Arachnophobia

***10:30pm EDIT at the bottom***


 


My mom arrives tomorrow morning.  So what am I doing today?  Duh… if you know anything about me you know I’m cleaning! 


So a few minutes ago I was cleaning the mirrors in the bathroom and saw a sight in the reflection of the mirror I was polishing so horrible, so hideous, that my skin crawled and my mouth went dry.  So what did I do?  I ran and got my camera of course!  


***Let me just say before I show you that these pictures are not for the faint of heart, they will chill your blood, quicken your breath and still your heart!*** 


Oh and I have to say… those are 8 inch tiles!!!  That sucker is over an inch long!


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Need a closer look?  Right at the top of it’s head…  Notice the eye shine?  It was big enough to have eye shine!!!  ***SHUDDER***


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Still haven’t had your fill?  Well here you are!


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Before you freak out please do remember that I have a fantastic zoom on my camera… I got close but I didn’t get THAT close…  and yes I walloped it with a shoe and flushed it…  I’m not usually sensitive about bugs but this was…  evil!


So I’m off to finish cleaning… praying all the while that I do NOT meet any of this vile creatures progeny!


May your day be spider free!


Courtney


***EDIT***


Well it’s 10:30pm and I’m finished… I completed the last of my projects, washed the sheets from both beds and remade them, did about 6 loads of laundry, dishes, washed the dogs, dusted, vacuumed, mopped, cleaned both bathrooms, replaced all the burners in my candles, polished my silver tea set, scrubbed out the basement, and prepped everything for dinner tomorrow (so I can just throw it in the crock pot before I leave in the morning)  Then when I thought I would keel over… I went outside.  There I mowed both lawns, edged the front yard, weeded my garden, trimmed my shrubs and watered everything.  After all that was finished I came in, took a shower, ate a quick dinner and here I am getting ready to read for 20 minutes and fall asleep.


All that and I only ended up meeting about 6 more spiders… uhg… must be the season!


See you in two weeks Xangaland!  Take care!


***END EDIT***


 


 

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A Presto…

… means see you soon!


Good Day Everyone!


I can’t belive how quickly this week has flown by.  The days have been sunny and blue… warm would be a bit of a lie but tolerable will do!  I of course have a few pictures to share (when don’t I?)


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 I have been doing my best to finishe up some last minute projects, get ready for my mom’s visit, and enjoy the lengthening days.


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 The little grape hycinth that has been the subject of a few other pictures has survived the snow and frosts and is thriveing with a bed full of new companions.


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 I do believe that spring has taken a true foothold here for even when it’s fridgedly cold there is no longer a bone chilling quality to it…


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 … and there is a feeling of warmth underlying every new freeze.


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 The frost has done a bit of damage to the early blooms but it hasn’t stopped the tide of spring!


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 I have a giant tree in my front yard that has red leaves in the summer… it has just begun to bloom…


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 Charming isn’t it?


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It has also become a meeting place for birds of all shapes and colors…


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… and I have the privalage of being able to see them from my window. 


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Right under that tree is a birdbath…


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… and it is also becoming quite popular!


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If I’m not careful I’m going to turn into a bird watcher!


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 The blackberry brambels in my back field have begun to return to life as well!


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I’m a desert girl through and through and am used to skies that go white in the summer… So the skies of deep blue here will always hold a facination for me!


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 Not too mention thunderheads!  What a sight! 


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 I told you in my last letter abut the drastic difference in the time here.  Would you be shocked to learn that this pictures was taken at 8pm?


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Even my grass is full of little buds…


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 Daisys and dew… is there a more potent picture of spring?


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 These are the newlybudding leaves of the pear tree in my back yard…


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 Aren’t they weird?


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 My neighbors are taking advantage of the good weather to have a new roof put on.  Here in Germany they erect catwalks surrounding all four sides of the house and go to work!  It’s rather neat to watch.


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 Sorry I couldn’t resist this shot!  I love my zoom!


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 This will be my last post for some time.  There are only a handful of days until my mother arrives here in Germany for a two week visit and I have projects left to finish up, grocery shopping to do, and of course the house must be cleaned.  So, I won’t be around until after she has left for home.  You can bet on the fact that I’ll be back with hundreds of pictures though!  🙂


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 Until we meet again,


Courtney

The End of Hibernation!

Good Morning!


