Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fireplace Mantle

While I was out gallivanting with the ladies on Saturday, Ed was home building a mantle for our family room fireplace. It turned out lovely. He made a box and trimmed it with molding. Then, he painted it white and mounted it.

We put some cute birds on it that Crystal found when she and I went shopping last summer. I took the side picture so you can see how nice and chunky it is.

Good job, Ed!

Stake Relief Society Event

Barb Keller and I went to the Stake Relief Society activity together on Saturday. We made some pillows for breast cancer patients, had lunch and went to a class on fashion on a budget. The fashion class was surprisingly helpful with lots of ideas about how to adapt clothes that have sheer sleeves or low necks. It was very practical advice. Barb told me a lot of bird watcher stories, and suggested more ways I can spend money on my newest hobby!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gold Finch and Robin

Our bird feeder is very entertaining. We caught this pair of goldfinches having breakfast there this morning. The male is on the left.

When he realized I was taking his picture, he flew off into the tree. Can you spot him in this picture?
The robin is too fat to feed at the feeder, apparently. Either that, or she just prefers fresh worms for breakfast. Here she is walking around in the grass. She better watch out for Simon, Miss Carol's cat! He likes birds for breakfast!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Poles for Everyone (except Coda)

Ed and I walked the fire road with our Nordic walking poles today. I had bought Ed a pair several years ago, and we hadn't even taken the price tag off yet. So, I gave him the full knowledge of the course I took in Colorado. It amounts to plant your right pole by the forward heel of your left foot. Fortunately, this went a lot better than the roller skating lesson I gave him 30 years ago. He got the hang of it quickly, and I had a hard time keeping pace with him. It was great exercise, and we made terrific time up and down the hills. Coda, as usual loved it. Has there ever been a dog that didn't love to go for a walk?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nordic Walk with Coda

I decided to up the ante with Coda today and walk with TWO sticks instead of one. I thought if I was carrying a stick all the time, I might as well take my Nordic walking poles and get some upper body exercise while we were walking. It wasn't like riding a bike. I couldn't remember out to get the little hand gloves on, then I didn't remember that you alternate arms (I started by pushing with both arms at the same time). Then, as you can see, even though I thought I had it down pat, I was unable to get a simple picture of myself in the correct form (planting the pole simultaneously with the foot on the opposite side). However, on the upside, it worked very well with Coda, and she only had to be reminded occasionally not to pull on the leash. The other downside is the neighbors might all think I'm a nut case. Nordic walking is not exactly something you see every day in Maryland. It was drizzling outside, and too wet to walk the fire road so we just strut our stuff right down the middle of Oakland road!

Good Yeast Makes Good Bread

I got this quick and easy hamburger bun recipe from Brittany. The first time I made it the buns were a little heavy. Brittany suggested I try again and buy some new yeast. So, I made them again on Saturday. They turned out perfect the second time! As I added the newly purchased yeast I thought, "Wait a minute. Did I put in two tablespoons the first time, or just two teaspoons of yeast?" Now my only quandary is whether to throw away the old yeast, or try again with the proper measurement!

Check out the recipe at

And don't mess up the yeast!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bird Party at the Bushes

We've been enjoying watching the birds 'flock' to our feeder. We call them our birds. We also own a gazillion chirping insects in our copse. The birds are camera shy, but with a little patience and Ed's zoom lens I was able to get a few pictures. This is a cardinal. Maybe it's a female because it is brownish on the body!

This is a blackish-gray bird that is  very clever at balancing on a wire.

This is a cool brown and white bird with a stripe on the side of his head!

These are three amigos having dinner together.

This looks like two of the three amigos. The third one flew the coop!

If you are a bird watcher and can identify any of our birds, we'd love to know what they are!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Five Walks

Coda and I went for a walk every day this week! That was a record in consistency. Could it be the beautiful weather was such a draw? We did a loop through the forest today, ending up at Miss Carol's farm. By the time we reached the barn, Coda was ready to take a rest.

Linda was over at the farm, and we had a nice visit with her, as well as Miss Carol and Piper (bottom of picture).

