Friday, July 27, 2012

Only two more shows this summer for Saratoga Shakespeare

 Imagine Shakespeare in Havana and you have a pretty good picture of this year's very good production of Twelfth Night by the Saratoga Shakespeare Company. 

The Handsome Husband and I hied our way over to Congress Park Friday night to see this free performance with a distinctive Latin flavor.
 At the very beginning, we weren't too sure that this version was going to work, but it definitely grew on us.
 In general, we are fans of free summer Shakespeare programs in parks and this production was a lot of fun.
 The actors are a good mixture of familiar faces along with a lead from Columbia and another from Havana.
 The original Shakespeare dialog is left pretty much intact. They may have cut some things, the HH thinks, but I don't know the play well enough to verify that.
 The actors are miked so there's no problem hearing, even in the lovely outdoor setting in Congress Park.
There are only two more performances scheduled. The show on Saturday evening, July 28, at 6:00 pm, will include live music by Sensemaya, an Albany area Latin jazz band. 
 The final performance will be a matinee on Sunday, July 29, at 3:00 pm. You should pack a picnic and go.




***

Quiet Friday


We've been needing rain and today it has come. It's the right kind of rain, too. Warm, gentle, lasting all morning.

A few days ago, I took this picture, below, trying to get a photo of a butterfly (that's the blur at the center top.) You can see how brown our neighbors' lawns are, and how dried up and sad-looking my usually lush bee balm border is.

As I said, we've been needing rain.


 But I've also been needing a quiet day and today, I've got that, too.

Some over-night guests, beloved family, have just left. The Handsome Husband has gone off to work. It's just the dogs and me for a while. Quiet, nice quiet.

It's a good day to finish up the lace scarf I've been working on. It's a learning project. I've never tried knitting lace before.


 This camera setting, below, shows the true color better. 

The yarn is called "Hempathy", a washable blend of hemp, cotton, and modal, made in Italy, purchased at Common Thread in Saratoga. 

The color is "Terracotta". I think it will be lovely for fall.


The soft rain and the soft yarn, with the quiet company of the dogs, just what I needed today.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

One Day in Maine...

Our one full day in Maine began with an al fresco breakfast with Bob's nephew Pad and his wife Cecilia.

At Mae's in Bath, a lobster omelet for me...
 ...in the shade of this ancient maple tree.
 Then off to Reid State Park and its lovely beaches...
... where the water was actually warm enough for us all to get in and swim.
We eventually retreated to this quiet lagoon to find some shade,

where Patrick and Bob solved all of the world's problems.
 Then we made our way to the nearby Georgetown dock.
 At the Five Islands Lobster Company, we had steamed clams and lobster, with corn on the cob and boiled red potatoes, sitting outside on the dock. Heaven!
 This little corner of Maine on Sheepscot Bay has escaped condo and motel development, I am happy to report.
You can watch your dinner go from boat to table.
 Just to be certain that all of the world's problems had been solved that day, we repaired (on foot) to an Irish pub in Bath near our hotel.
 A long pleasant day outdoors, good company, full bellies, and
 a cold IPA or two ... who could ask for anything more?
And about that classic pineapple shirt? It's a vintage LL Bean shirt (truly) from about fifteen years ago, when LL Bean still really was  LL Bean.


***

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yuck.

This has NOT been a great summer for gardening. See this photo above? That's a tomato hornworm. It's hard to see because it's exactly the same color as the plant. More about that in a minute.
 
At the urging of the Handsome Husband, in late spring I planted a small vegetable garden in our backyard. Heretofore, I only had flower gardens, with just a few token tomatoes and some pots of herbs on the deck. I was perfectly happy with this arrangement, I might note.

A little reluctantly, I cleared a spot and stuck in some peas, beans, assorted salad greens, and some carrots. Why reluctantly? Because I know from past experience just how much work vegetable gardens are and how prone they are to misfortune. Farmers markets and u-pick farms abound in our area and honestly, I didn't think it was worth the effort.

So how's it going? Well, what the chipmunks and rabbits didn't eat, the woodchuck just finished off. Not to mention the effects of this summer's drought.

I won't be harvesting a single thing from my small experimental plot.

But the tomatoes were looking great, until...

these gross critters showed up. Wonderful. Now each morning and evening, I will have to inspect my plants, peering closely to spot these suckers, and then dispatching them to their greater reward.


The HH is trying to keep me focused on the positive.

We will get different fencing next year, he says.

I never read The $64 Tomato  (the title alone seems sufficient) but maybe I should do so now.