I haven’t been around much the last few days because warmer weather has come to the Land of Fairy Tales! (Of course warmer here speaks of high 40’s to low 50’s but after 15 months of eternal winter… I’LL TAKE IT!) Just look at the difference a few warm days can make!


The trees are budding…


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…the flowers are out…


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…and the fields are greening…


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The birds have returned as well… sparrows, goldfinches, doves, finches, and countless birds I can not name in a variety of colors.


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For so many months our only avian companion have been crows, ravens, rooks, and magpies… It has been so lovely to see the return of the smaller and much more pleasant to listen to, song birds.


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In the past few days I feel like my very soul has awoken from a long sleep. I have cleaned the house from top to bottom… Tried a few new recipes, namely Crock Pot Curry Chicken (soup) (YUMMY)


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Chicken Curry Soup



¨ 1 can cream of chicken soup
¨ 1 cup water
¨ 3 ½ tsp curry powder
¨ 1 ¼ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
¨ 2 cups shredded carrots
¨ 1 medium onion, diced
¨ 1 (13 ½ oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
¨ 1 sweet red pepper, diced
¨ ½ cup sliced green onions
¨ ½ tsp salt
¨ ¼ tsp pepper
¨ Rice of your choice (I prefer Jasmine)



Combine soup and water in crock pot. Stir in curry powder. Add chicken, onion and carrots. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Stir in coconut milk, sweet pepper, and green onions. Cook for at least another 30 minutes. Serve as a soup or over rice.


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Washed and groomed both dogs!


Which means I brushed Gandalf



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and shaved Yoda bald… we do that every spring…



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he’s super cute bald!



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Planted my spring garden and mowed both lawns!



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It has been wonderful to feel awake and full of energy.



I’m getting super excited! My mom will arrive here in only 8 days and then if the weather holds we’ll be off on two weeks of adventure! I have several walking trips planned complete with picnics and afternoon teas! It should be an experience!



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Another big change here in The Land of Fairy Tales is the length of our day! A few short months ago in the depths of winter we had sunrise at about 9:30am and sunset at about 4:30pm! Now it’s dawn when I wake up at 6:00am and sunset occurs at 8:30pm though we aren’t seeing full dark until almost 9:30pm! By midsummer we’ll have a 4:30am sunrise and an 11:00pm sunset!!! I am ecstatic though that’s has to be rare for someone from the desert… How I miss the sun!



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Well, that about covers all the goings on around here. I’m off to work on some projects that I want done before my mom arrives. And of course we’re off to enjoy whatever bits of warmth and sunlight the day allows.



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Auf Wiedersehen!



Courtney



Hello my name is Courtney… & I am a geek.

Mourn with me, my friends.  For I have gone over to the Dark Side.  (Not to mix my metaphors or anything.)


I am a geek. More than just a geek I’m afraid… I am a Trekkie geek. Let me explain.


I am in the process of reading a book called Lisey’s Story by Stephen King. There is a line in the book that reads as follows,


“Beam us up Scotty!”


“Can’t do it brother,” Scott says. “Transporters are broken and we’re all out of lithium crystals.”


Without pause, without thought, I blurted aloud to no one but my dogs,


“Oh King do your research it’s Dilithium… Lithium is from the original series!”


Oh the horror, oh the shame… Can one as gone as I be saved? Oh but wait, it gets so much worse.


I laughed at myself for my foolishness…


You feel relieved to hear that don’t you? To think that there is a bit of sanity left in me? Well, you’re wrong. I did not feel shame for my sentiment only the incorrectness of it.


You see I had suddenly remembered that this section of the book was taking place in the early 80’s and therefore Star Trek: The Next Generation had not taken place. So in fact King had done his research… to a point. Lithium was the correct term, however, Dilithium crystals, or in this case Lithium crystals, don’t have anything to do with the transporter systems… they power the warp drive.


I’m now going away to hang my head in shame. Laugh if you must…


Oh and by the way I should probably point out that my earlier mixed metaphor is a tragic mistake on my part. It is uncouth to mix Star Trek and Star Wars lingo…


What did you think I would miss such a gross error?


Live long and prosper //


Courtney

Eternal Winter…

Guten Morgan,


When I was a little girl my parents and grandparents used to say that age old aphorism,


“Eat all the food on your plate.  Don’t you know there are starving kids in China?”


Honestly, who’s parents didn’t say that?  Well here in Germany, they have a similar saying that has plagued me since the day I disembarked from the plane and was served my first enormous german meal.


