Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lady Slippers

Every once in awhile I will write two posts in one day, and today is one of those days. I usually have my camera in easy reach. So I just wanted to share some photos that I took today. The subject of the photos always puts a smile on my face. 

In the past few weeks I have been on a hunt to find lady slippers that were in bloom. I hadn't found any in the normal spots were I have seen them in the past, and if I did I only found leaves. On the way to the hospital the other day, I spotted some lady slippers blooming on the wooded edge of someone's yard, but I didn't have my camera or I would have stopped and snapped a few photos.
This morning as I took a walk in the woods next to the house I looked again, but couldn't even find any plants where I have always seen them in the past. My neighbor whose house sits  in a wooded lot was out cutting his grass, and we got to talking.  I told Paul that I had been out looking for lady slippers, and to my surprise he told me he had some blooming under the pine trees in his side yard. Paul told me to come on over and take a look. I grabbed my camera and I went to see.

FINALLY, I found blooming lady slippers. I love lady slippers and have enjoyed them since I was a young girl. I don't know why, but lady slippers have always been a favorite.
Years ago you could find them in most any shady spot amongst the pine trees in the woods, sadly that isn't true anymore. I don't know if the deer have eaten them or they just aren't reseeding themselves. Or maybe other plants have crowded them out.
Anyway, I was overjoyed to see the lady slipper plants. There were approximately 10 plants in all. Some plants were in bloom, on some the blooms had already gone by, and a few plants had no flowers just the leaves. When we were kids my dad always told us not to pick the flowers, because then the plants couldn't reseed  themselves and  there wouldn't be anymore lady slipper plants.
Here are a few photos I took in my neighbors yard this morning.
ladyslippers1a group of 3
ladyslippers2 ladyslippers3
Okay, I know you are probably all sick of swan photos, but  I couldn't resist...on the way home from taking my dad to the hospital to see my mom, I stopped at my favorite spot to watch swans.
Below are photos of 2 young swans swimming amongst the lily pads.
bog swans swimming in lily pads1 I love how the swan on the left is taking a rest and just drifting alonw with it's head lying over it's shoulder/back.
bog swans swimming in lily pads4 bog swan swimming in lily pads3
bog swans swimming in lily pads2
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Rubber stamp image I designed

First I'd like to mention that today is my parents 65 th wedding anniversary. I am sure this a hard day for my dad, because my mom is in the hospital. Yesterday my mom had a horrible day, but thankfully today was a very good day for her, and it made my dad feel so much better. Love you mom and dad.

If you read my blog you know I haven't had time for art lately due to family matters, but this morning I came across a rubber stamp that I designed several years ago. This morning I decided to create an easy project using that stamp. So, below is my easy art project for the day.
Several years back, Estelle who owns the rubber stamp company, Stampsmith asked those on her Yahoo group if anyone would like to design a rubber stamp that would be made into a rubber stamp. All the images that were submitted would be placed on one sheet of rubber and produced  for sale. Stampsmith
First let me mention that I can't draw for beans, but I did design an outline stamp of a cranberry vine with berries and submitted my design to Estelle.
Below is my rubber stamp and also a photo of the image stamped in Memories black onto a leather disc. cranberry n vine image I designed stamped on leather2
cranberry n vine image I designed stamped on leather
I probably should have heat set the black ink, because it bled some when I colored the image on the leather disc with Prismacolor ink pens. I added a magnet to the back of the disc.
I bought a big barrel full of different sized leather discs years ago at a fabric store. I enoy stamping on the leather pieces and I have used the leather pieces in many art projects over the years. They made wonderful convention pins when everyone was trading pins.
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rebuilding a cranberry bog

Before heading to the hospital yesterday, I took my dad to the bog. My dad has worked on and then owned  cranberry bogs all his life, and now that he is retired, he still loves to go to the bog to see what is going on.
Dad wanted to see how the rebuilding of my brothers bogs were coming along. For the past several days their help had been setting out new cranberry vines on some very old bog that needed to be resurfaced and replanted with newer and more productive vines.
The vines that had been on the bog were an old variety and the bog was out of grade which means it had a lot of uneven spots. Before replanting could begin the bog had to be stripped of the old vines and graded with heavy equipment. My brothers chose to plant a new variety of cranberry vines called Crimson Queen to replant their bog. I took several photos of the process.
bog greening up this photo is a section of old producing bog that will soon have blossoms and doesn't need to be replanted. Looks like a carpet of green. Cranberries ARE NOT grown in water, but are surrounded by ditches with water in them, and are irrigated. The bogs are flooded to water pick in the fall, and then the water is again released.
In the winter the bogs are flooded when the temperatures are freezing to protect the vines on the bogs. When the weather warms up some the water is taken off, and a layer of ice covers the bog and the vines can still
get oxygen so the vines don't die off.
  bog water rushing thru the flume pipe sections of established bog with large irrigation ditch and flume pipe.
bog tip of vine setting tool tip of a long handled tool used to make holes in the sand of the bog to plant cranberry vines
bog another type vine setting tool tip of another type of  planting tool.

