Category Archives: Seasons

Gallery

I Finally Found It!

This gallery contains 6 photos.

So this is December, another year almost over and we have had snow. Not a lot, at least not where I live, just a dusting of the powdery stuff but enough to look pretty. But boy, it has been cold … Continue reading

Merry Christmas Trees from The Richards-DAR House

Jillian here. Happy December. As some of you may know, I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. My ancestors on that side of the family came over in 1690. We’re from the Gresham family in England with Sir Thomas and Sir John as two of our illustrious ancestors– they contributed greatly to the City of London. My ancestor, another Thomas Gresham, fought in Washington’s Army in the Revolutionary War. He was one of the brave souls at Valley Forge.

This past weekend, 14 members of my DAR chapter in Pensacola rode over for the Christmas tour of the Richards-DAR House. It is a beautiful home built in 1860 for Captain Charles Richards, a sea captain. It is 10,000 square feet of gorgeousness. It has a Baccarat crystal chandelier in the dining room and another in a bedroom, Carrara marble fireplaces and a cantilevered stair case, among other treasures and items of beauty. It’s now owned and maintained by the four DAR chapters of the Mobile area.

Since there is so much there, I decided to focus my post on the Christmas trees in the house this time of year. So, I am attaching those pictures here. To find more about the house, click here.

We had cookies and lemonade in the courtyard after our tour and then lunch at a local seafood place. An all around fun day full of love of history, Christmas and the company of friends.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

November 2022

I went out to take some picture of the tomato’s a few days ago and snapped a picture of the boat. Since we bought the house in August when it was in the 3-digit temperatures, we didn’t take it out. Now it is perfect spring like weather, and we see boats out a lot. 

I’ve been here 5 months now and I am starting to acclimatize. Weather for sure is different from the Pacific NW. And, things you do in ‘seasons’ is a lot different. Winter is the time to get outside. My tomatoes and basil like November. There is even a volunteer tomato plant growing like a weed.  

Maybe I should string Christmas light over them.  🙂 

With Christmas coming, Kris and I are going back north. The grandkids are there so we wouldn’t be happy here without them. Plus, I’ve arranged to have the things in storage moved down here. Kris and I will coordinate the pickup in Washington and Rick/Lin will cover the Arizona end. It will be a busy December for sure. 

Wishing all of you US folks a Happy Thanksgiving this week. Oh, and if you venture OUT for black friday shopping, have a good one. I’ve only done it once and that was enough until this online shopping came into play. 

PS: Just as I started to post this blog Lin sent a picture of Harley’s first professional grooming. OMG I love this puppy

 

Nanovember

Winter draws ever nearer here in the UK and the exceptionally mild weather we have enjoyed slowly creeps down the thermometer to normal temps for November. Five days ago, the back garden was bathed in warm sunshine. We took advantage to be out there tidying, weeding, putting pots to bed, mowing the lawn and pruning a few shrubs. This was followed by mid-morning coffee enjoyed on the patio – a first in November for us. Today, the difference is apparent. The sun has reached a low in the sky meaning the back garden is now in permenant shade until next March. I try to keep smiling and keep busy. It is the only way I can cope as I hate winter and the cold.

And busy is what this past month has been as with no excuse to spend time outside, I keep writing. Writing, writing, writing for NaNo (I’ve decided to call this month Nanovember!) a 10-week writing comp, and other items including blogs, reviews and next week an article for my art group’s website. And, of course, painting, with my latest effort framed and hanging on the wall at my art group’s venue. I am pleased with it and have begun a larger version, although at present that is not going well and I will have to start again. As long as it is ready for next year’s exhibition, I am in no rush. Called “Clifton Autumn” it is of the famous Bristol landmark Clifton Suspension Bridge.

It is also the time of year when things have a habit of going wrong for us. Two weeks ago, our new large-screen TV broke down yet again, the second time in less than twelve months. As you can imagine, Dave was not happy. It was taken away to be repaired a week ago on the promise they will give it priority. We are still awaiting its return. I would rather the supplier replace it, Dave wants to give it a second chance. As he is the one who watches it most, he is a huge sports fan especially cricket and rugby, it is his decision. Meanwhile the bedroom TV, small screen, half the size of the other, is assigned to the lounge so we are not without. Unless we hear today, I feel a rather irate phone call will take place.

