Sunday, July 31, 2011


Basil by Teckelcar
Basil, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I love basil. It smells wonderful, adds so much flavor, is dead easy to grow, and has the prettiest little white flowers.

For the past couple of years I've let my plants go to seed in the fall and have enjoyed them coming back the following spring. This year, however, I decided I needed to buy new plants. My big pot was horribly overdue to have its soil replenished and I seriously doubted that the seeds would be able to sprout and find daylight after a massive reworking of the soil.

And I was right. At least at first.

Spring came and there were no seedlings. I waited for well after the last frost before putting in my new plants. They have thrived this summer despite the high temperatures and erratic watering.

And then lo and behold two little seedlings appeared a few weeks ago. I'm glad I got the new plants, but I'm tickled that the offspring of the old plants are present as well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

MCP Project 52: A Letter of the Alphabet

Straight A by Teckelcar
Straight A, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This weeks theme was "A Letter of the Alphabet."

I t had me stumped for quite some time. I considered taking pictures of signs around the area and cobbling together a collage of a particular letter (C came to mind). However the idea never really grabbed me. So I thought some more when I suddenly got a thunderbolt. I could do something with a report card.

It would be unique since school had ended weeks and weeks ago, I had three to chose from that had straight As, and I could make a nice still life with the excess school supplies floating around the house.

I'm pretty happy with the final result. I picked the best looking report card of the bunch to maximize the amount of As featured. And hey it's a nice way to brag on my children.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Monkey on His Back

Monkey on his back by Teckelcar
Monkey on his back, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Nate has a green monkey that lately we have been throwing at each other. I don't remember how he acquired it, but it has been left downstairs for the past week. So far the dogs haven't touched it, that said the monkey's days are probably numbered.

Anyhoo we were discussing how it was cruel to dress up animals in absurd offits. Nate pointed out that I was always putting on hats on John and replied that John didn't seem to mind and I never forced the issue. Once he pawed it off it was over. Nate was then seized with the idea of putting the monkey on John's back.

He patiently sat there while Nate straddled the monkey on his back and stuffed it's front legs in his collar. He sat for a while and even posed for the camera. Then John wandered off with the monkey on his back, not particularly concerned about his passenger.

Poor John, he is such a good sport. I think Dell would lasted maybe five seconds.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Artist of the Week: Little Signs of Love

watermelon smiles by Teckelcar
watermelon smiles, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Rebecca is this week's artist.

We had some delicious watermelon a while back and Rebecca was very happy to nosh on some out on our deck. The kids prefer slices, but that means they pretty much have to eat outdoors or over the sink. *Maybe* I'll let them sit at the table with a plate. I love the stuff, but a really good watermelon is such a sticky and messy treat. So that's why Rebecca has such a big smile, so got her slice and was able to snag a seat on the deck.

Anyhoodle, Rebecca loves food and loves to cook. She is my own personal sous chef. She'll chop vegetables, stir pots, and add ingredients. She'll even dig out spices from my very messy spice cabinet.

Rebecca also appreciates the artistic side of cooking and understands the value of making a dish look as good as it tastes.

Love in Tomatoes and Cheese by Teckelcar
Love in Tomatoes and Cheese, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
So when I found this lovely little tableau on the counter I didn't need the note to tell me who made it.

The sungold tomatoes with the cheesy smile and the shot glass of flowers made my day. My little girl knows me all too well. I love the taste combination and the the bit of whimsy that was added by making the face.

Her brothers can and do such silly things with food, but not with the high style that is added with the flowers. Rebecca was very pleased that I noticed her effort and took pictures. She has discovered the joy of doing little things that show the people you love how much you care.

Thank you sweetheart!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Beef Festival!

Smile by Teckelcar
Smile, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This past weekend was the 32nd annual Amelia Beef Festival. We don't go every year, it is rather pricey, but when we do we always have a good time.

