Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cleaning Closet - Before and After

I've been working on my cleaning closet - the place I keep cleaning supplies etc. I've painted it, put in new shelves, which I covered in vinyl, and completely cleaned, reorganized and most of all, labelled it. It took much longer than I thought, of course. But it's lovely now.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

This one's for Vivi.

You asked about the Whipple House. It's in no danger because it sits on a little knoll. However, Sally's pond - the pond behind it - is currently part of the river, or vice versa. I took this picture behind the Whipple House yesterday. The houses you see reflected at the back of the photo are on the other side of the river. YOu may have to click twice to blow the picture up to see this.

Actually the floods are receding today, although many roads are still closed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

William Wordsworth and Spring Peepers

It was Spring today. I kept thinking of William Wordsworth - " It is the first mild day of March, / Each minute sweeter than before."

Dog of COG and I took a long walk to look at all the flooding and tonight we heard the Spring Peepers for the first time.
Absolutely my favorite heart-lifting event of the Spring - the first peepers. They're only an inch long, so I've never seen one, but the sound of them fills the night. This is what they sound like - taken from YouTube because I can't find the one I made last year.

"A Flood of Waters Upon the Earth", Part 2

The Ipswich River is waay over its banks today. It's hard to get from here to anyplace along the river because of road closures from flooding. All along the walk from our house to the Choate Bridge in the center of Ipswich, where the video taken, there are houses being pumped out. The other pictures were taken along the way.

The parking lot behind the downtown stores is completely under water, as shown in the first photo.

And the footbridge over the river is closed because the path is completely flooded on the other side (second photo).
The tall grey house in the third picture picture dates to 1723 and its ground floor is completely flooded. It has been next to the river for a long time and I wonder if it has happened before. We've never seen it quite so bad before, even after the major floods of 2 years ago when all the bridges were damaged.
The video at the end shows how fast the river was moving today and how far over the banks it is - the trees are normally above the bank. This was taken just after it crested but at high tide (it's a tidal river) so the water was still high. By tomorrow it should have started to recede. I hope.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"A Flood of Waters Upon the Earth"

It has been pouring rain here for 4 days. Our yard has merged with the swamp beyond. Our basement, too, seems to have yearnings in that direction. Not complaining, though. I love the sound of rain. I love waking up and falling asleep to the sound of rain. And I kind of like the way our yard changes with the weather and the seasons.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Scenes of Toulouse

Miscellaneous scenes of Toulouse. A fountain just off the Capitole.

A wonderful gargoyle/rainspout.

Little children fencing on a weekend devoted to kid's sports in a local park.

The view from our table at lunch on the first real day of warm summer weather.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rain, Soot, and Daffodils

It's raining hard today, but there are signs of Spring. Yesterday, I bought these daffodils for only 1.50 a bunch. I love the time in Spring when the grocery stores are filled with cheap daffs. Every year I signify my faith that Spring will actually come in the small private celebration of buying lots of daffodils.

I arrived home with them to discover we'd had a minor catastrophe with the pellet stove and had soot all over everything. Yes, 'everything' includes the newly painted walls and woodwork. It was odd because you couldn't see it, but if you ran your fingers over anything they came up black. And if you tried to just brush it away, there were terrible streaks. So, after consulting the internet about cleaning products, we washed walls, woodwork, floors using a lot of windex and swiffer sheets. We put everything we could in the dishwasher or washing machine and vacuumed what we couldn't. It's mostly gone today and the house is sparkling. Looking at the bright side, this way, the COG helped me wash down woodwork etc. So that was good.

I'm reading, the COG is on his computer doing I don't know what. The only excitement has been a lovely big hawk in a tree just across the street only 8 feet or so from the ground. Our different reactions to the hawk illustrated the differences between us. I ran for the Sibley Bird Book and binoculars, to try to identify it. The COG ran for his camera to try to capture it on film.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Pet Blogging - Cat of COG

Gomez, Cat of COG enjoys the Spring sunshine, indoors, by lying on the arm of the sofa.

You may note that the sofa is covered with a white sheet to protect the white slipcovers from Gomez enjoying the sun in his fav. spot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dreaming of France

FrenchKate is letting me down these days, mired as she is in everyday reality. I, however, am retired and I am not mired. So today I'm dreaming of France. The chateau where we had an Armagnac tasting. Hot summer day, the drone of cicadas, the deer lying in the shade of the park, lovely old stone walls with just a touch of soft gold to warm them, not to mention the Armagnac itself.

