Masks on a Garden Wall

During our visit to San Diego in July my daughter, the art teacher personified, devised a summer project to create masks to hang on her garden wall. The idea was to paint a face on discarded ends of palm tree fronds.

As a palm tree grows, the lower fronds die back, harden, and can be removed.  It turns out they can make excellent bases for creative and artistic renderings of faces and masks.

My daughter enlisted every member of our extended San Diego family (except the baby) to take part in the project, with family members from age 10 to 84.

Here are two of my favorites, which are followed by a slide show of the others:

A well known Christmas show figure by my daughter

A fish by my granddaughter-in-law, perhaps looking for Nemo?

Click the arrows to move through the slide show:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a wonderful project to get us working together and see our creative juices bubbling. Which one is your favorite?

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Another New Beginning

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book: Bacon Grease & Baseball.

I’ve had a lot of fun writing this piece of fiction.

It was 1948 and Charlie Payne didn’t want to go away from home to spend the summer with his grandmother in her small southern town. His parents thought it would be a “wonderful experience” for him. In Bacon Grease & Baseball Charlie remembers that coming of age summer. He developed an enduring passion for baseball, playing it, reading about it, and talking about it with new friends, old and young. He learned to love Gramby’s buttermilk biscuits, black-eyed peas, and bacon, lots of bacon. He found joy in reading, singing, investigating Gramby’s woods and a creek, and dreaming about places outside his personal world. He discovered girls. Charlie Payne made a life-long best friend in his Gramby.

Let me invite you to click on the book cover in the side column for a description, a portion of the text, and how to get a copy, if you are so inclined. It is available in both paperback and eBook formats.


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Things I See Around the Beach: Birds

We recently spent a delightful week at Topsail Beach, NC. One thing I particularly enjoy at the beach is bird-watching. Let me share videos of two groups with you.

A flight of marine birds:

A flight of Marine birds:

Which one did you like?



Posted in Things I See Around Town, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Father-daughter Time

I recently returned from a week in San Diego visiting family there. It was a delightful week, especially being able to spend time with my first great-grandchild, John.

When I make trips to San Diego, my daughter usually has a few father-daughter chores lined up for me. This visit was no exception. The two of us cleaned up a non-working water feature and replaced it with a new fountain. We cleared garden beds and filled numerous pots with succulents.

The big chore was rebuilding and replanting two hanging “pictures” of succulents. I had first constructed them about ten years ago, and time dictated they should be redone. She repainted the frames, and I rebuilt the planting area and backing. Using new material clipped from my daughter’s garden I “painted” these two scenes to hang on her garden fence.

My art teacher daughter was pleased with my efforts…and so am I.

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Things I See Around Town: Mary Grigg’s Garden

Several weeks ago I visited a beautiful garden in Mint Hill, NC. Mary Griggs began developing her two acre garden almost 25 years ago, and what she has created is nothing short of breathtaking.

Steps leading to the shade portion of the Griggs garden

Mary told me was inspired by her parents stewardship of the earth and its fauna. She believes she has a God-given talent (aka green thumb) and a deep love of the earth. Her garden is direct evidence of that. I am delighted to share the following photographs.

I love the way Ruth has used pots in her garden.

Mary Griggs has crafted a garden lover’s paradise. I am grateful for her creativity and her generosity in sharing such a lovely place.

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Things I See Around Town: Chaste Tree

One of my favorite plants is the chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus). I happened to spy a group of them in full bloom on my way to tennis . I am happy to share these photos.

Chaste tree is a magnet for pollinators and will rebloom in late summer if the spent flowers are removed.

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Things I See Around Town: Mimosas

As spring moves toward summer, the surrounding colors continue to change. The beautiful but invasive wisteria has faded, and now we see crape myrtles blooming in their many shades, shrub roses have shed their first flowers and are putting out new buds, and mimosas are making their presence known throughout the area.

I love the unique blossoms on a mimosa tree. I thought this one has a particularly delightful color. I had to pull off a busy road and challenge the traffic to get these photographs, but I hope it was worth it.

I see a lot of mimosa trees as I travel about our area. Their presence is largely the result of their strongly invasive habits. For that reason I won’t run out and buy a mimosa to put in a friend’s garden. But I can at least enjoy the beauty of the ones that are already out there.

Posted in Nature, Things I See Around Town | Tagged | 10 Comments