Monthly Archives: May 2013

Poison Ivy Leaves

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

It’s a very green time of the year. After two wet mornings and two pictures of green leaves with water droplets on them, today’s picture is of leaves but without water droplets. It was a beautiful, seasonally pleasant day, with a high temperature of about 74°F (23°C) and clear, blue sky.

This morning Cathy called to ask if I wanted to take a walk around the block later. We met outside my building at about 12:45 and walked around the block, which is about a mile and a half. I stopped for pictures a few times, including taking a couple of these vigorously growing poison ivy leaves. It’s a pretty good survivor and aside from the obvious drawback of the irritating nature of the oil it contains, it’s quite pretty in a sinister sort of way. I like the mix of orange in the leaves and the glossy surface. I also like the beautiful colors poison ivy turns in the fall. Still, I won’t be adding it to my garden any time soon. In point of fact, I have some already that needs to be sprayed.

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Black Walnut Leaves and Catkins

Black Walnut Leaves and Catkins

Black Walnut Leaves and Catkins

Continuing the leafy theme, today’s picture features the young leaves and the flower catkins of a black walnut tree. The leaves practically glow in the early afternoon sun. The catkins, on the other hand, are doing their best to contribute to the spring allergy season. Black Walnut pollen is a severe allergen. The good news is that it’s fairly large, as pollen goes, so it doesn’t travel terribly far in the air, so unless you have walnut trees in your yard or immediate neighborhood, you’re probably out of the woods, so to speak.

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Reflected Spring

Trees Reflected in My Office Building Windows

Trees Reflected in My Office Building Windows

Today’s picture is very much like some I’ve taken before but I find it pretty, in a simple sort of way. This is the back entrance into my building, reflecting the trees in the parking lot. It’s a fairly green place this time of year, which is nice. I particularly like it early in the morning when the sun is shining over the building, so the glass is in the shade but it is reflecting trees that are in the sun.

I find it interesting how different this view is throughout the year. In the winter it tends to be fairly gray. In the fall, it is brown and yellow, and now, of course, it is green. I find it interesting that in general our eyes are most sensitive to light round about the 550nm wavelength, which is the green portion of the visible spectrum. Does that mean we recognize more shades of green than of other colors? I’m not sure but there certainly does seem to be more variety in the greens all around us.

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Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

I am particularly fond of little flowers and these are very nice little flowers. Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) is quite a tenacious little plant.

Years ago a street was being widened near where we lived. Two houses were condemned via eminent domain and were to be torn down. We got permission from the owners of one of the houses to take out as many garden plants as we could before they were all dug up for the roadway (we called it “plant rescue”). There was a fairly large patch of lily of the valley growing around a tree. The asphalt paving of the driveway would have been a boundary for most plants but the lily of the valley came up through the asphalt, breaking it up and thriving in spite of the difficult growing conditions. They can take a little while to get established but once they do, they are practically unstoppable.

We must have dug up hundreds of plants and gave them to anyone who wanted them. Considering that they often cost more than $2 per pip, this was a valuable collection effort. We dug up a few from our yard when we moved and brought them with us but there was a patch in the back yard already. This picture is of one in that patch.

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Columbine (Aquilegia)

Columbine (Aquilegia)

Columbine (Aquilegia)

In our “plant rescue” operation I wrote about yesterday, we also got a fair amount of columbine (Aquilegia). I honestly have no idea if this plant originated with those. Since we’ve moved since then, it may not be but we did bring a lot of potted plants with us from the old house so it’s possible.

I liked the way the sun was shining through this flower. I was on the ground looking almost straight up, with the sun nearly right behind the flower, making it a bit hard to see, but I like the way it turned out. Such a beautiful red.

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Azaleas

Azaleas

Azaleas

The time in spring when the azaleas are blooming is without a doubt the most “flowery” time of the year in our area. Almost everyone seems to grow azaleas, and it’s not hard to figure out why. They are easily kept to a reasonable size or they can be allowed to grow to eight or ten feet if desired. They bloom in colors ranging from bright red and pink to various shades of purple as well as pure white. There are deciduous varieties, with orange and yellow flowers. They are reliably hardy and they don’t take a lot of effort. It’s either a shame or a blessing that their flowers don’t have any fragrance to speak of, or the place would reek with them right about now. Count me as a fan.

