Serene Summer Walks

Chirped by Cass and Tina

The past few months have been busy, with our fledglings sent home or visiting over the summer. Our Empty Nester lives have been all aflutter with family activities. Routines certainly change when all the chicks are home! One thing that remained consistent during these crazy times was our commitment to our serene summer walks.

I like to walk very early in the morning, when it is still cool and peaceful. There is a convenient walking path right near my home. Besides getting my steps and exercising the dogs, walking gives me time to think about the day ahead, and put worries or deadlines into perspective. I often think about loved ones who are still with us and those who have passed, and relive fond memories along the way.

Serene Summer WalksTina has a quiet residential loop by her home and a wooded path connecting to a neighboring community. Her walks happen later in the day, often when her husband (now working remotely) has a break in his meetings. For her, walks are a chance to connect with her husband, stay active – and make the blog dog ecstatically happy.

Though the purpose, place, and timing may be different, we both get a lot of pleasure from the serenity of our daily walks. Here are a few highlights from recent months…

Sunrises and Sunsets

Serene Summer WalksI love the way the morning sun comes up over the trees and makes the fields sparkle with shimmers of dew on the leaves and spider webs. Tina is drawn to the golden glow that lights everything up just before sunset.

Wildflower Wonders

Wildflower WondersWhile stretches of our paths seem awash with weeds, a transformation occurs as the summer marches on. Unexpected pops of color and texture all get their time in the sun. These little surprises brighten our days…

Glorious Gardens

Nature isn’t the only impressive gardener around. My path runs by one home in particular whose yard is a continual marvel to me. The time and energy they put into their gardens make for a very plentiful harvest and a beautiful space. I always wish my own vegetable patch would look that way.

Friends Along the Way

Sometimes we get lucky and encounter a few friends on our walks. They watch from the fields, peek out from the bushes, or just carry on about their business. Good thing our dogs are always on a leash!

Obstacle courses

Flora and FaunaOn certain mornings there is a section of my route that becomes the “Game of Frogger,” as I try to steer clear of dozens of leopard slugs making their way across the path. Similarly, after a good rain, Tina’s trail through the woods sprouts an amazing variety of delicate mushrooms. Her mom has a fondness for woodland fungi, so she tries to capture them in photos before the blog dog tramples them.

Serene Summer WalksSurprise Sightings

A few times during the summer I was fortunate enough to watch a hot air balloon float by on a sunrise tour. So serene and peaceful… its occupants getting a bird’s eye view completely distinct from my own perspective. I wonder what features of the landscape catch their eye?

Walking Companions

Tired Pups

Our walks would not be complete without our furry beasts by our sides. There are certain areas they always need to wander off to inspect, mark, and take a sniff or two. They enjoy greeting or growling at other pedestrians and pooches that we happen upon in our travels. Every outing is a source of fascinating new adventures! They are our personal trainers and our inspiration – for exercise, attentiveness, and knowing when to take a break…

Now that fall is upon us, the daylight hours are getting shorter and colder. Our walking schedules are adapting accordingly. The scenery changes with the season as well. Pennsylvania foliage adds its own vibrant pallet of colors. Do you often take walks? We hope that you, too, are taking time to appreciate all the little moments that make each one special.

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Serene Summer Walks

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February’s Cheep Trills

Chirped by Cass and Tina

Oh February! Even though it had an extra day this year, it still seemed to fly by. The weather didn’t help, being very mild, warm and wet here in PA – hurrying us along towards spring. Our shortest month did, however, yield some efficient days of crafting, blogging and catching up. We squeezed a lot in! Here are our top ten favorites from this productive month…

Favorite Books

February’s choices for both book clubs had mixed reviews from our members. Cass’s book club read Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood. It describes a mother in the ’70s trying to save her daughter (born with Downs Syndrome) from a cruel institution and manipulative in-laws. The novel is based loosely on a 1971 exposé of horrific care inside a Massachusetts “school for the feeble-minded”. A guest speaker came to talk about her adult son, who has severe autism. The writing was good, the discussion interesting. Some of us were dubious about how quickly Lucy adapted and rebounded from her first two neglected years. But hey, kids are resilient, right? Continue reading

Ten Christmas Decorating Joys

Chirped by Tina (and Cass)

We love having an excuse to mix up our decor for the holidays, especially at Christmas time. Unboxed memories catapult us into the past, then boomerang back to brighten our season. Here’s a list of ten Christmas decorating joys, and why they make us happy…

#1: The Tree

Ten Christmas Decorating Joys

For me, the tree is the show-stopper. My family loves the look and smell of a real Frazier fir. Fraziers tend to have branches strong enough to support our heavier ornaments, too! In our house, the motto (ever since the boys got big enough to help haul it in) has been “Go Big or Go Home!” This year’s specimen is 10′ 8″ – but that includes the “antenna” that my husband refused to let me trim down to size. I love the afternoon we spend each year trimming our tree. I even look forward to the day I devote to taking it down by myself. It gives me a chance to savor every ornament, and Continue reading

October’s Cheep Trills, 2019

Chirped by Tina and Cass

October has come and gone, and time has flown by like the leaves from the trees in our backyards! It’s been a busy month, but we’re taking a moment to appreciate another top ten list of the whos, whats, and wheres that lit the candles in our jack-o’-lanterns last month!

Favorite Book of the Month

A perfect book for October, Something in the Water, by Catherine Steadman was an edge-of-your-seat mystery thriller. I (Tina) listened to it in the car on Audible over the course of several long trips. Don’t be alarmed that it’s read by the author – Steadman is also an actress, and a fantastic narrator! Told in the first person, with a lot of reality-checking, self-doubting questions directed at the reader (“Well that’s what you do? …Isn’t it?”) I was totally captivated. Yes, I was cringing and yelling at the main character for some of her questionable choices, but when she was scared, I was gripping the steering wheel tight. As a book club book, it can lead to some interesting “what would YOU do in that situation?” discussions, too. And it hooks you from the first paragraph: “Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave? Wonder no longer. It takes an age…” It’s possible that it’s even better as an audio book than as a traditional book, because you get all the nuances the author/narrator intended? Might not be high literature, but it sure was entertaining!

Favorite Local Restaurant

Our favorite restaurant of the month is Slate Bleu in Doylestown, PA. This cozy French bistro has an amazing variety of creative small plates and an extensive beer and wine Continue reading

September’s Cheep Trills

Chirped by Tina and Cass

Another month, a new season… and our latest list of places, projects, pups and pleasures that pumped us up!

Favorite Book

Our book selection this month is The Rent Collector, by Cameron Wright. The story takes place in a community that lives in (and scrapes a living from) the refuse of a Cambodian waste dump. It describes the unexpected relationship that unfolds between an uneducated young mother and the dreaded woman known as the “rent collector”. The novel itself is heartwarming and inspiring, but the larger historical backdrop was also riveting. Many of the characters are loosely based on real people that the author’s son met while filming a documentary about life in this municipal waste dump. We also learned horrifying details about the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia. It’s something of a perfect trifecta when a book combines vivid world-building, great character development, and enough historical fact to make it educational as well as enjoyable! Two thumbs up!

Favorite Local Restaurant

With the chicks back at college, we’ve been rediscovering all the empty nesting habits we’d set aside for the summer. When it comes to meals, that means extremely light fare most weeknights, with the occasional date night or dinner out with friends thrown in on Continue reading