Afterwards, Coda rested up in her new favorite place, nestled in the pillows of our new sofa. From there she can watch on three sides to see if anyone (dog or human) walks by! What a life!

Pearl Flier

Just in case any of our fans would like to come hear the Pearl Strings, we're playing at the Carroll County Senior Center on Tuesday, May 22, at 12:30 p.m. If you're old enough (over 60) you might want to go early and eat lunch at 11:30, right before the performance. If you're not old enough to be a senior, come just for the performance! We think it's going to be great! (Anyway, we're keeping our fingers crossed!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


So, John wanted us to try out Google Hangout tonight. He and Brittany called Crystal and me and we joined in a group chat. The sound quality wasn't quite as good as the Skype group chat, but it had the advantage of having the ability to put funny hats and mustaches on yourself. We even added a birthday cake! That was fun! We also could watch the same YouTube videos together. It also had the added advantage of being free, which makes it hard to complain about the sound quality! It was nice to hang out with the kids for a while, as Ed is somewhere in the sky between Colorado and Maryland tonight!

Bell Choir

Mickey invited me to go to an open house for her bell choir tonight. It was just to watch one of their rehearsals. I thought it would be fun. After the first song, I was just wishing I could try. I realized they were short one ringer, and was just about to ask if I could play to, when one of the ladies said, "Maybe you'd like to try it." I jumped out of my chair and grabbed a couple of bells before the director could tell me "No." It was so fun! And I did really well, if I do say so myself. They gave me the biggest bells. It makes me look important, but it was really like singing bass. I only had half as many notes as everyone else! That was a good way to break me in!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rusty Scupper

Ed and I went to Baltimore yesterday and had lunch at the Rusty Scupper. They had a 30th anniversary special. The price was $19.82 to commemorate the year the restaurant opened. Ed was a little bummed that 30 years ago was only 1982. We remember that year! It made us feel old. The food was great, and the view of the harbor perfect.

All kinds of boats passed our window, including this pirate ship. We were glad we were safely behind that wall of glass!

We strolled along the waterfront and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Baltimore, especially this giant pink poodle advertising the Museum of Visual Arts. Maybe we'll have to visit them sometime!

We finished our tour by driving by the new wing of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was dedicated this week by Mayor Bloomberg, of New York, who gave $120 million for it! I guess it pays to have alumni that do well in business! It was very beautiful with the colored panels in the windows. Baltimore has a LOT of very big hospitals. This makes one wonder if it is a great center for medicine, or a great conglomeration of very sick people!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Conservatory Curtains

We put up four curtains in the conservatory yesterday. This was no easy feat, requiring a lot of work from both Ed and me. He had to mount the sconces and climb the ladder over and over. I had to sew and hem the fabric. I had to measure them over and over to get the hem right. I also inserted 7 weights (washers) in the bottom of each hem to make them hang nicely. At the end my needle broke and the new needles didn't work (they kept shredding the thread). I was ready to give up! We finally finished up about 10 p.m., tired and a little cranky. It was nice, however, waking up this morning to our lovely new room.

Sitting on Moss

Ed had Friday off, and we started out the day with a walk around the fire road. We found a nice patch of moss to sit on to have our picture taken. What a beautiful way to start the day! I liked it because it gave me one more excuse not to go to the gym. We let Coda off leash for a while, but she decided to chase a bird as we neared the end of our walk. She completely disappeared into the trees. She came back when she lost interest, which took several minutes. Her leash-free days are over now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trimming up the Yard

Village Gardeners came over today like a whirlwind. They pulled all our weeds, re-defined the edges of the plantings, added new mulch, trimmed the trees and bushes and spread some grass seed with topsoil and straw.

In addition, they replaced a lot of bushes that didn't survive the winter (or the deer), and added some coral bells between our boxwood trees.

The coral bells are in three different colors, white, pink and yellow. I can't wait to see them all in bloom!

Coda enjoyed staying outside most of the day so she could keep an eye on the landscapers. Afterwards, Katie and Piper came over so Coda could chase them. It was a good day!