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White Azaleas

White Azaleas

White Azaleas

After I got home this evening I realized I hadn’t taken any pictures today. It was already getting dark so I put my camera on a tripod and went out the front door to take a few pictures of the white azaleas blooming along the front of our house. It rained most of today so there is water dripping off the flowers. Also, the oak trees are blooming and the little threads of flowers are everywhere, including all over the azalea blossoms. Still, the azaleas are pretty.

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Letters to the Morgans

Letters to the Morgans

Letters to the Morgans

Our first activity this evening at X-Factor was for everyone to write a card to Tommy and Lauren, our dear friends whose son, Gabriel Patrick went to be with our Lord. To Lauren and Tommy, you know how we feel, but in case you are ever tempted to forget, let me say it here, in public. We love you, we love your children, and are thankful to our God for all of your lives. To anyone reading this who doesn’t know them, well, I’m sorry to say that your life is a little darker than it could be because of that lack.

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Dandelion

Dandelion

Dandelion

I took a few pictures in the yard this afternoon. It was a beautiful day in the low 70s and I enjoyed lying in the grass for a little while, as I tend to do on nice spring days. I also took a few pictures of fern leaves and some coreopsis flowers but you’ll have to satisfy yourselves with this for now. This was taken without a tripod so I couldn’t stop down as far as I probably should. Maybe I’ll take more like this and see what I can come up with.

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Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica)

Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica)

Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica)

I think it’s a little funny to call these bluebells when they are pink, but they are Hyacinthoides hispanica which are commonly called Spanish bluebells. Obviously this is a pink variety and I planted them in the fall of 2009 along with almost 300 other bulbs that I bought from McClure & Zimmerman (http://www.mzbulb.com/), whom I highly recommend for bulbs. These are planted on the side of our yard under the dying cherry tree. I really need more of these and should probably get them in blue as well as pink. As you can see, we now have forget-me-not growing here, as well.

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Hosta ‘June’

Hosta ‘June’

Hosta ‘June’

And what is so rare as a hosta named June? No, that doesn’t make much sense to me, either. My apologies to James Russell Lowell who wrote, in 1848, The Vision of Sir Launfal, which contains the following:

There is no price set on the lavish summer,
And June may be had by the poorest comer.

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;

You can read the entire poem at the Rochester Library. This is a hosta variety called ‘June’ and it’s a pretty little thing. It isn’t as small as ‘Mouse Ears’ but it’s pretty small. I love the subtle coloring on the leaves.

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Rhododendron Buds

Rhododendron Buds

Rhododendron Buds

I love my wife, I don’t mind telling you. There are plenty of things to love about her but the one that comes to mind on Mother’s Day is that she doesn’t care, particularly, about going out for a meal. Instead, we go to a garden center. In past years we’ve made the trek out to Thanksgiving Farms in Adamstown but this year we went to Stadler Nursery in Laytonsville, which is much closer. Dorothy and I wondered around for a little while and then sat on a bench while Cathy picked out a few things for the garden.

The photo for today is of flower buds on a rhododendron. I didn’t get the name of this one but I suspect it’s quite popular, based on how much of it they have. The deep color of the flowers is quite nice, so I can see why people would like it.

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Chive Flowers

Chive Flowers

Chive Flowers

The chives growing in a container on our back patio are coming into full bloom. It’s nice having a few herbs growing right outside the back door. Especially this time of year I love to go out and snip off a handful to add to my cooking. The flowers are really nice chopped up and sprinkled on a wide variety of things from soup to steak. Their color is an added bonus to their mild, onion flavour.

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First Rose of the Season — Perle d’Or

First Rose of the Season - Perle d’Or

First Rose of the Season — Perle d’Or

I usually only post once each day but those of you good enough to follow my little blog know that now and then I splurge and put a few pictures in a post or even put up multiple posts. I decided not to let the day go by without celebrating the first rose of the season.

This is a little China rose called Perle d’Or, bred by Joseph Rambaux in France in 1884. It’s right outside our front door and in a few weeks it will be absolutely covered with flowers. The flowers are not particularly large and they don’t have the huge petals of the hybrid tea roses but they have a wonderful fragrance and it blooms off and on all summer, with buds being killed by the first hard frost of winter.

The books all say it grows to four feet. It must really like its location here, because I pruned it back to about five feet this winter. I was at least eight feet tall by the end of last year. Still, I don’t mind a rose doing better than expected.

