Category Archives: plants

Hiking along the Brandywine Battlefield

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We have lived in the Brandywine Valley for 26 years and are surrounded by the rolling hills of  this area where the great battle that defeated  the Americans by British and Hessian troops occurred on September 11, 1777. So almost to the day, but 235 years later, we took some time to check out this area while we did some geocaching.

I always route out our geocaching excursions and try to keep them to a few hours and close by. Of course I should count on some taking longer than others, which was the case for a few of them yesterday.  We looked for 9 and found 7! Not to bad for 4.5 hours. Some had us walking through terrible high grass  and prickers and I get itchy and nervous because of ticks and bees. However, the first one left us ‘stinging’ all day and evening. The cache was a few miles away in a roofed sign post. Underneath here, but no place else, was a big patch of Stinging Nettle. We saw it and tried to avoid it, but it found us! Ouchies. We should have gone home to take care of that, but we didn’t do that. And no cache to be found. The same person hid this one and the one down the road that we never found (though someone told me where he thought he found it,  just haven’t gone to look again).

So the next stop was a ‘dog park’. We think we missed the entrance and parked near a back entrance to a business along Rt. 1. We had to bring along a liter of water. There was bushwacking from the road and then some to the cache, leading me to think we missed the entrance. Always nice to see this:

We had to cross a little platform and climb up to an area that use to be fenced off as Brian spotted the cache below.

We were to fill up the PVC  pipe with water and the bison tube on a float was suppose to come up to the top-there was nothing in there. Bummer. The cache owner knows about it, but it would have been neat to see this happen. Brian even questioned if it was the right thing-we saw nothing like it and the GPS went to like 8-10 feet, so I think so. LOL  We did count it as a find.

The next cache lead us to the Birmingham Quaker Meetinghouse. It was actually a Letter box, but I forgot my rubber stamper. It was hidden in a cut off tree’s big stump.

Look at this octagonal building on the property. It looks like someone lives here.

Then we looked around the road to where the next cache was. We were to take a 0.8 mile hike to find it (a multi-cache-but we never saw the sign for step 2). We could have driven that, but we knew the cache was in a hollowed out tree along the way, plus who wants to drive? I would eat those words coming back, but we had a mostly nice walk seeing a heron, horses and blue birds.

See the heron taking off?

Bee keeps!

Bri retrieving the cache along the trail

The last leg back, while enjoying the frolicking bluebirds was very hard on my feet. Brian however made a new pal!

After I revived a bit, I remembered the house from ‘Marley & Me’ was around these parts. We didn’t see it yesterday, but it was within a few thousand feet of the Brandywine Trail cache! Rats!

Then we did a ‘cannon’ run. The first one was right down the road from the above.

The nano (micro container) was under the mount on the other side.

Another nano on this one. I didn’t take out the log in the first one as it was too tight, but as you can see I did with the Vietnam Memorial one.

We ate some Arby’s and headed for a few more!

Can you see the green bison tube? This was called ‘Twin Towers’ although the other one like this is gone now. Not sure what this was part of in the past-wells? Anyway, as we walked up near this in terrible overgrown weeds, etc. A snake fell down on top of the cache! Then he slivered back up inside! Eek!

Next we found one in a hollow of a tree in a neighborhood park. Finding the park was the hard part!

So it was getting dusky and we were about to pass the Brandywine Battlefield park. I haven’t been there in years. In fact, my memory of it is as a toddler getting yelled at for floating a Styrofoam cup down a stream! I think this is that area…

Sean’s been there for school, but we only drive past it coming home from my mom’s house. We pulled in and there is a big hill to climb. They had the parking roped off, but people were still there taking walks. We got to about 350 feet and the GPS wanted us in the grassy area. I couldn’t win with not going in tall grass today. It was even darker in there and we think we needed to go in the woods  higher up, but we decided to quit (past post mentioned animal carcasses, etc). We saw an overturned  ‘ancient’ outhouse and one of those broken benches with cement sides. Very unexpected and why don’t they get rid of them?

