Monday, August 8, 2011

Red Hatter Alert!

This past weekend has been very busy here, so busy I didn't have the time to post any pictures of last Monday's Red Hat group.  Wow, I'm behind---no, wait, that's MY behind in the picture below, walking with the ladies.  Last Monday's weather was hot and humid and many of the members of their group decided to stay home in the safety of their air conditioning.  These were the brave souls who dared to venture out, and I'm glad they did.

Despite the icky-sticky humidity, these intrepid ladies pored over every square inch of the gardens, I was amazed by their dedication to seeing it all.  (And they so kindly ignored the weeds and deadheads I didn't get around to tending, too.)

Carl had taken last Monday off so we could get ready for their visit.  I don't know what I'd do without him, this garden is truly a tag-team endurance test at times, especially with the weather.

The group obliged us by agreeing to sit for a photo, but we're going to have to work on the area we choose next time because you have to be part mountain goat to get up on those rocks.  Here I am helping the ladies climb up and down through the overgrown vegetation.  They didn't know they were in for a jaunt in my jungle.
It was so beastly hot and humid, but we didn't lose anyone in there.

After they were all seated, I ran around to the other side of the Quarry and helped Carl take photos with the visitor's cameras.  Aren't they a photogenic group?

Right after this photo was taken, we headed into the house for some refreshments.  I made some no-bake cookies in the morning with Carl's help. It was a new recipe for me and sounded simple, but trust me, I can make anything 'simple' difficult.  I don't know where I went wrong; they consisted of cocoa and butter and peanut butter and melting and stirring and bringing to a boil for exactly so many minutes and seconds and I followed instructions to a tee, but when I dumped in 3 cups of Quick Oatmeal instead of having nice moist blobs I could drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper, I had slightly coated oatmeal...oh, you had to be here, but we went round and round with this recipe until I finally made a second batch of sauce and then we were good to go.  It would have been easier to make regular cookies!  Somewhere along the line I must have misread the recipe, but I was getting anxious because time was growing short and the whole point of the no-bake thing was to keep the kitchen cooler.  Well, the oven stayed cold, but the cook was getting hot! But in the end, the ladies all enjoyed their visit and that's the main thing, right?  We enjoyed having them, too!

 So, that was last week Monday.  Then on Tuesday, we had our visitors from Texas, Cindy and Shawn, come over.  That was such a fun time for us, meeting people for the first time and finding so much in common with them.

We've had lots of company this past week, it's been really hectic.  Several ladies from the Red Hat group called me a few days later and wanted to know if they could come out to see the gardens again and bring friends and family.  Sure, why not?!  The more the merrier.  We've had visitors every day last week and this past weekend.  On Saturday I was out watering the planters in the driveway when a big, black truck came slowly down the road.  I waved and kept watering.  They almost turned into the driveway, but then course-corrected and turned back into the road.  I waved again, and then they stopped in the middle of the road and finally turned around and drove in.

"Is this the garden the Red Hat Group came to see last week?" one of the ladies in the truck asked me.

"Yes, it is."

"We couldn't make it on Monday, so we decided to come today.  Is the garden open today?"

"Well, let me check," I said.  "Oh, just kidding, yes, it's 'open' today.  C'mon in."

There were three very nice people in the truck, and they were so much fun, too.  They kept saying they'd never seen such a big garden and how it was quite the hike to just walk through it.   I told them that when my energy flags, the mosquitoes give me an extra boost of speed to keep on moving.

In between all the visitors, we attended another garden club walk (forgot my camera that night, darn) and then this weekend was the big Hamburger Days parade in Seymour, which I simply must go to, haven't missed one in over 20 years.  I have pictures of those festivities, too, but took them with Joel's camera (and he is on vacation for the week with the card the pics are on) so the hot air balloon pictures will have to wait for another post.  The hot air balloon rally wasn't as exciting for us as last year, the wind took them in the opposite direction from our farm, but we still did 'chase' them and took pictures of their flights.  Our friends, Cody and Briana went for a balloon ride on Saturday morning and we had some neat pictures of them, too. 

But back to the Red Hatters.......yesterday (Sunday) was the Big Day for 'my' Red Hat group.  Ann's sisters and friends came here for a Garden Party!  Oh, it was so much fun....take a look:

There I am, washing dishes in my Red Hat.  Carl had to catch me working for once, see I really do work on housework once in awhile.  (And no, I didn't try to whip up any more no-bake cookies.)  We had a wonderful meal with everybody bringing a dish to pass, and check out that colorful table:

It is a tradition that everyone at a party signs one of the polka dots on the tablecloth, though yesterday I think a few of them left too early to sign.  In this picture we were just settling down to the dessert course.  We were intending to have a true garden party, with food outside, but the weather was so humid and who knows if it will rain, so we ate indoors and then headed outside afterward.  And yes, Carl was indispensable yet again, taking pictures with every lady's camera and helping with cooking and clean up.  I am so lucky to have him.  (He was the only man there, too, but we let him hang around anyway, we don't discriminate.)

Ann and her sister-in-law, Kathy starting the tour.
 Ann is leading the tour here; and a note about the hats....Ann is much too young to be a Red Hatter, so she is a Pink Hat.  Only those of us over the age of 50 are privileged to wear a Red Hat.  (Age has to have something going for it, right?)