Yesterday evening Dave was in a rare mood to go non-food shopping, which we did. Among other items, we purchased a set of 3 stoneware casserole dishes of different sizes. Not cheap but needed in order I can stock the freezer with ready-cooked meals for over the Christmas holiday as I have taken to bulk cooking with my Instant Pot, which I love. Back home, I took the packaging off to find the largest dish had a long crack along the bottom which was not apparent when we took it off the shelf. This morning, Dave is back at the mall to get a refund.

We are waiting for the next thing to happen. It always comes in threes for us. My money is on the heating boiler, his on the tumble dryer or washing machine breaking down. I hope it is none of these but all three are getting on in years, a bit like the two of us!

Did I mention Christmas? Yes, it is all around us already. Shops full of festive food and Christmas ornaments. Television advertisements full on. And near to us, a house has its outside decorations up and lit at night already. And why not. It brings delight and cheer to the people to see, it is something to look forward to in the dark and dreary days. My mother has said she wants to come to us for the holiday. We would love this as she has not been here for 2 years but I fear our stairs will be too much for her. Dave has said if she comes, he will buy a Santa outfit to wear when we go and collect her. She would love that.

Meanwhile, I wait with bated breath for the carols to start, and whilst waiting, I must get on and paint this year’s Christmas card. I hope I haven’t left it too late to get it to the printers in time. Wish me luck.

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

It’s spooky time…

Don’t you just love Halloween? No? Me either, well at least I didn’t used to, but lately I’ve gotten more and more into the spirit (pardon the pun) of it. I think it started a few years ago when I dressed Vivvy for her puppy Halloween party at doggie training. It was lovely taking her for walkies dressed in her little witchy hat and cape, and getting the reaction of the kiddies who were doing their trick or treat fun. One little lad caught up with me in the local field yesterday and asked if Vivvy would be dressing up again this year, so it looks like I’ll be heading out to the shop to get her a new costume 🙂 We have a Spooky Evening Walk here in the village on Monday night where lots of houses are decorated. It’s fun, and Vivvy loves it, mostly because she gets loads of attention, and treats!

What I really love about Halloween though, aside from eating all the leftover chocolate/sweeties after trick or treat, is watching the scary movies on TV. This year so far I’ve watched Interview with the Vampire (can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this in the past), Dracula, The Midnight Club, What Lies Beneath, and 28 Days Haunted. The shows I love most though are the ones that are those ‘reality’ types they do just for Halloween, where celebs get to stay at a ‘haunted’ house/mansion/castle for a few nights. I especially like the ones where there is audience participation and you can comment via email/YouTube about anything paranormal you think you’ve witnessed on screen. Yes, I know they’re mostly a set up and purely for entertainment purposes, but it’s just fun getting scared in a safe environment, LOL.

How about you? Are you a Halloween fan? Like scary movies?

October Round-Up

Mid October, and here in the UK autumnal colours are filling the trees, hedgerows and gardens, a distinct chill in the air although the days are often sunny and out of the wind, mild. But I do miss the summer heat. Whilst we enjoyed the high temperatures, the garden suffered. Our vegetables were a disaster except, surprisingly, our potato crop and most flowers in the front beds perished due to lack of water. Dave pulled out the majority of them, leaving only the dahlias in-situ even though they were failing too. What a difference to them now. Thanks to plenty of rain showers and cooler weather, they have come into their own and look lovely.

You might notice in the background of the photo in front of the wheelbarrow a flush of yellow that should not be there. These are wallflowers that should not be blooming until next March/April. For some unknown reason they are in flower now and thus too late to move into their proper position around the drive. Hey ho, win some, lose some. Good job we have a plan B.

We kept the pots and baskets watered as well as we could, and by using grey water on the rear garden, but they all struggled to thrive despite all loving the sun and warmth. To our joy, most have only recently come into full flush, as are many things in the back, thanks to the rain. I still even have honeysuckle, clematis and a climbing fuschia in bloom. The Californian poppy by the bird-bath, a survivor from last year, has been in flower since May and is still going strong. We are just hoping the first frosts keep away as long as possible. Oh, the wonders and vagaries of Mother Nature.


