Adventures and Blue Skies

The sky was a brilliant blue throughout my trip to Arizona and Utah.  When you add that to the sunshine it made a perfect backdrop to some unforgettable places.  Every day the mountains and canyons were even more remarkable because of the beautiful September weather.  Here is an example from Zion National Park:

Blue skies

Later that day the clouds disappeared.

Zion National Park

Here are some other scenes, including a friendly little bird at the Grand Canyon that posed for a picture for me.

You can revisit the past with this famous road and sign in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Route 66

More adventures coming soon!

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Scenes from the Southwest

I just got back from a trip to Arizona and Utah, with stops at the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Zion, and Bryce Canyon.  I also drove on Route 66 (now Historic 66) in Flagstaff, Arizona.  There was a lot of driving involved (over 1000 miles) to get from place to place as well as a lot of walking/hiking on trails at the parks.  Everything was gorgeous and the weather was warm – but not hot – and cooled down considerably after the sun went down.

Here is an overview of some of the places I visited, with more from each place coming soon!

Summer Garden with Butterflies

One of the nicest parts about summer is seeing all the flowers in bloom.  Right now in my garden there are purple coneflowers, daisies, black-eyed Susans, bee balm, phlox and many other colorful flowers, all competing for space.  Along with these plants are some interesting visitors such as butterflies, along with bumblebees and honey bees.  One of my favorite herbs is lavender, and since there was so much rain this spring followed by sunshine they have really grown.  Here is an assortment from my garden on a sunny day.  I would have taken more pictures but I was chased away by a bee that didn’t want any humans around!

A Rainy (and a Sunny) Day in Rochester

When I was in England this past March I spent most of my time in Kent.  During the week I went to Rochester for a visit and it was a rainy day.  I enjoyed visiting the Guildhall and the Cathedral but it was difficult to take many photos because of the weather.  I had to find an entryway or another sheltered spot where I could put down my umbrella and take pictures.  I didn’t end up venturing too far from where there were buildings and sidewalks.  Still, I thought it would be nice to return on a sunny day because it was a charming place.

Later in the week I had that opportunity so I took a train back to Rochester to see it in the sunshine.  It was so different to see everything on a bright (and breezy) day!  I took pictures of some of the same places I had just been to show the contrast.  And even though it was March there were flowers so I’ve included a picture of them too.  It was really interesting to see what a difference sunshine and blue sky made!

Welcome to Spring

 

It isn’t quite spring yet but it won’t be long now!  There have been some warm days recently and I’ve seen lots of cheery yellow daffodils in bloom, but because it is early March the days can be chilly.  Still, it’s only a few weeks until the beginning of spring and then we’ll be seeing this:

I’m going to England later this month and I’m looking forward to many new adventures.

Autumn Here and There

I was in Colonial Williamsburg yesterday to see the autumn foliage.  I didn’t expect to see so much greenery, especially since it’s November!  It was a delightful day and many people were out walking in shorts and sandals.  I didn’t think it was that warm but I ended up carrying my jacket after walking for a couple of hours.  Here are some of the sights from yesterday.

With everything still so green I wondered if I’d see any fall foliage.  I did find this tree on one of the streets and the colors were lovely.

Autumn

At Home with Souvenirs

I have a drawer in my house where I keep travel souvenirs.  When I opened it to add my postcards, tickets and programs from the Chelsea Flower Show, I had trouble closing the drawer.  Could it be that all these wonderful souvenirs were turning into clutter?  I didn’t think so, and I recalled all the opportunities I had to find interesting things to bring home with me.

Still, when I saw how many things I’ve accumulated over my travels I decided that I could use some these souvenirs in a way that I could remember when and where I got them.  My first idea was to use a jewelry tree to hang some of my key chains to make something I’d enjoy:

Souvenir tree

I also have fridge magnets in this drawer that I can’t use because they don’t stick to the front of my refrigerator!  Then I remembered that I have a small message board that is magnetic.  It was fun arranging the magnets on it.

Magnetic souvenirs

Afterward there was a lot more room in my souvenir drawer and now I can look at these displays and remember all the fun experiences I had when I got them!  I should mention that I also consider scarves, jewelry and hand knit sweaters souvenirs and I wear them all the time.  But it was great to make a display of these souvenirs so they don’t simply become more clutter in the house.

A Garden Visitor

After visiting the Chelsea Flower Show in May I’ve been inspired to work on my own garden.  After all, who wouldn’t want a garden that looks like this?

So I’ve been tending my garden and the lavender, purple coneflowers, daisies, lemon balm, thyme and other herbs and flowers have really grown since I planted them last year.  There have been lots of bumblebees this summer but no butterflies until yesterday, when I saw a visitor among the flowers.

 

The butterfly didn’t seem to mind that I was standing very close to get these pictures. Since I’d selected flowers for this garden that would attract bees, butterflies and songbirds, I was delighted to see such a colorful visitor.  Later I did some research and discovered that it’s a Tiger Swallowtail, and I hope it comes back many, many times!

First Impressions of the Chelsea Flower Show

When I got off the tube at Sloane Square to go to the flower show I heard someone say to follow the crowds.  However it was around 8:00 am and it looked like a lot of the crowd was going to work.  Finally I decided to follow a group of people wearing straw hats and sunglasses.  This was a good decision because after a few minutes I saw signs for the Chelsea Flower Show.  I got there early enough that I could walk right up to the exhibit gardens without having to wait behind people to see anything.  These were the first flowers I saw.

Chelsea

Since lavender is a favorite of mine I enjoyed seeing this pretty arrangement.  These were some of the gardens around the corner:

I couldn’t believe that I’d seen all these exhibits within my first fifteen minutes of being there!  But what followed was both beautiful and solemn.  I had heard about the field of poppies, but seeing it was an unforgettable experience.  Here is an explanation as well as some pictures.

 

I lingered at this exhibit and after a while I could see all the individual flowers and think about the work that had gone into this display.  There were also people carrying examples of these handmade poppies to show us.  Each one was unique yet they blended together so well.  I returned to this exhibit several times during the day but I never got as good a view as I did early in the morning.

I wanted the time to go slowly while I was there – I didn’t want the day to end!  I have many more stories and pictures from that wonderful day.