We all assembled for a group shot out by the Pachyberm.  Much better idea than wading through the plants on the Quarry Hill, and not quite so much hiking involved. 
Then we moved to the back yard and Carl took our photo.  This is the entire group, Pink and Red Hats together.  Even Pudding Dog is in the picture (in my lap) though they said she needed a Pink Hat....but she's actually 77 in dog years, so she's a full-fledged Red Hatter, too.
Ok, we chased the young girls out of the picture and just us Red Hatters had our photo taken. 
Then it was time to photograph the young whippersnappers as us 'more mature' ladies looked on, below:

"Hmmmm........interesting specimens, aren't they?" 
Ah, Youth. 
Then it was time to just stroll through the gardens and share fun times.  One of the 'Fun Activities' was helping me out by taking any perennials the group wanted out of the Formal Garden.  We had a few takers for the flowers, which was wonderful!   Ann led the digging crew along with Beth.  By the time they were done digging, there were too many plants to carry, so we had Beth drive her car in the backyard for more efficient loading.
We filled up the front seat and the trunk
And the back seat.   Then we had to maneuver Beth's car out of the backyard which is no easy task; the trees are growing more and more and we put a few too many rocks in the way.......

All turned around and heading back the other way.....(Beth said no one ever wanted to take pictures of her car before, so this was a first)
Her task is to drive through this skinny trail lined with large, menacing, car-scraping rocks.
Quarry on the left side, Formal Garden on the on both sides!

Getting tighter....
Beth is a very good driver!
The last turn, and she was out of the woods.  Thank you, Beth!!  That much less plant material for me to move, and going to a good home, to boot.
All too soon, our fun day was over.  I sure enjoyed this day filled with memories to cherish.  Here, Ann's sisters Eileen and Rose pose for a great picture in the garden.  (Love their outfits.  Rose is also sporting her 'Royal Wedding' Red Hat, with many frills and thrills added to it. )

My thanks to the group for an unforgettable day!  


myomyohi said...

Fist of all your garden is amazing. I love all the rocks, and plants, and your gazebo is awesome. It sounds like you've been quite busy, but it looks like you've enjoyed the company of a lot of friends, new and old.

El Gaucho said...

Wow, what a busy week for you. I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures of a car navigating through the garden. I'm not sure why? Perhaps it's because cars and gardens don't usually mix, that made it such a funny scene.

Tufa Girl said...

The you and the Red Hat ladies are perfect complements to the rudbeckia in the Quarry Garden.

Home on Saturday, been watering ever since. I can never say thank you enough for showing us a magnificent time at your home and garden. You and Carl are very special people.

Alison said...

I hope Beth didn't have to try to fit any passengers in that car!

Great pictures of all the red hat ladies, but especially the one of you at the sink. I didn't know you were a member too. Bummer about the cookies.

I remember your post last year about your ride on the balloon, that was so exciting!

Peonies & Magnolias said...

Sounds like you had an awesome week. Love your garden as always and really enjoyed the car full of plants. We have been there and done that and laughed all the way home. Have a great week.


Bonita Jane said...

What a fun field trip with so many friends! (And I do believe you when you say you like rock n roll..)

Rosemary said...

From One Red hatter to another....... looks like a good time was had even with the H's. I only wish I lived closer to take advantage of the free tour and plants . Have you thought of a tip cup? to support this overwelming habit? :_) You are very lucky that Carl is so supportive but I bet he secretly loves the garden almost as much as you do.

Zoey said...

I did not realize you were a red hatter. I know of them because we have done a lot of red hatter luncheons at the hotel. I just booked a lunch for 31 of them on Wednesday.

Your gardens must be incredibly popular with them. They all look gorgeous in the pictures. I think the black-eyed Susans go great with the hats.

I must say that Rose has a beautiful 'Royal Wedding' Red Hat!

Visitors every single day in the garden??? Wow, you do keep busy. All of those visitors would be way too stressful for me.

What a fun post, Karen. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word.

Sue said...

What a treat that must have been for that group.
Gardeners are such a welcoming group.....always up for showing the garden. I bet you meet some pretty fine people that way!

Sandy said...

How exciting to have the "Red Hat Ladies" for a visit.. you all looked like you had such fun!
My kids are always after me to join that group.. might just do it one day!
I'll be in Champaign-Urbana in November to visit with my mom-in-law for her 100th b/day party. Was thinking to contact you a few weeks before and maybe stop by. I'd love to meet you and see those lovely gardens first hand. I may miss all your blooms that time of year but who cares.
Loved all your photos of "The girls"

Cally said...

Wow, a Red Hat day, brilliant. I have a red hat but I often feel shy when it wear it to visit other people's gardens as it seems to bright, but it's fit in just great with you lot.

The garden is looking so amazing and so tidy, mine is in need of a good clearout, too much debris post gales and rain.

It always makes me smile to see a plant filled car. The only thing I like better is if the plant in it are for me!

Darla said...

I love every lady here! Love, love this post. AND I wish that loaded car was headed this way....!

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

This was so wonderful! My mother was a Red Hatter charter member for her area. My sister and I (Pink Hatters) would join in on the fun and we'd go so many places in our fun dress-up. We had one even where all of us had to wear hats that we personally made was hysterical.

My aunts red-hat groups is wild and they go places without a bra on under their clothes and they do other wild and crazy things that have me in hysterics.

Anyway, my mom had a lot of fun with her Red-Hat group. She's died at 57 years of age from breast cancer, so I am thankful that she had such great times.

Thanks for sharing the beautiful shots of the women who are surely fun to be around!