I am not remembering the group of annoying teens and their even more annoying (because less excuseable) chaperons. Hey, it's my memory. I can be selective if I want to be.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


We did a lot of baking last week when Daughter of ... and Miss T were here. Miss T. was a big help. One of the recipes Daughter of shared with me was for biscotti. Today, I made biscotti again because Cranky likes to pack a snack for work.

The 'Real' Brideshead

I learned this morning that the 'real' Brideshead on which Evelyn Waugh based his book is not Castle Howard as in the tv series but Madresfield Court in Worcestershire. It has been the home of the Lygon family for 900 years. Waugh was a frequent visitor there in the 1930's and it is generally supposed that the Flyte's are based on the Lygons.

I Wiki'ed it and got the picture and the following:

Madresfield Court is a country house in England, in the village of Madresfield near Malvern in Worcestershire. The stately home, near the village centre has been the ancestral home for several centuries of the Lygon family, whose eldest sons took the title of Earl Beauchamp from 1815 until 1979, when the last Earl died. Distinguished collections of furniture, art, and porcelain are housed at Madresfield, which was rated by Simon Jenkins among the 50 best in his book on 1,000 historic houses.[1] The house is managed by the Elmley Foundation, a British registered charity, and can be visited by appointment only at certain times of the year.

The original Great Hall, built in the 12th century, stands at the core of this building. In 1593 Madresfield Court was rebuilt, replacing a 15th century medieval building. It was again remodelled in the 19th century to resemble a moated Elizabethan house, with the result that it contains more than 100 rooms. The chapel was designed by the architect Philip Charles Hardwick and sumptuously decorated in the Arts and Crafts style by Birmingham Group artists including Henry Payne, William Bidlake and Charles March Gere.[2]. It has been cited as the most beautiful expression of the arts and crafts movement in Britain.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Quiet and Empty House

Daughter of.. and Miss T. left this morning at 4am. Son of .. volunteered to drive them to the airport, so the COG and I went back to bed after seeing them off. We got up to a strangely quiet and empty house. Even the animals seemed bemused by the silence. We heard later that they arrived home safely and there was a sweet reunion with Daddy and Momolou.

Cranky and I took Dog of COG to a state park in the afternoon. It was a lovely warm sunny day for a walk.

Returned to the quiet house.

This morning I am washing sheets and putting toys back in boxes and packing up things to send. Just generally cleaning up.

I didn't take many pictures because I was having so much fun, but the COG took some lovely ones which you can see at the COG's smugmug site Click Here.

Highlights of the week were the trip to Bostonon the train, feeding birds by hand at the Audubon place, a trip to the beach and a playground. Also, baking biscotti and baby crackers with help from Miss T. Plus some walks and just generally hanging out.

The good news is that I am going to visit them at the end of the month, so I can't feel too deprived.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Final Note about The High Winds Last Week

The Ipswich Chronicle this week reports that winds in Ipswich last Thursday night were clocked above hurricane levels (over 73 mph) with gusts up to 90 mph.. That was at about 11pm. The power actually went off throughout Ipswich at about 10, then it got worse. Phones went out about 4 to 5 hours later, when the phone company's batteries gave out.

The Crane Estate alone lost between 200 and 300 trees. The picture here is from the newspaper and it shows the allee at Crane Estate. Hundreds more trees were lost in the rest of Ipswich and in surrounding towns. It was the biggest, oldest, most lovely trees that seem to have been worst hit.

Teams from all over New England came within a few hours to help out in the restoration of power and phones here. Our road was one of the last to have power restored - although there were a few who had to wait even longer. Everything it back to normal now, except there is still a lot of tree clearing to do. Now. wherever you go, there are hand lettered signs have appeared along the road advertising tree clearance services of one sort or another.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Miss T. Makes a Friend

Miss T. was enchanted today by a big stuffed toy dog at Borders. She greeted it like an old friend and spent some quality time kissing and patting it. She misses her own dogs very much, is constantly talking about 'Momolou' (Momo and Louis) or 'Luly' (Louis).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trip Down Memory Lane

For some reason this morning I told Daughter of ... about Bob and Ray's famous skit selling used balloons with only one or two holes in them. She hadn't heard of Bob and Ray, and really they were a little before my time, too. But I wiki'ed them and looked them up on You Tube and found this (there are 2 skits here, so wait through the bit with Johnny Carson in the middle: