Sunday, August 21, 2016

Emergent

We discovered it still clinging to its larval husk, soft verdant wings fluttering in the breeze. It took a few tentative steps, while a chorus of cicadas droned in the background (they rarely let up). 




I'll admit, cicadas do not really make it on to my "bugs that don't gross me out" list -- which is limited to ladybirds, fireflies, roly-polies, sugar ants, and butterflies -- but what a chance to marvel at the result of an amazing metamorphosis! I even had a bit of a workout from lifting up my ever-heavier children to see it...

How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!     Psalm 92:5

Friday, August 19, 2016

Around the House

Summer has brought a bustle of activity out-of-doors!

All things bright... 

Two vines on the side of our house had been cut back during the removal of
some fencing -- only in the spring did they start to grow back. Lo and behold!
Wisteria! And even more surprising were a few late-summer blooms.


...and beautiful,


I have never seen so many varieties of mushrooms and fungi! This one is growing
at the base of an oak tree along the sidewalk.


All creatures great...



This boy still loves his Robin Hood bow and uses it regularly! And miraculously he
still has most of the arrows...

...and small.





The birds are singing, the cicadas are buzzing away, and there's even a tiny green pepper on our pepper plant. Though I'll be able to enjoy the outdoors a little more actively when it cools down a bit!





Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Up a Creek

A rather impromptu stop on our trip was a little park just off the Appomattox river -- as soon as I saw photos of it, I wanted to go! It's been ages since I've visited a real, "live" creek, and the prospect of going without a small child strapped to my body (and several more in tow!) was too much to pass up. 




And I'm glad we didn't pass it up. I've complained about the heat twice already, so I won't whine about it again (but it was hot! Goodness, was it hot!). But in the shade of the trees, walking along banks that can only be described as "verdant," it was still lovely. Best of all, there were a few large rocks jutting out in the stream -- a perfect photo op.




There is something about the sound of running water. I desperately wanted to hop in!




So many wildflowers! I didn't expect there to be so many in the midst of a July heat wave. Purple, yellow, orange, white. Here's just one of them, singled out for its delicate shape and adorable speckles:





I could look at this all day. Which reminds me that I desperately need to find something like this a little closer to home -- I can only imagine how much the short people would enjoy splashing around in a creek like this!




Monday, August 15, 2016

Ye Olde Historical Jaunt -- Agecroft Hall

During a recent getaway, my husband and I visited Agecroft Hall in Richmond. Ever since I came across it while doing vacation research, I'd been so eager to see it for myself. An English Tudor manor dismantled and then rebuilt in Richmond in the 20's? Yes, please! 





And a lovely visit it was, in spite of the sweltering heat. We had the tour guide all to ourselves, and she was so friendly! The house was not reconstructed exactly as it was in England (it's now a "mere" 20,000 sq. ft. instead of the original 60,000), but it was built with the original timbers, hardware, and even windows. 




Pablo has never been to England, and it's been almost a decade for me -- so it was a delight not only to experience it myself but also to share a bit of Britain with him. I am quite determined that he will fall in love with England! Whether he wants to or not... *wink*




But really, what's not to love? I wish I could share photos of the inside, but you can find a few on their website or a Google search. So, so lovely! The house is filled with gorgeous period antiques, though the library is set up as it would have been when the original owners lived there. There was even a portrait of Lancelot Andrewes, a gentleman I seem to have been "stalking" since my college days -- first studying him because of his influential role in the translation of the King James Bible, then later stumbling across his tomb (not literally, fortunately!) in Winchester cathedral while visiting Jane Austen's final resting place. And now, an original portrait of the gentleman in Richmond, of all unlikely places.




The grounds were also beautiful! I'd love to come back again in cooler weather -- both Fall, and Spring, I think, to enjoy the particular beauties of each of those seasons. 




Here's the lovely oriel window in the library  -- I am amazed that so many of the original windows (including a massive window with stained glass) survived the dismantling, Atlantic journey, and re-assembly!








So if you're craving a bit of England and a jaunt across the Atlantic is not an option, perhaps you can make it to Richmond -- if you do, let me know, because I'm looking for another excuse to visit!


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Demolished, Petersburg style

It had been far, far too long since Pablo and I had taken time for just the two of us. Almost three years, to be exact (and that trip had been the first since we got married back in January of 2010!). And in that time we've dealt with the loss of a child, the birth of another, a long-distance and short-distance move, and a military deployment (our first -- and so glad that it's over with!). It was high time for us to get away. My parents and sister came to the rescue and happily undertook the task of keeping our rambunctious children alive for a few days! 

With no particular destination in mind (but not wanting to venture too far away), we settled on Petersburg, VA. Mostly because we found an amazing eclectic loft on AirBnB. Old town Petersburg is... being revitalized, to put it nicely. But the parts that have been revitalized are great! My favorite? Hands down, Demolition Coffee. I'm not sure how it earned its name, but I can assure you that it demolished any modicum of self-restraint I had in the hot-sugary-beverages department.





