do another post.

On Saturday toured the Faribault Woolen Mills, explored the Shattuck-St. Mary’s (a coed prep school) campus, had lunch at the Cheese Cave, and then the ladies explored a consignment shop which had been a Catholic Church. We were told there were three Catholic churches in Faribault and the powers that be decided to build a new church south of town and sell the old churches and rectories. The house we rented had been the rectory. It was full of gorgeous oak woodwork.

Saturday night we ordered take out and ate around the dining table at our rental property before we went to the show. During intermission the sound operator, Shelley Wold, came around to introduce herself. She’s a panda lover and there’s a mention of pandas in the show. Great job, Shelley! We owe so much to the behind the scene folks. There wouldn’t be a show without them.

IMG_7840

After the show we got some photos with the cast. Left to right: Michael Lambert (Will Hawes), Heidi Nelson (Jessica), Mala Burt (playwright), Matt Drenth (Josh), Laura Ambler (playwright), Mandie Siems (Brandeee), Stephanie Weiss (Martha) and Jerry Fox (Sandy Hawes). Honestly, we couldn’t have had a more talented cast for the first production of A Christmas Wedding. Accoustics were excellent and everyone knew their lines and where they were supposed to be. What was superb was how the actors stayed in character even when they weren’t speaking. That’s hard to do. (Thanks to Stephanie who had posted some of these photos on her FaceBook page.)

47390866_10161000727995570_6123475607100588032_n

This is Jerry Fox (Sandy Hawes) with Thomas Drenth (Tim).

47363884_10161000728785570_4091982185198780416_n

Stephanie Weiss (Martha) in her foxy post make-over Mrs. Santa costume, complete with bull whip. Embrace the crazy! A shout out here to Mary Butler Fraser for costume design.

48027356_10161000730125570_1363664077963919360_n

Two weeks before opening night the director, Juliana Skluzacek, had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. She came home Friday, the day the show opened. Her hard work shone in every scene. It wouldn’t have been the same play without Julianna’s vision. But we would be remiss if we didn’t applaud the cast and crew who rose to the occasion and brought the show home. Laura and I were in awe.

Several people asked us if there will be another in the Santa Diaries saga. We’ll have to give that some thought. If we fast forward too much we’d have to kill off Sandy and Martha and that would be unforgiveable. Faribault would never let us come back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Surprising Color – December 8, 2018

I wandered in my garden on Wednesday to see what I could find for Saturday’s post. I’m going to be out of town so needed to get something written. I was surprised at the color I found.

  1. The little maple I grew from a seedling finally put on a show.

IMG_7816

2. Several azaleas showed color, but some stay green. I have lost a number of azaleas due to all the rain and wet areas in some garden beds.

IMG_7821

3. Despite the killing frosts, I was surprised to see a few Sheffield mum blooms.

IMG_7814

 

4. The red twig dogwood (Arctic Fire) is now on full view. If we get a little snow to cover up the mess in that bed, it will be dramatic.

IMG_7817

5.  I noticed that impatient daffodils are coming up. This is a variety that proliferates like crazy. I started with one clump and now have them all over the yard in the spring.

IMG_7818

6. The Sunpatiens in the front window boxes succumbed to a frost. I pulled them out several weeks ago. This week I stuck pieces of everygreen cuttings into the potting soil. That anchors them and only a few end up in my neighbors lawn when we get a strong wind. It’s such a fast and easy solution to dressing the boxes for winter.

I have some red bows to add to the boxes, but that involves wiring them to something I can stick in the soil. I might get that done. ..or maybe not. If I had an electrical outlet on the front of the house, I’d add some twinkle lights. If you are wondering what the white piping is, it’s the drip irrigation llines to those beds. I put it in white pvc as the drip lines are black.

IMG_7820

That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.