Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Queen's Fireworks

Usually I spend my time at my mom's house helping out around the house and garden, even during a short visit passing through from one location to another. But at the end of July, we just celebrated a flower fireworks for the whole evening. Below is a 50+ year-old Selenicereus grandflorus, or Queen of the Night cactus, that she got from a friend many years ago. The flowers on this amazing plant open for only one night. It takes about three hours to get from closed to open, and then the blooms mostly close by morning. Since it is a sizeable bloom, you can literally see the bloom open. Typically, the cactus might flower once or twice in a season, one flower at a time. On this night, there were five buds ready to open. Four opened at once, and the fifth opened one night later. Four flowers at once was a first for this plant, and so so incredible to watch! The photos are shown in chronological order.

Late afternoon on July 30, four flowers have grown several inches during the day.

First signs of the white flower beneath the tan exterior leaves.

It's getting a little dusky. Time is around 9:00PM. 

All four flowers opening.

Just after dark, the blooms are wide open! 

Human provided for scale. Those flowers are ENORMOUS!

The next morning, the flowers have mostly closed again.

In a week or so, the finished flowers hang from the plant. 

Finally, the plant forms a fruit.

I feel a strong connection to this plant as well. It lived on my desk while I was growing up, much smaller back then. I don't think I saw it in bloom until I was in college. What a lovely night to share with my mom, who is very passionate about this flower! She invites the neighborhood for every flowering, but this night it was just us, and that was wonderful too!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Souvenir Yarn 2021, and Accompanying Destinations

I was judicious in my vacation yarn purchasing this summer - only one skein. But I visited quite a few places over the course of several weeks. We headed to Ohio to see my mom, motored to NH to vacation with my in-laws, side trip to Acadia to see a friend, tour of Vermont (Montpelier, Burlington, and Stowe), and finally headed to my brother's farm and B&B in the Adirondacks. A second trip took us to OH and PA to help our parents with a variety of chores. Enjoy the tour!

Notion Fabric and Craft, Montpelier, VT. No project for this yet.

Acadia National Park - one of many carriage road bridges

Summit on Sargent Mountain

Carriage road

Formal gardens near Asticou Inn

Local fare: popovers with blueberry jam 

More good eats: FRESH lobster roll!

On the deck of the pod near Asticou Inn looking at the ocean

Hunter's Beach, rocky and iconic Maine coastline

Fun tree

Lost River Gorge, NH

Waterfall in the Lost River Gorge, NH

Lady Slippers in Lost River Gorge

Founder of Littleton, NH farmed down the road from our VRBO

Cog train on Mount Washington

Seats on the cog train on the way up. The angle helps you stay in your seat on the steep grade. (They flipped the other way on way down.)

Cog rail

On top of Mt. Washington. A neighboring mountain still has SNOW in mid June!

Cairns on the Crawford Trail, Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington has recorded the fastest wind on earth. Buildings are chained down here to keep them from blowing down/away...

Maple syrup farm near Montpelier. No one has to carry buckets here: sap flows downhill in the tubes!

Capitol building of Vermont - not open to visitors yet

Nearing summit of Mount Hunger, VT

Summit of Mount Hunger. You either step up or step down the ENTIRE time you are on this trail.

Geological formation in Lake Champlain

Carlton's Prize Island

Motoring in to Burlington

Burlington harbor

Sunset over Lake Champlain

Covered bridge in Stowe, VT

Did you remember that the Van Trapp family settled in Stowe, VT? The youngest son brews Austrian ales. This tavern - still owned by the family - serves Austrian food and beer. Just up the road is the Van Trapp Lodge.

Sacher torte!

Sunset at my brother's farm

Sunrise and a peek at Lake Champlain at my brother's B&B

Fast forward to end of July - kayaking on Lake Naomi, Pocono Pines, PA

Handsome fellow in the Poconos

Good eating while helping the in-laws: eggplant steak 
And so I don't forget, HERE is the recipe for the most delicious rhubarb tart I made for the trip. (Rhubarb is one of my least favorite foods, but this recipe is YUMMY!) It has been a delightful summer of seeing family and visiting new places. Many shops and restaurants still have limited hours due to the worker shortage, but we're used to cooking most of our meals at this point! Hope all of you are safe, healthy, and vaccinated.