“Eat all your food!  No leftovers or we’ll have bad weather.”


Most of you will remember that I had gastric bypass surgery three years ago now… consequently, space is limited and leftovers are inevitable.


The result?  Bad weather…  almost two years of it now.  Summers that aren’t warm enough, winters that aren’t cold enough, constant rain… over 20 months of bone chilling cold, slush, and grey.  Honestly, it sounds like I’m being dramatic but the Germans can not explain it, they’ve never had weather this nasty or unproductive… Those that know me, have decided, it’s all my fault. 


Oh well, cest le vie right? 


The beautiful spring day I wrote of last week was the last of it’s kind.  I woke the next morning to rain and grey skies.  I decided not to worry about it since the temperatures stayed warmer than they had been.  Spring always takes a bit longer to come out and stay here…


Yesterday afternoon, my hopes were dashed.  I was collecting laundry upstairs and when I came out of the bedroom it was to see this…


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Can’t see it?  How about now?  In the space of half an hour my world was plunged back into the depths of winter… 


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So, of course, we went out to enjoy it… if you can’t beat em’ join em’ right?  Look how fast it’s coming down!


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In my front yard I have a little stone planter and in it a little bumblebee…  my one trip into tacky yard art!  The poor little things wings were weighed down with the snow in minutes!


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Just look at how quickly it blanketed everything!  Even Gandalf couldn’t move quickly enough…


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All the poor brave souls are now covered in ice and snow… 


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I had to take an umbrella out with me since I loathed the idea of getting my new camera wet…  It was covered so quickly, I ducked back under the carport and set it down to see what the dogs would make of it.


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I love this picture!  They poked the umbrella with their noses and then back peddled when it rocked… Gandalf eventually started eating snow off of it and jumping back at the sound his teeth made on the nylon… it was so fun to watch!


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This picture brings one thing to mind…


“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have it’s perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:2-4


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I hope I prove as resistent to this eternal winter as this brave little flower…


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 

Pootellini!

Guten Morgan!


 


When Ryan is deployed or away on a TDY, I do my best to improve on myself as a house wife.  It is easy to fall into patterns and habits that I do not change when he’s home.  It’s easy to do what you’ve always done because you know you have the time to do it… easy to not change the way you do those things even though a new way might be more productive simply because of the risk of it being more difficult and time consuming.


 


So when he’s away and I have all the time in the world to experiment… I DO!


 


One of the things I like best to experiment with is food.  I try new recipes, new ways to prepare classic foods, or just finding new ways to cook, that I know he’ll enjoy.  I rarely do this when he’s home because I do so hate experimenting with a dinner I actually have to serve to someone! 


 


I chose to make last night one of those nights of experimentation.  So I settled into my kitchen with a recipe I got online and some German ingredients and made tortellini stuffed with tomato and basil served in a parmesan cream sauce…


 


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Sounds amazing doesn’t it?  I thought so too!  So I set out try it…


 


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Let’s leave me there… busily preparing dinner in my little cottage kitchen and travel for a moment to German farming techniques…


 


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Here in Germany, at this time of the year, they fertilize the fields.  They don’t just sprinkle manure over the fields nor do they use chemical fertilizers… No, here they are much more creative.  They ‘stew’ poo.  They heat it up in great vats and mix it with water so it’s nice and warm and… well liquid.  Then they fill pumper trucks with it and drive through the fields spraying it over grass, new growth crops, and bare dirt alike at a pressure that insures a distance of about 30 feet. 


 


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It is not uncommon for me to be out walking in the morning and to see a field that only yesterday was spring green with new growth look suddenly rather more brown than it had the day before.


 


And I really don’t think I need to expound upon the smell of heated and aerated poo… do I?


 


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Back to the kitchen!


 


So when I dished up my lovely new meal I was not alarmed by the smell of poo that filled my kitchen… my house has smelled this way for days!  (A price I have willingly paid for some sunshine and warmth.)


 


No the alarm was saved for the moment when I shoveled a huge first bite into my mouth in eager anticipation and realized that I was now experiencing poo with more than one of my senses… 


 


It was all I could do to not spit it out all over the whole kitchen… As I swallowed that first, and last, bite my mind was racing in an attempt to figure out just when THAT had gotten into my dish!


 


Once I had got my gag reflex under control I trashed the whole pan of the stuff, then took the nearly empty trash bag out since it almost immediately stank up my kitchen, ate a cheese crisp and went to bed early…  Now if only I could get this abominable smell out of my house!!!


