Saturday, June 29, 2013

Happy birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Daddy! Hope you have a wonderful celebration-- we'll raise a toast to you!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4 and counting!

Four years and counting and what a marvelous four years it's been! 
At the Great Wall

In Copenhagen

In Louisville

In Bangkok

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

on my wedding
Happy Father's Day to my dad and to Will's dad.  Two of the most amazing, generous, thoughtful, kind people one could ever hope to encounter.  

Wishing you both a lovely, happy day!
at his birthday

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Chinese Dragon

 One of our souvenirs from Beijing was this wooden balsa dragon that we intended to give away but sorta were intrigued as to how flat bits of wood would create a dragon. So, we kept it and today, we finally essembled it.

Four flat pieces of wood with parts stamped into it--about 200 pieces that have to be pushed out and then slid together... with directions in Chinese.  Yes, this was going to go very well.

the directions....

We did find a map of how the pieces intersected: piece 1 matching with another piece 1, located on another slab of wood and marked piece 17 as well.  
...oh, thank goodness, a map.
 Slowly but surely, we made our way through the puzzle of bits of balsa, adding scales here, a wing there. 
working on the head

 Until eventually, we got a foot and half long dragon, complete with claws, wings, and the traditional Chinese dragon mustache.  It is very fiddly; we need to add some glue on some scales, or else it could lose them.

But, we think that he is pretty incredible, especially considering all the bits of wood we had to punch out and the lack of Mandarin between Will and I.   He is now assembled and on display in the kitchen.  

all the bits punched out

the underneath, all the "ribs" helping to support him

Our Chinese Dragon, guarding the kitchen.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Welcome Baby AppleCookie 2!

 At 6 lbs. 7 oz, my newest niece arrived on June 10th: Baby Applecookie 2.  Close to 21 inches long, I think her nickname will have to AppleSlice-- she is so long and slender. 

My sister, Rebecca, is doing quite well and her first baby seems to be handling very well the addition of "baby"-- though I have seen how she carried her baby doll around (by the heels, head bouncing along the floor) and I don't recommend #1 taking care of #2 any time soon.

 We are very excited to see her in person and are making plans to visit soon.  Aunt Mim needs to love on this baby first hand!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Olmsted Woods

Next to the National Cathedral is a lovely wooded path called the Olmsted Woods. We frequently take Stirling there walking.  One of the few old growth oak and beech forests still standing in the nation’s capital, the Olmsted Woods forms part of the fifty-nine acre Cathedral Close (the grounds of the Cathedral) planned by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., in the early twentieth century.
The Woods recently underwent a decade-long restoration by All Hallows Guild, a volunteer organization which supports the care and preservation of the grounds.  We see them trimming trees back, chopping wood, replacing the stone gutters- they are constantly working to keep the path and woods healthy.  The Woods includes a stone footpath, the Pilgrim Way, a contemplative circle, native wildflowers and shrubs, and a host of migratory birds. 

We frequently hear and see woodpeckers (downys! or red bellys!), cat birds, cardinals, jays.  Because we have a had a true spring, with lots of rain and cooler temperatures, the ground cover and trees are a brilliant green.  And even when it rains, as it was today, we can still wander through the Walk and not get soaked.  Stirling runs off the path to chase the deer and squirrels, and we can keep our shoes clean!

stone work in the contemplative circle

Stirling running along the wall of the contemplative circle

pathway to the ampitheater

stairway leading to the Pilgrim's Way, an entrance to the Cathedral with lots and lots of stairs.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Our Orchard

pomegranate tree
 Will and I have lots of fruit trees now and we are excited, as they seem to be happy!  We have planted in the front yard a pomegranate tree that even has a blossom on it! (You may recall that we attempted to grow a pomegranate tree from a seed, but that didn't quite work out.  We bought this one, for $20.  If we get 4 pomegranates,  we will make our money back.)

Also in the front yard, we have a plum tree now.  Closer to the house is or peach tree.  The plum tree was bought from a local plant shop.  The peach we ordered online and it arrived as a stick with some roots.  We planted it last summer and it seems to be doing okay.  Now, it will be take years for either one of them to bare fruit. 
Pomegranate Blossom

Peach tree

Plum Tree
 In the back yard, we have the pollarded apple tree-- though that never really produces anything edible, so really I shouldn't count it.  We also have a pear tree-- and it has pears!   Earlier in the year, Will and I both tickled the flowers as they bloomed.  Looks like we were successful in our tickling.
I think there are about 4 pears on the tree and soon we will have net them, as the birds are circling.  They seem to be more interested in the figs and the chard that has gone to seed, so we still have some time. 

one of the pears

Pear Tree

figs Figs FIGS!
As usual, the fig tree is in full force. Lots of figs are ripening and I have my little jam jars ready to fill.  Will found some 3 oz ones at Target and bought them all for me to give away.  Three ounces of jam is a good amount to present to someone-- they would actually be able to eat that amount.

And last but not least, we have lemons!  They are still ripening and we have lots of lemon blossoms too (more tickling in my future).  We have three lemons-- one of which is pretty large and the other two are almond size.  These are Meyer lemons and so should be very good for baking.   I would also like to note that we have an orange tree that is currently going berserk with the leaves, but the one bud turned into a tiny baby orange that has since fallen off the tree.  So, instead, we are focusing on the all the lemon custard pies I will be making versus the marmalade. 


Saturday, June 1, 2013


For the first time in a long time, it felt like DC actually had spring and didn't go straight into oppressive summer heat and humidity--like yesterday. 

The weather was cool, rainy, crisp-- and perfect for our roses. We have been able to have gorgeous arrangements of the various David Austin roses given to us over the years or ones we have planted ourselves.

What is exciting is that some of the climbing roses that have never bloomed have multiple blossoms on them-- including the yellow Graham Thomas rose by the front door. It is a heavenly smell when you are standing on our front porch. 
We especially like the vases we displayed the roses in: a blue glass vase from Gozo we got on our trip to Malta and Gozo; and the silver quaiff that Sylvia made for us. As you pass-by the kitchen table, delicate rose smells waft through the air, much to my delight.