And what of our pond? Last week, we called in a waste contractor to remove the remaining rubble as was too much for Dave to clear on his own. Glad we did, the work was done within an hour. Now we can order in the topsoil and, fingers crossed, have a lovely flowerbed by next spring. What we can plant here is limited as this area is in full shade most of the day, one of the reasons why the koi pond was placed here. The first thing I shall be planting is bluebells – you know how much I love them!

The past month saw me running another acrylic art workshop. A small group this time which worked better because I was able to give them much more individual attention. At the end of the day it was lovely to see finished paintings, and each one different. I do not like seeing a group of virtually identical artwork all the same as mine; I encourage individuality. They obviously love it and already champing at the bit for another workshop. That won’t be until early next year, giving me plenty of time to work on what to do, and get my book finished! Yes, I’m still working on it, having made a few changes to the ending.

Talking of painting, you are honoured to be the first to see my newly completed piece. Called simply “Yport”, it was inspired by a collection of photos taken in Yport, France by a friend who is a brilliant photographer who gives me free reign to use any of her pictures. I would be lost for ideas without her work.

Enjoy your month whatever and wherever you may be.

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

August Musings

Here we are already in the middle of August. It seems unbelievable to think in a few weeks’ time we will be in the ’ember months of the year. Before you know it Christmas will be upon us again. It has already arrived in some of the stores here in the UK, and the children haven’t even returned to school yet from their summer break. But enough of that.

I missed posting last month; my apologies – major meltdown due to extreme heat! Heat that has only today started to climb back down the thermometer, and we have rain. Not a lot, admittedly. We do need plenty here as, like many countries, we are in a drought situation. Keeping the flowers and plants alive in the back garden has been hard work, but we’ve made the most of our grey water from the kitchen, about the only real exercise I’ve had, backwards and forwards several times a day. The vegetable garden and annual flowerbed at the front has, I’m sad to say, been a failure because of lack of rain; we have avoided using the hosepipe. As a consequence, we’ve written this year off on the gardening front and back, because the back garden will be given another make over.

The reason being, we have demolished our large koi pond and intend turning the area into another flowerbed. Whilst we both had a lot of pleasure from the fish, which had grown huge, it was becoming increasingly hard work for Dave to keep it going despite so-say modern filters and UV lamps and fitting a new pump each year – not cheap. We were plagued with pond weed, the water never clear. The fish loved it; we didn’t. We agreed back last October that we would run the pond down as each winter we invariably lost a fish or two. Needless to say, this past winter they all survived.

One of the koi (28lbs)

We gave the fish, some as long as 2-3 ft and weighing many lbs, to a local koi keeper so we know they would be going to a good home. Catching them was another matter. All three of us got soaked! Then
began the fun part, demolition of the pond walls. The pond was/is over 8ft deep, with half of it above ground, so we were hoping the bricks and blocks would fill that below ground level. Miscalculation. We now have to dispose of a lot of rubble. This Dave will do in the autumn when the weather is a lot cooler.

Before
After
Demolition begins

The extreme heat here has meant I have not done a lot of art. A special request for a contemporary flower painting was completed and I began working up one for my students to copy at my next workshop at the end of September. They had requested a waterfall, so waterfalls I did. Several of them. It became clear to me that each one was a little too adventurous for some of my group, but I finally came up with a much simpler version that hopefully will stretch them without any duress.

“Pastel Pastures”
“Autumn Waterfall”

Other than these efforts, I have to admit nothing has been done. Hardly any writing because my office was too hot even with a fan running. No housework other than the basics – no point with all the doors and windows open; little laundry to wash – thank goodness for kaftans to lounge about it in all day. On the plus side, we’ve spent most days and long into the evenings in the garden. Our patio is in shade from midday so it has been comfortable, and I have been able to enjoy uninterrupted reading, getting through 5 books, unusual for me in a short space of time.

We treated the month as a long holiday, being exceedingly lazy and relaxed. It was fun while it lasted; now it’s back to normality. I hope your month has been good too.

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

Christmas in July? Well, Sort of….

Jillian here! Hope everyone is having a nice summer. It’s been wild weatherwise here. Over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with over 111 heat index every day for a couple of weeks in June, then rainstorms with thunder and lightning all day, every day (dark as night at noon) for the end of June and first six days of July. As I write this, we’re back to more normal temps of around 85-90 and only small afternoon thunderstorms.

