Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cardinals

It feels like it is late to be finding baby birds in nests, is it late? I don't know. There is a nest near my drive way, I noticed because I was walking passed the shrubs and a bird started to call me away, trying to catch my attention, and so I turned to look at the shrub and found the nest. It was high enough that I couldn't quite see into it, so I held my phone up for a photo. Oh dear, they must be new. They don't have feathers yet!

cardinal, nest, baby cardinals, no feathers, chicks, virginia


I am guessing that these tiny chicks are cardinals because after viewing the nest I turned back to the bird trying to get my attention and saw a flurry of red. I followed it until I could get a better view. Yes a male cardinal. I am so pleased. They are my favorites. They seem a bit shy at the bird feeder, the chickadees are always the first ones. And we have several finches (I think) that are bossy and aggressive. And the Tufted tit mouse (if its birds do we still say 'mice' for plural?) that I also enjoy are frequent visitors. The cardinal seems the last to visit, the first to decide things are too busy or too noisy or too whatever.

a not very good phone photo, with a bit of red there

and there he is flying

I'll be peeking at the nest again in a week or so. I don't want to distress daddy cardinal too much and make a nuisance of myself. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

A few weeks ago at Chincoteague

iphone photo, marshes, assateague island, virginia, water
marshes, Assateague Island

We did finally make it to Chincoteague over spring break. And it was cool, and breezy and we loved it. If you've never been I recommend it, and give yourself at least a full day. We arrived late as we were not able to leave until midday. And we could have spent more time. We walked to the lighthouse. And then took another walking path out to the beach. There were plenty of birds in the marshes and I cannot identify most of them, I'm not a birder, but I saw plenty of red winged blackbirds in the tall marsh grass calling to each other. On our way back to the car we passed several cars pulled to the side and people were outside with binoculars. We asked what they were looking at. They pointed out an eagle's nest and the eagle inside it and the other keeping an eye on the nest from another tree. There is an eagle cam, they said, but it was knocked down in high winds so they are waiting for the babies to fly off and then the video camera will be repaired, or replaced. They offered their binoculars to the kids and they were able to see the eagle in the nest, presumably sitting on eggs. We didn't see any ponies at all. I mentioned this later in social media and a friend from dog training answered that for me. He is both a firefighter and a horseman and has some ties to Assateague. He said the mares are foaling so the ponies are quiet now.

inside the museum


egg preservation display

just outside the museum, evidence of ponies












ocean view, assateague, april, iphone

horseshoe crab, shells, beach



K would like to return. There are camp sites on the island, and bikes are encouraged. There is a Best Western Plus just across the bridge from the island. You could ride your bike in if you were so inclined. Do check the National Park for rules. No dogs allowed on the island at all. It makes sense with the ponies, but I'm glad I looked before we drove out there. Hiking with the canines is a favorite activity for me and I would have automatically brought them. (I do wish dog owners would agree to bring animals on leashes, keep them on leashes and not allow them to bother indigenous animals though. There are an increasing number of National Parks with "no dogs allowed" rules. Ruining it for the rest of us.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

staying in

Today I'd planned to take the kids out to Chincoteague Island - we've never been. But the weather changed and the temperature dropped and today it is in the 40's and windy and feels like 30's. Now, we are outside winter people. A day that feels like 30's when you are skiing is quite warm. But I've got a guest at the house without proper clothes and 30's and windy for a hike around an island sounded a bit - well - like a "hardy day" but not really a fun one to be quite frank. So we are putting it off and will try again Thursday.

So I'm doing a few house chores and then cutting up some knit fabric I picked up to try out a new pattern for the shop.

a fun knit by Doodles Dot to Dot

the only fabric store in town in Joann's. They are well stocked in quilt cotton and fleece and then have some seasonal apparel fabrics thrown in. You can see how few people are actually sewing clothes these days by the fabric selections. But Joann's does carry a line by Doodles Dot to Dot that is only sold through their stores and I thought this knit would make a cute summer top for my girls.

they call it a chevron pattern, I just like the colors

I'll post the finished product shortly. (well, hopefully!)

and here it is! Super Cute!
chevron, whigs & tories, doodles dot to dot, knit, summer 2016

whigs & tories, chevron, doodles dot to dot, summer 2016, girls fashion, kids fashion


This pattern is called Desert Breeze and is from the collection of Striped Swallow Designs. This is the third pattern I've purchased from them. I find the directions very easy to follow and the patterns turn out super cute. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Virginia Capitol Building in Richmond

It is Spring Break week for our schools. As we tend to spend all our energy and resources during ski season the last few years spring break has been low key... a 'stay-cation' I think they call it these days.

