Friday, June 24, 2011

orange is back

An incomplete sketch of some new multi-colored zinnias cried out to be sketched before they are planted in the garden.

This morning's sketch of the 'Chesapeake Crab Legs' day lily

 Thursday morning 'Royal Trumpeter' gives up it's first blossom for me. I bought it two years ago. Magnificent! 

Traditional multi-petaled day lily grows and shows it can really stand out . 
Orange 'Tropicana' tea rose bloomed in late May

Nasturtiums in flame  orange 

Turk's Cap lily was spectacular in May

Tiny pale and sort of orange day lily are still trying to get a foot hold in the big bed 

True orange nasturtiums go all summer

Uncle Herb's wild red/orange day lilies keep coming back strong

Thursday, June 23, 2011

new used stuff

old red day lily rescued from the back yard last fall. 

Morning sketch of the red day lily. 
I went last week to visit Mom in Manassas for a couple days and since she had been away for a few weeks and my car was in the shop for a few more it's been a long time coming. I was excited to see how she was and how the garden was doing in Manassas since it went unattended for a long spell when she was out of town.  Things looked good but a few were lost due to a few extremely hot days unseasonal for May. The fun thing to see was the old red day lily that I found last summer and potted up was happy and blooming. I used it as a subject for my sketch that morning on the porch. I love the shape of the petals of these exotic day lilies.
Keith and I have been on a diet recently and we have done well with getting to our goals.
I found that about half way to my goal that many of my clothes are so baggy now that I feel kind of uncomfortable going out in them. So this visit to Manassas where there are at least four second hand stores that sell used items to raise money for charity was the perfect place to shop for some interim britches at a bargin price. We set out first to the local Good Will and found some great pale yellow Columbia brand bermuda shorts just the right size for the interim.  I also spotted a set of little pressed glass bowls with handles and a cut glass design I liked but left behind, after all I had two days to think about if I really liked them enough to bring them home. It happens they do a 20% discount on Tuesdays so I got my shorts for cheaper than usual.
Then we swung by a new place where Mom found a soft black leather purse that seemed to be new for about $4 but not much else. Wednesday is discount day at the Salvation Army stores where they give a 25% discount all day on everything. So we headed up there and I found a couple pairs of light colored kaki pants and Mom noticed a lovely unfinished wooden bowl set for tossing and serving salads. I have been dreaming about having one for years. It is because of the years I lived with Harry and George, they had a big v shaped wooden bowl, it was made without shellac or urethane coating the wood but I didn't realize this was such a hard thing to buy inexpensively. They last for centuries so it makes sense people hang on to them when they get one seasoned with olive oils.
 I tried them out yesterday and they are perfect. Just what I had wanted for our summer salad tossing with lemon herb dressings. Being on a diet, our food and the presentation have been much more important to me than usual. We have lots of cool dishes and food tastes even better if it is put together in some pleasing way on a nice old bowl or plate.
Funny thing I guess but it really makes my meal feel more delicious somehow. I was hunting also for used 15 pound dumb bells to do bicep curls at these thrift stores. I saw only one set of 5 pounders which is too light for me now. Thursday morning we went downtown Manassas to the farmers market where we saw potter Jason Alexander buying farm fresh eggs and chicken. He paid my beard a complement " Frederick, I love the beard, it is really working the artist look". I got a chicken on his recommendation and brought it home to roast with lemon, tarragon and garlic. At the Prince William Pink Ladies Thrift Store by the farmer's market was my last stop to look for used dumb bells, they had none but I found a nice Columbia swim suit and a beautiful green linen shirt in just the right sizes. Now I was ready to go home after we went to the sporting goods store and to buy new 15 pound dumb bells but they work just fine and were on special too. Car gassed up with discount gas from Giant Food bonus points at Shell where I saved 50¢ a gallon. Then I thought oh those pressed glass bowls just will not stop haunting me I better stop and see if they are still available. Said good by to Mom and thanked her for a fun visit then swung by the Good Will shop and there they were 5 for 99¢ each. I took them all and have been enjoying making fat and sugar free pudding and jello in them ever since I got them home.
I like the way that textured glass feels in my hands. 

