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More berries

Steve and I just went for a visit with his folks in upstate New York. On the way we stopped by Joolz in Canandaigua to say hi to Francie and Kerry Bogert, who was having a trunk show and demonstrating flamework. Hopefully next time I can meet Kerry for margaritas, but it was fun to say hi, catch up a little, and hit the road for the final leg of our trip. The next morning it rained, then was sunny, then rained some more. Normally I wouldn’t have cared, except anyone who knows me knows I love berries, and this is strawberry season in NY. There is a you-pick farm on every other corner! So during a break in the clouds Steve and I headed down the road to Morgan’s Farm to pick some berries. We’d collected 7 quarts before I stood up and said, “I think that’s enough. What are we going to do with all these?” And then it rained again, so we went home.
Here are Matt and Bob working on the lawn tractor in the barn.
Also in the barn there is a nest of swallows almost ready for flight school. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

Later I was walking Riley in the family orchard when I noticed there are cherries! on the tree! this year. (They knew this, but it’s not a big deal to everyone else.) Ripe ones, and lots of them. They’re called tart cherries, but they are sweet to eat. (When I think “tart cherries,” I think of the bright red ones Cheryl and I bought from a vendor in Barbados who assured us they were sweet to eat – turned out to be the tartest cherries I’d ever tasted!) So we picked a quart of cherries off the tree, plus some red raspberries which had just begun to ripen. And then I died of happiness. The end. Saturday night is always Mexican food, so Cherie makes enchiladas, quesadillas, or tacos. This week it was tacos with your choice of fried-corn or flour shell, two kinds of cheese, several hot sauces, lettuce, tomatoes, and chili beans (two sets, one for each end of the table). I started thinking about this meal (and drooling) weeks ago because it’s always so good. I have an inordinate love for Wegmans, and being that the closest one to our house is an hour away, we always go to Wegmans in NY as there is one in practically every town. It’s not just a grocery store, people! Sheesh. This time we didn’t walk up and down every aisle, but we did get coffee and stroll through the market part and the cheese shop and the kitchen gadgets and the bulk candy and the craft brew section (arranged by region like wine). I got some rhubarb which may or may not have survived the trip home in the trunk, some French lemonade for my francophile friend Elizabeth, and a measuring cup with a slanted edge to make it easier to read. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have 8 quarts of fruit to deal with. Bliss!

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Summer Storm

We just had a terrific thunderstorm, one of the many things I love about summer. It goes from being hot and still to cool and fresh with the plants watered. It gets dark, so dark that I actually turn on a light during the day. We get the kind of rain and wind that looks like someone reporting on location during a hurricane. Thankfully I was home in order to run around and close windows this time. I think I forgot to tell you that our baby robins are all grown up. I took this picture the day before they tried to fly. One of them lept to his fate on the concrete porch, so Steve put down cushions for the other three to bounce off (and we didn’t find any bodies later). I thought I was free to walk to the mailbox in peace now that we have an empty nest, but yesterday the mama gave me a “talking to” as a little guy jumped from the grass to the cherry tree. Time to wash the front door and change the wreath.

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The Robins are Hatching

The nest on our front door has been tended for the past 2 weeks by a very conscientious mother bird. Two more eggs were laid after we got back from vacation, a total of four eggs in my favorite color. I try to go get the mail through the garage door, because I’ll hear about from Mrs. Robin it if I dare use my front door. I was wondering how long this was going to go on, and today Steve noticed that one of the eggs has hatched. So, I looked around online for more info:“Robins lay one egg about every 24 hours until her clutch size is around 3-4. The incubation period lasts from 12-14 days and hatching of each egg takes about 24 hours; the order the eggs were laid is the order of hatching…While the eggs are in the nest, females cover them about 50 minutes of every hour and overnight. Females rarely leave the nest during incubation and rely on the mate to bring her enough food to survive. Once the Robin chicks hatch, they remain in the nest for 13-15 days, until they are mature enough to survive on their own…Fledglings can fly within 2 days of leaving the nest, so the male parent watches them until they are able to live completely on their own…”Breakfast in bed is the least the mother bird can expect for such devotion to the nest. Steve just noted that there are two big birds on the nest, so I told him about this aspect and he replied, “That’s a good man.” I can only imagine the list of “things to do after the kids are gone” that mama has been compiling in her head whilst sitting on the nest for a month. The worst part of this whole nest-on-the-front door deal is the mutual freak-out of Mrs. Robin and anyone who comes to our door, so two more weeks of that and then there will be four more little birdies out in the world.
On a sad note, Killer got another one the other day, this time a robin fledgling right in front of its mama. I kinda wish she’d have let Riley have it (punishment, not her child) so this would stop being a thing.Love to eat them birdies,
Birdies what I love to eat.
Bite they little heads off…
Nibble on they tiny feet.
-B. Kliban (alterations mine)

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To Josh and Molly

Happy Birthday, both of you! Recently in a meeting of 20-25 people we were instructed to find the person in the group who has the next consecutive birthday. It didn’t take as long as I expected to figure out our group timeline, and we even had two people whose birthdays are both today. What are the odds? Well actually, pretty good. Check this out.These are bezel-set stained glass cufflinks that Josh designed (and hopefully forgot), I created, and his wife Jill gave him for his birthday. You can read more on YOJ.Miss Molly came over for fondue last night and actually gave me a present for her birthday, an iron nest candleholder with a bird perched on the side (yes, so me). We did oil, cheese, and chocolate fondue, and at one point Johnny brought up the formula for a WP dinner party. (I think that blog is hilarious.)