I realized accidentally that last Saturday was the day when I was watching a local morning show last week. I don't normally watch, but our friends The Velvet Marias were the featured musical guest. As I waited for their segment to come up I impatiently watched various local bits that did not interest me, until the organizers to The Amelia Beef Fest appeared to promote their event. I thought it was come and gone and was delighted to see I was wrong.
football in the rain by Teckelcar
football in the rain, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

Larry was out of town with Jake and I was trying to come up with a fun activity for the rest us and this filled the bill. One quick phone call to Meryl to see if she was in and we were all set, all I had to do was get the tickets before Saturday. The event is advance sales only and I did not want to miss out. I was really looking forward to the all you can eat ribs, BBQ, steamship round, and roasted corn.

Friday afternoon I got the tickets with only a slight bit of drama. After I left the bank (yes, really I got the tickets at a bank) I decided to double check how many tickets I got. As I sat in my car I discovered I had 6, not 5 tickets. After a few more errands I swung by the bank to drop off the extra ticket. They thanked me for my honesty and I thought nothing of it.

roasted corn by Teckelcar
roasted corn, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
That is until the next day when I got a call from the bank to confirm that I had the right number of tickets. I did and even counted them again when I was on the phone.

As for the festival, we had a great time.

It rained, which it always seems to do, but we came prepared. I have a sun tent that keeps off most of the rain (it gets drippy underneath during downpours) and Rebecca looks very pleased that we brought our shelter. Nate got a bit bored until he started playing football with some passing boys. And Max, well he loved the roasted corn. We set up near the corn shed and I don't know how many times the boy ducked over for another ear. I enjoyed all of the beef and I too ate a boatload of the sweet, sweet roasted corn.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Boogie Boogie Hedgehog - Parry Gripp

I first saw this in the sidebar over at Fetch My Flying Monkeys (warning- lots of foul language, but very funny) a few days ago and I still think it's hilarious. Even the kids think it is wonderful. In fact if I start singing "boogie, boogie hedgehog" they will join in.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Green Globe

This is in reality an outstanding illusion.

Created by French artist François Abélanet, it is installed in front of Paris's city hall. I love the title "Qui Croire?", or in English "Who to Believe?"

An article with far more information and an outstanding gallery of the installation can be found over at Inhabitat- Green Design Will Save the World.

I think it is amazing and it completely blew my son, Nate, away. He had a very hard time wrapping his mind around the whole illusion.

Friday, July 22, 2011

MCP Project 52: Get In Close

Luminescent by Teckelcar
Luminescent, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme is "get in close" and I am more than happy to oblige. The hard part was staggering outside and experiencing extreme summer weather up close as well.

It turned out that the weather worked in my favor. The high humidity gave the tiny white flowers I found in our lawn a luminescent quality when viewed through the camera. There is no Photoshop trickery involved, all I did was boost the contrast a smidgen to green up the grass.

At the time I was hunting for bugs, I knew there would be plenty of flower/plant shots. However, these petite little blooms won out. We'll see if anyone else over the the photo group likes these as much as me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sofia Sleeps

Sofia sleeps by Teckelcar
Sofia sleeps, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Just one more of my little niece fast asleep on the couch.

I love how toddlers will just nod off anywhere once you get them to stop moving. She looks so peaceful laying there, yet I know she had been very busy just a few minutes earlier.

I loved the colors surrounding her and the quality of light. The moment was just begging to be photographed and I was happy to oblige.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Artist of the Week: Small Town Parade

Signage! by Teckelcar
Signage!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The artist of the week is my mom's town for its teeny, tiny small town parade.

Our trip up north to my mother's house just happened to coincide with the town fair. We didn't even know about the fair until we got up to her house. As we drove down Main street we could see the signs announcing the upcoming festivities. I got very excited because I had a chance to share a part of my childhood with our children. They have been to county fairs, but never a true blue small town fair.