 


I do not think I could recreate this dish, nor do I intend to try.  However, as with every new dish I create I have named this one.  I dub thee nasty stuff…


 


Pootellini!


 


I’m off to light a few candles and maybe bake some cookies!


 


Auf Wiedersehen!


 


Courtney

The dog days of… spring?

 Guten Tag!


It is another lovely spring day here in the Land of Fairy Tales and I have the great joy of getting to share it with you through, (what else?) pictures!


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As I’m sure you will notice, if you have not already, I’m on a bit of a picture kick.  I am the proud owner of a new camera.  I have been interested, for some time, in getting a little more serious about photography.  My husband offered a while ago to let me purchase a much nicer camera but I kept putting it off.  After Lynne’s visit and playing with her equipment I could no longer resist the draw. 


So I set out researching and shopping around, reading reviews and talking to various people in my life that also enjoy this hobby.  And in the end I ended up getting a deal I could not refuse through eBay.  I now have a Nikon D40 Digital SLR with all the bells and whistles including lenses and tripod!  I’m still learning to use it and all it’s settings but hardly a day goes by when I don’t take pictures and with spring breaking through and changing my landscape daily there is plenty to photograph!


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During the days of snow the dogs and I spent a lot of time indoors hoping for a break in the weather.


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And despairing that the days would ever be warmer…


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 We were getting quite grouchy at being cooped up!


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 And then suddenly one morning the sun came out, the temperature rose, and we were off like a shot to enjoy fresh air that didn’t freeze our insides!


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 Oh how lovely to run and play in the sun…


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 …to smell the fresh flowers from the garden…


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 …to frolick and play…


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 … under skies dyed sapphirine blue…


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 … and scattered with white puffy clouds…


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 The boys simply loved being able to run and play in the sun…


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 We are, after all from Phoenix, AZ where clouds are an annual event!


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 I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen him quite this excited!


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 As I walked around the yard while the dogs played I could see the signs of spring everywhere.


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 The fields here stay green all year long, because the grass doesn’t die it just goes dormant.  But this is the greening that only spring can bring on… the grass is growing again!


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 And in every little corner is some small sign of life peeking out of the soil and reaching for the sun.


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After the long, dark and dreary winter we have had here, just the colors are brilliant enough to lift the spirits.


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 And colors there are aplenty!


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 It’s been this way off and on now for the better part of a week…


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 One day we even saw temperatures of 67 degrees!  (That’s a big deal when it hasn’t been over 50 since last August!)


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 Yoda turned 11 in January of this year and the older he gets the whiter he gets.  Isn’t this the perfect solemn and reflective old man picture?


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 I don’t know what kind of flower this is (and I did search!) but they are scattered throughout my yard and planters….


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 The days are also getting longer…  A few short weeks ago sunrise was at around 8am and sunset was at 5pm…  Now I awake to dawn at 6am and don’t see full dark until almost 9pm!  When the daylight hours change here the change is lightning fast.


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 There is a tree in my front yard that is beginning to bud out in huge waxy white buds…  I can’t wait to see what this tree will look like in full bloom!


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 This paints a perfect poignant picture of waiting for their dad to come home and play with them.  Mom gives cuddles and dad gives play…  I just don’t take his place.


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 The garden centers of german markets and shops are overflowing with spring blooms… and so I brought home a few to brighten my days!


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 I am simply in love with these Azaleas.  I hope it turns out that we get along!


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 I just love the way the light plays off the soft white of the petals.


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 Of course I couldn’t resist the pink Azaleas either!


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 Have I mentioned how much I love my new camera?


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 Sunlight and flowers… what more does a desert rat need?  Maybe some cacti? 


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 Of course no one can resist a Begonia!


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 These are my daffodils!  They are growing in all of my flowerbeds… I wish I could take credit but I have a feeling they’ve been growing here for many years.  So I cut a few and put them in a vase in my kitchen to enjoy their sunny yellow faces all day long!


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 Aren’t they amazing?  I’ve never seen such color!


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 This one sits in a small bud vase on my desk… I sit here every morning with that tea pot full of Earl Grey tea and visit with you!


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 This is where I write to you each day while I enjoy my morning tea!


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 May you each have lovely spring days and have a chance to enjoy the simple and beautiful pleasures this season brings!


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Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney