Thursday, April 25, 2019

Delete, Delete, Delete

Dear faithful readers,

Thank you for your patience as I struggled through my computer problems for far too long. It is my great pleasure to report that I am fully back into the business of regular blogging! Not only does the computer load photos lightening fast, it does the same with deleting which I took advantage of yesterday. Indeed, I deleted 2,000 photographs from my library, vowing to myself to be ruthless in the future. I'm not nearly done with the process, however I've put a dent into the overflow. I began in the here and now, but after several hours grew tired of seeing what I'd most recently taken. Eventually I went to the beginning of my library, such as it is because in my effort to make the computer run faster, I'd put about ten years worth solely on an external hard drive. While going through the months of picture taking, beginning in January 2017, I came across a few gems that I am going to re-post because they may have been buried in the avalanche, but I want to re-remember them.

Indulge me, will you?
Our sweet Baxie in January 2017. Oh how we miss his big brown eyes. As has been mentioned in this space before, according to our son-in-law Tom, he was "the best of dogs."

It goes without saying that I have hundreds, and maybe hundreds more, photographs of that sweet time when the owls were nesting in the cemetery. For some reason they are especially hard to delete. Recalling the day I was fortunate enough to take the photo below was such a sweet memory.
The tree is now, following Hurricane Irene, a shell of its former self, and sadly, the owls are nowhere to be found. I could fill this entire blog post with photos of that wonderful season! If I remember correctly, at the time I wrote that I figured you were growing weary of the owl photos, but as my late Mother would say, "you've got to make hay while the sun shines!"

One bird that is seemingly in no danger of leaving the area are the peacocks off of Lake Margaret Drive. I've not popped over there for a while now because I literally have more photos of peacocks than is good for me. This one really pleased me at the time.
A duck is a duck right? Wrong. Far more interesting than I'd ever imagined. Remembering a day when a young woman with a camera mentioned how she was in search of Wood Ducks, having heard they were in a nearby park, I was puzzled, that is until I found some myself.
Now that I live side by side with Wood Ducks, I can't get enough of them. Those sweet ducklings, pictured in my last post, are sadly, down to three.
Do you remember that crazy huge bee hive I discovered? I wonder if it remains in place? I'll have to ride my bicycle over and check it out soon.
This is a neat photo I discovered during the purge. A Greater Cormorant and companions.
All those Christmases ago, when Bruce gave me my first digital camera and I went wild taking photographs, flowers were my first love, primarily, I suspect, because of their profusion in these parts. Dahlias though, are few and far between. This one was from the gardens at East End Market.
Whenever I am tempted to not like the quilt I made so much, this photograph reminds me of how hard it was to get right. Only with Bruce's help did it happen. Here he is marking the second curves for the quilting.
I suppose I can't be faulted, after all, I had little time to really think through what I wanted our new home to look like. That said, I recall myself thinking that perhaps I should start a new chapter in my life by toning things down a bit. Remember when I painted the third bedroom at our home this color?
No one probably had the guts to tell me it was a crazy choice, but I liked it just fine. With the toning down thinking, I chose such light and neutral colors that I am still trying to get used to them. Our bedroom is so blah, primarily because the wall color is blah. For some folks, it is calm and peaceful, but for this gal, well, I can do better. And probably should, but just not now. All good things come to those who wait, right?

Indeed the tile setters are here and things are moving quickly. When we got the estimate we questioned one of the products and it turns out it is a system that makes quick work of a new shower with pre-made parts. Herbert was here for two days, re-texturing the walls, taking out the toilet, doing the plumbing for the shower and more. While here he mentioned to Bruce that they make a shower niche and I was sent to the tile store so it would be here on install day. Bruce doing some work on the studs to make it work.
You might note the concrete block on is right. According to Bill, that is one of the features that added to the cost when these were built in the late 80's. Very unusual at the time, they have done their job of making our place super quiet which in some complexes is not the case. Hearing neighbors is the norm, rather than the other way around. Occasionally we hear a tiny bit from upstairs, but barely enough to be note worthy.

