Summer Time Off

When you look up and see this, you've got to take time off. So I did. No plan. No pressure. Just be.

I love staying at home. Some people love to go out, but not me... though I love traveling. I love my house. It's filled with what I like... most part. It's where I can relax. No booking. No packing. I think staycation is great!

Once I step out to the yard, gentle sweet aroma is in the air. It's from the lilies in Olga's garden. Something is always blooming in her garden. I can smell them even I'm in the upstair bathroom. There is 30 yards between her garden and my house. I cannot help sniffing the air whenever I come out to the yard.

Beautiful things are all around. I just need to look around. Some visit you. Some are just there waiting for you to find them.

Wild birds come and go all day long. Cardinals and gold finches are vibrant in the garden. Cardinals often visit my yard as couples. Male cardinals seem to be gentlemen. I've seen a male was feeding his mate.

My most exciting news in this summer is that humming birds come to my honeysuckle regularly. There is a feeder next to the honeysuckle, but they don't come to the feeder at all. They know what is good for them.

The flowers are ready for salad. I didn't know you can make pesto with the leaves. Woodchucks are also enjoying the leaves.

I definitely see more bees this year, which is great news. They are always very busy. They don't like me to touch any flowers. When I tried to cut some fox glove's stems since its flowers were almost gone, they came after me. I guess I cannot touch any flower stems until they die. I've seen some honey bees, too. Maybe, can I start bee-keeping someday?

Summer blooms... It's been experimental. I pick some sample plants I like, then see how they adjust, how I like them, and how they look good in the yard. I try to pick flowers you can find in a field like wild flowers. How to put them together is another story. I don't like artificially designed garden. It's not easy to make it natural since it's already artificial by putting my hands on. My experiment continues...

One of my favorite, Nigella. It is very delicate in both its colors and shapes. This is the first time blooming in this garden. Hopefully, they come back every year and spread more. They look happy in the sun.

The right one has cute puffs. It's love in a puff. There is a seed in a puff. The seed has a heart shaped mark on it.

These miniature hibiscus like flowers are also my favorite. The flowers look tropical, but its leaves are a shape of maple. How strange is that?

Hungry bugs...

My lemons are growing. These two are from the winter blooms. It bloomed again in spring. The fruits from the spring blooms are still thumb size. They look cute. So far, over 10 fruits are on. Hopefully, they'll all get harvested.

More hydrangea bloomed this year. It gets bigger and better every year. Once they started blooming in early summer, I cut some for dry flowers, and I failed. It seemed I cut them too soon after blooming. After water was gone in the vase, the flowers were wilted instead of being dried. It was a very sad scene.

Learning from that, I waited the flowers turned green. Then, voila! Bunch of dried flowers are ready. I'm not a big fan of dried flowers in general, but I have a sweet spot for hydrangea. They kept the refreshing light green color nicely.

I finished some sawing projects. One for summer, one for the rest of the seasons. I think I don't need to make any more chair pad covers in next five years.

I tried out a new cookie recipe for the upcoming holiday season. Choosing recipes is a fun process.

This recipe is using butter and olive oil. So, maybe it's less guilty than full butter, or give you a little more room for more cookies? I have made cake with olive oil, which didn't smell or taste like olive oil at all. So, I figured neither the cookies.

The dough is very soft. I might use a cookie press instead of shaping them by hand.

They are light cookies. I love their orange flavor. They love to absorb moisture in the air. They need to be stored in a air tight container.

I substituted orange extract with orange oil. They are still nice and fragrant. Naomi at Bakers Royal made some twists to the original recipe with almond flour. I think almond flour is a great idea. I would try that out next. For now, I just enjoy these cookies with tea in the evening, yum yum.

After spending some time indoor, it's time for a little trip. Marilyn and I hit the road.

Summer is perfect to drive back roads. Going a winding road slowly passing by farms, woods and rivers is so nice. And, things get even better with... ice cream!

We came to one of our favorite ice cream shops. Marilyn just cannot wait to get hers. Wait for me, Marilyn!

There are so many flavors. It's hard to pick just one. Today's winner is strawberry.

Behind the ice cream shop, there is a nice grass area. We found a big shade under a tree. Once we sat on the grass, we felt nice breeze coming through back and force. There was a little garden in the area and the sunflowers looked so happy under the sun.

They have geese and a goat in the fenced in area. We saw the geese were marching to the stream. Hector the goat was napping in his house. So, no picture of him this time.

These old farming tools are nicely setting the mood.

This is how my staycation went. We've been having a very mild summer in New England. Mornings and evenings are cool already. It almost feels like September. No wonder I see dragonflies everywhere.

The time off in such weather is just right for recharging and refreshing. I guess I'm ready to tackle more projects now.