Or better yet, I'll get a copy for the HH to read.

Either that or before next spring we're going to have to adopt a large, slavering, woodchuck-eating hound.



***




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Friday, July 13, 2012

Lots of blueberries and one red dog

It's a tradition I have become fond of.  Every July, Eileen invites teacher friends, some retired and some still working, to come pick blueberries at a farm near her home.

The Black Creek Valley, near West Hebron in Washington County, NY, is a lovely place.
 Despite the heat and dry weather we've been having, there were plenty of berries.
 I will freeze most of my berries in one cup parcels. Then later, in the depths of winter, we will enjoy muffins or pancakes or crumbles tasting of summer and old friendships.
 Pam was there...
 ... and Sue...
 ...and Sarah...
 ... and Mary.  Somehow I missed taking pictures of Eileen and the other Sue. Some years more folks come.
 After I filled my bucket, I strolled up to the farm store.
 They sell plants out front and all kinds of local products inside.
It was so hot, 93 degrees, that the farm wasn't very busy today.
 But Jon Katz and Red were there, along with Jon's wife, Maria.
 Yes, that Jon Katz. He also took my picture, petting the famous Red. Will it appear on his blog tomorrow?

I forgot to tell Jon Katz that I'd bought this very book for our granddaughter Lexi's birthday this past year.
 Mary S. was disappointed to learn she'd missed him. She's read all of his books and is a true dog person.

Fitting nicely with the Katz/border collie theme, there are a few sheep at Gardenworks. Wisely, they were hanging out inside the barn, out of the sun.

 With our berries picked, we drove back to Eileen's for a swim and a vegetable lasagna lunch.

It was a good day in a lovely part of the world with some good folks. Thank you, Eileen.

See you next year, Black Creek Valley.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Definitely not as hip as I used to be

I have to come to terms with it: I am definitely not as hip as I used to be.

Evidence point #1: Phish played three concerts in a row this past weekend just down the road from us at SPAC and I didn't attend any of them.

Evidence point #2: Look at what I am reading!!! Definitely not hip. On top of the books' lack of coolness factor, one taxes my eyes (oh those teeny little Barbie stitches) and the other challenges my vocabulary (antinomian?)  I have to keep the dictionary near by when I am reading the Paul Johnson. Maybe it will help me to stave off complete senility a little longer.

And for those of you who may question my feminist creds for making Barbie doll clothes... 

Well, you try looking at that sweet Tennessee girl's face when she says, "Grandma Bee, can you make a sweater for my doll?"

Well, yes, darlin', I can and I will.

What are you reading this summer (aside from that book with the grey tie on the cover)?





Sunday, July 8, 2012

Saratoga's Secret Gardens, 2012 edition

 The 18th annual Soroptimist Secret Gardens Tour was held in Saratoga this weekend. Despite the influx of Phish fans, traffic flowed smoothly between the twelve featured gardens.
 The recent dry weather has stressed some of the perennials but there were still plenty of flowers putting on a good show. (As you scroll through the photos, you may click on pictures to enlarge them.)

It's interesting to me to see how garden trends vary over the years.
On this tour, many gardens included strategically placed rocks, like this lovely mossy one, below.
 Bird houses are always a popular garden accessory,
 adding both color and a focal point.

I liked this container, below, set on a weathered stepladder. The gardener had included a twig wreath around the edge which was a pretty touch.

Faux mushrooms were a recurring accent in many gardens this year.
 One clever young mom had worked with her daughter to create a lovely fairy garden. It was quite extensive but hard to photograph with its tiny features tucked into shady nooks. The daughter was charmingly handing out cool lemonade to the hoards of visitors tromping around her family's gardens. Much appreciated!
The same family's garden featured this neat old bike with its basket full of blooms.

And speaking of baskets, how about this for an idea? How many ten cent baskets have you seen in garage sales and passed by? This one set off the hen and chicks quite nicely.
 No room for a tennis court? How about a garden-size chess set?

Mixing vegetables in among the flower borders is a trend I saw often on this tour. I like it. This is lettuce, below, on the left.
Raised beds of vegetables were snuggled in near rose borders at the Union Gables Bed and Breakfast. The folks there get TONS of credit for offering cool water, cool places to sit a bit, and restrooms. How kind and thoughtful of them. 
Proceeds from the Soroptimist garden tour go to programs that help to improve the lives of women and girls both locally and internationally. You can find out about next year's tour at www.soroptimistsaratoga.org