Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas at our house

I promised to post photos of our house at Christmas earlier and here they are. We've had our decorations up for about three weeks now. We have to start early to get everything up in time. We have trees in almost every room and countless ornaments and other decorations. Michael is the Christmas fanatic, I'm afraid he suffers from OCD (Obsessive Christmas decorating). It is very beautiful though and magical at night. We always have a big party every year and share it with our friends and family.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Print Christmas Coloring Pages.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Driving the Trace

We always go to Grenada, Mississippi for Thanksgiving. It is a three hour drive and the majority of it takes place on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Michael hates the Trace because of the 50 mile-per-hour speed limit and the monotony of the landscape. I, on the other hand, love it. I think it is calming and relaxing as well as beautiful. The Natchez Trace is a 444 mile stretch that goes through Mississippi, Tennessee and a very small portion of Alabama. It commemorates a path that was used by Native Americans and early European explorers as both a trade and transit route in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There are all kinds of trails, historic sites and Indian mounds along the way. The above photo was taken at one of these sites, one of the few stops that has a public restroom. If you look closely, you can see three Indian Mounds in the distance.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mid-November blooms

I'm a little late for Gardener's Bloom Day!

The sasanqua camellias are blooming -

'Hana Jiman'

'Snow Flurry'


Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha)

The colorful foliage of Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Hyacinth Bean


Red Maple


The brilliant crimson leaves of a pear tree hover over a group of hydrangeas

This is Scudder, a new addition to the family. He appeared as a stray and has been around for the past several weeks. He was on top of the garden wall today.

And here is the real Queen of the Roost - Isabella. She is fifteen years old and she's not too keen on Scudder.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The sucky aspects of owning a home

Bad news this week. After three visits in less than six months to snake out our sewer drain, the plumber runs a camera down the pipe to see what is going on. Verdict - old clays pipes which are invaded with tree roots and general deterioration. We must have a new PVC pipe installed. I don't know what worries me the most - the estimate (which I don't have yet) or the destruction to my property. Actually I do know which worries me more - the digging and destruction!

Our line runs 125 feet and when the plumber traced the line with some type of sonar device, there was some good news, if you can call it that. The line runs near the driveway, down in front of the garage and over to our fence. It could have been worse had it run south, thus right into the major part of the garden. Still, the line runs underneath a stone pathway and archway, an area planted with my only healthy rhododendron, oakleaf hydrangea and other assorted shrubs. I will have to wait until I talk with the estimator about what will have to be removed.

After doing some light research on the internet, I learn that there is an option called "slip lining" or "pipe bursting" where a secondary pipe can be pulled through thus avoiding digging (except at the ends). I have not inquired about this yet. I probably shouldn't complain considering that our house was built in 1928 and is in otherwise good condition (that I know of). Still, this is going to be a major headache!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Film recommendation - 'Miss Potter'

Life at my house has been very hectic lately so I haven't had much time to watch anything but Sunday night I saw one that affirms why I love movies so much. I hesitate to use the word "charming" to describe "Miss Potter" but it seems to be the most appropriate adjective that comes to mind. I didn't know anything about the life of Beatrix Potter but the film sure peaked my interest and I found myself Googling her after it was over. This is a beautiful film, lovingly made, with gorgeous English countryside views. Renee Zellweger is excellent in the title role and Ewan MacGregor and Emily Watson are wonderful in supporting roles. The film focuses on Potter's romance with her publisher (played by MacGregor) and her later interest in purchasing up land in the Lake District for conservation purposes. It is a film full of innocence and manners that reflect a bygone era that seems so incredible today. A wonderful diversion - go rent it!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fall kaleidoscope

The leaves have turned here and the color is breathtaking. I took a stroll this afternoon and took some photos in and around my neighborhood.

This is the most colorful tree in my own garden at the moment - the red maple 'Autumn Blaze'

And some colorful shrubs:


Oakleaf Hydrangea

This beautiful maple is on the grounds of the university where I work -

I think this is one of the most beautiful trees in town but I got to it a little late. The color seems to glow -

This group of maples is on the back side of a dentist's office -

And here is a pretty one in a bank parking lot -