And a pretty sunset was to be witnessed

Caching around DC

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Before we went the 10 miles or so to Washington, DC  (on the 2nd) We went to find a cache in a neighborhood near National Harbor. You could tell it had been there many more years than 4 years like the town. I’m pretty sure it’s Oxion Hill, MD. We drove by a Cirque du Soleil tent. That would have been fascinating to see. Did I mention it was raining? So we pull up to the area and I see a fence and guardrail. Sometimes I get so excited to find the cache, I forget the hint and things I have read about it! Plus I am getting out of the car in the rain in a strange neighborhood. Brian and Sean stayed in the car. I looked along the fence and turned around-the GPS showed it was close to the road-come on mush brain-it’s the guardrail! And there it was! I brought it back in the car and dumped it out and stuck a travel bug in it, then squeezed everything back in.

Didn’t I get a tick on me from this 5 minute caching! All the times I’m in the woods and I find a tick on me in a neighborhood!

I was checking out the phone for another cache and brain fog set in again! Brian had said he needed gas and drove by a nice gas station looking for another cache. We turned around as we thought we missed the road and as we approached the station again, the numbers went down! He had decided to skip the gas and it was there at that station-rats.

We got to DC in about 20 minutes and the hardest part was finding a place to park, next to the crazy streets there. We had to get ourselves around to the back of Union Station and then we did park on the roof of the garage. We looked around the station a little and the guys got coffee. We headed out to look for the caches (marble brain #3 episode-2 hours sleep just doesn’t cut it for me).

So we walk toward the Capitol. It is quite a sight. Oh, I’ve seen it in 5th grade (been in it also) and seen it many other times, but to see it from other angles is amazing.

Getting close to the Capitol

So here it is in all it’s historic majesty!

The only problem-I forgot it was a ‘virtual’ cache until we looked around a park nearby-that was a waste of time because are they going to let you put a box next to a historic place like this-really? Anyway, when I figured it out, I was suppose to take a photo of  the other side, where the Presidents take the oath of office! Grrrr-well, I had seen that area too, and I am sure a kid in my 5th grade class fell down in that general area (I’m talking 1970) and Cam broke his leg! It may have been Arlington, but it was in DC.  I told the C.O. what happened on geocaching.com and he didn’t say anything.

The next was also a virtual and within 10 minutes I remembered something about turtle eyes in the questions. This was across the way from the Capitol at the Library of Congress. Another issue was I had forgotten my geocaching bag with the GPS device and my phone’s battery was going. It was making the screen darken up. So I looked at the description again and answered the questions. The turtles were in a fountain near the sidewalk. The ‘authors’ were along the top of the building show below. That was all we did as we were tired and had a 6 block walk back to the car.

We grabbed some pizza and headed home. Well we started to head home and I mentioned that DC Cupcakes was in Georgetown. We tried to find that for almost an hour-Sean’s GPS took us to the incorrect end of  ‘M’ St. When we located it, it was 6:30 and it was hopping in that town with limited parking with no place to park in the area of the shop. But the shop was going to close at 7:00 and there was a line going out the door! For cupcakes! I guess because they have a tv show and all. I am going to make my own cupcakes for the fellas after all that running around. And we want to go back to Georgetown-it looks like a nice place, similar to New Hope in PA.

So again we are on the road to home-we are going through downpours every 5 miles or so. I then mention a easy virtual cache in Baltimore-you just get info from a memorial. We get off the exit and run into traffic and roads that we had needed to take being closed. No baseball game, but Sean remembered there was a Nascar show there and they were letting out! We never got near the cache and ended up going through an ‘iffy’ part of town. We were all getting tired of city driving. Did I tell you how awful it is to drive in DC? This was pretty bad too.

I’m glad we stopped, but I would have liked to see the President exhibit at the Madame Tussand  Museum, which I didn’t remember about until we got home. Not a good day for remembering anything! I truly do research my cache hunting well and things go smoothly-most times. Big city caching is harder! There aren’t a ton of box caches, but there are a ton of virtual ones to be found-in the future.

Union Station

Seen anything familiar from the roof of the garage?

First some Potomac/DC greenery

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Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center-National Harbor, MD

Inside the hotel, an interesting wall hanging

A park near the Capitol with a very overgrown bush. Looks like it has multi-beards.

Outside the Library of Congress

A park on the way back to Union Station

Butterfly weed

Very tame squirrel! There were two of them right outside an office building, so they probably got fed all the time.

Flowers around home

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I decided to share a few photos of my flowers ‘up close’ as the garden long shots aren’t worthy of shares as they are so weedy.  We had wonderful rain Saturday and  also Sunday night. It’s great how things as small as grass blades perk up. Many of plants are from seed too. I love that.

