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Or Is It Non-Sequitur Monday?

I went on a run after work today, which I very rarely do on a Monday. On most Mondays I let myself off the hook, hence my usual Monstrous Monday.  This week I decided to mix things up.  For another reason, I needed to do laundry, and it is so handy to put the load in the washer, then run till it’s done.

It was a bad run almost immediately, and it did not get much better.  I cut it short, because my back was in screaming pain.  However, I do not mean to complain.  Not too much, at any rate (I know that to some people, any negative peep is too much complaining and I should just stop whining, but do any of those people read this blog?  I’m thinking not).

Pretty! And they smell good!

The highlight of my Monday was the blooming of my peonies.  I had to go out and take a picture.  I thought my readers would take flowers instead of monsters.  Any who are disappointed can comfort themselves with the thought that more monsters will be forthcoming sooner or later.

In the meantime,  I backed up and got a shot of my out of control daisies.

I just can’t bring myself to cut them back.

Then I remembered that I had never taken a picture of the bird house I recently hung on the porch.  I surprisingly got my Tablet to zoom in.  The last few times I tried that, all I would do was change it to selfie mode.

I am not sure a bird could actually live in that house.

I went up on the porch to try for a closer shot.

It is perhaps an awkward angle.

Imagine my chagrin when I saw the price tag showing.  Full disclosure: I did not purchase the bird house.  I found it in one of those canvas dumpsters in front of somebody’s house.  Hey, reduce, reuse, recycle, am I right?

So this is my Mixed-up Monday Post.  Hey, have I just invented another feature?

 

Fun at The Flower Barn

After work today, I drove out Barringer Road in Ilion, NY, to the Flower Barn.  I have yet to out together my container garden, but I think this weekend it could happen!  I have been meaning to get out there before this, but with one thing and another… well, these things happen.

And they are awesome!

Full disclosure:  the above picture is one I took last year, when I was writing about The Flower Barn for Mohawk Valley Living magazine.  Today I went straight from work and did not have my Tablet with me.  I did, however, have my mask.  I was pleased to note most other people were masked as well.

I had made up my mind not to go overboard, as I have a tendency to do.  However, once I had two plants in my hand, I realized the efficacy of using a cart.  I saw a flat wagon that seemed to be free.

“Is that your wagon?” I asked a nearby lady.

“No, not mine.”

“Mine now!” I declared.  She laughed.  I picked up a few more plants.  I had not seen any marigolds, which I usually get.  Another lady had some and told me they were in two different places.

When nobody was nearby, I pulled my mask down for a little air.  Today was hot and humid, by the way.  Then I saw a worker watering plants, wearing a bandana (I have also done the Old West Bad Guy mask on occasion).

“Sorry!” I said, pulling the mask back up.

“You’re OK,”  he said.  “I have to wear it, you don’t.”

“But I do,” I said.  “I don’t know what germs I have.  My mask keeps me from spreading them to you and others.”

“Thank you!”

I paid for my plants, while dancing to some David Bowie that was playing near the cash register.

I don’t think this is too many, do you? I can always buy more.

I put the plants on my back deck, where the rain can water them.  If it does not rain after all, I will water them tomorrow morning.

Before I went inside, I took a couple of pictures of our daisies, which started to bloom today.  I love daisies.

I did not plant these; they just grew.

 

And here are some with the peonies in the background. Come on, peonies!

He loves me, he loves me not…

The Flower Barn is located at 1480 Barringer Rd., Ilion, NY, phone number 315-895-4313.  They are open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

 

Lawn Order

I fought the lawn and the lawn won.

I would say we fought to a standstill, but of course the lawn is always growing.  Kind of like my stomach, but let us not dwell on THAT depressing subject.  I was actually pleased with my yard efforts today, and I have a few pictures to share.

Regular readers may remember that I use a non-power mower for my grass cutting needs.  The advantages are that it is quieter, easier to start, and does not run low on gas and oil.  Additionally, I get that frisson of virtue for being more environmentally friendly.  Oh, and it is excellent exercise.

The main downside is that I need to mow more often than I am usually inclined to do.  In this case, I had not mown since last Sunday.  Note to self: don’t wait that long again.

