Yesterday at the shore

Benches and the boardwalk at the shore, gray skies

Goodbye, summer!

Welcome, fall. We’re ready for cooler weather here.

Q is for Queen Anne’s Lace

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This is a flower that I love, Queen Anne’s Lace. I don’t know too much about it, but I know that it shows up in the summer. When I was a kid we would put some in a vase with some food coloring added to the water and marvel as the flower turned whatever color we had chosen. The ability to command the appearance of these flowers was the feeling of ultimate power over nature for my sisters and me in summertime.

August bouquet wildflowers goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace

Who was Queen Anne? According to gardeningknowhow.com:

Queen Anne’s lace is said to have been named after Queen Anne of England, who was an expert lace maker. Legend has it that when pricked with a needle, a single drop of blood fell from her finger onto the lace, leaving the dark purple floret found in the flower’s center.

August bouquet with goldenrod and queen Anne's lace

Last August, I cut this bouquet of wildflowers containing Queen Anne’s Lace. It also features goldenrod, the dark brown/rust color plant I don’t know, and I’m happy to have found out that the big dry thistle-looking thing is called teasel. Those were what originally gave me the idea to create the bouquet.

Dried wildflowers goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace

I kept the bouquet on my counter and watched as it slowly dried out.

dried flowers, queen anne's lace, goldenrod

Might sound weird to some, but I love dried flowers and I enjoyed them for months.

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I’m participating in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April. The idea is to post every day, except Sundays, and end up with one post for each letter of the alphabet. It’s a good challenge to help me to blog every day.

A to Z Challenge badge

H is for How’s It Hanging?

Cucumber growing on a

The cucumbers grew much better last year climbing up the fence. In previous years they had been planted in the bed opposite the walkway, with plenty of space to creep along the ground. Things went OK but never any spectacularly good crops. They flourished, however, when given the opportunity to climb that chain-link fence last summer.

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I’m participating in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April. The idea is to post every day, except Sundays, and end up with one post for each letter of the alphabet. It’s a good challenge to help me to blog every day.

A to Z Challenge badge

Little Blue Flowers, Commelina communis

Dayflower, blue, commelina communis

I had photographed these blue flowers last summer. I loved the way they looked like they were missing a petal or two on the bottom. These grew next door to the long row of green beans I was harvesting from a friend’s garden, so I spent plenty of time contemplating the flowers’ structure as I picked bean after bean after bean.

Recently, I saw a post dedicated to these cute little blue beauties on Tropical Flowering Zone. Maria F. gives the scientific name Commelina erecta, or white mouth dayflower or slender dayflower, as well as a full explanation of the flower. I’m so happy that I saw her post. Otherwise I don’t know how I would have found out information about them.

Two dayflowers, blue, commelina communis

But after comparing the flowers in her photo, which are more rounded, I noticed my flower’s petals are elongated. Thanks to Google’s “related” suggestions on their image search, I feel pretty sure that the flowers that I saw are actually Commelina communis, commonly known as the Asiatic dayflower.

Pretty cool to finally have an answer to that question. I’ll always think of green beans when I think of dayflowers.

The Delaware Water Gap

The creek and trees in the Delaware water gap national recreation area

The Delaware Water Gap helps form the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This is where the Delaware River has been busy carving through the Kittatinny Ridge for more than 400 million years.

The gap itself is about a quarter of a mile wide near the river, but about a mile wide at the top of its two sides, according to park information. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a 70,000-acre park, allows visitors to explore this natural wonder in many different ways. The park celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Created by Congress on September 1, 1965, Delaware Water Gap was established to preserve the natural, culture, and scenic resources and values of the Delaware River valley and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment in close proximity to the most densely populated region of the nation,” according to the park’s website.

Appalachian trail marker on tree
Keep left for the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail passes through, along with more than 100 miles of other hiking trails. People visit each year for hiking, boating, swimming, picnicking, biking, fishing & hunting, exploring historical sites, and for special events.

When I was little, my family went to this park for hikes and later for backpacking. After he retired, my dad walked through on his journey to complete the Appalachian Trail in its entirety.

Mossy rocks and the creek in the Delaware water gap park

The gap is also significant to me because from a young age it was a marker for my sisters and me on our family’s long drives to Ohio to visit my grandparents several times each year. After about an hour of driving through New Jersey, we would pass through the gap into Pennsylvania’s miles of endless oblivion, with the promise of nothing to good look at and nowhere fun to stop.

Creek and trees in the Delaware Water gap park

This was where the real journey began. Would we ever make it to Gramma and Grandpa’s, or would we succumb to whining and madness? Would we find the strength to behave ourselves in the backseat, or would the sport of sibling taunting bring out the bullies and the tattle-tales in us? Would we push mom so far that she would tell us we weren’t allowed to get a happy meal?

Trees and sunlight in the Delaware water gap park

As a child, I didn’t appreciate the panoramic views of the gorgeous rolling farmland, mountains, rivers, valleys, unspoiled wilderness and all that the beautiful state of Pennsylvania has to offer. I only knew it was 6 hours of impossible boredom. And it all started with the ancient and enormous Delaware Water Gap.

Last year, I made three trips through the gap when my Gramma got ill and when she passed. Grampa has been gone for years, and the time had come time for Gramma to complete her long journey. Those were the last of the visits to Gramma by way of the Delaware Water Gap.

A trail in the Delaware water gap park

Finally, in summer, I drove to the gap and stopped there for a couple hours of peace and tranquility. A walk through the park was what I needed. The sounds of the water rushing over rocks calmed me as I watched the creek flow past old rhododendrons and hemlocks. They have been growing since I was a kid. Probably before. On the ground, ferns bobbed on breezes under tall trees. Summer’s sunlight and heat was diffused by the forest. It was perfect. Just like it’s been for the past 400 million years.

Autumn, You Kind of Blew It

Cold, dry air blew in last night and shocked my neighborhood this morning. It finally got to us–the winter that we had been expecting for months but was no where in sight.

I knew I would do this. I don’t want to, but I can’t help it. I knew that as soon as the cold weather came I’d be wishing it was warm again. Daydreaming about spring and summer and green things.

Oak tree green leaves, green grass
Green, and a few leaves tickled with yellow

I really do like winter at times, but I guess not at the moment. The problem now is the sudden change in weather. We had record-breaking warm temperatures at Christmas. I wore a sundress because I was too lazy to dig out my shorts that are packed away in the closet. And now suddenly we’ve got this icy wind swirling outside.

What happened to the smooth transition between seasons?

I can’t help feeling that autumn really dropped the ball. Of course it was fun to keep pretending it was going to be warm forever, but you were supposed to gradually get cooler so that one day we would be so close to winter that we wouldn’t even notice that you had left. Maybe next year you could things a bit more like usual. And could you have a talk with winter? It’s coming on a little strong, maybe it can tone things down a little. Thanks.