I took off super early on Tuesday morning following a conversation with Susan who told me she saw some cygnets at Lake Davis. Did not take long to find them, two of whom are pictured although there were four on that day.
Every now and again I like a black and white photograph and for some reason this one just felt right. In my new bathroom color scheme I've decided to replace the artwork for a black and white photo. I spent a stupid amount of time, partly because of the computer issues, searching for something I thought I could love for a while.  Here are a few contenders:
And while I love the above because it says so much about Vancouver, a vertical photo is probably best.
Completely different subject matter?
I am open to discussion on this, so feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

Soon after returning from Lake Davis we opened our door to a plumber who was here to replace the kitchen waste disposal. Should have done it when the sink went in, but it worked perfectly at the time with no leaking whatsoever. That changed.
So, as you have gleaned so far, it has been a busy week at the Peck household, however I am carving out time to visit with Ann who I realized the other day was 31 years old when I was born! Amazing to ponder. She is such an interesting woman and I finally looked up Showalter, finding a website with photos. Her husband was Buck Rogers. One thing we discussed this week was the novel that she'd read a while ago. It was one of those binge books that you can't put down. At least for me it was for a while. It seems as if it is universally praised, however, there were sections so unbelievable that I just could not get past them. Too, after finishing the novel, I read a few interviews with the author and just as I suspected she is a great fan of To Kill a Mockingbird. While reading the courtroom scenes, I kept seeing the resemblance. Anyway, the novel is Where the Crawdads Sing. I liked the nature parts the best.

As you have also gleaned I managed to transfer all my data from my old computer to the new one without any help, a first for me. Woo hoo!

Let the regular blogging begin again!

your friend,

Gail

Monday, April 22, 2019

I've Gone and Done It!

I've been patiently waiting for my new computer to arrive today, however, the delivery guy is taking his time. Yes, finally, after months of struggling, I finally caved and bought a new iMac that I hope will be good to me, doing such things as loading pages quickly and efficiently, rather than making me wait and wait. And wait. Instead of blogging being something I look forward to doing, it has become a chore.

OH MY GOODNESS! Just as I finished the above paragraph, I heard the familiar sound of a delivery truck and it is here!! That said, it has been so long since last I wrote, I'm going to keep at it because it is hard to know how long it will take me to get going on the new one. Hopefully not long. 

Back to the business at hand...

You already know that it is extremely hard for me to resist something old and what I consider cool. As such, during a trip to Clermont last Saturday, as in a week ago Saturday, I rummaged around in the SPCA thrift store and for $6.00, had to bring these fruit cups to our home. Not that I need them or anything, but they are made in Japan and so colorful. You understand.
I will skip over that trip, although it was a good one, albeit insanely hot. As will I skip over Palm Sunday. Following that heat spell, the weather has been what occurs only in a dream. Sunny, coolish, low humidity. In other words, perfect. 

Tax day found me, following Days for Girls, heading over to our CPA with a check for what we owe the IRS. In the Florida-themed lobby, I saw a couple of these framed scarves. Super neat, right?
Tuesday, while Bruce was out with the guys, I made a pizza with freshly sliced tomatoes, mushrooms and arugula. I finished it myself, just not all in one sitting.
I've been trying to regularly visit Ann next door because she has turned out to be delightful. I made some cookies and took them over soon after they came out of the oven. Now, about those cookies. I'd made the dough the previous evening and put it in the fridge. Never again my friends. That dough was so hard it took HOURS before I could form proper cookies. The first batch of cookies were so tiny!
Just some cookies you think, however, I took the photo because I am loving how the sun is coming into the kitchen in the late afternoon, something that did not happen all winter. Living where we do, I am so much more aware of the movement of our celestial bodies. Anyway, Ann allowed me to photograph her when I went crazy for her patchwork Coach shoes.
When she opened the door I nearly squealed with delight seeing her in those orange pants! Should I live to be 96, I hope I'm still wearing colorful clothes and shoes. She is sharp as a tack which I would also love to be. I encouraged her to watch Jeopardy because the champion is nothing short of amazing and I'm using that word with the original meaning. Something out of the ordinary. He is certainly that!