I got the front done first.  It is easier and and arguably more important, because people see it.  NO, I do not care what people think!  Well, maybe a little.  Why would I not want to give the world a pleasant view? I had been working on the back for a while before it occurred to me to take a “before” picture.

It looked more intimidating in real life.

When I looked at this, I could clearly see what I had done and how overgrown the rest of it looked.  This view seems less clear, but I hope it gives an idea.  Photo taken, I had at it again and ended up feeling fairly pleased with myself.  Later on, I took a few “after” shots to round out the blog post.

Did the lawn win? Or did I?

The shadows show that time had passed.  I took a shower, worked on my novel, and watched a little Snapped (what’s a Sunday without an episode or two of Snapped?

Our Rose of Sharon

The Rose of Sharon took a while to start getting green.  At least it is definitely too big to be accidentally mown over (although it was Steven who did that, not I).

The Red Thing from Diana’s house.

This is a better shot of the above plant than I got before, and it has even more green.

Can’t have too many forget-me-nots!

I did not mow over my forget-me-nots!  After taking these pictures, I went out front.

Peonies!

Our peonies were eaten or plucked away by something or someone last year.  I hope they survive this year!

Alligator from Knoeble’s in Pennsylvania.

I put our alligator out front this year.  I would like to get some more lawn ornaments.

I hope to get more lawn and garden work done in the coming weeks.  I have never gotten as much done as I would like.  With so many things cancelled or on hold, this just might be the year!

 

Throwback Thursday about Future Flowers

I have a dreadful case of Writer’s Blank, complicated by the type-it-in-backspace-it-out syndrome.  However, I think I can just about manage a Throwback Thursday Post.

Pretty!

This is discouraging.  The above picture is from May 2017.  In May 2020, my rhododendron has not a bloom to be seen.

I like these too!

Another flower I have not seen yet this year are my irises.  However, since this picture is from June 2017, I do not despair.

Please don’t eat the daisies.

We are also waiting for our daisies.  I’m seeing a lot of greenery for them, so I live in hope.

I LOVE my peonies!

Last year I did not get any peonies at all. I think something came along and ate the whole bush.  How greedy!  However, since I am known to hog down a lot of goodies myself, I suppose I should not criticize.

Pretty little blooms!

Here are my forget-me-nots, which look about like this now.  I previously said they were only out front this year, having inexplicably moved from the back yard.  However, today I noticed that they are also out back.  I am delighted to have these flowers spreading out and taking over my lawn.  I even dare to hope that they will obviate my need to mow, but that may take a few more years.

It is nice to look back on flowers past.  I look forward to more in the future.  I hope to visit the Flower Barn in Ilion to purchase some to plant.  I will certainly make a blog post about it when I so.

 

Crazy Old Lame

I was about to make my Friday Lame Post when I decided to mix things up a little with a few pictures.  Accordingly, I put on some better footwear and ventured outside. A couple of neighborhood kids were riding their scooters up and down the street. I stayed out of their way. However, looking at my reflection in my Tablet before I got to camera mode, I realized I was in full Crazy Old Lady regalia. I start, therefore, with the last picture I took, just to give us all a laugh.

This doesn’t even show my sweatpants and sandals!

Yes, I have quarantine hair. Regular readers may remember I was supposed to get shaved for a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser,  only it got cancelled when all the schools were closed.  I shall patiently wait for my favorite stylist at Hot Spot Salon and Spa in Herkimer.

But I digress.  The main thing I wanted was a picture of a tree on my street which is just starting to get leaves.  I love the delicate green color.

I’m afraid you can’t see the color very well.  I will have to try again when the light is different.  In the meantime, I got a few more pictures that are worth sharing.

Preview of Coming Attractions.

This will be a tulip, if it does not get eaten before it blooms.  I also took a picture of some peonies that are just sprouting.

I think all the green stuff is daisies.

Going out back in search of more photo ops, I tried to get a shot of the sky plus a couple more trees.

I like it.

Next to our garage are some pink flowers that are coming up nicely.

We originally purchased the plant at a garden show at the Herkimer House in Little Falls, NY

These flowers have inexplicably migrated across the lawn, so I took a picture of them too.

Even prettier close up, if you’ll pardon the dead leaves.

