Saturday, 31 May 2014

Monarch Waystation

In the winter I photographed this sign, alongside the main road near the house indicating that it was a site where Milkweed plants were grown to act as a waystation for Monarch butterflies on their migration north.  Until just a few weeks ago there was nothing growing around it at all.

Now the Milkweed plants are several feet high and the flowers, which smell quite sweet, are almost out.  We thought it might be close to the time when the butterflies would visit on their migration from Mexico to lay eggs.

We were unable to see any eggs or caterpillars as yet and the milkweed plants have not been eaten.  We found that they were hosting a number of different insects.

We will keep an eye on the waystation and hope to see the second generation butterflies when they arrive to lay their eggs.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Tabby Cat Earrings & More..

There is a steady flow of new items appearing throughout the week at the Bargain Loft and these rather eye-catching earrings were new today.  They were rather large (about 3 inches long) but they were sold by the end of the day, and not to me.

It was not the busiest of days but as always an interesting time, talking to fellow volunteers and customers and surveying the quite extraordinary range of items on sale.  

Any offers for the following?

(I think they mean eyebrows, but they aren't very subtle are they?)

I was quite tempted to bring this fluffy chap home, having not yet set eyes on the real thing..

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Pictures - Great and Small

This is a rather poor photo of a framed copy of an old photo of a log train, which was part of the huge stack of pictures for pricing at the Bargain Loft today.

The first engine in the picture is named 'Arthur Hill ' - apparently an American locomotive engineer.

The second engine is E N Briggs but I have been unable to find out who he was.

There are some 'passengers ' rather precariously placed on the trucks carrying the logs.

The date of the original photo was September 1911 and the label also indicates Sugar Pine, California which could be either a location or a tree variety!

I may have mentioned before that there is a very eclectic mix of 'art' to be priced and this little picture is one that I need to research this week..

Today I put out for sale the little miniature painting of the madonna and child in the 'piano' ivory frame and it sold very quickly - which perhaps means I priced it too low.   I can see that this picture pricing task is not going to be easy...

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Grand Bupadest Hotel

I have been keen to see this movie which has been out for several months now - we finally went to see it at the cinema this evening.

It was very quiet in the cinema!  (But we were a little early).  Eventually there were about ten of us there.

The film is a comedy set in a fictional Eastern European state in the 1930's and the hotel itself looks like a giant sugar confection in its mountain setting.  It reminded me of the big, white Victorian hotels that we saw on the mountainside in Wengen and Interlaken, but this one is almost a caricature.  It was very entertaining and the sets and characters were larger than life.

As we had headed to the cinema early we then had a quick bite to eat in a Thai restaurant nearby before returning home.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Garden Flowers

Weeding the cobbled drainage channel along the side of the house (thunderstorms are forecast, following the recent hot days) I was amazed to find this beautiful white rose.  In the winter we had noted that both of the rose trees there looked rather dead but had not revisited them since.

This white rose is large - like a tea rose and it has flowered on just one new shoot.

Next to it is a rather rambling pink rose which is not yet out..

In the back garden is a very small-flowered white rose, like a wild rose.

In the front garden I found a familiar plant, in an unfamiliar colour.

The iris at the side of the house are doing well.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Today is Memorial Day and a public holiday in the US when the country remembers those lost in all conflicts from the Civil War to Afghanistan.  In Washington DC itself there are of course a number of formal military commemorative events, both at Arlington National Cemetery (above in photo borrowed from the web) and on the National Mall where there are wreath laying ceremonies at the World War I and II memorials, the Vietnam Wall, the Korean War memorial and others too.

Yesterday there was a major memorial concert in the open air and the 'Rolling Thunder' motorcycle rally which attracts many thousands of motorcyclists from all over the US.  Today the Memorial Day parade took place in Washington - a parade of veterans, marching bands from all states, and celebrities including Miss America.  We watched the parade on the television last year when Lauren and I were staying here and were quite surprised at the 'party' atmosphere of the occasion, in contrast with the formality of the wreath laying ceremonies.

This weekend also marks the beginning of summer and today it certainly felt like summer with temperatures up to 30C.

We bought some garden flares to deter insects and light the area around the decking - fittingly they are red, white and blue..

This meant that we could have dinner as well as breakfast and lunch outside today to make the most if the weather.  Unfortunately it was a little warm to tackle the grass cutting and other necessary outdoor chores.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

All good things...

... must come to an end.

Today it was time to say goodbye to our first, very special,  guests and, reluctantly send them on their way home to the UK.

We decided to have an American style brunch at home and as the weather was good, we enjoyed our buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, breakfast sausage,  Canadian bacon and eggs outside on the decking in the sunshine.

Tonight Lauren and James are heading back across the Atlantic and we are back to just the two of us.