Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Grey House Moved Today!

Today was the day that they moved the big grey house from North Pleasant St. Amherst to North Maple St.Hadley. I couldn't be there for the actual move (and my camera was acting up) but Baird took these great pics for me to share with ya'll. The house was originally across the street from the Silvio Conte Polymer Research Bldg. which is seen in pic #3 with the grad research tower behind it. The move was 2.2 miles, through campus, over the I-91 overpass, right on North Maple and parked on it's new lot in Hadley. From it's new site you can look across some farmland and see the UMass library, quite near where it originally stood.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Paradise City Arts Festival

Yesterday I had a grand time, full of great inspiration, at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA. I loved the garden art and the metal work. There was great jewelry and wonderful embellished boxes of all kinds. A few pictures may give you some idea, but truly, you must be there to fully experience it! Amy Crawley of Moonroom Crafts had wonderful vessels that grabbed my attention. Especially the pyramidal ones that opened on 4 sides to reveal treasures, such a a tiny book or a scarab, inside. Linda Kaye-Moses of Plumdinger Studios had "Unruly Jewels" to die for (amazing necklace in an equally amazing, embellished, wood box pictured here) and Lisa Fedon of Pennsylvania had amazing furniture from steel (table and chair pictured here). The stone garden fountains were beautiful, too.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Old Friends & Big BD's

This is my "old" friend Nancy and her husband, Tim, when we visited them at their cabin last Fall. Nancy and I are celebrating a BIG BD year this year...something over 21 and under 65. Now, we are still young... but...... Nancy is my "oldest" friend. My first recollection of playing with her is age 5, swimming at Plunkett Lake in Hinsdale, MA but we had met before that, according to my mom. Anyway, we were very close friends thru-out our school years and have managed to stay in touch in the decades since even tho we live many hours apart. Her BD is exactly one month before mine.

I recently made her this "house" for her BD. She's received it now, so I can post pics :-)
The image on the front is a picture of my maternal grandmother, Iva Cain and her good friend taken around 1905. She was born in 1885. Along the "roof" I stamped "It takes a long time to make an old friend." And..... that's the truth!

Happy BD Nancy!

All Jacked Up

No, not me, the UMass! Don't know why I am finding this so fascinating but I am. The house at UMass that is being moved was all jacked up yesterday morning and will be moved 2.2 miles to a new lot next week. I hope to catch some pics of the move but here it is all jacked up!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

North Amherst Project "Before"

I've begun working on a new garden job in North Amherst. There are substantial beds of bulbs and perennials which had become overrun with hyssop and weeds with no obvious edge between garden and grass. This was near the beginning of Day #1 of this new project. Scroll down to see the changes at the end of Day #2.

North Amherst Project "Now"

I'm about 12 hours into the project. Here are a few "now" pics. Lots more still to do but it is rewarding to see it beginning to shape up.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Old Fashioned Church Supper

Baird and I worked at our church's big Spring supper tonight. This Asparagus Dinner has been going on for over 110 years!! (maybe 118?) The town of Hadley, is world renown for it's asparagus; apparently the Connecticut River flood plain has some awesome soil for this delicacy. The dinner features the asparagus, along with baked ham, potato salad and strawberry shortcake with home made biscuits, real whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, too. Everything is home made. It's an amazingly well orchestrated event and incredibly delicious as well. In under 3 hours 60 of us served up 414 sit down meals and another 35 take outs. We went through 140 lbs of ham and 288 lbs of asparagus, and something like 160 lbs. of strawberries. The food is all served family style with unlimited refills, on the church paper plates or plastic forks here!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Beacon Hill Water Features

Many of the gardens in the Beacon Hill section of Boston, have water features. Most are small, as warranted by the diminutive spaces they occupy but some are quite large. The ones on view in this year's tour varied from bird baths to an old and lovely heated, chlorinated 4' deep pool with a dolphin fountain.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hidden Gardens of Boston Revealed