To show you what a low key/ budget affair it is you have to see the signage associated with the parade. Yes, it's a simple hand written sign, liberally festooned with duct tape, and propped on a piece of wood jammed in a traffic cone. That's Vermont practicality for you.

Waiting for the parade by Teckelcar
Waiting for the parade, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I gathered up those interested in attending (Jacob, Max, and Rebecca) at about 10:30 so we could walk on down, check out the staging area, and find our spot along the parade route. As we walked along one of the parade organizers gave Max and Rebecca balloons. This immediately put us all in good spirits.

So of course 10 minutes later Max lost his balloon.

He was crestfallen, but there was nothing I could do. I had offered to tie the balloon to his wrist, but he had refused. As he stood there dejected a very kind older lady offered him her balloon. Max's face lit up and he profusely thanked her. This time when I offered to tie the balloon he shot his arm out and agreed. At this point my sister in law turned up with little Sofia and the parade was about to start.

Bagpipes by Teckelcar
Bagpipes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
First up was the local Scottish club, led by a bagpiper whom we had been hearing warm up as we waited for the parade. He was quite good and both Jacob and I enjoyed his performance. Rebecca liked the costumes for the wee bairns that brought up the rear of their group.

And for those that can't make out the small print on the banner, S.C.O.T.T.S. stands for Scottish Club Of the Twin States. Vermont and New Hampshire are locally referred to as the Twin States.

Anyhoodle that was the marching band portion of the parade (told you it was a small parade).
Go Carts by Teckelcar
Go Carts, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

Next up were a couple of go carts carrying the number 250. It turns out it is the 250th anniversary of the founding of Norwich. The boys driving were having a good time driving their carts down Main street, something they won't legally be able to do (outside of a parade) for a few more years.

Max thought this part looked like a whole lot of fun.

Sadly there were no horses this year. I remember when I used to live around there, 20 plus years ago (eek!) the local riding club would send a few riders. I don't know when they stopped coming, hopefully they'll come back.
Royal Wedding by Teckelcar
Royal Wedding, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

However other traditions did continue.

After the go carts was the entirely random float commemorating the recent royal wedding over in England. Larry thought it was strange that a town celebrating its 250 anniversary would have a float in honor of our former oppressors. I thought it was cute and was basically an excuse for some girls to dress up and toss candy.

And the candy tossing was the tradition that had continued.

I had told the kids that there *might* be some candy tossed from the floats and I was happy that the parade did not disappoint. Having Sofia with us was a huge bonus.
Antique Car by Teckelcar
Antique Car, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

Cute little kids get lots of candy tossed in their direction.

As we scrambled about picking up candy I almost missed the next participant in the parade. It was a lovely antique car, a real beauty that purred down the street. I have no idea what kind of car it is, but it was a nice addition to the parade. I know if I had an antique car this would be a must do on my list, much better than a car show. Here you get to drive, not just park on a hot parking lot.

Too bad they weren't tossing candy, the kid in the rumble seat could have had a field day with a bucket of candy.

Town's Birthday by Teckelcar
Town's Birthday, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The next float more than made up for the car's lack of candy. The gentlemen on the birthday cake float had a huge bucket of candy. It was all the good stuff, tootsie rolls, jaw breakers, taffy, and caramels. We got handfuls of the stuff tossed our way.

The float itself was charming with the simple "birthday cake" and a bunch of folding chairs. I particularly enjoyed the over sized dump truck pulling the trailer along. The bright yellow paint and ridiculousness of the huge truck dwarfing its payload made me smile.

Then bringing up the rear were the town's firetrucks.
Hooray for Firetrucks! by Teckelcar
Hooray for Firetrucks!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

No parade is complete without a firetruck and small as the parade was it had two firetrucks.

We got the town's pumper and the ladder trucks. Years ago kids would get to ride on top, but those days are over. Instead a lucky few got to ride in the trucks and wave to the crowds.

Either way it is the quintessential element to a small town parade. Everybody loves to see a firetruck an I know the fire department loves to show them off.

Even little Sofia got a good look at the trucks as they crawled on by.

And that was it, the parade in its entirety.

I don't think a parade could be much smaller. It took all of 20 minutes from start to finish. Then the road opened back up and it was business as usual. But the spirit was there and we all had a good time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grandmother and Granddaughter

Of all the photos I took on vacation I think this one, by a large margin, was the most important.

I didn't even think of taking a picture of my mother with her latest grandchild until I saw the two of them together. I had my camera on hand and quickly took a couple before Sofia wiggled out of her grandmother's lap and was off doing important toddler things.

It's a wonderful portrait of the two of them together. They both look relaxed and happy to be with each other. Sofia has the cutest little smile that her hand can't obscure and my mother has Sofia nestled in the crook of her arm.

I'm so glad we were able to visit at the same time as my brother's family (I wonder when I'll get used to saying my brother's family!) at our mother's home. It was a delightful visit and I wished we could have all stayed longer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Caravan Palace - Suzy

This is not the first time I've featured Caravan Palace, and probably not the last.


I love the song and the video. It is just plain fun.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

MCP Project 52: Nature's Finest

Daylily and Grapevine by Teckelcar
Daylily and Grapevine, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I didn't let a silly little thing like vacation stop me from participating in the MCP Project 52. Taking the picture was no problem, the tricky bit was uploading. It was easier to use my cell phone and link up via Bluetooth than mucking around with the camera and various computers. However, I was slack with here so I'm posting the previous week's picture now.

I'm pretty pleased with how the picture came out with my simple cell phone. It doesn't take the greatest pictures, but I can do a decent job when I keep its limitations in mind.

As for the subject, I love day lilies. They are among my favorite flowers and are to me the flower of summer. They naturalize in a heartbeat and as a result they are all over the place. I spot this one while walking along the sidewalk from my mother's house to the town library. When I saw them I knew I had my picture for the week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Well This Was Unexpected

Chapeaux by Teckelcar
Chapeaux, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
So I have this lovely watermelon that I cut up today. It's juicy, sweet, and oh so delicious. The perfect treat for a summer's day, hence the whole "Sweet Relief" in the previous post.

About a quarter of it got sliced up to be eaten on the spot, the rest I cut up into small bite sized chunks to be eaten later. AS I was cleaning up afterwards Max noticed the remaining bit of rind on the counter, left over from when I cut up the chunks. He declared the rind to be a perfect hat and wanted to try it on. He then added that if it was too small we could mail it to a friend in Germany who is a bit younger than Max.


Aside from the impossibility of shipping watermelon rinds to Germany ( a very generous idea that would never fly with the post office), the hat thing knocked me for a loop.

This is Max, my little Adrian Monk in training who takes forever to wash his hands, and he wants to wear a melon rind on his head.

So I did what any mother would do. Rinsed it off, put some plastic wrap on the inside (because eww, melon juice on the hair), and plopped it on his head.

Melon Gaming by Teckelcar
Melon Gaming, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
And darn it, he made it look good.

The stripes on the rind worked well with his tied dyed t-shirt. He happily modeled his new hat and was amiable to the ensuing picture taking.

And what does one do when wearing a watermelon rind hat?

Why play video games of course!

He spent about a half an hour with it perched on his head. After a while it got a bit heavy and the novelty wore off. His only complaint was that he wished it was half a rind instead of a quarter. According to Max that would make a better hat.

MCP Project 52: Sweet Relief

Everybody Loves Watermelon by Teckelcar
Everybody Loves Watermelon, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was "Sweet Relief" and I think nothing better demonstrates this than a nice juicy slice of watermelon on a hot summer's day.

I took a few pictures of sliced watermelon, all red and lovely- glistening in the sunlight. Then I took a few more pictures, this time of Max and Rebecca clomping away on slices of watermelon with the red juice streaming down their chins. But the one that did it for me was when I tossed Dell a rind and snapped a few pictures as he gobbled it up.