The sand on the bog is marked with a rake to make lines so the vines can be planted in straight rows. The newly planted vines  that appear to be dead, but the vines quickly take root and  green up and spread out to form a carpet of vines that will eventually spread to cover the bog.  The tool pokes a hole in the sand and then the vine is placed into the hole and tamped into place.
bog vine marker tool marking rake
bog marking the bog to set vines in rows marking rows with special wooden rake for planting in even rows
bog cut vines ready for planting cut vines..the vines that will be transplanted are trimmed from vines on other sections of bog.
bog new set vines close up newly set cranberry vines
bog new set vines2
bog Jenny setting vines2setting out new vines
bog Kim getting vines to plant vines waiting to be planted by Kim one of our wonderful Cambodian workers.
bog setting vines1
bog laying a tile drainage ditch laying pipe in middle of the bog section that will drain any standing water after irrigating the bog
bog moving sand removing sand from the bog from laying of the tile drainage ditch in the center of the bog
bog laying a tile drainage ditch2
bog laying pipe for center bog drainage laying pipe
bog reservoir reservoir at the bog for irrigation
bog sand pile one of many sand pits around the bog. Sand is used on the bog to build up the bog bed that the vines are planted in. Also about every 5 years sand is spread on the bog in the winter time when the bog is covered with ice. (called ice sanding)
bog screen all this piece of equipment screens/sifts the stones from the sand
bog stink pot pond lilies I don't know the real name of these water lilies, but as kids we called called them stink pots, because the flower smells so bad. I didn't see any of the pretty white or pink water lilies blooming yet.
bog stink pot pond lilies3
bog sun turtle3 sun turtle
bog flower little white flower I saw in the woods while searching for lady slippers. I didn't find any lady slippers that were blooming.  Don't know if I was too early or too late, or if the deer ate the flowers.
ladyslipper plant looking for lady slippers but only found leaves
bog bay berry plants bay berry bushes growing on the side of the sand pit

I hope you found the info and photos informative on cranberry culture. You can view cranberry harvest pictures in my picture trail album cranberry pictures. I also blogged about our cranberry harvest last fall. You can read my old post here....cranberry-harvest water-picking 2010
So, when you drink Ocean Spray cranberry juice, or eat fresh berries, or any other cranberry products from Oceasn Spray you maybe tasting some of our fruit.

While at the bog, I also saw some wild strawberry plants with blossoms (right) and wild blackberries (left).
bog strawberry plant bog blackberries in bloom
I looked for May flowers and tea berries but couldn't find any. As a child my brothers and I would look for tea berries and enjoyed eating them. Does anyone remember Clark's Teaberry flavored gun? It was our favorite, but it is very hard to find today. There is one general store in Brewster, MA on Cape Cod that sells teaberry gum, and I always stock up when I go there.
It was a wonderful day spent with my dad and the weather and sunny..perfect.
We had a good visit with my mom on Friday, but sadly that wasn't the case with today's visit. My mom was having a very bad day. We have started the paper work for nursing home placement.  I hate thinking of mom in a nursing home.
Enjoy your long holiday, Memorial Day Weekend.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Just rambling and photos of baby swans