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Back Patio

Back Patio

Back Patio

This isn’t much of a photograph, I know, but it’s probably going to be an off week for me. I’m home because I’m recovering from outpatient surgery (which went well, thanks) and I’m not supposed to life anything more than ten pounds for a while. Cathy asked me to take pictures of the front corner of our house, because we have some work being done and they will be digging up a little of that part of the garden. Those pictures are fine in terms of documenting what it looks like but they aren’t much to speak of. I also went out back and took a few pictures of the containers on our patio. They are not any great shakes, either, but that’s what you get. Maybe tomorrow will produce something better.

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Rose Number Two – Jaune Desprez

Rose Number Two - Jaune Desprez

Rose Number Two – Jaune Desprez

This is the second of our roses to start to bloom. It is called Jaune Desprez (jaune is yellow in French) or Desprez à Fleur Jaune. This one is a Noisette bred by Desprez in France in 1835. This is another really good repeat bloomer and another rose with a wonderful, intense fragrance. If you have a largish section of wall to grow it on, you could do worse than this one. The flowers are typical of the Noisette type and the bush is the second most vigorous one that I have (after Crépuscule, which is absolutely huge and should start blooming in a day or two).

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Sunset Over the ICC

Sunset Over the ICC

Sunset Over the ICC

We were coming home from a wonderful dinner with some good friends and the sun was slowly sinking into the west. For most of the way home there are trees along the road and no clear views but as we crossed the Intercounty Connector (MD 200) we got a very nice view. We pulled into the commuter lot and walked up onto the hill next to it, which provided this view. The sun wasn’t visible from here, being behind the trees, but it’s a pretty nice sunset shot, anyway. When preparing this for use as my new banner I trimmed the foreground tree at the right, which I think helps a little, but I decided to give you the full panorama here. This image is made from seven photographs taken with the camera in portrait orientation, 100mm lens, stitched together with Hugin.

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Ellen, Anna, and Jeffrey

Anna

Anna

Ellen

Ellen

Jeffrey

Jeffrey

I didn’t get a chance to take a lot of pictures today, partly because I had to get one of my cars to the shop and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t make it. In the end, I got there without trouble.

A little while later Cathy and Dorothy picked me up and we went to an event at church. Even there, where it isn’t unusual for me to take dozens of pictures, I only took a few. I did get three pictures that I think turned out quite well. It just happens we had some new folks there, including three siblings.

They are Ellen, Anna, and Jeffrey and I won’t say any more, except to say that I hope it works out that they can join our youth group.

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Headless Rabbit

Headless Rabbit

Headless Rabbit

I took a fairly wide variety of pictures today, as well as some video and I wasn’t sure what I should post but in the end I decided to go with something a little off beat. Dorothy and I were coming home from a church meeting and decided to take the scenic route. It doesn’t exactly cross the moors or go through mountain passes but it’s different to our normal route. This picture is something we spotted on the way. I don’t really have any explanation for it or comment on it, though. It is what it is.

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Calvin!

Andy and Greta with Henry and Calvin

Andy and Greta with Henry and Calvin

We were overjoyed to get to meet the youngest regular attender at church today. Amazingly, he’s never missed a Sunday. I took one or two pictures and this is by far my favorite. Andy and Greta with nearly-two-year-old Henry and six-day-old Calvin.

It must be nice to be able to look at your parents and not have to worry which one you’re going to look like because you’ll be good looking either way.

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Iris ‘Eric the Red’

Iris ‘Eric the Red’

Iris ‘Eric the Red’

This is a little Siberian iris called ‘Eric the Red’ and it’s a lovely little thing. I brought this from our house in Gaithersburg when we moved seven years ago and it’s doing quite well in our front garden. It’s a little patch of purple that appears each spring.

If you are looking for a tough little survivor, this might be a good choice. It tolerates both drought and wet soil, which is pretty hand here. I’m thinking of putting in a small pool and bog garden and Siberian iris will definitely have a place in that.

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‘Rose de Rescht’

‘Rose de Rescht’

‘Rose de Rescht’

This is a wonderful little rose. I’ve had it growing in a container for quite a few years now and really should get it into the ground. ‘Rose de Rescht’ is a bit of an enigma in terms of its origin and has been classified as a Damask Perpetual and as a Portland rose, a group named after the 2nd Duchess of Portland, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (11 February 1715 – 17 July 1785). Either way, it seems likely that it has both Rosa × damascena and Rosa gallica in its ancestry.

It’s a relatively small rose bush and when well cared for in a good location should give you at least a second flush of blooms later in the year and possibly an occasional flower at other times. Mine is a bit weak because it’s in a pot but the blooms are worth it. They are very strongly scented and quite lovely.

