I Wouldn’t Say No…

My husband and I had this past week off, and decided rather last minute to take a quick trip out to NYC to visit some friends for a few days.  We drove out Wednesday and came back late last night.  It was great —our friends live in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn and seeing them was wonderful.

The weather was pretty chilly, so while our friends were at work on Thursday and Friday, we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum.  More to come about both.  But first, here are a few things I wouldn’t say no to,  should any of these items from the Met decide to show up at our house:

Flatware by Carl Otto Czeschka of the Wiener Werkstaette, circa 1900. The proportions on this flatware set were profoundly pleasing to me, I absolutely wanted to eat something just to enjoy how the pieces would feel in my hands. The handles were appealingly substantial, and the proportions of the business ends were slightly petite, like they'd keep you from taking too big of a bite of anything and were nicely shaped. Look at the tines on the fork! And I loved the malachite detail on the ends of the handles. Lovely.

Ceramic art nouveau mantle, attributed Desire Muller circa 1900. We don’t have a fireplace, but this would certainly motivate me to add one!

Charles Rohlfs and Anna Katharine Green, oak desk chair from the Rohlfs Home, circa 1898–99. I think it's a bit too narrow to be practical, but my husband really loved this very stylized chair. Picture is terrible, had a hard time getting crisp shots with the museum setting on my camera.

Reproduction federal era klismos style chair. The original set was in James Madison's White House and was lost in the fire in 1820. Graceful, elegant, comfortable, and referencing the Greeks, it's pretty much everything I could I want in a chair.

Cabinet-Vitrine, by Gustave Serrurier-Bovy, circa 1899. Since I'm dreaming, I could definitely find a spot for this astoundingly gorgeous carved wood cabinet. My picture doesn't even come close to capturing how glowing and alive the wood looked. Breathtaking.

Blooming Viburnum

Viburnum plicatum tomentosum

We have 3 different kinds of viburnum in our yard, and they are starting to bloom.  The one above looks quite lovely, almost blindingly white in the sun.  It should put on a show for about 2 more weeks.

This one is budding but not quite yet blooming:

The tag for this one is long lost—my husband and I picked it up at a plant sale at the Dawes Arboretum years ago.  We actually originally planted it in the yard of our first apartment together, and then transplanted it when we bought our house.  (Hardy shrub!)  But I’m pretty sure this is a Viburnum prunifolium, I keyed it out using a nifty guide athttp://www.hort.cornell.edu/vlb/key/index.html.

This is an exciting year, the plant is completely covered in buds!  It’s always bloomed for us in the past, just not very much.  Last spring it only had about 6 of the panicles on it, total.  It’s thrilling to see how good it looks this spring, I can hardly wait until it’s properly in bloom!

The third waits until late spring to bloom and isn’t doing much just yet…

One last look at our visitor from earlier, haven’t seen him since:

 

Garden Guest

This little guy showed up on our porch today.   (Click on the image to see it larger.)  You can’t tell from how the snake is sort of coiled up in this picture, but he was about 18-22 inches long.  The bright coloring on his stripes was unusual, leading a neighbor to speculate that he could be a venomous snake.  I am no herpetologist, but I did know that his head wasn’t the right shape for that to be the case: venomous snakes tend to have a more pronouncedly triangular shape to their heads.  Besides, there are only 3 kinds of venomous snakes in Ohio, and 2 of the 3 are rattlers.  Clearly this little snake doesn’t have a rattle on the end of his tail, and I felt pretty sure he wasn’t a Copperhead.  Nevertheless, we didn’t want to stress him out, so we gave him plenty of room.

My husband thought the snake was a garter snake and so did I.  They are among the most common snakes in our area.  (Although not that common—having one appear on our porch was a first!)  This one had unusual coloring, but stripes usually mean garter.

He wasn’t bothering anything, so after admiring him for a bit and after a few quick snaps of the camera, we retreated to leave him to his business.  (Or her, I certainly am in no position to know the gender of a snake!)

At the Zoo

My niece came for a visit a few weekends ago.  I love when she comes to visit —we play games, read books, play beauty parlor and dress-up, and just generally have a good time.  This time, we did all of that plus we worked in a trip to the zoo.  Bonus:  both of my brothers came along, too!