Today we grabbed a friend and headed to Richmond to see the Capitol Building. Some of the kids have been before. The schools used to take them. But M hasn't been with school and while she has been - it was quite some time ago. She was probably in pre-school.

It was a beautiful day!
blue sky over the Capitol Building



pretty red, white & blue!



WTCS316, Whigs & Tories, Spring, Paris, Tunic, Lavender, handmade, made in the usa, made in virginia
two cuties!

practicing his "future dignitary on a park bench" pose

I'm linking up with Backyard Neighbor's Blue Monday in honor of Sally

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SOLs - ugh

ugh.
who doesn't hate them?
the teacher hate them. the kids hate them. the parents hate them.
Here I am getting myself into trouble being quoted in someone's article about SOLs in Virginia: http://www.coastalvirginiamag.com/February-March-2016/Opting-Out-of-the-SOLs/index.php?cparticle=3&siarticle=2#artanc

Here is my thing. The teachers are stress cases because there are incidents in the school we attend where teachers are evaluated based on the scores of the children in their classrooms. This is asinine. 1/2 our kids are on free lunch. We send over 40 care packages home every Friday with students so they will have something to eat over the weekend. You think they are doing homework? They are trying to survive. Testing them is not helping. Teachers teaching to the test instead of focusing on the building blocks of education is not helping. Taking away hands on learning experiences in favor of drilling exercises is not helping.

I have a student with special needs in the school and her needs are not being addressed because it is more important to teach her to pass an SOL with a calculator than it is to teach her basic math skills. So they will give her a calculator. She is a stress case. Her fingernails are bitten to the bone. Her binder has been destroyed. She sneaks food into her desk because she soothes by oral sensation. She is miserable. She should not be learning multiplication because she cannot read a word problem and understand if she should be adding or subtracting. So how about we take a step back and figure out where she is and work from there? No. She has an SOL to take so they are focused on making sure she passes the SOL.

This is making our kids less creative. Less creative kids are not problem solvers. They are useless at work. Ask employers. America we are not fixing our education problem we are making it worse.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter at Nana's

We were up for 8:30 Mass at St. Bede's and then over to Nana's for Easter Breakfast. She made waffles served with fresh strawberries and your choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream (or both).

I love taking pictures at Nana's. Her house has so much depth - color, texture, detail, cozyiness. Awesome.
bungalow, j crew sweater, mary mulhare, mulhare interior design
breakfast at Nana's


Miss Piggy & Kermit date way back
Thumper. Nana claims that she bought him when she was 5 years old.
behind Thumper is the syrup (only Vermont real Maple will do) on
a platter engraved from Familia Mesa, friends from Badajoz in the 1980s
after breakfast the table is cleared for games
"Mexican Train" a Dominoes game


little guys playing with chess pieces, pink sundress by Whigs & Tories
Easter details 





kitchen details, interior design, mulhare interior design
the pie piece from my childhood

After games the children sent Nana on a hunt to find her Easter Basket which they had hidden in her house. They did a good job hiding it - took her a few minutes to find it! Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Eggs & Pussy Willow

When we lived in Bitburg Germany my mother bought miniature wooden eggs from one of the markets she attended with friends and we decorated Pussy Willow boughs. Her mother used to purchase Pussy Willow in the spring - but I don't know that they decorated them. A few years ago I was at World Market and saw little wooden eggs. They are not as ornate as the ones my mother bought in Germany, but they triggered a nostalgic memory none the less and so I bought them.

whigs & tories, girl clothes, handmade clothes, spring
a bucket full of eggs and two smiling girls

they were laughing at me because I was struggling with the camera

Bitsy in her new Spring in Paris top. Love it!



I've often thought it would be nice to purchase a Pussy Willow plant. There is plenty of water in the back of my house, I bet we could grow one. I found a good link for them: French Pussy Willow Tree