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Ellen — Grand Jeté

Ellen — Grande Jeté

Ellen — Grande Jeté

I took quite a few pictures this evening but most of them were sort of run of the mill. I asked a couple girls to give me some dance moves that I could photograph and this is what I ended up with. It would have been nice to have a completely blank wall (i.e., without the chair rail) and my focus isn’t perfect, but the timing of the shot turned out well (it was the third of three tries). Thanks, Ellen. Grace, beauty, brains, and heart all in one package.

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Rosa Multiflora

Rosa Multiflora

Rosa Multiflora

These are everywhere and they can be something of a nuisance. They are often planted in highway medians and can become so impenetrable that they can stop cars. On May 12 of last year I posted a picture of a pink multiflora rose (well, it probably isn’t pure multiflora) that I have growing in my yard. Anyone who knows roses will tell you that’s daft, but there it is. This picture is of a regular multiflora rose growing along the edge of the woods behind my office. A nuisance but it’s still pretty.

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Rose ‘Zephirine Drouhin’

Rose ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ with Clematis

Rose ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ with Clematis

If all goes according to plan, this should be a pretty rosy weekend. Since I’m actually writing this on Monday, I know how it turned out, but I won’t spoil it for you. For now, just enjoy this rose growing in my brother and sister-in-law’s back garden. The rose is a Bourbon rose called ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ and it is growing here with a white Clematis, which suits it quite well. The name Bourbon in this case refers to Île Bourbon (now called Réunion) off the coast of Madagascar. This rose is thornless and has a wonderful scent and color. By fall it is pretty much defoliated by black spot around here but is such a vigorous grower that it never seems to mind.

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Nick Weber’s Roses

Rose ‘Blossomtime’

Rose ‘Blossomtime’

Rose ‘Cornelia’

Rose ‘Cornelia’

As hinted at in yesterday’s post, I spent some time with roses today. Last year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend I posted a photo of a rose from Nick’s annual open garden and mentioned that the roses had bloomed quite early so we were treated to the later blooming varieties. This year we got the other end of the spectrum. Many roses had not really fully opened yet and there were thousands of buds yet to open on many plants.

That’s not to say I was even slightly disappointed. The garden was wonderful and the weather was perfect. Most years we seem to have a heat wave around Memorial Day weekend but this year it was quite cool. When we arrived at 10:30 I didn’t even have my sleeves rolled up and some people were wearing jackets. Once the sun got a little higher in the sky it warmed up and was quite pleasant.

I took quite a few pictures and present two of them here. The first is a large-flowered climbing rose called ‘Blossomtime’, bred by Conrad C. O’Neal (United States, 1951). The second is a hybrid musk called ‘Cornelia’ bred by Rev. Joseph Hardwick Pemberton (United Kingdom, 1925). Two very different roses but both beautiful. Thanks again, Nick and Rosanne.

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A Rose of My Own

Rose ‘Crépuscule’

Rose ‘Crépuscule’

Not that my garden comes anywhere near Nick Weber’s garden, but as I think I’ve mentioned, I have a rose or two growing here. This one is a fairly large climber, growing on a trellis on the south end of our house.

Rose ‘Crépuscule’ is a Noisette rose bred by Francis Dubreuil (France, 1904). The frame it’s growing on, which you can see the base of through the fence to the left of the buddleia, is twelve feet wide and ten feet high, not counting the two feet below it. As you can see, the rose is growing above the top of the frame and I have a feeling I could get it to cover a twenty foot frame.

The fragrance is strong and it will have flowers on it off and on all summer. The individual flowers are not perfect but in mass they are quite beautiful. There is another rose on this trellis, ‘Champneys’ Pink Cluster’, another Noisette rose, bred by Champneys (United States, circa 1811). That one isn’t nearly so impressive but it’s still a pretty little thing.

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Rose ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’

Rose ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’

Rose ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’

I didn’t really expect to have another rose for you today. My mom and I drove to North Carolina for the funeral of a cousin and to be with family. We stopped at cousin Lyn’s house to change and enjoyed looking at the roses he has growing. He believes that they were grown from a cutting that his grandmother took from her cousin Archie when she lived in the house he now owns.

I thought it was probably ‘New Dawn’ but Lyn said it doesn’t repeat bloom, which means it’s ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’, the once blooming sport parent of ‘New Dawn’. It is a hybrid wichurana bred by Dr. Walter Van Fleet (United States, 1910). The repeat blooming ‘New Dawn’ was discovered by Somerset Rose Nursery in 1930 and has the distinction of having been the first plant to receive a U.S. Plant Patent (that is, it was awarded patent #1) on 18 Aug 1931. Lyn has three or four plants of ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’, which are all absolutely covered with flowers. Very impressive.