It's Cherry Blossom time in Carroll County

We may have missed the cherry blossoms in Washington DC last month, but we're enjoying them here in Carroll County. The season is a little later here, and our own tree is in full bloom! Our neighbors have even more impressive displays, but one day our tree will also be big and beautiful!

We're just a little north of Washington DC, but we're 600 feet higher in elevation (they are at sea level). I wonder if that is why our trees are three weeks later... Here's a question I'm throwing out into cyberspace: "Are your cherry trees blooming, wherever you are?"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Walk on the Wild Side

Coda loves to go for a walk--even more than I do, and I like walking quite a bit! We stopped by to see Miss Carol this afternoon before we went into the woods, but Coda couldn't concentrate on playing with the pugs, because she knew a walk was imminent.

Besides the leash, she is used to us carrying a walking stick to help show her where to walk. I also took a whistle and some pupperoni this time. I wanted to see if she could stay with me if she was off leash.

With a little positive encouragement she came right back beside me when I told her she was pushing her limits too far. The real danger in doing this is deer. Coda missed about five of them jumping across the road just 50 feet in front of us. Fortunately for both of us, at the time they crossed I was giving Coda a treat. If she had started chasing them I hate to think where she'd end up!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Couch for Coda

We got our new couch and love seat today. Coda is so relieved. She had been flopping around the house like a dog without a country this week. She missed her lookout from the old couch. After the delivery people unwrapped the new couch, she immediately made herself comfortable. She looks so cute on the new couch--she's the perfect accessory to our new furniture!

Crab Apple Tree in Full Bloom

We might have missed the cherry trees in DC this year, but we're enjoying our own bright pink blooms right in our own front yard! It is so exciting, because last year they didn't bloom at all, due to the fact that they were transplanted during their blooming time.

We have two matching trees at the entrance to our driveway, and they both look very healthy this year. Another strange thing about last year is that the leaves stayed small all year. Let's hope the grow to be normal sized this year! Coda posed nicely for the first picture, but it's embarrassing to think what she might be doing in the second shot here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stompin' at the Savoy!

June suggested I work up a guitar solo for when we go gigging together, just the two of us. I've been working on accompanying her while she sings songs from the 30s and 40s. The same day my guitar teacher, Frank, suggested I learn this song. He arranged it just for me! This is after a month of hard work, but it's been a fun journey!

I tried to get Coda in the picture, but look, she gets up and walks off when I start playing! She's a sweet dog, but has no real appreciation for the arts!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Goodbye, Green Couch

We gave our green couch, loveseat and chair to Dennis and Sue today. The set has graced the basement in our Parker house, the living room in Broomfield, and the conservatory in Sykesville. It was a little nostalgic sending it away.

Dennis and his neighbor, also named Dennis, came to pick it up with the help of Savannah, who was happily on spring break this week! Savannah and I helped with the pillows!

We were happy we had friends who were in need of a new couch! It's nice to know it's going to a happy home!

Our new couch will be delivered on Thursday, but I almost hate to get a new one. Look how beautiful the light is in the conservatory! Furniture is just a distraction!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Miss Carol Comes to Watch Conference

Miss Carol came over to watch the first session of conference with us this afternoon. She came in the golf cart, and Coda got to take a little ride. She loves the golf cart, just as we all do. It is so cute. Ed also got to ride along to make sure there were no sudden drops that might cause the cart to tip over. We enjoyed a nice relaxing conference Sunday. We were sorry when our local cable station cut off the second session of conference at 5 p.m.! We missed the end of a very good joke. Ed got us hooked up online just in time to hear the audience laughing heartily. I guess we'll have to read the Ensign to find out what we missed!

This Chair's Too Big!

Ed and I went to a furniture store Friday, where we found this chair. It was too big for even Ed! (I think he looks more like an Eddy in this picture.) We didn't buy it, but I hope some of you can think of a funny caption for this picture. Last time I asked for comments Judea won with the funniest comment. (See for her comment as well as several other very clever comments.) We're giving out the same prize we gave out last time. I hope that doesn't discourage Judea from entering our new contest!