Cosmos from seed just beginning to open

Zinnias-they have been taking a beating-wilting daily (seeds)

If you want flowers that will welcome you from 25 ft away with their amazing scent-plant some Starglazer lilies! The Sweet Bay Magnolia has been scenting the yard on the side of the house nicely too.

The Coleus are hanging in there nicely.

The prolific tomatoes are popping out of the fence. Hope I get these before the deer or groundhogs.

Very nice to have a few gourds on the vine. I am not seeing any pumpkins or watermelons. I was hoping that they would take off in this space. Maybe I’ll be surprised.

So…we geocache usually coming and going from places lately. Today we tried for 4 and found 2 though we were right in the correct spot for all of them. The one was a park in my hometown named after a man my grandfather worked for. : )  We went down a steep path to an open area to see that the coords wanted us to ‘bushwhack’ about 25-30 feet. I was wearing a dress and sandals, so no.  We’ll go back. Then we took my mom to dinner and one was suppose to be behind a Target store. There’s this long metal ‘barrier’, I think so trucks can’t go to the edge of the parking lot. We were right where it was, but it was hot and sunny. We couldn’t find it. We had found one behind a Hooter’s on the way to my mom’s house.

On the way home (I had gotten my hair done too), I asked Brian to stop at the local mall. It lead us to a fire hydrant next to a Kohl’s and lo and behold…Brian found a ‘nano’-the tiniest cache you can find. We didn’t sign the log-too tiny.

I have hid 3 caches now myself. I had trouble getting the 3rd one accepted as the name was for the local businesses near where I put it. A no-no. I changed it. The first person who found it said the box had been opened and the stuff spread all over the ground, even a travel bug! We are thinking a raccoon got into it. It’s not far from the restaurant dumpsters, so maybe. Wow!

Nature’s hidden gems

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Some views from new areas (and a couple of already visited) we have just discovered:

Valley Garden Park, Wilmington, DE (above and below) Never been.

Newlin Grist Mill Park, Glen Mills, PA …We were here for a company picnic, Sean and I stopped here for a picnic lunch a few times and Ken and Colleen had their wedding photos taken here.

Harbor area, Atlantic City, NJ (never been-aquarium here and some caches. We also found a great harbor side restaurant). Never been.

Arboretum at Swarthmore College (Penna.) Never been.

Nottingham Park. Been here once and not in this area for fireworks years ago.

Now go and discover some of your own!

Early summer 2012

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I’m not that happy with many aspects of my gardens this year. We have one day of rain and then it doesn’t rain for a week or more. We need some nice gentle rain. The earth is dry and hard. I pulled some weeds out a few days ago, but it was pure muscle power. As I said earlier, my lack of mulching didn’t help matters either. My flowers in pots are doing the best.

I happen to be in the new Habitat for Humanity store and they had plants there for $1 a pot. I bought two of the royal purple Petunias and a pale pink. They are blooming profusely!

This Millions of Bells is doing well. Just today it looks a little droopy, so I may have to do a bit of snipping.

And then there are my Lilies. I really love them. They are in with ornamental grasses that are taking over. Also, the deer munched them all to the ground in the winter, but they came back! As soon as it rains, I am getting Brian out there to dig up some of the grasses.

This one is on the side of the house where Vinca vine is taking over.

The Portulaca are very pretty-I have two strawberry jars of it

The container next to this planter had flower seeds planted in it. One side was Poppy seeds and the other Zinnias. The Zinnias are doing well, but the Poppies got lost in grass! I don’t know where it all came from as this container had hot peppers in it last year. I see a sprinkling of Poppies.

I trim this back and it still goes like crazy as when we do have rain, the gutters leak and it get a big drink. I’m not seeing many butterflies on it yet.

I ran and got my camera when I saw this solo Monarch fluttering around

I do grow Milkweed for my butterfly pals

And this was spotted on the road-can you see what it says?

It says ‘I miss being a tree’. : )

Photo Hunt-Taste

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Mom-mom’s chili con carne, originally uploaded by DianthusMoon.

Nothing tastes as good as my Grandmom Ruth’s recipe for chili con carne. I use celery and ground turkey with a sprinkling of cinnamon and lots of chili powder (love).