I will be the first to admit that when we bought our place I wasn't quite sold on the row of trees lining the lake. After all, they do block the view.
How wrong I was. For years I'd seen this same spot from Ferncreek and wondered about it, but now that I live here, I've come to realize how much interest they add to my day. I took this photo when I was out in my kayak and we are hidden behind the trees to the left of the building.
Some friends came by Saturday afternoon who hadn't been here before and Lisa marveled at how the wind rustled the leaves so pleasingly. And there's the birds who fly in and out of those trees. What was I thinking?

During that same kayak excursion I finally was able to get a good shot, or sort of good anyway, of the newest batch of Wood ducklings and Mama and Papa.
These four little cuties have been around for at least a week now so I'm feeling very hopeful. Just watching a woodpecker out the window....keep focused Gail, keep focused on the task at hand.  Another first for me happened, and had my computer not been giving me fits, I probably would have posted this days ago because I was so excited! I get that way you know. Out in the kayak on the big lake I watched this for a while and yes that is a Red-Winged Blackbird hopping on a lily pad.
Oops, almost forgot this photo. As the Wood Duck family was cruising along, I spied this on the building and apparently they felt the presence because they immediately swam into the reeds to hide.
Another thing about when we first moved here that was a little discouraging was the presence of all sorts of downed limbs and murkiness along the shore. In time, we've managed to remove the limbs and as the water level has gone down during this dry spell, we discovered some steps heading into the water. I raked out loads of fallen reeds and Bruce sorted out the stones and now we have a super place to launch the kayak!
Oh if only they would allow us to build a dock, but that is not in the cards. By now you are probably sick of me going on and on about how much I love it here, but can you blame me when I see stuff like this:
And this?
Oh yeah, and there's this kind of thing...
And in the front gardens I can always find butterflies. 
My little garden is coming along, and although I have plenty of Pentas, no butterflies have found them so far. You notice that I said not so far because, perhaps, like the birds, eventually they will come. 
Have I shown you the second wave of yellow Tabebuia trees blooming all around the city? What an unexpected blessing, somewhat like what happens in Vancouver with the Cherry Trees. Just when you think the beauty has passed, along comes round two.
So I told you the tile guy came to measure and we set a date for installation. As to the demolition of the existing tile I did not tell you the plan. Bill insisted he could help Bruce and they could do it together for a fraction of the $800 charged by the contractor. Do not, I repeat, do not believe what you see on television because now that it is done, there was nothing fun about it. Bruce began Friday night in order to carefully expose the plumbing.
There was tile and two layers of drywall to remove. I'm including this shot because, well, it is so Bruce, what with the little cover for the faucet and all.
Arriving a little after 9AM, Bill went to work with a hammer and chisel, discovering that the tiles did not pop off nearly as easy as he'd anticipated. 
Let's just say that it was a very dirty, messy job made easier once I rented a mini jackhammer at Home Depot. They worked so hard! I played a part in the clean up crew, doing nothing like they did, and still I was tired when they day was done! Thank goodness the weather was perfect because having the two of them in that tiny space with all that dust and heat too--I hate to think of it!

Then it was Easter Sunday, and what a glorious day it was! The church was filled with the sound of beautiful music and flowers that I had to examine close up. How clever is that putting a lily inside the vases?
And as is the tradition at First Congregation Church of Winter Park, there was a cross decorated with flowers brought by the parishioners. Having your photo made beside it is also traditional. 
For posterity, you know?

Well, this is a condensed version of things which I also post for posterity. You know how my memory is. :)

your friend,

Gail

p.s. now to set up the computer...wish me luck!