All this heat and rain misery made me decide to start reading a book I got at Christmas – It’s called The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries and is a collection of a ton of stories set at the festive season. Lots of favorite writers have set mysteries at Christmas and this book is chock-a-block. From Agatha Christie to Peter Lovesey, to Colin Dexter, Rex Stout, O. Henry, John Mortimer, Ellery Queen, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (and some new to me authors that I am digging), I am loving this set of stories. The pages are double-columned so its 640 pages is more like 1,280 pages– enough to keep me entertained for the month, I hope… Except I am almost to page 400 already and it’s only 8 days into the month. LOL

I am liking this collection of tales so much, I ordered The Big Book of Ghost Stories edited by this same gentleman. He has great taste in stories.

Here is the cover and the list of stories sorted into types. Hope you recognize some of your favorite writers, too. – I love the picture from the 1930s, don’t you?

June– Hot, Hot! SUMMER!!

Jillian here – hope everyone is doing fine. It’s already in the 90s here in sunny NW Florida. It doesn’t feel too bad when the wind is blowing, but man, inside the car is a whole ‘nother story– boiling hot. It’s amazing how much like an inferno (one without flames) it can get inside an auto. Aug and Sept are our two hottest months, so something to look forward to….NOPE!

I recently ordered a book when I saw the author on the Jeopardy quiz show as she intrigued me as a lawyer who wrote thrillers. I just finished reading it and it was okay except there was no one I liked in the whole book. I hate it when I don’t have someone to root for, don’t you? The protagonist was a lawyer and made some super bone-headed moves that even a first year law student knows they shouldn’t do. She was quite unlikeable as well– snobbish and a liar. But I kept reading, so clearly, something was appealing to me, right?

Like Laurie, I enjoyed the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and watched some of the festivities online. What an amazing lady she is. Admirable.

The grandson had his last day of preschool summer party and I love, love this photo of him in the mini pool as all the other children were being dried off. It’s just pure joy!

Happy summer to my sweet Baboo as well as all of you!

Spring Has Sprung

It is the middle of March, and spring has definitely arrived in the UK. That was my feeling yesterday when the day dawned bright and clear and sunny, if a little cold but once the sun had risen high enough and chased away the thin covering of frost, we turned off the central heating, changed into t-shirts and jeans, and disappeared into the garden. There is much to do here, Dave busy in his veg plot tilling and raking and planting out potatoes and leeks, me in the back garden picking up bucket-loads of brown and wizened oak leaves. Considering we do not have any trees in the garden, let alone oaks, these were the result of gale-force winds last autumn which blew in masses of leaves from a stand of trees several streets away. All good for the compost though, and I had purposely left them to help protect the garden from winter.

The next task was erecting a new obelisk I had recently purchased to house a rampant, beautifully-perfumed honeysuckle rather than let it scramble through the flowerbed as it has in other years. The morning turned decidedly warm, so once this job was complete, we enjoyed sitting around the patio table enjoying our mid-morning coffee. Such bliss after being trapped indoors for so long. It gave me time to look around the flowerbeds, appreciate the spring displays, and plan my attack for the next few weeks.

Everything is growing and shooting well and over the past few months we have been treated to a fabulous display of crocus and snowdrops on the front lawn, as have all the neighbours and local children on their way to and from the school at the bottom of our road. Now the delights there are hyacinths in full bloom along the forsythia hedge, also coming into flower, and the tulips in full bud waiting their turn. The perfume from the hyacinths is intoxicating as you walk around. We love them. Grown indoors each Christmas to so scent the house, they are then planted outside where they thrive.

What I am most thrilled with this year is the clumps of miniature daffodils scattered around the back garden. I buy several pots of them from the supermarket each year, let them flower indoors and then plant them outside. The past few years the show has not been good as they have succumbed to being eaten by tiny slugs. This year we were prepared and the critters didn’t stand a chance, the displays of them scattered around are so bright and cheerful it was worth the effort.

The wall baskets and a few pots are looking good too. I love this time of year, as it heralds the end of winter with so much to look forward to and enjoy.

I said at the beginning that spring had finally arrived here. Today it is returned to winter in some respects. The day dawned grey and shrouded in heavy mist which has now turned into incessant rain. Good for the garden but not for those outside in it, so we are staying indoors, the heating is on and I am back in a thick sweater. Tomorrow is promised to be warmer and drier, with a good week forecast. Hooray!

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs