Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reflecting ...

I’m in a reflective mood because my father-in-law passed away on Sunday. For the past month, I have been working to put together a photo slideshow of his life. As I have collected and scanned the photos, and cropped and edited them, I couldn’t help but reflect on life … his life, my life, and life in general.

Out of my original 130 carefully-chosen photos, I could use only 50 of them for the slideshow to be produced by the funeral home for his memorial. How can I possibly edit his life down to 50 photographs?

His family rarely took photos while he was growing up, so there are only a few of him as a boy. This one was my favorite.

I must include a wedding photo. He and my mother-in-law were married for 57 years.

Many photos were taken of the two of them, with their sons or just by themselves … on Easter, or Christmas, or other special occasions.

His grandkids called him Pap Pap, and he was extremely close to all five of them.

He was always helping us here, and I doubt we could have achieved what we have with the renovation of this house without him. He was an electrical genius … scheming ways to snake wires through these old walls with minimal damage was one of his coolest achievements.

He loved working outside the most.  During mowing season, he spent every Thursday here, on the tractor or manning the string trimmer, to help us keep this place looking its best. (Sometimes, the tractor came in handy for other things, like when a delivery truck was stuck in the mud)

His favorite hobby was building and flying radio-controlled airplanes.

We all are secure in the belief that we will be together again. This world right now sure feels empty without him, though.

Godspeed, Dad.  We love you.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses Blog)

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas

It is very unusual for us to have a white Christmas in Virginia.  Measurable snow usually comes later in the season, and it is gone within a few days.  Today is probably the last day for our snow, because we have a large rain system heading our way ... which will melt the snow and turn the ground to muck.  Ewww.

Here are some snowy country images, a gift to you this Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas, Everyone.


(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses Blog)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

It finally stopped snowing at about 9:00 Saturday night.  When I woke up on Sunday, this is what I saw when I looked out my kitchen window.

There was two feet of snow on the ground, with more than that in the drifts against the house, fence, and outbuildings

The wind was gusting, and it blew most of the snow out of the trees by afternoon.

I was going to have to deal with this much snow on my Expedition if I had any hope of going anywhere.  Fortunately, there was nothing I needed badly enough to chance a trip out onto my barely-plowed country road.

I ventured back toward the barn, trudging through snow that was deeper than the top of my Muck boots.  How many of you have visited here and sat in this chair to relax and look at the Rose Field?

I don't think I will ever get tired of looking at the barn.  I am very excited at the prospect of finishing the renovation of the yellow cottage next year, so the nursery operations can move back there.

It is so unusual to have this much snow on the ground in Virginia, especially in December.  I am really enjoying it, and the Christmas-y atmosphere it creates. 

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses Blog)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.

The only news here in Hartwood is the weather.  It started to snow last night at about 6:00 ... we have more than a foot of snow on the ground right now, and we may double that total before it's all finished late tonight or early tomorrow morning.  

Here are a few wintery snapshots.

My grandson and I went out to see if we could use a boogie board as a sled ... nope.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I'll get out the plastic snow saucers when we go back out later.

Letting the dogs out has been a challenge.  I am working to keep a path on the deck and steps shoveled and swept, so the dogs can go out the way they're used to. 

It's hard for Emma to do her 'business' when the snow is halfway up her thighs. 

Here are a couple of images from the garden.  There will be more, I promise.  I didn't want to keep my camera outside in the blowing snow any longer than I had to.

A snowy hip on New Dawn.

A freeze-dried flower on Irish Gold.

I don't mind this storm at all.  I'm here with just myself and the grandson.  I don't have to go out, since we have plenty of food and supplies.  I know how to start the generator if I need to.   Most of my Christmas shopping is finished, the tree is decorated, and I have a pot of soup simmering on the stove.  It's a lovely snowy day, and I hope to enjoy it while it lasts.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses Blog)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like ...

... Christmas!  I'm not usually one to spend a lot of time with outdoor Christmas decorations.  A wreath on the front door and some Santa hats on the greyhound statues, and I'm good. 

This year, I had an itch to do something a little different, and our flat-roofed porch seemed to be the perfect place.  We have this weird naked white Christmas tree that we bought 7 or 8 years ago.  It's only 7  feet tall, so it's too short and fat to look right inside (we have 9 1/2 foot ceilings).  There's 2502 lights on it (I just read the label on the box), which means that it's bright enough to be considered task lighting, IMO.  A quick check of its UL label confirmed that it's rated for outdoor use ... now, how do I get it to stay up there?

Cinderblocks and rubber tie-down straps, of course.  I put a cinderblock onto each leg of the tree stand to weight it down, and the rubber straps attach the tree to the gutters to keep it from tipping over in a stiff wind.  It's so far over your head that none of this is visible from the ground.  If it had been, I thought about wrapping the cinderblocks to look like presents.

Here's what it looks like at night:

See what I said about it being bright?  It's probably visible from space.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

I recently found a cool little gathering in the blog-world.  On the 15th of every month, dozens of garden bloggers check in over at May Dreams Gardens to show photos of whatever is blooming in their garden that day.  I decided to try to participate, figuring that our recent frigid weather, snow, and rain would leave almost nothing to photograph.