Monday, April 15, 2019

More Nature

When I was making the list of all of the nature I've seen while here, how I forgot to include squirrels is beyond me because there are more than you can count on the property.
The Opossum is back both in the trees, and on the ground seen by both of us eating the birdseed our neighbor Julie puts on the shoreline for the ducks. So, thinking that my list would be complete, along comes a very large raccoon that was having a drink in the lake. I spotted it through the window, went outside for a photograph; it stood up and stared at me before scampering away along the shoreline.
It was a big one that's for sure. Speaking of the shoreline, the lake level has gone done during our mostly dry winter and for some reason the Mallard ducks did not seem bothered by me while I was in very close proximity. While prior to moving here my interest was primarily in songbirds, I now can't seem to get enough of the ducks with their intricate feather patterns.
That is not to say I'm no longer a songbird fan because Lord knows if I saw more of them they would still rank #1 with me, but wading and shorebirds are certainly much easier to photograph!  That said, watching this Tufted Titmouse on our front porch was pure delight and I even managed a shot.
A little explanation is in order here...that box was a gift of succulents Maureen received that was overwatered by the staff, so I brought it home for some TLC. The moss covering the top must make for good nest material, thus he is trying to carry some away! Watching through the kitchen window was super good, and got even better when a Downy Woodpecker showed up to feed.
Occasionally we had these cute birds at our home, however every photograph I've ever taken before  has been from the back to show off the red plumage. Never have I actually seen the reason for their name, but now I have, and so have you!

Remember how Bruce just washed our windows? Well the maintenance guys came by last week and cleaned the roofs of the carports. So much for that.
Actually, once I told them they kindly washed it again. Because of the huge number of large oak trees here, keeping anything leaf-free is quite the chore.

Michelle decided to give Dave his own little party and you know how she loves surprise parties, don't you? About an hour or so before everyone was to gather at the big pool, the sky looked as if rain would be imminent.
Alas, it held off and I was tasked with keeping David occupied while Michelle got the cake and readied things. We had a chat out back, ensuring he didn't see a thing, and after dropping Grace (their cute dog) off, we walked to the pool. As we arrived, he stopped to talk to some folks giving me just enough time to get some shots as he realized what was happening.
He was flabbergasted, then pleased as this photo of him smiling demonstrates.
Why would I mention that he's smiling? It's a bit of a joke around our family because ever since he and Bill did some modeling, they keep a straight face while a picture is taken. Generally no attempt to make them smile works, thus seeing this photo made me very happy.
Ice cream cake + outdoor party + hot weather== hurry up and blow out the candles!! That ominous sky made for a dramatic sunset later on.
Finally I got out on my bicycle again, riding down Mills into Lancaster Park with a trip to Lake Lancaster to see what was happening there. Not that I don't have enough action right here at home, but can you ever have too much? I think not!
Around the corner from the above shot, there is a small wall that I stopped to peer over, finding these ducklings high-tailing it to the middle of the lake without their mother!
It surprised me so the photo isn't great, but I thought you might think it was kind of fun. Eventually they found their mother and hopefully they will make it. Just yesterday afternoon I saw three ducklings on our lake and when I empty the camera card I will see if the photo turned out well enough for sharing. This afternoon they are nowhere to be found.

While riding through that neighborhood, filled with beautiful old homes, I came across this...
I wonder why that fellow was spraying water on the proceedings? I rode further and on my return back through, the garage was already felled. Doesn't take too long to erase a whole lot of history does it? Speaking of which, I am typing this as the fire rages in Notre Dame, a most horrible occurrence. Unimaginable actually. In my youth I was a huge lover of all things French and while visiting the city with Bruce many years ago, seeing the cathedral was, of course, a highlight. Many of you, no doubt, have your own memories of seeing it for the first time. Just heartbreaking.

The weather was very comfortable the day I took this:
So red, so blue!

Saturday, on the other hand, the temperature rose to 92 degrees!! How will I ever survive?

We spent some time with our finances this past week, as well as had Matt Manning come over for the final bathroom measurements. I can hardly wait for that! That said, making those big choices is always a little scary, don't you think?

I found something way cool in the front of the property near the raised bed gardens. Seemingly, in the past, someone has thrown old tomato plants to the side. They may have been lost, but not forgotten because there are probably fifteen plants, laying on their side, that produce the sweetest little tomatoes.
Not only are they cute but sweet too!

Today was Days for Girls as well as Tax Day. The former was good, the later, well it was complicated for our CPA because last year Bruce had to pay Canadian taxes, which explains the nearly late filing. Glad that is behind us!

Three Days in Copenhagen