Bathroom update…I did a really stupid thing and could have saved myself a ton of time. The glass mosaic tiles came yesterday and I decided to put them up. I by mistake ordered a multi-color sample and that was glued securely on cardboard. The other two colors were on brown paper. All I really had to do was put the adhesive on in the space, cut the squares, ‘while still on the brown paper’ and push them into the space. I knew the 3/4″ squares wouldn’t need to be cut at all. So why I took them off the paper is beyond me! It meant I had to stick 100 squares on ‘individually’. So that being said, it was messy and I had a lot of cleaning and scraping today. I need to grout it now. Brian bought me the adhesive and we were in Lowe’s today to get grout and lo and behold, they sell adhesive and grout! Why he didn’t get that a few days ago.

Here is what it looks like without the grout. And guess what? Bri is hooking up the sink and it’s going to be even harder for me to grout this! I can’t get to the bottom row at all now unless he unhooks the pipes for an hour.

I got the shower curtain up and the hooks were a little tricky. I noticed Sean knocked two off the pole after showering last night. I hope they work okay.

Update-the sink is installed! Can’t wait to put the white grout in those mosaics!

It sure is more modern! Not sure if we can get rid of the soap and toothbrush holders without hurting the tiles.

I did get to work in the pond garden and got some pretty filler plants like Ornamental Pepper, a pretty raspberry color Salvia, bright yellow Lantana and a few other plants.  They should all fill in nicely around the pond. I noticed if I stand where the gazing ball is, the shape is almost heart shaped!

A few of my gardens are disappointing so far-the Sweet William/Asian garden. It’s not a good year for them.  My woodland garden was pretty when the Bleeding Hearts were blooming (and they bloomed a month or so!) My Nicotiana looked nice, but the Salvias never took off and are getting nibbled even though I used insectide soap on the constantly. I will probably pop a few marigolds in there.

Last but not least, I couldn’t resist to pick a yellow rose to enjoy. It smells wonderful!

First flower buying trip of the year

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That maybe the only flower buying trip of the year! We had a few extra bucks from a winning scratch off ticket that Bri’s dad gave us ($40!), but spent lots more. I decided I’d better propagate the huge petunia plant I got with a mixture of pink lemonade and Picasso something petunias. I had Brian with me and he was loading up on green peppers and tomatoes plus the ones I got.
Anyway, we were there 1.5 hours and I am ready to get digging, though my left elbow is giving me a hard time (I have a stretchy thing on it in the photo).

That’s an example of the Pink Lemonade petunias near my head there! We filled up the Mariner.

We then went to a family restaurant close by near where Brian worked a few years back. I got at least 3 helpings of mashed potatoes and turkey in one! I brought half of it home.  Then we went to a little 5 and 10 style store and I got some fat quarters of fabric, a little flag and seeds.

The landscape is gorgeous in Lancaster as I have told you before. I didn’t bring my camera with me, but wish I did. We really saw a lot of Amish people and buggies yesterday!

It was a nice outing with my hubby.

May flowers in April

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Early, so early! Now it’s chilly again. I haven’t gone out to look at the following flowers as we finally got rain off and now since Saturday night.

Lovely white irises

Lily of the Valley

I am doing several challenges on Swap-bot.com.

This was my choice of design and it’s called ‘Spring Chicken’. I got a package of really cute chicks and bunnies and the lady in New Zealand likes these sort of ‘die-cuts’, so I thought of that when I was making this.

A decorated envelope for ‘May Day’ is going to Oregon.

Monday, my entourage and me went to my hometown. I was getting my hair done and then we went to the tail end of a book sale and out to PF Chang as we had a $15 off gift card. I grabbed a few books like a Metropolitan Museum of Art  book on Van Gogh. This was nice as we had just seen his show in Philly. I got a few novels-Twilight for one as I’ve never read it. I have seen the movie, but I’m sure the book is better. I have enough books for many years of reading! : )

Some pretties

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The blooms are coming out! The blooms are coming out!  These happen to be a gift from my husband last week.

I seem to have a little cold or annoying allergies, but I did go out and snap a few photos of my yard.

The Viburnum bush is showing off it’s load of blooms even though we had a mild winter with little snow and not much rain this spring.

This was a baby Japanese maple we planted years ago that came from my mom’s yard This one is in the front yard.

I have many Bleeding Heart plants as I have divided them through the years. They love the soil under the evergreen out front.

This plant was here when we moved in….I think it has a ‘wort’ on the end of it’s name…