It was a cold day, so we bundled up and ducked into indoor exhibits when we needed to warm up a bit.  One nice thing about being there on a chillier day was that many of the animals were more active than they’d be on a boiling hot summer’s day.  A few pics from our trip:

The first time I've seen the arctic foxes out --usually they're inside out of sight or curled up napping in their nest boxes. Terrible picture of some beautiful foxes.

Igloo slide at one of the play areas. This one is close to the polar bear exhibit. I love that the zoo is so clever about integrating play areas for the kids in with the exhibits ---this makes it easier to stay longer because the kids can burn off some energy playing and then walk around and learn more looking at the exhibits.

My brother and his daughter, my niece.

Dozing grizzly bear.

My niece with a Komodo dragon sculpture (much safer than attempting this with a real one!).

This young kangaroo had been hand-raised at the zoo and was comfortable enough around people to come pretty close. The keeper had to keep shooing her off the path through the kangaroo exhibit, which is set up so that visitors walk through a 3 acre or so enclosure where the kangaroos are loose and hopping around.

 

Making a new friend in the petting zoo.

Me and my niece, hanging with a hammerhead shark (sculpture).

Wish I’d gotten some pics of the river otter that was out.  He was swimming around, then he’d ride down a little creek waterslide, then trundle back up the hillside to start all over again.  My niece and I agreed that it looked like it would be pretty fun to be a river otter.

Will try again later to post a charming video of the kangaroo keeper shooing the little kangaroo off of the pathway.  Seriously adorable.

Warm and Windy Day!

A break in the cold weather!  Today has been lovely:  sunny, windy, and much warmer than the past 2 weeks.  This morning we took out my husband’s new-to-him kayak for the first time.  He’s been wanting an angler’s kayak for several years now,  and I’m so happy he found a good used one for a reasonable price and got it!  It’s a sit-on-top model with special track thingamajigs for rods and such on it, making it all angler-ish.  It’s also lots of fun!

Taking a turn on the kayak.

We strapped the kayak into the bed of the truck (much faster than when we take the canoe) and popped down to nearby-ish Lake Hargus.  Keith paddled and fished while I hiked part of the loop trail around the lake.  So pretty!  The dogwoods and redbuds were blooming, the air was scented by the blooming honeysuckle (which I know is bad, but it really smelled amazing!), birds were chirping up a storm, Mayapples were up, trilium were blooming, I saw a heron—it was just great.

I could have hiked longer, but then realized that I had forgotten my phone and hadn’t made super-precise plans as to when/where my husband and I would meet back up again–whoops!  And he had to go in to work this afternoon.  So I turned back after maybe 1.5 -2 miles and trotted along, wishing I knew what time it was.  But then I saw my husband still out on the lake, and called and flapped around to get his attention.  It worked and he paddled over to where I was on shore and we swapped places.  Fun!  I like this style of kayak more than I thought I would, although I did splash my legs a bit while I was paddling.  A little tough in the more open parts of the lake with all of the wind, but the foot braces helped with that.  In one calmer cove, my husband could see me from the trail and snapped this pic of me on the kayak.  (Just wish I didn’t look like quite so much like I have cancer when I wear hats! Does anyone else have this problem?!?!)

Apple and Abe are ready to go!

Back at home, the pups were all intrigued by the new boat once we unloaded it.  We’re planning on getting at least one doggy life jacket so a pup can come out on the water.  Since the pugs are so front and top heavy, it looks like the life jackets that have the floaty business under the dog’s chest rather than on their back is probably the safer option.  Can’t wait to try paddling on the water with a pug passenger. 🙂

Spring Blooms

White and pink daffodils

It has been an odd spring, with a few days of abnormally high temperatures that have thrown normal bloom times out the window.  Then we had a fairly hard frost last night.  Hopefully things that started earlier than usual will survive.  Here are some pictures from around our yard, there has already been some really beautiful stuff happening this spring!

The yellow magnolia tree, which didn't have a very long bloom time this spring because of the weird weather ---too warm, too fast. But it sure was pretty for the three days or so when it was in bloom!

Close-up of magnolia flower.

'Appalachian Red' redbud tree. The color is so glorious, more fuschia than the purple color found in most redbuds (which is also lovely!). This tree has been putting on a show for weeks now. Beautiful!

Before the Appalachian Red hit full bloom earlier this spring.

Same tree, about a week and a half later.

'Lavender Twist' weeping redbud tree.

Cherry blossoms

Weeping cherry tree.

Fancy double daffodils.

These daffodils look like sunshine in flower form!