Keith says they remind him of the bowls his great grandmother used to serve him home canned stewed tomatoes in for a snack as a kid. He thinks she got them from the detergent box or cereal during the depression.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival

This afternoon we went to the second annual Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival. It was a long trek on the metro and a 30 minute walk from the station to the island on the other side of RFK stadium. We met up with a dozen or more young people and walked over to this little paradise under redevelopment as a park. It is an island in the Anacostia River which has been used by the city for a lot of things but now it is being cleaned up and restored to help the river and the city appreciate that fine tidal river and all the creatures that live there. Anyway it is a place I have long heard and read about but this was my first visit. The bluegrass music festival today was free and there were lots of people, music and food trucks! Another new phenomenon in Washington DC. We enjoyed it all and even had a cup of chilled cucumber red grape soup from a Florida inspired truck. It was kind of tart a little sweet and nicely chilled, a very delicious cup of cool for a hot sticky afternoon. The music was pretty good but we were too hot to sit down at first later after a walk down one of the trail roads on the island and the soup we found chairs and enjoyed one of the bands. We were hopeing for more traditional bluegrass and old timey music but the band we heard was more like a folk rock cover band. They played a lot of music I listened to when I was in high school not very blue grassy in my opinion. The Who and the Rolling Stones covers just don't quite cut it for my bluegrass jones. But the players did hit a few other songs that were more in the right vein so it was fun. We left about 5:30 tired for our long walk home. Came by the RFK stadium on the way back and saw some kids playing soccer waiting for the local soccer pro team DC United's game to begin. Another thing I haven't ever done that I think I will have to plan to do sometime soon. Photos will tell a little more of the story. Kingman Island is a sort of strange place but it is becoming something that will be a real treasure of an island in a few more years. I would definately go to the festival again I hope it comes back and I will too.
Enlarge to read the Kingman Island bulletin 

the Anacostia river from the foot bridge

Me, Sebrina the girl with directions to the island and Keith crossing the bridges.

the end of the bridge and the festival stage beyond 

Sebrina arrives! "Where are the toilets and the beer?"

Sauca food truck. Menu visible on the enlargement

Maine Lobster Roll truck 

DC Dangerously Delicious Pies truck 

Curbside Cupcake truck 

festival tent where they were pumping the beer kegs


landscaping area on the island trail 

Keith checking in on the weather text messages 

the landscaping includes some new trees and shrubs as well as these huge boulders 

the river view was always blocked by trees and understory growth

The second band we watched behind these guys wish they didn't have to smoke cigarettes 

the second band minus the mandolin player on the right

The RFK stadium seen across the marshy river's edge

wild ducks took off from the river as we were leaving 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

bees are back

 "Stella D'Oro" daylily today a visitor wallowed in it's pollen.

This morning I was up and out in the garden early to beat the heat. We are expecting a second day with heat index at 100-105ºF about the same as yesterday. I discovered that if I get up really early and go out it is cool and quite pleasant in the garden. I have been doing long walks this past week in the middle of the day and this past two days earlier in the morning. We have lots of shade trees in our area, huge old oaks and linden trees stand along most of the sidewalks.  I take full advantage of them for long walks.
Mornings I always do my journaling then a sketch of something in the garden and I take some photos before the sun comes over the house and "over lights" the flowers. Sunshine directly on them tends to "blow out" all the subtle colors and tones if it is shinning on the flowers. A tip for you flower photographers, get up early or go late in the day to the gardens you want to picture and your images will be more detailed.
Today I saw that we had a lot of bees in the garden. I can't resist trying to get a good shot of them when they are visiting our flowers. I have been shooting pictures of our beautiful tall hollyhocks over the last week. They are a biennial flower that means they have to grow for a one year before they flower the second year and go to seed and die. So it is a big event for a gardener to have the biennial bloom. Waiting two years for any flower is especially hard but thoroughly rewarding. We also have Mullein a kind of wild flower imported from Europe with the first settlers as a medicinal as well as yellow foxgloves and money plant that are all biennial. This is our first outstanding show from the hollyhocks. This one is a pure white with a fancy frilly flower. I was wondering if the pollinators could get into these frilly flowers to find something to pollinate and make seed. These hollyhocks have so many petals I could not see the sex organs. Today the bumble bees showed me where they are and how easy it is to get to them if, like them, you want their sweet nectar.
bumble bee on the white hollyhock 

bumble bee dives in to the center 

These bees and other small insects were visiting the mullein.

They were first noticed on the white swamp asclepia (milkweed) 

bumble bee in the upper right and two smaller creatures down to the left 
European honey bees from the bee hives at the local monastery visiting the orange asclepia (butterfly weed)

money plant's second year show of purple 

the money plant was a nice back drop for the bearded iris this year too! 

soft yellows of the foxgloves are also a biennial 

the glorious white hollyhocks