So this is my Friday post.  I feel a little pleased with myself and can only hope the neighbors do not judge my crazy old lady appearance too harshly.

 

Four Days On, Three Days Off, What’s Next?

I am nobody’s good example when it comes to fitness.  I triumphantly ran four days in a row, culminating in my longest run on Sunday.  Then I went three days without running.  Go ahead and judge me.  On the brighter side, I ran today and it was not a bad run at all.

I had told myself all day that I would run, trying as usual to internalize the idea.  I even said I would run rain or shine.  Even if it poured rain!  After all, “Run in the Rain” is a good title for a blog post.  Except that I think I already used it.  No matter, it did not rain.  It was actually lovely weather for a run:  cooler temperature, cloudy and breezy.  This was going to be great!

I did my usual multi-task of putting a load of laundry in the washer before I set out.  I prepared myself to listen to my legs, feet, and possibly back complain. I would persevere!  Maybe I would make it a short run, but I would persevere for as long as possible.  Imagine my delight when my legs seemed perfectly content to move.  I turned left on German Street and prepared to enjoy myself.

Eight or nine minutes into the run, I got this weird cramp in my lower abdomen.  How annoying!  The entire rest of my body was having a perfectly enjoyable run, but one little part has to give me a pain.  What was that all about?  I kept running.  Maybe it would go away.  It did not.  I kept running anyways.

I saw a small flag on the sidewalk and picked it up.  I don’t like to see the American flag on the ground.  It was frayed on one side, as if it has come off its little stick.  I held it by the edge as I ran.  Now I was running with a flag.  I was thinking it could be a Veteran’s Day run when I remembered:  today is Flag Day!  I was right on time!  This was great!

Only the cramp continued.  It is so bothersome when you have a pain: it colors everything you do.  I continued to run, stopping occasionally to smell flowers:  lilacs once, peonies two or three times.  Of course I kept these stops very brief.  I considered making it a short run because of the cramp.  Then again, there was no guarantee that the cramp would stop if I was not running.  I did not think it involved any running muscles.  I kept going.  Every body part other than the cramp felt great!  What the hell, body?

As I neared the end of the run, it seemed that I could definitely keep it up for 29 minutes, the same length as my last, longest run.  I WOULD keep it up for 29 minutes, yes!  In order to do so, I ran around the apartment building at the end of my street, then around its front drive, then past my house and back.  I did it!

I felt happy as I walked my cool-down, and even happier as I drank my chocolate milk recovery beverage after my shower.  The cramp did not go away, so clearly I was right to keep running.  I’m wondering now if I will make this another four-day streak, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  If so, I will strive NOT to take three days off after!

 

The Run I Almost Missed

How about a Sunday Running Commentary in lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday?  I got out of bed this morning thinking I would not run but after a cup of coffee talked myself into it.  As Steven pointed out, it is a beautiful day.  I do love running in the morning and weekends are the only times I can do it (unless I run at 3 a.m., which is not the same thing).

As I ran out the end of my driveway, I saw the peonies in my front lawn were blooming.  I paused oh so briefly to sniff at them.  What a wonderful scent!  I flashed back to springs and summers of my childhood, when my Mom had a large peony bush (she still has it).  I made up my mind I would smell any peonies I encountered on the run.

I was expecting my legs to start complaining as usual, but they did not.  Score!  I crossed German Street and headed for Main, where there is a nice hill. Yesterday I ran the hill by Valley Health, so I am working my way up to the hill to Herkimer College.  My current goal is to be ready for the Falling Leaves Run in September, which is 14K and I believe has several hills.  I should make it handily, if I don’t fall off the running wagon.

At the end of Main Street I saw a sign, “Road Closed, Local Traffic Only.”  I added in my head, “And Cindy Running.”  The hill was not much fun, I admit, but I persevered till the top.  It is kind of nice to be less than seven minutes into your run and have the big hill out of the way.  As I made my way back down to German, I wondered where else to run.  Today should have been the day for me to add the weekly ten percent to my run time, making it 29 minutes.  When I talked myself into running, it was with the proviso that I would not necessarily have to do that (as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, tomorrow is another day).  I was at this point undecided.