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Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

Are you tired of roses yet? If you are tired of roses, you are tired of life, I always say. Well, I don’t always say it but perhaps I should. Over the few weeks I have posted pictures of some of my roses including two Noisette roses (and mentioning a third). This is the last of my four Noisette roses, called ‘Blush Noisette’ bred by Philippe Noisette (United States, 1814). It is a smallish rose, only growing to about six feet against my back fence and doesn’t have the huge climbing canes of ‘Crépuscule’ or ‘Jaune Desprez’. It isn’t really in full bloom yet, but is covered with buds so I have more to look forward to.

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Pink Rosa multiflora

Pink Rosa multiflora

Pink Rosa multiflora

Another rose photo taken on Monday. Don’t worry, I’m almost out of roses. I posted a few pictures of this rose on May 12 last year along with a fairly lengthy description of R. multiflora. That should be enough of a description to keep anyone from planting this in their garden, but then, this pink version is a little special. Wouldn’t it be nice to get this pink color, along with the well known multiflora resistance to blackspot and incredible vigor, into a repeat flowering rose? That’s my ultimate goal. Not sure what to cross it with, at this point, but I’m thinking. I’d also like to try my hand at creating a tetraploid version of this rose and see what that looks like. Of course, I’ve been meaning to work on that for quite a few years. Some day…

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Dorothy Rose

Dorothy Rose

Dorothy Rose

Well, we’ve had a lot of rose pictures so to ease us back into the non-rose world, I thought I’d post a picture of Dorothy Rose. Actually, I’m mainly posting this because it is one of only six pictures I took today.

On Sunday I passed photo number 60,000 with this camera. As you probably know, I’ve been taking a picture every day since four days after I got my current camera. As of today I’ve taken 60,045 photos in 886 days and I’ve gone 882 consecutive days taking a picture. That’s an average of just about 68 photos per day. Obviously some days I take a lot more than that. Other days, like today, I take only a handful.

As you might expect, I have almost certainly taken more pictures of Dorothy than of anyone else. Dorothy and her friends are fairly common as subjects of mine.

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Admiring Julia’s Ceiling

Hannah Admires Julia's Ceiling

Hannah Admires Julia’s Ceiling

We have some pretty artistically talented friends and Julia is one of them. She has a particularly beautiful singing voice, she plans the piano and guitar, and she is pretty handy with a pencil and paper (as well as other media). I’m not going to try to illustrate her musical ability here, but instead will pay silent homage to her drawing skills.

The ceiling over her bunk is decorated with sketches and this picture shows another talented friend, Hannah, admiring them. I have enjoyed watching her skills mature as she has grown into a beautiful young lady. I look forward to watching the next phase of her journey, as she heads off to college in the fall.

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Misty Mountain Song

Justin, Judah, Maggie, Michelle, Dorothy, and Lee

Justin, Judah, Maggie, Michelle, Dorothy, and Lee

I little short of two weeks ago, the Music Guild at school performed at an event at the school. Dorothy sang three songs in that performance. The first two were sung solo but the third as as part of a group. They sang The Misty Mountain Song from The Hobbit.

The group was asked to sing it again this evening at the middle school band concert, as representatives of the Music Guild. Six of the seven from their first performance were there and are in today’s photograph. From left they are Justin, Judah, Maggie, Michelle, Dorothy, and Lee.

They were practicing in the stairwell and the might have done better to have the audience come into the stairwell to hear them perform. The reverberations from the hard masonry walls produced a very impressive sound. I recorded them once in the stairs and as well as their performance in the auditorium. I think the former was better than the later.

I was listening to various version of the song on YouTube and can recommend this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OiYDUEu3i8.

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Julia’s Graduation

Karen, Bob, Julia, Dorothy, Maureen, Stephen, and Kadie

Karen, Bob, Julia, Dorothy, Maureen, Stephen, and Kadie

Two days ago I showed you Julia’s ceiling. Today, you get Julia and her family (plus a few). We enjoyed the graduation ceremony and are very proud of Julia as she moves into the next phase of her educational career. We’ll miss seeing her quite so often but swill look forward to her visits all the more for her absence.

Well done, Julia. Thanks to you and your family for your love and friendship.

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