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The Birds

The view from my studio.
These birds were only in our yard (not the neighbors’), and they pecked around for about 10 minutes and were gone.

Riley was as fascinated as I was. In general, being a bird dog, this is her favorite time of year. She has resumed her command posts and terrorizing the birds building nests in our junipers out back.

I put our our spring wreath and within hours I had feathered customers trying to build nests again (only this time the wreath is in Virginia not Delaware). I don’t know if it’s the time of year or the type of wreath, but I don’t really want our front porch covered in mud this year.

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Eggses, my precioussss

I found a picture in Better Homes & Gardens that shows a garland of hollow dyed eggs for Easter. I don’t normally get into holiday decorating, but we eat a lot of scrambled eggs and I think an egg garland would be a nice addition to my Easter tree. Like a necklace, only bigger.

I blew out 6 eggs before I passed out, so maybe little nests like these with individual eggs would be better, say half a dozen of them scattered around the house. Or I may invest in an egg blower.

For all of you who DID play trumpet in high school band or regularly make balloon animals, blowing eggs may come more easily to you. Or, if you have the air skills and care more about the inside of the egg than the shell, check out this quick-peel method for hard-boiled eggs. (I can’t do a direct link, so select it from the menu or heck, just watch all of them.)

There’s a bush in our flower bed that needs to be heavily pruned or chopped down, and while Steve and I were surveying it I noticed a bird nest in the branches. So of course I brought it inside because it’s not every day you can find a real nest without disturbing eggs.

Then a couple weeks later I was out with my friend Molly and saw an empty nest in a parking lot tree. I came very close to taking it, but she suggested the bird may want to re-use the nest so I left it there. Begrudgingly.

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I can only imagine the robins’ confusion after several cycles of springlike weather in February followed by a blustery day like today.

I long for Spring, so I’ve found myself working with aquas and pinks and making springy stuff like this nest ring, complete with freshwater pearls as the eggs. It was quickly followed by a nest pendant for YOJ Week 6.

Both are available in my Etsy shop.

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New look

I like to keep things fresh (read: I get bored easily) so I had a fellow Etsy-er design a new banner for my shop. Let the record show that she originally had two birds in there and I asked for fewer birds.Speaking of birds, there’s a nest in one of our trees (at least it was there before we had 24 hours of gale-force winds). It’s too high to reach from the ground, so I’m trying to figure out how to get it down without harming myself. I had a beautiful one earlier this year, but I was changing decorations around and left it sitting on the floor. I came back to find only a trace of it on the rug. Riley likes birds, too, but in a different way.

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Cabin in the woods

After one last ride on Smith Mountain Lake last Sunday we loaded up the kayaks and headed south for the next leg of our trip: The Cabin in Carolina.

My parents had been there for two weeks and were on their way home that day, so we compared mile markers via cell phone and met up for lunch. When we got to the cabin we unpacked and went to Waffle House for dinner (tradition for the first night) and bought groceries. I love going to the store here because the local accent is so thick!We spent Monday just reading and relaxing. On Tuesday we’d reached our unplugged limit (4 days) so we took off for Well-Bread Bakery in Weaverville (NC) to check our email and have lunch. One of my favorite galleries with jewelry is Miya, right down the block from Well-Bread, so I stopped in to talk shop and get some inspiration. After that we checked out the shops of Burnsville, a little town between the cabin and Mount Mitchell. I finally found some Cavallini folders (birds of course) that I had seen in a magazine, and after plenty of coffee and window-shopping we headed home to take naps and listen to the rain. After a month of hot drought at home I was loving the cool, wet weather we had all week. Our friends Valerie and Casey came for a visit from Charlotte on Wednesday with their two adorable boys, Coulson and Charlie, and Chester the dog. Riley and Chester swam in the pond, the guys kayaked and fished, the girls split a piece of The Best Chocolate Cake (from Well-Bread), and then we all took a hike and made s’mores in the fireplace.
kayaking  hikeVal_Charliechester Glassesbath
smore2 smores sackedout

On Wednesday night our friends Josh & Jill arrived, and we spent the rest of the week resting, reading, watching the fire, and hanging out in Asheville (Bele Chere).




They even cooked dinner for us. (See Josh’s halo?)


Our last stop was Sonic where Riley got a frosty treat.

sonic thank you

We had a great time on vacation!