August 15, 2019

August Bloom Day


I have got to start out this Bloom Day post with a couple of things I'm proud of.

As you know, if you've followed this blog, seed starting has not been a cakewalk for me. 
I have killed so many baby plants over the past couple of years! 

So, behold--2 plants that actually made it! 
(That's right, TWO! Can you be humble and proud at the same time? Humbly proud. 
It's a complicated feeling. Layers.)

First up:

The 'Frizzle Sizzle' pansy.

Isn't she a beauty? 

And here we have the New York Aster!
TA DA! 
[Vigorous clapping is entirely appropriate at this point.]

(Give me my moment, alright? Remember, 2 PLANTS that made it?!)

The seeds for these plants are super duper tiny--specks, is all.
And now just look at it! It's almost 3 feet tall and about read to start flowering! 
(I think--it's a fall-flowering plant, apparently.)
This survivor right here gives me such a happy feeling whenever I see it!

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, here's the rest:

Coreopsis 'Moonbeam'
Very pretty, but very short stems for cutting.
I need some mini bouquets or dance flowers to put these in--they would really shine!

Same, plus a China aster.

This front pot--you can't go wrong with geraniums and sweet potato vine.
It always seems like the fancier I try to get with my flower pots, the worse they do.
This couldn't be any simpler, but I have been enjoying it this summer!

My 'Limelight' hydrangea is finally getting some blooms!
I'm wondering if it could actually use more sunlight.
This seems awfully late in the season for hydrangea blooms.
We've got frost coming in a month. 
Go Limelight Go!

'Fragrant Angel' echinacea, above and below

I have absolutely loved these, especially the green centers before they are all the way mature!
Love. I will plant a whole bunch more this fall if I can find them!


Let's see, roses haven't put on their fall blooms yet, sedums are still green (but coming), and I do have some sunflowers blooming out in my flower farm/cutting garden patch.
A handful of other stuff out there too.


What's blooming in your garden right now? 


August 7, 2019

The Year Of Billy Miller, by Kevin Henkes

What can I say? Another Newberry Honor book. Still plugging away at that goal, even though I have officially given it up.  This one was great!



The Year of Billy Miller, by Kevin Henkes
Newbery Honor 2014

4 stars: Warm hearted and simply delightful!

Billy's Papa is an artist and his Mama is an High School English teacher. Unlike most other kids he knows, his mom is the one who goes to work every day, while his dad stays home and takes care of him and his little sister Sal.

Billy's going to start 2nd grade soon, and he has some worries. 1--Is he smart enough for 2nd grade? 2-Is it babyish to call his mom and dad Mama and Papa? 3-Will his teacher like him?  In the introductory letter his teacher sent home before school she said it was the Year of the Rabbit, but his Papa says it's going to be the Year of Billy Miller. He's pretty sure his Papa is right!

* * * * *
I didn't know what to expect going into this one, and to be completely honest, I had been putting off reading it a bit, because it just didn't catch my eye. It was a happy surprise to find how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me of a Beverly Cleary book, in that the situations are all everyday stuff that every kid goes through. The family is generally happy, even though the father is struggling with his art ("looking for a breakthrough".)

Sal made me chuckle a couple of times, and Billy's worries and the resolutions were like a window into my own 7-year-old's world. Things that seem small to the grownups loom large when you're 7. It's good to remember that. There was so much that made me smile. Billy is surrounded by loving adults--even the babysitter! You know that he's going to get all this stuff figured out.

I'm encouraging my boy to read it. I hope he does, because I think he would find a lot in common with Billy, and a lot to like about the story.

(7/24/19)

Have you read this one? What did you think? My favorite were the Drop Sisters.