Even dogs appreciate the sweet relief of watermelon on a hot day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nana's Wading Pool

wading pool by Teckelcar
wading pool, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
A few years ago we bought this rather silly Spongebob themed wading pool. It's at my mother's house and every summer we drag it out. It has held up fairly, though it seems to have a bit of a leak now and doesn't hold water for very long. However, it still provides hours of entertainment.

Even Sofia thought the pool was fun and loved standing next to it, occasionally reaching down to splash her hand in the water. None of the kids spent much time in the pool (it was only low 80s), instead the pool was viewed as a great place to refill water guns. You can see Nate in the picture with a big smile plastered across his face as he cradles his water blaster.

That rather silly pool turned out to be a good investment.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Artist of the Week: Spring 2011 Recital

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is rather belatedly awarded to Rebecca.

Way back in the beginning of June Rebecca had her spring piano recital. She played Painted Rocking Horse as a duet with her piano teacher, it's a pretty little tune that Rebecca enjoys playing. For weeks she had been practicing diligently and it showed, Rebecca did a lovely job and was pretty darn cute to boot.

At the end of the recital the students were awarded certificates for performing in the recital and trophies for the individual judging conducted earlier were handed out as well. This year Rebecca decided to go for the large trophy. There are three types: small, medium, and large and they are awarded according to how many pieces are memorized and played for the judge. As I said, Rebecca decided to go for the large trophy which translated into 10 pieces of music. As you can she in the picture she was successful and very proud of her achievement (And yes, the judge can fail you all or in part. You can get down graded in trophy size or wash out entirely. It doesn't happen very often, just enough to to remind the students to practice.)

And here it is, Rebecca's performance during the recital.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Sofia by Teckelcar
Sofia, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Why hello there!

I'm back after a week and a half long jaunt up North to met this little person, Miss Sofia.

Well we did a bit more than just met my little niece, but her visit out East with her parents did determine when we went up North. My brother and his wife had been invited to a wedding in VT and planned on staying with my, or rather our mother at her home that was just an hour's drive from the wedding venue. Which was very exciting for us since my brother and his little family live waaaay far away in Alaska.

Visiting them is no easy car ride.

So we much planning and phone calling back and forth between Vermont, Virginia, and Alaska we coordinated our vacation schedules to overlap.

cousins by Teckelcar
cousins, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
And what a vacation it was.

Sofia is a delightful little girl, all of fifteen months. It would have been nice to have met her when she was still a babe in arms, but she is far more fun as a full fledged toddler. She is all peaches and cream with big smiles. Sofia delighted in her big cousins and they too were smitten with her. She loved running around the backyard with them, kicking a ball, and splashing in the wading pool.

We even got to babysit her when her parents went out for the rehearsal dinner. Sofia didn't mind one bit to be left with us. All I had to do was take her out to the porch while my brother and sister-in-law left out the side door. The only time Sofia cried was for a brief moment when I put her to bed. Then she quickly dropped off to sleep. The next day it was off to the wedding and the the house seemed too quiet, they were spending the night and wouldn't be back until midday. Then it was out turn to leave and go back home.

Our visit was all too short.

I can't wait to see the newest addition to the the family again.

Friday, July 01, 2011

MCP Project 52: Hidden Object

This week's theme was hidden object and guess what I found a hidden object last weekend. Which I guess means it really wasn't a hidden object. However two dachshunds cruised by it at least twice and didn't even twitch a whisker.

I on the other hand did see the toad and fortuitously had my camera in hand.

He was a very cooperative subject and didn't move a muscle while I swooped around him taking pictures. It was probably a defensive move, along the lines of if I don't move nobody will see me.

I like the pebbly texture of the toad's skin works with the rough surface of the brick steps and mortar. The leaves spilling over from the bushes along side add a nice splash of color. The bottom of the handrail adds a nice bit of framing for the shot.

I am very pleased with this picture. Thank you Mr. Toad for being such a good subject.