Sunday, August 6, 2023

Flowers and Parades

Fresh off our August vacation, I will attempt to test the limits of memory and recall what happened in July. Of course, there were flowers. In July things really get kicking, including the weather. If you are familiar with the mid-Atlantic, you know that it's the humidity that really gets you. We had several days of 90+ temperatures with 80-100% humidity. On those days I usually don't start working in the garden until it's starting to get dark, which is a race against time now that the days are getting shorter again. The flowers though, the flowers are amazing.

We live in an odd location. The county is a suburb of Washington, DC, contains about a million people, and is one of the most diverse in the entire country. But if you travel to the edges, you're suddenly in farmland and the vibe is completely different. There is a local 4th of July parade that we go to every year that features the odd tradition of every float throwing masses of candy to the kids. It's a combination of Halloween and Mardi Gras, with children going nuts and swarming the street. It also features Santa at the end, as all parades in July should. 

Literally anyone can sign up to be in this parade. It's mostly local businesses and fire engines. One year there was a grocery store delivery semi truck. This year there was a bunch of kids hanging out in a dumpster. The bar is low, my friends.

The dahlias have started producing and I'm reminded why this is such a popular flower. They are truly showstoppers. The bugs also love them which necessitates putting organza bags over each bud to protect the flowers. The bag strings are always getting caught when I try to pull them off which leads to much colorful language. 

The above is "Edinburgh" which is my favorite. Below is "Hollyhill Black Beauty" which is also my favorite. The cool thing about dahlias is that they just continue to get better and better as we get into fall. The same plant will produce flowers that look completely different from the first blooms.

It's all about the angle, right? If I crouch down in the corner of the yard, I get get a photo that disguises all the weeds and McMansions, making it look like the garden is a lush paradise. You can't even see all the bug damage!

For some reason my workplace decided to have Take Your Kid to Work Day in the middle of the summer instead of on the actual day in April. Mary was already signed up for camp that day, but I took Cora and she absolutely loved it. Between making slime, putting Mentos into Coke bottles to make a fountain, and watching fun science tricks, she did not get an accurate picture of what work is like. I have never gotten to make slime at work! The whole thing must be to trick kids into wanting to have a job one day, and then when they get there it's like, "HAHA actually you just have to sit at this computer all day and listen to people complain. No, you can't just make fire turn different colors."

I managed to escape giant zucchini for years, but this year the girls wanted their own garden. They planted some seeds and watered them a few times, and then proceeded to forget about the whole thing. Still, zucchini grew because this plant will survive the apocalypse. They resulted in some delicious chocolate zucchini "bread" (i.e., cake) and something called a zucchini pie, which was like a crustless quiche. Both were delicious.

At the beginning of the year I set out to finish up some lingering projects, and I've finished most of them! I completed an art journal, and this month I finished the last page in my watercolor sketchbook. Almost all of the paintings were from tutorials, so I'm hoping to branch out now and start painting my own compositions. 

I also finished my quilt! The quilting went way faster than I thought because I ended up with some free time over the long 4th weekend, when the kids were at their grandparents and I was blessedly alone in the house. I got the whole thing done in a few hours while listening to an audiobook. I had originally planned to hang it on the wall, but it's migrated down to the couch for now. Next up, I have ANOTHER unfinished quilt to work on. After I finish that, you can guess what I'll do. Start another and then take 10 years to finish it.

On to the last month of summer break; school starts in 21 days!


  1. Lol, I love how zucchini grow! They are so bossy.
    I have never loved dahlias but my SIL has them at her place and I am now a dahlia fan. Maybe they just didn't grow well in Calgary (which wouldn't be a unique thing). There are just so many lovely colours and types.
    The quilt is gorgeous! Great job!
    The parade reminded me so much of when I was young and we used to visit family in Saskatchewan in the summers. One Canada Day we were visiting my aunt in a VERY small town and I got to be in a float for the parade, throwing candy at kids! It was a thrill and I felt like a celebrity. I have no idea what the float even was but it was pretty exciting.

    1. Maybe the candy throwing is a rural thing? I had never encountered it before but the kids loved it. Plus the boy scout troops and swim teams got really into the throwing - give a boy anything, and he'll turn it into a projectile.

  2. This post was FUN! The flowers are, as always, gorgeous. And I love how so many are your "favourites."
    The dumpster float made me chuckle. We also have Santa in some parades here in the summer?! As a rule, though, I mostly avoid parades and don't think my kids have ever technically attended one. Sigh. I know they'd love it, but the parking and the heat and...maybe it's something they can choose to do as an adult.
    I also laughed at the take-your-kids-to-work experience. Too cute. We try to pass adulting off as lots of fun, but in reality, it's mostly tedious!

    And your creative projects?! They are stunning. The quilt! The painting! Gold stars <3

    1. Oh I am totally not a parade person either, the parking alone! But luckily since this is a small local thing, we can just park at the grocery store 30 minutes before and walk over to the road. Thank you for your compliments on my projects! It feels really good to have them completed, I am a "project" person through and through, and having things linger really annoys me. Now I just need to remember not to start so many things!

  3. Those dahlias are stunning! I love how there is such a wide variety of dahlias to be seen - so many different colours and petal shapes.
    There is so much colour and creativity in your posts - I find it very motivating. I took a drawing class at the community college in the early days of the pandemic and it felt so nice to have a weekly creative assignment to do. Now that I don't have drawing homework, however, I find it something I don't try to fit into my day anymore. Every time the class catalogue comes in the mail, I'm tempted to sign up for a class again.

    1. You should! I have done some online classes, but it's never the same as in-person, and I slack on actually doing the assignments. I took an art journaling class at an art store in Rockville one year that was so motivating. I'm planning on finding a pottery class this winter once flower season is over.

  4. Hello Sarah. It's time for me to catch up after my Summer hiatus and see what everyone has been doing.
    Your zucchinis/courgettes did well and you managed to make some delicious things out of them. I might try to be a bit more adventurous with mine next year. All the flowers look good especially the Dahlias. I don't seem to have much success with them but I will try again.
    Love the watercolour pictures in your sketchbook and the quilt is a real stunner.
    Have a good rest of the week.
    Beverley ( formally meandmysmallcorner)


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