<< MORE pics below>>

For just one day each year a dozen of the "Hidden Gardens" of Beacon Hill in Boston are revealed; the doors are opened for the annual Beacon Hill Garden Club Tour. And, every year, it is amazing! This year only Mindy & I went, as Jess and Cheryl couldn't make it. We had a great time, though it was quite chilly. Walking all over "The Hill" seeing twelve gardens in about 3 hours. To see some of these gardens you actually have to go through the homes to the back yards. Seeing the inside of those homes is always an added treat.
Here are a few shots, of us and of the gardens, and even one fabulous cobblestone driveway. Beacon Hill has a lot of brick and cobblestone walks and roads, as well as real gas light street lights that stay on 24/7. There are hilly, narrow streets, surrounded by tall brownstones and winding little alleyways between the buildings. There is an abundance of Boston Ivy and English Ivy, climbing and bush Hydrangea and Wisteria in full bloom that climbs up 4 or 5 stories. All of the plantings are shade tolerant varieties as the buildings and some larger tress block much of the sunlight. It is amazingly secluded and peaceful, smack in the center of the state capital, in the shadow of the gold domed State House. The whole experience is like walking into a old world European city. I hope you can get just a little glimpse of that here.

and a few MORE .....

and ... More Hidden Garden pics....

Off to The Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill

It is 6:20 AM and a I am about to head out to Boston with my friend Melinda, to this inspriational annual event. It is the only time of the year that I (the "public") get to wander around behind those big beautiful brownstones on Beacon Hill in Boston to see the spectacular gardens of the folks who live there.

Pictures will be forthcoming. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Art for the Garden

Ah ha! This is a combination art and garden project! On freecycle I found a large watering can cut out of plywood. It is 6' at it's widest and 4' high. It is actually 2 identical "cans" screwed together with 2"X3" spacers in the center, to give it a little 3-D. It is made with a stake at the bottom to stick into the ground so the watering can is tipping and then a cluster of wires "spill" out of the spout, like water. I took it apart and am painting the insides black (to protect it) and the outsides Bird Egg blue. Then I am going to hand letter and decorate it in the style of Howard Finster. In the end, it will go in my main garden, along the edge of(slightly under) my large lilac hedge, for all to see. For those of you who know Finster's Garden, don't worry, I am not turning my whole garden into a Finster inspired garden... just one piece (for now ).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sweetside Backyard Progress

Made some major progress over the past 2 weeks on our back yard. I got one section filled in and leveled off (many many wheelbarrow loads!), covered with landscape fabric and then covered with 25 bags of bark mulch. The path around to Aaron's door is covered in pea stone and some perennials are in place. Makes the whole place look better... or at least makes me "feel" like it looks better! This are is also right outside (and one level below) my living room bay window, so it improves the view from there as well. In the background you can see the old metal cabinets that Aaron is refurbishing for his "kitchenette" space. He'll be getting back to that project once his semester is done (another 2 weeks). One of several in projects in progress at Sweetside -- but -- still, we have made a lot of progress in the 12 months we've been here.

This week I begin 3 paid gardening jobs, so I will have less time to work on my own, but, there is still plenty to do!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Hattie - Scanning Family Photos

Tonight I got inspired to scan some old pics of my mother's family from the late 1800's early 1900's. I have an old picture album that has been in my mother's family for many decades. We only know who about half of the people are and we have no idea why there are a pictures of Prince Albert and Princess Eugene halfway thru the album. There are pictures that go back to my great-great grandparents. Since my grandmother was born in the late 1800's, that makes some of these pictures very old. I hope to trace some of it back and get more exact dates, and maybe even names, soon. I am planning to use some of these scanned images in my collage art. Here is one of the tintype pictures; it is my great-grandmother Hattie Buzzell.


Nesting Birds!

I was just reading Wild Flora's Wild Gardening , to which I subscribe, and saw that Cornell's Laboratory of Ornithology is offering The Birdhouse Network with live web cams "from citizen scientists" of 11 nesting birds. Awesome!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Natalie's May Basket

I participated in a May Basket Swap and today I received my May basket from Natalie. Such a wonderfully decorated tin basket filled with delicate white, glittered paper roses. She also included a collaged house, a tin with cute spring paper, ribbons and a birdie. Wonderful swap. Thanks so much Natalie! They have found a perfect spot in my dining room display cabinet.

Turtle Play

The turtles got out of the tank to "play" in their red wash basin while I cleaned their tank. It gave me an opportunity to get a close up shot of them. Maude is the larger one, Matilda has the red stripe on her shell and Maxwell is the map turtle (can't see his lovely markings in this pic). Aren't they cute? They have begun to swim to the surface and beg food from me, rather than swim away and bury their heads under the rocks as they did the first 2 weeks. It is really cute to see them swimming and peeking at me in the mornings. It is very tempting to overfeed them because they are so funny to watch.