I had time to sit and write for a couple of minutes this morning on my blog . I haven't really had much free time with everything going on.
My mom remains in the hospital, and will probably stay for another week. Yesterday was a very depressing day, because I had to start looking for permanent placement for my mom in a nursing home with an Alzheimer's unit.  Mom has quieted down, but is almost to quiet, and most of the time she just sits and stares. Mom does know us, but doesn't talk unless we ask her a question. My heart is breaking to see her this way, and to see my 92 year old dad's sadness.
After visiting hours I took my dad to a local Nursing Home to see what we thought of the one in town that has an Alzheimer unit. It was clean and didn't smell. The residents looked happy and were neat and clean. The facility is old, but well maintained. All of the rooms either have a lovely courtyard view or view of woods and flowering shrubs. 
Tomorrow is my parents 65 th wedding anniversary. Dad is having a hard time coming to terms with my mother's fast decline. They have known each other for 70 years, and would have married sooner if it hadn't been for WWII. I've been bringing my dad to the hospital everyday, and making his lunch and dinner.
As you can imagine..I've had no time for art or anything else, but I did want to share with you these lovely pictures that my niece took yesterday and shared on facebook. I captured the photos to share these wonderful photos with you.
Sarah, has a small pond in the back of her house that has had a pair of swans. The swans laid eggs in the nest and now there are 6 baby cygnets (prounounced signet) that hatched. Sarah, I love the photos you took.
 baby swans2
 baby swans3 baby swans 4
baby swans1
Here are some swan facts that I didn't know and maybe you didn't either. I found the facts on the internet last night and some of the terms really surprised me.
A male swan is called a cob, a female a pen, and a group of swans is called a herd. The term herd for birds really surprised me, how about you? Did you know that?
I hope you enjoyed the photos with the cute and fuzzy babies.
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

A week of Good and Bad

Last week was  extremely stressful. My mother suffers from Alzheimer's and since last Saturday her mental status was changing. Mom was suppose to have surgery for cancer on her ear and nose on Wednesday, and then have reconstructive surgery on Thursday, but due to her increased confusion and aggitation the surgery was cancelled.
As the week progressed, her conditioned worsened and it was becoming apparant that it wasn't safe for her to stay at home, and my 92 year old dad was physically exhausted as mom wasn't sleeping.
Friday morning my dad called me real early to come to the house, and I ended up calling 9-1-1. Mom was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
After spending the entire day in the ER she was finally admitted to a room. After running tests they discovered mom had  a severe UTI. (urinary tract infection)
The doctors didn't believe her change in mental status was from the newest medications. Mom has been on them for a little more than 6 weeks. The doctors have to wait and evaluate her when the infection starts to clear. Hopefully the antibiotic will get her back to her baseline functioning. Mom will be in the hospital for 8-10 days. If there is no improvement, then we will have to make the decision of placing her in a facility. It is so sad to see your parent in this condition. It is amazing what a UTI can do to one's body and mind.

My oldest granddaughter was going to her first prom with her boyfriend Matt to his senior prom on Friday night. I was to go to my oldest son's house to take photo's of Katie, but I had to cancel as I was in the ER with my mother and couldn't leave.
But, I do have the photo's that were sent to me in email. Below are 2 photos of Katie and Matt. Katie had just had her braces removed too, and she was so excited about that. I can't believe my oldest granddaughter is so grown up. They both look so happy.

katie and matt's SR prom pic 2011 katie and matt's SR prom 2nd photo 2011

Yesterday morning ( Saturday), I had to run to the grocery store real early to buy salad fixings, meats,cheeses and rolls for a meat platter for our youngest granddaughter, Bella's first birthday party. That had been on my to do list on Friday, but just never happened.
I got everything done in time to bring to the birthday party. It was nice to relax at the party for a brief time and to share in Bella's big day. It was also wonderful to see many family members, and to spend some time with my cousin who was visiting from Ohio.
Late yesterday afternoon I took my dad to the hospital and when I got him back home I made his supper.  I came home and went right to bed.

On a brighter note....Photos of Bella's first birthday party are below.

Bella really enjoyed her party and her birthday cake.  First she took tiny tastes of the frosting and then she really dug in as you can see in the photos. There wasn't much left of her cake when she was finished, and she had cake and frosting all over herself.
1st birthday Bella with mommy and daddy and cake 1st birthday Bella cake facegetting started17  first taste1st birthday Bella cake facegetting started10 that frosting tasted pretty darn good
1st birthday Bella cake facegetting started13 think I'll have some more1st birthday party Bella  messy hands and face1 sticky fingers1st birthday party Bella  arms in air cakethis cake is delicious!!!1st birthday party Bella whats left of the cake1 not much left (LOL)

I was looking at some of the flowers blooming in my back yard this morning, and snapped a photo of my strawberry shortcake azalea. I think it is so pretty, don't you?
azalea strawberry shortcake
I was totally exhausted, and so my brothers are taking my dad to the hospital today (Sunday), but I have called to see how my mom is doing. Mom wants to come home, but that isn't possible at this time. I will be taking my dad tomorrow to see mom.
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