Monday, June 29, 2015

In Slug Heaven

  If you're wondering where this blog has been, this blog has been squelching through the muddy swamp that was once the garden, trying to decide which crisis to tackle first. Not only is everything drenched but the plants (along with the weeds) have shot up like extras in some monster film. I swear the growth rate is twice what is was last year. Not to mention the fact that every slug in the county has beaten a path to the flowers and the casualty toll is spectacular. Lilies, dahlias, newly-planted annuals. All munched down to the quick. I can just hear the brutes, "C'mon fellas, get busy! Party time at Lawrence Acres!"   I tried the slug traps - the beer can variety. No good. Someone came around and pulled up and upended all of them. Probably an alcoholic woodchuck.  The slug pellets don't work unless the wetness conditions are exactly right. "LIGHT watering only!" warn the instructions. Too bad that the slugs come out in their millions after heavy watering, of which we've had days and days.
   We did try to engage someone to come and look after things while we were away, at least to cut the grass. Trouble is, this is modern America. Gone are the days when people actually wanted to earn a bob or two. The first few people we tried either never got back to us, got back to us, took one look at the garden and fled, or promised faithfully they'd come back and never did. Some had novel excuses ("Oops! forgot to put you guys on my schedule!") Some were honest and said they just had "too much going on". I'm not surprised. It's the same with the gents who were supposed to fix the windows, do the decorating, repair the chimney... If you're one of the few people who actually want to do some work around here, you can virtually name your price. A fortune awaits. Come on chaps, this is supposed to be the land of opportunity!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Blog is Back!

 And to this!


 There are trees growing in the lawn.

This is what happens when you take your eye off the ball for a couple of weeks in a western New York June. Forgive me if I spend a little time in what around here is referred to as "property maintenance". Back soon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Flashback: Highland Park

The blog is on holiday - see you in a week or so.

But in the meantime, here's a taste of Highland Park. No, sadly, not the whisky, but a park in Rochester, New York, one of those venerable cities on the old Erie Canal, now not quite as grand as it once was. Rochester is home to Kodak - what's left of it and Kodak founder George Eastman's mansion, music school and a good university.

The park is most famous for its lilacs - which weren't in bloom yet.

But the magnolias were - and how!

The forsythia was doing well too.

This almost looks like a Christmas tree.

And through the trees the imposing tower of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

Looking like something very British. Rochester was not actually named, like many American towns, after its counterpart in Britain but after one Colonel Nathaniel Rochester, who fought in the Revolutionary War. Against the British. Of course.
  The park looks like something from Capability Brown but was in fact designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also did Central Park and a "park system" in Buffalo, now sadly wrecked since they decided to run a busy road through it.

This could be Kew Gardens.

 The cannon, says the plaque, is a trophy from the Spanish cruiser, Castilla, sunk by the Americans in Manila Bay in 1898. It was presented to the city of Rochester by the US consul in Manila, who witnessed the battle. How's that for an intriguing bit of history? It's always worth reading those old plaques.

And another surprise - shamrock. Not in the park but in an Irish pub nearby.

See you soon - watch this space!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Flashback: Illinois Wildflower Walk

In April, hubby and I were in Carbondale, Illinois. Our friends took us on a nature walk. The spring in Carbondale, which is almost in the South,  was a good month earlier than western New York's.

 It was an interesting, rocky forest.

 This chap is called "Jack in the Pulpit". See him?

Dogwood blossoms peeped through the trees.

A May apple appears earlier down south.

 This is trillium, one of the best-loved woodland flowers. We once had one at the back of our garden. Only one. Christmas decorations?

And could this be a spiderwort?

Some interesting rock formations

More trillium

Moss tapestry

This rock looks so interesting you could almost eat it. It reminds me of a giant mushroom.

Rustic bridges - the "trail" wasn't wilderness of course but carefully maintained.

And ending in a waterfall

The same in profile.

Who'd think this was in the same state as Chicago?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On the Road 9: I Meet an Old Friend

Hershey Pennsylvania - home of the chocolate that's, well, not quite Cadbury's and also of the Antique Auto Club of America museum.  Of course, because it's Hershey, they have to have a Kissmobile outside. (Hershey's kisses are to Americans what chocolate buttons used to be for us.)

Do you want to adopt this vinatge snowplough? I thought not. But if you wanted to, you could. They'd be delighted if you paid for its upkeep. It might be useful for scaring off burglars.

In an otherwise anonymous building, the car weathervane is a nice touch.

Wonder of wonders, they had a British Lotus exhibit! (Well actually that's why we stopped by). Some of the cars were not quite what British people would describe as "antique" - another one of those words that means something different across the pond.

This was in the foyer. We thought that would be it but there was more inside.

Like this fabulous 1959 Elite

I didn't realise Colin Chapman also designed a sort of ultralight aircraft engine..

Here's a Europa, as once owned by Georgie Best of blessed memory, though I think his was white.

Another of my favourites...

As was this sweet Elan

Nicely displayed in an old garage setting. Someone must have had fun putting this together.

As for the red one - I could have taken it home with me if I wasn't being disloyal..

Because there was my baby! (His counterpart, which I've owned for 20 years, currently resides in London and is much missed.) I'm ashamed to say I felt the odd tear looking at him.)

They really did have fun.. these cars were displayed against a background which I'think was meant to be the rolling  English countryside. Someone should have told them that Norfolk is flat. There was also a fascinating video playing, narrated by a nice, plummy English voice.

And here was a genuine Lotus chassis. Apparently it was one of the most popular exhibits for the Lotus enthusiasts. Their only complaint was that it wasn't placed prominently enough, it being the Essence of Lotus.

"That's my car!" I'd said to the guide about the Norfolk Mustard Elan. Perhaps he was touched because he was kind enough to take me behind the scenes to look at the Pierce-Arrows, temporarily stored to make room, so I could take some snaps for hubby.

Pierce-Arrows were made in Buffalo, western New York's metropolis. . They were the Presidential and celebrity cars of their day. Exquisite in every detail.

This one even had a child seat in front.

And the white one belonged to Marlene

They brought in special silver for the fabled archer.

There were all sorts of other goodies like this 1912 Stearns-Knight.

A 1910 Otto

And an 1895 Benton Harbor Motor Carriage. Too bad we don't call them that any more.

Some more whimsical setting like a cinema

And Miami, with a 1941 Packard on the right.

That one's available for adoption too.

This is a barn door, owned by the Tucker family.

Which made magnificent beasts like this.

Well back we went to the bland box on wheels that's a modern car.