When I got to German Street, the sight of peonies decided me:  I crossed German and ran down Harley Street.  The peonies were pink and white, several bushes stretching almost a block long.  I sniffed four or five blooms, making very short pauses to do so, nothing like the stops I make to pet dogs.  Incidentally, I did not see any dogs.  More dedicated runners may shake their heads and opine that I will never improve my run time if I stop while running, but I do not care at all.  I like to smell flowers and I like to pet dogs.

My legs felt fine but my breathing was a little ragged.  I concentrated on breathing in slowly and holding the air in for a second or two.  I heard this advice from a fellow soldier, who had heard it from a Native American drill sergeant of his.  He said it stood to reason:  you hold the air in so it has time to do your body some good.  It helped.  I started to feel thirsty so thought of running to the spring and taking a drink.  How long would that take me?  Would I run 29 minutes after all?

I turned in the direction of the spring, keeping an eye on the time.  It soon became clear that I could not make it all the way to the spring and back.  That was OK, because as usual I had a bottle of ice water waiting for me on my deck.  I figured times in my head, changed my mind a few times, going up one street and down another.  Ooh, more peonies, sniff, sniff.  It came to me that I was GOING to make it for 29 minutes and it was NOT going to be a problem!  I felt GREAT!  I could run for DAYS!  Yes!

As I walked my cool-down, I said to a neighbor, “I’ll tell you what, running four days in a row is the Way to Go.  I feel awesome!”

“There you go,” he said.

“Which I did NOT feel the last three days,” I added.  It is wonderful to prove things to yourself.  When I have to persevere through a bad run, I always tell myself, you have to get through the bad runs to get to the good ones.  Today was definitely a good run.

 

It’s a Blooming Blog Post!

There! I feel better now!

I like flowers.  They make me feel better.  I was sitting here trying to begin my blog post, and I backspaced over several leads, erasing others while they were still in my head.  What IS my problem?  Oh, I don’t expect any of you to figure it out.  Just throw your hands in the air (like you don’t care), and enjoy  a few pictures of my yard.  The above is my front yard.  I do not remember what year the daisies showed up, but they are sure out of control now.  I love it.  I only hope they don’t overpower the peony bush

.

Come on, Peonies!

Astute readers may notice that I capitalized Peonies in the caption while I did not do so in the preceding paragraph.  That is because in the caption I am directly addressing the buds, so Peonies are like their names.  I guess they all have the same name (I just flashed on a Dr. Suess story about a certain Mrs. McCave, who had 23 sons and she named them all Dave).  I saw some other peonies in the neighborhood that bloomed (must try to run by them and take a sniff on tomorrow’s run), so I’m sure mine will be opening soon.

Hmmm…. It looks better in real life than it does in the picture, but you’ll have that.

Also under the heading Preview of Coming Attractions is our Rose of Sharon.  At least there is more green on it than previously.  My mother, who gave us the plant, told me we did not have to prune back the old branches or even pull off all the brown stuff.  At least, I think she told me that.  I’ll have to double check the next time I call.

Another plant that is better in person. Next time I’ll try to zoom in on them. If I can figure out how.

I do love forget-me-nots.  These just magically appeared near the rhododendron and spread a little more each year.  I would love to have a whole yard of flowers and never have to mow.  Maybe one day.

A little overshadowed by the pine tree, but beautiful blooms.

I think the rhododendron is lovely, too.  That is another one we did not plant.  It wasn’t looking so good until one year when I broke off a bunch of dead branches.  Who knew I could do something right in the garden?

I supposed I should have weeded before I took the picture, but I think you can see how beautiful they are.

This is the reason I was outside with my Tablet on Camera Mode: my irises, another gift from my mother.  She has had irises at her house for as long as I can remember, and periodically she has to thin them out.  Her iris bulbs have bloomed as far away as Arizona!

As these pictures show, I have not done much with my flowers except let them grow.  I hope to get outside tomorrow and do some weeding.  Maybe I could take some nice After pictures of neat, orderly flower beds.  That would be a change from Wrist to Forehead Sunday.  If it rains, I’ll probably watch monster movies.  It’s always nice to have a back-up plan.