As I walked the property with my grandson, we found a few flowers.  I wasn't surprised to see camellias ... they're supposed to be flowering now.

(Camellia japonica 'Rosy Red')

(Camellia japonica 'Pink Serenade')

Tucked into the grass here and there, were dandelions.

There was one lonely flower left on the Climbing Aster (Aster caroliniana)

It was a big surprise to find tiny a spray of flowers on a volunteer Money Plant.

The roses are all sleeping now.  We only found one photo-worthy rose ... a freeze-dried flower on Awakening.

This was fun.  I'm not accustomed to wandering around in December looking for flowers to photograph.  I think it was cool that we found any at all.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Photography Workshop ... Project #4 (a day late)

This week's project required more time and introspection that I had ... until this morning.  Things are fairly upside down here, and I find that I am easily distracted.  My father-in-law is quite ill, and my husband and his brother are taking turns staying with their parents to help their mother. 

I realized early this week that there was no way I could do this project exactly as outlined.  Instead of taking new photographs, I dug through my files to find photos I already have on hand ... and I tried to see them in a new way.  I hope this fulfills the spirit of the assignment.

Part One:  Create portraits without showing the faces of your subjects. 

These are my helpers.

My 5-year-old grandson is a very enthusiastic garden helper.  He is always available to dig a hole, or flick a Japanese Beetle.

My husband is the king of destructive tools.  Whether we are demolishing the wood floor in our basement (whose idea was it to put an oak floor in the damp basement of an old house?) or cleaning up storm damage, Steve is always game to jump in and get the job done.

Part Two:  Step from behind the camera and show my face.

This one is hard for me.  I'm the one behind the camera, the one in control of the images ... I rarely pass my camera to someone else.  (does this sound like you, too?)  Here is a little mosaic I created this morning, using photos taken of me in the past couple of years.

(from top to bottom)

1.  I helped decorate the Governor's Mansion for Christmas a couple of years ago.  This is one of the pitiful little arrangements I made.

2.  My dogs and me, having breakfast on a trip to Dewey Beach.

3.  Queen of Power Tools. 

4.  Governor's Mansion, again, sitting on the front steps with the garland I made.

5.  Dewey Beach, again ... it was cold!

6.  This is almost what I look like now ... it was taken at our daughter's outdoor wedding this summer, in blinding sunshine.  No more pixie haircut for a while.

This was the last project for this workshop.  It has been a challenge to look at my photography in a different way .. I hope I am a better photographer because of it. 

I have loved getting to know other photo bloggers.  When I began this blog last year, I had no idea that there was a whole world of other blogs out there ... all connected into a network.  This project forced me to venture from my own blog-world, and visit others to see what they had to say.  I am pleased to be a part of this community, and I will continue to visit with others often. 

Please stop by to see what the other workshop participants have created.  The list is HERE.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flowers on Friday

The thermometer outside the back door says it's 21 degrees this morning!  We got 3" of snow last Saturday, and 3" of rain on Tuesday ... so things here are cold and squishy. 

Let's warm things up a bit with some sunny yellow roses for our Friday Flowers.

Zeus, a Hybrid Setigera climber from 1959, produces sunny yellow flowers all summer long.  It's been a bit slow to start its climb up the East fence in the Rose Field, however.  Many climbers, especially those who are growing on their own roots, can take a couple of years to get well-established.

Crepuscule is a beautiful Tea Noisette introduced in 1904.  (The name means 'Twilight'.)  This rose also grows on the Rose Field's East fence.  I love Crepuscule's apricot/gold/yellow color (which doesn't fade as much as I thought it would), and its shiny dark green leaves.

Buff Beauty, a Hybrid Musk from 1939, is fairly well-known.  It's recommended by a number of TV garden shows as a low-maintenance, fragrant rose.  Mine grows on an arch in the Rose Field ... I can't pass by it without taking a big sniff whenever it's in bloom.

"Lundy's Lane" is a Pernetiana/Hybrid Tea discovered by Gregg Lowery in San Francisco in 1979.  It never fails to attract attention from garden visitors.

Old Gold, another Pernetiana/Hybrid Tea, introduced in 1913.  Around the turn of the 20th Century, rose breeders were racing to be the first to introduce a healthy, floriforous, true yellow rose.

Happy Child, an English rose bred by David Austin in 1994, is really as yellow as this photo shows it to be.  It's a smaller Austin rose, good for the front of a border.  I love the name!

Molineux is another yellow Austin rose, introduced in 1995.  It's a lovely compact shrub, in a softer shade of yellow than Happy Child.

Limelight, a Hybrid Tea from 1985, is a rose that is difficult to photograph.  The flowers have a greenish tint to them (as the name suggests).  If I try to photograph Limelight in bright sunlight, I can never capture the subtle shades of yellow of the flowers.  It's much better if I wait for a lightly overcast sky.

Yellow Magic is a miniature rose bred by Ralph Moore in 1970.  Gold buds open to loose, light yellow flowers, that change to coral pink as they age.  I love the way the petals fold back to show those gold stamens.

I'll finish this Friday with Thanks to Sue, a miniflora rose introduced by Ralph Moore in 2004.  You know by now how much I love Ralph Moore's roses ... this one is a lovely, sunny addition to my collection.

(written by Hartwood Roses. Hartwood Roses blog)

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