Seriously, the best coffee/breakfast/lunch place I have ever tried. And it's not just the super hip interiors swaying my judgment. Okay, maybe just a little. But really, take a look at this:





This is the "Short Fuse." Yes, all of their food choices have cute names like that. Sandwich, chips, and pickle right? Just "homemade" chips, and a sandwich oozing with crispy bacon, caramelized onions, tomato mayo, and fresh lettuce. See the toasty marks on the bread? I'm salivating just remembering it! 




The outside is just as amazing as the inside:





When I ordered a chai tea latte "to stay," this is what came out -- the cup was huge, too, which I was very grateful for as soon as I tasted it! I would have preferred bottomless, but huge was sufficient.





No way was I hip enough for this place -- pretty sure I could not attain this kind of hip-ness even if I had a beard (which I don't, in case you're wondering). I had to try their pumpkin spice latte, because why not, and was astounded to find that it (A) tasted like real pumpkin and (B) was not sickeningly sweet. I love me some Starbucks, but this was the real deal. We ate there four times in three days, if that's any indicator...





And here's a little peek at the loft, too -- the entire place was an eclectic mix of exposed conduit, painted brick, distressed wood, and dental office fixtures (it was a dentist's office in a past life).




I'll share some of our other adventures in the next few days, but please -- do yourself a favor and find an excuse to go to Petersburg so you can go to Demolition Coffee. You can thank me later, 'kay?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Most Opportune

Some home improvements have been simmering on the back burner for a while, and we're ready to move them to the front burner. One of those is some seating for our master bedroom -- it would be so very nice to have a little place to get away once in a while. For some reason, the sight of me sitting in the living room curled up with a book and a mug of something steamy does not register with my children as a "do not disturb" situation...

Anyway, for quite a while my chair-of-choice has been the IKEA Jennylund. But at $250, I wasn't thrilled about the price. Not that $250 is expensive for an armchair -- on the contrary, IKEA is probably one of the cheapest options in that regard. But we paid $80 for our couch at a yard sale, so we're not exactly used to dropping hundreds of dollars on upholstered furniture! 

I decided to take a look at Craigslist to see if there was anything available. Odds were slim, I figured, but it couldn't hurt to take a look. Eight hours and seventy-five dollars later, I had my very own Jennylund. I'll be getting a new slipcover on our next trip to IKEA, but I don't mind spending a bit on a new cover when I've saved so much on the chair. The red slipcover is actually very pretty, I think, but it doesn't really match the rest of our room.






I've had a "hack" for this chair in mind for a while, which I'm looking forward to trying! I'll be sharing it here if it's successful...

Also, this came in the mail recently -- twelve skeins of wool tweed, destined for matching sweaters for my little men. I've got a sweater for moi on my needles, which I should probably finish up before I dip into this... just a few months until the cold weather comes, though!








Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A Bit of Britain

My parents recently ventured across the pond for a missions trip to London (I'm not jealous, I'm not jealous, I'm not...), and my dear mother brought back a few goodies for me. I didn't even know that she knew of my fondness for Cath Kidston!




I hoped that the tea bag packets tucked inside would be as charming as the box, and I was not disappointed! There's even a bit of chintz on the back. She also brought me a little pack of tissues -- how I shall ever bring myself to wipe my nose on these charming chaps, I don't know!





Better yet, the tea is quite good. It brewed up strong and dark, even in my favorite Anthropologie mug (which probably has close to a 16 oz. capacity!). The perfect companion for my current knitting project.




What project? Why, how kind of you to ask! *wink* It's a White Pine Cardigan, which I've had on my wish list for the longest time! Probably since I first started knitting. It's coming along nicely, although rows and rows of "knit through back loop/purl through back loop" ribbing have muddled my mind exceedingly! I hope the effect is worth it, because I'm quite slow with back loops. I should be ready to start the pattern soon, at any rate. Which means I'll "need" another cuppa soon. 


Monday, July 18, 2016

Delicious

I have quite a bit of fingering weight yarn right now, so I've decided to start working through that stash! An obvious solution is baby socks or booties, and after seeing Ginny's versions of the perfect-fit newborn socks I was sold on that particular pattern. Not that there is anything to "sell," because Kelly very generously offers it free of charge! 

The yarn is the very first skein I bought when I "really" started knitting about two years ago -- A wool angora blend made by Moss Hollowe. It's delicious on the fingers.








Also delicious (to the palate) -- blueberry cobbler, made by me with assistance from Rosa (who helped me "glob" the dough on top of the berries). I reduced the amount of sugar, because I often find that I like desserts just as well when they're not super sweet. It didn't take us long to polish this off! By the by, why don't I make cobblers more often? They're so simple and satisfying.






Delicious for the eyes? A wildflower from the seed mix I got for the kids in the Spring. I should have bought several packages for the space we planted, but I didn't realize just how few seeds there would be! At any rate, I had no idea what the name of this flower was until I came across it in the comments on one of Ginny's posts. (I've just discovered her blog, Small Things, and have been devouring it in my spare time!). It's Nigella, otherwise known as Love-in-a-Mist, and I will be planting more of it next year. Much, much more -- I'm quite in love with its exotic delicacy.




I'm grateful for these little delights to savor.