 

If Only I Could Write a Blooming Blog Post

I ran today, thinking I would sneak in another running commentary.  It was a dull and boring run.  At least, for a while I enjoyed it quite a bit.  But I think it was only interesting to me as I was running it and it would not entertain anybody, least of all myself, to make a blog post about it.  Still, a blog post must be made (because I say it does, that’s why!). I am currently cooking, so I could do a cooking post. If only I were doing something more interesting than heating up leftovers.

If only I could bestir myself sufficiently to take the Tablet out to the yard.  At least one iris bloomed today.  I posted a picture of the buds the other day.  I think some readers would be pleased to be posted on current developments.  Just a moment first, to stir the pot on the stove and lower the heat under it.  And find the Tablet (as you may recall, I have a habit of misplacing it).

Maybe if I would have stood on my head…

I guess it’s not the best picture, because the stem is kind of bent over.  Believe me, I know how it feels!  Perhaps I should put a tomato cage over it or something. Steven arrived home while I was taking the picture, and I was able to assure him that I TOLD the young man who mows the lawn not to mow down the daisies, as Steven had asked him to do.  You see, this nice young man who lives across the street offered to mow our lawn.  In addition to being quite busy and (on my part, at least) a little lazy, we were happy to encourage this example of young entrepreneurship.  The first time he did it, he did not mow the daisies in our front yard, which have become a little extensive this year.  Steven told him to mow them this time.  At the last minute, I reprieved them, though, because they were just too pretty.  Here is a picture.

He loves me, he loves me not…

In front of the daisies is a peony bush that magically appeared after we had sufficiently discouraged the wild day lilies.  I insisted it had been planted by my stalker, a statement that has yet to be disproved.  The peonies have not bloomed yet, but look how many buds:

It started as one lone stalk and blossom, and there’s a lesson for all of us.

The main problem with the daisies is that they hide the lilies of the valley, which are also multiplying exponentially.   However, I’m finding those blooms don’t show very well even without anything in front of the greenery.  I tried to get a picture.

If you look really close, you can just see a few bells.

I’ve picked a few lilies of the valley and brought them inside.  I used a shot glass for a vase, because they are so small (Steven collects shot glasses, although we rarely do a shot of anything).  I love the smell.  I tired to get a picture, but I fear they were backlit and do not show.

It’s frogs on either side of the flowers. Steven collects those, too.

We also have some daisies inside.  Steven put them in water with blue food coloring, at my suggestion.  I think they’re pretty.

Oh, yeah, he loves me.

So for not a running post and not a cooking post, I think this makes a pretty good flower post.  We’ll call it a win for Non-Sequitur Thursday.

 

Nosferatu and Flowers

I wonder if I should make Nosferatu the mascot of this blog.  This evening, not wanting to do another Running Commentary  and having no other blog post anywhere in my brain, I went out into my yard and took some pictures on my tablet.  I used the tablet to transfer the pictures to my blog then went to the laptop to add the words (hoping I could think of some).  And look what the first picture was:

Isn’t he charming? I must have tapped the picture by accident.

Being less than computer literate can add interest to one’s life, I find.  Getting back to the pictures I intended to use,  here are some tulips in our front yard:

They are surrounded by lilies of the valley, which has not bloomed yet.

We did not plant any tulips, but the first spring we were in this house, one yellow tulip sprouted.  Yay!  It has taken some years, but now we are getting several.  The picture doesn’t show it, but there are more buds which have not bloomed yet.

What our front yard had in abundance at first were wild orange day lilies.  The stems were long and didn’t have any leaves on them.  I thought they looked blowsy.  Steven kept mowing them down and eventually they got discouraged.  That was when a single shoot of peony came up.  That has multiplied in succeeding years as well.  Here is a photo of the peony bush so far:

I’ll post another picture when they bloom.

Moving into the backyard, I took a picture of a lovely plant we purchased at a Garden Festival at the Herkimer Home in Little Falls.  I forget what it is called.

I like that the greenery is so pretty even without the flowers.

It has grown and spread since the first year, which I do not mind a bit.  In fact, a little piece of it magically appeared further back in the yard, near my chives:

Yeah, there’s a dandelion, too, but I don’t dare pull it up, because I read somewhere that dandelions are good for bees.

So this is my yard before I have done any work in it.  Since I led with Max Schreck, I wish I could say it looked a little scary, but I think it is actually kind of nice.  I hope to post more pictures as it starts to look even better.  As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.