Monday, May 31, 2010


What we saw in our driveway a few days ago...
I tried looking up snakes online, and this is what I think it is--Northern Water Snake (Nerodia Sipedon).  It has a very cool diamond-like pattern and is about four feet long.  It stared at us for a while and then slithered into the  garden.  NEW NOTE:  My friend Linda's son is a herpetologist and says this is a black rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus).  Check out his website Diamondback Trading Cards.  See a very good youtube video of this snake--Brandon's Herp Adventures.   Thanks, Linda!

information and photos by Jim Braswell 
some good photos and chat from Texas folks 
Animal Diversity Web website
snake identification chart by state--click on links from here  

If you know what this snake is, please let me know.
photos by me © 2010 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Handmade by Sandi

Firstly, you may wish to know that May 3rd is Sandi's birthday, AND that she is having a birthday bash in one of her etsy shops!  More of that later!  
Sandi works with fabrics and yarns.  "I love the feel of soft yarn, when I am working with it, as well as wearing a finished item - makes me feel hugged, and you will too - when you try one of my scarves or hats."  
She learned to crochet from her mom many years ago ("too many to count").  Sandi loves making crocheted items for her family and friends.  "In 2006, after starting chemo treatment for breast cancer, I crocheted myself little hats and skull caps to keep my head warm - even in bed!  With the completion of my treatment, and my energy level coming back - I decided to pay it forward, by crocheting hats for other cancer patients. What a wonderful feeling to give back for all the help I received!"  

Sandi has 2 etsy shops:
Handmade By Sandi  yes, this is the one in which she is having the birthday bash!
Sandi's Stash, a shop for fabrics and blank T shirts 
Be sure to check out Sandi's BLOG as well.  See her enormous garden HERE 
Find out that Sandi belongs to etsy's Sneak Attack Team which sounds like lots of fun!  See their blog and find out more HERE.  Yes, you, too, can participate in the fun without even joining the team!
Sandi is the etsy bloggers' blogger for the month of May.
photos by Sandi © 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Northside Mother's Day Randomness (part one)

a family excursion to Northside, Cincinnati, involves a lunch at Melt, and photographic wanderings and musings...
Nestled between I 74 and I 75, practically surrounded by several parks, north and slightly west of downtown Cincinnati,  Northside calls itself an "urban village."

A "real" population began to develop in the 1820s with the development of the Miami-Erie Canal and the CH&D Railroad.  This area, originally named Cumminsville, became  known as a place Cincinnatians could visit to get away from the city.  

After WWII, industry exploded, and the highway system became well developed.  People no longer had to live near their work.  Thus began the exodus to more rural areas, and Cumminsville declined.


Northside (name changed a few decades ago) has experienced a renaissance in recent years.  The community strives to be a hip, holistic, diverse, and sustainable environment, providing a variety of cultural, work, and educational opportunities.
courtyard outside Melt

Independently owned restaurants abound. 

inside chairs at Take the Cake

Northside official website
Melt restaurant
Take the Cake restaurant 
photos by me © 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pagosa Springs: SkyWatch Friday

Pagosa Springs, Colorado
 This post is for SkyWatch Friday hosted by Wren, fishing guy, Sylvia, Klaus, and Sandy.
Come join us in this awesome meme, link up, and meet folks from all over the globe.
click to see shooting star!
photo by me © 2007

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Gardens

I love Spring when tiny green leaves poke up out the seemingly barren earth; leaves and flowers begin to unfurl, and heavenly scent fills the air.

emerging hostas

I love Summer best of all, when the days are hot and the glory of flowers abounds, insects buzz, herbs are gathered, and vegetables grace the table.

fairy roses and penstemon (above)

Fresh mint of several varieties grows in a garden in the front of my house, along with a serviceberry (yummy fruit), bluebeard bush, basil, lemon balm, thyme and other herbs, fairy roses, and various flowers.  Last year I planted a few tomatoes here as well.  This year I am growing snap peas here.
apple mint (above)

I have gardens all around my house, mostly with flowers and some herbs.  I grow tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers in pots on my deck.  Oh and basil, too!  One can never have enough basil!
I've lived in my current house for 10 years, so I've had some time to develop gardens.  However, so much work remains to be done.  So this year my short list is as follows:
1.  dig up and give away extra plants--black eyed susans, lemon balm, buttercups, daylilies, thyme
2.  move a few bushes around
3.  replace the sargent crab apple that died with something
4.  get rid of the mock orange that never bloomed and looks too scraggly most of the time
5.  work on the area on the West side of my house.
6.  The back of my yard is edged by woods.  It is also a bank.  I've let the weeds grow up to keep the bank from eroding.  (Some of the "weeds" are raspberry plants.)  I want to continue to work on this area building the soil higher and filling in with pretty garden plants.  I am also working on a path down the bank into the woods.  A few steps are needed here.
7.  re-do the small garden at the end of my driveway.
8.   plant vegetables, herbs, flowers
9.   finish mulching!
and relax and enjoy!

This post is for the etsy bloggers' team carnival which will be posted HERE on Monday, May 24.  The carnival is hosted by Sweet Sally Soaps (very  wonderful soap!).  Do go check out her blog now because she is running a contest and you just might win some of her luscious soaps! 
Sweet Sally blog
Sweet Sally shop
photos by me © 2009