Sunday, April 24, 2016

Red Honeysuckle

A fanciful garland of honeysuckle is blooming in my friend's yard right now. The blossoms gather in groups, like girls in bright party dresses. As a child, I only knew of its white and yellow cousin, the Japanese honeysuckle. We would pick the flowers and suck out the sweet nectar inside. But it is an invasive species, able to upholster shrubbery or take over a neglected corner of a back yard in a couple of seasons. Although the red version looks more exotic than the flower of my childhood, this honeysuckle is a native plant, beloved by hummingbirds. I’m glad they enjoy feasting from the flowers, but its beauty alone is enough reason to plant it. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ben Owen's Really Big Pot

How do you make a really big pot? By doing several things at once. We watched Ben Own smooth the outer surface while he used a heat tool to dry and strengthen the inside. He worked the pedal that kept the pot turning and answered questions, all at the same time. This ability to multitask must be genetic. He is a third-generation potter and the third Ben Owen. Seagrove, NC is home to scores of  ceramics artists. This weekend was Seagrove's annual Celebration of Spring, an opportunity to explore the back roads and visit artists working in every style imaginable. Try to come next year, and expect to go home with at least one pot, plate or bowl.   

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Yellow Flowers, Yellow building

Wandering around Old Town Alexandria can be an excuse to study the architecture. It was one of the first places in the country to be declared a historic district. Many of the antebellum and Federal-era buildings are still serving out their lives as homes. What do you do if you live in a townhouse on a street that is popular with tourists? You could install shades or curtains to block out the glances of curious people ambling by. Or you could set vases of spring flowers in your window, echoing the sunny color of your home, creating a tableau that that can’t help but make each person---inside or outside---feel happy. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Breakfast of Champions?

A new donut shop has opened much too close to my house. Sitting in the display case, along with the usual cinnamon sugar and chocolate glazed donuts are these oddly colorful offerings, topped with Froot Loops or Lucky Charms. And yes, the fact that there  is only one donut remaining of the ones topped with Chex Mix attests to the fact that many customers must find this to be a taste tempting treat. I enjoy looking at the colors and textures. I admire the creativity of whoever realized that the cereal would stick to the freshly poured icing. They are oddly beautiful. But please don't ever make me eat one.