Finding Radiance Trying to live a fit life loving food, cycling, gardening and everything in between! Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:25:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 69186660 Volunteer work Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:25:29 +0000 I’ve been doing my volunteer work at the Chapman museum in downtown Glens Falls for a year now. It doesn’t seem like that long, but that could be because it’s usually one shift a month. Most of the volunteers work the reception area.


The museum recently installed a local information kiosk of sorts. It’s free to anyone to come in and learn about local history. Some interactive displays

And there are about 8 informational panels to read.


It’s really a well done display. The idea is that it could function as kind of a welcome center for visitors since our city doesn’t have one, but it hasn’t been made official.

The museum also has a great selection of books about our area and history.


I asked the director where he gets the books from and there is a specialty publisher that deals in local history. Who knew?

Anyway, that’s just a snippet of my volunteer duties.

We also got in buttons:

It’s the 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights in NY this year. The education coordinator at Chapman is also on the planning committee for the suffrage events, so we see a lot of what’s coming up, including this:


The speakers will all be acting in period costume. I’ve got this in my calendar.

On a side note, I’m sure that I am not the only one with this problem. Cat gets on the couch when you do and snags your spot. Then I’m too much of a sucker to make her move and I perch at the front.

I want to come back as a cat in my next life.

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Things You Can Do Sun, 13 Aug 2017 22:38:50 +0000 Like many of you, I’m sitting here today wondering what the hell is going on in America.  Things need to get done.  Even though you may feel like you can’t make any change happen, there are larger groups with more infrastructure in place that can.  Join with them or donate.

  1. Southern Poverty Law Center. Mission: “The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality”
  2.   Anti-Defamation League: A national organization devoted to fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry in all forms
  3. Speak out. If you hear racist/bigoted/hate comments, call them out. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Try to do it respectfully and engage in conversation to help someone understand the problem, not just name calling. Violence is not a solution. Open a dialogue. This is the most important thing, IMHO.

It’s on all of us to work this out. We can’t wait for someone else to do it for us.

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What’s Blooming! Sat, 12 Aug 2017 00:26:57 +0000 Today is snapdragon day. As I said before, I have platoons of snaps this year. So much so that I’m not going to deadhead into the garden this year, but into my compost bucket.  Here are the lovely colors this year:




Multi – hiding under my bird bath:

Hot pink with an interesting single color bloom in it:

Almost red. That one I might collect some seeds from to see if the offspring turn a full red.

The Calycanthus bush:

It’s a nice size bush now. I do have to trim stray canes as they will shoot out really long on occasion. This has been flowering for a couple months now:


This is a short version of a butterfly bush:

It’s a little overwhelmed by the cosmos so I will probably remove most of that since the butterfly bush is the main plant there. Like all the BBs, this one smells like honey.

Some of the zinnias have popped open.

This one is called Giant Salmon Rose. I don’t know what it is about me and zinnias, but they never come out like they are supposed to on the package. This is only about 15 inches high and it’s supposed to be twice that.  I just can’t win.

Potted heliotrope looking pretty:

This is really a keeper. I am going to try to bring it inside and overwinter it. I definitely will get one next year again if it doesn’t make it – and maybe get another anyway if it does!

The wave of Japanese beetles seems to have died down and now my coneflowers are being left alone. This is Milkshake:

The globe thistles keep on going:

So many bees this year – it’s wonderful!

My Joe Pye is just starting to open up and the bees have discovered it:

Our tree hydrangea looks really good this year. I gave it that massive haircut early last spring and last year and this year it has just taken off:

So far there hasn’t been a heavy enough downpour to make the branches bow down like they did last year.  I love the tree form. You can see Joe Pye in the background and how tall it is.

Happy garden this year!

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Photo fun Wed, 09 Aug 2017 22:08:41 +0000 I grew up in a photo family. My grandparents owned a photo developing business and so I’m sure you can imagine the number of photos our family has stored in boxes upon boxes.

Transferring those photos to digital either requires sending out the negative and not getting it back or trying to take a picture of a picture, which doesn’t yield the best results. Enter google’s app PhotoScan and now I can get these pictures in a digital format. It’s available for iOS and android. Maybe it’s been around for a while, but it’s new to me.

You just put the photo in the viewfinder and match up the 4 circles. Here are some photos I did today:

That’s a wallet photo of my dad. The app removes any glare, too.

This was the photo that got me looking for a solution. I wanted a copy of this pic of my sister and I.

Not really sure why because that santa looks completely bored Lol ?

Finally getting the technique down a little better. Not getting too close is the key.

This is young me:

I’m having a tea party and no one came! Not quite sure how old I am here, but suffice to say it would be in the very early 1970s.

Of course, these pictures will never be crystal clear and the age discoloration isn’t going to go away. Anyway, this wasn’t any kind if sponsored post or the like. This is just a great tool for those of us with a lot of pre-digital age photos.

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John’s birthday cake Sun, 06 Aug 2017 23:33:59 +0000 Gratuitous food post here! John’s birthday was Friday, but the cake party wasn’t until Sunday when everyone could get together.  Since he did such an amazing job with my birthday cake, I had my work cut out to make one for him. He sent me this recipe from King Arthur Flour for a chocolate cake with mousse and raspberries as a starting point.

He wanted strawberries instead of raspberries and I decided to use my standard chocolate buttercream frosting recipe instead of the one that was listed on the recipe.

Here was the start of assembly:

There were 3 layers of cake and a chocolate mousse filling between the layers (with mini chocolate chips) and fresh strawberries. The mousse used Clear Jel to help set the mousse, which is a vegetarian option instead of gelatin.

The cake ready for frosting:

This went into the fridge to firm up before frosting with chocolate buttercream. I also made some white chocolate decorations on parchment paper.  I tried my hand at piping as well.

I was pretty pleased with how it came out! This stayed in the fridge until everyone got here so it would be firm for cutting.


I think everyone enjoyed the cake. John did, which was the most important thing!

This cake did make a lot of dishes and took a bit of time, but even just the mousse is a keeper to have as a dessert all by itself some time. We have now really upped our baking game for birthdays. Where to go from here??

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What’s Blooming! Fri, 04 Aug 2017 21:05:07 +0000 I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Sunday. I’ve kind of lost my blogging mojo a bit. Maybe it’s time to start posting food again.

Today is John’s birthday. Lucky John having a birthday on Flower Friday and all that 😀  There will be dinner tonight and then a cake party this weekend.

On to the garden! Lots of snaps:

A new flower opened up. This is an heirloom lily:

It’s actually held up by a shepherd’s crook. It’s about 5 feet tall and quite a statement plant.

I have a couple blackeyed Susan plants, one in the front and one in the back. At our old house, I had planted some and they overran the place! I was hesitant to put in more, but these have been very good.

They go nicely with the hydrangea:

Balloon flowers:

I gave them a good deadheading only I got a little carried away and snipped off a bloom.

I stuck it in the mum cluster 😀

An area that is still struggling a bit is the newest bed we put in last year. I have a several small shrubs growing. Last year I put in foxgloves and they looked good. This year, I got a ton of baby foxgloves, but now they look kind of tired and brown:

Just to show that not all of my gardens are A+  😀   This bed will need a couple of years to get established.

More Cheyenne Spirit!

I’m going to have some baby ones of these to share in the fall, I think.

Hostas blooming in the shade bed. I did not plant these. They came with the house.

Potted plant which I cannot remember the name of now:

Lots of globe thistles going.

If you look close you can see a bee butt in there 😀

Here is a full look at them:

Behind is the Joe Pye Weed. I really like this plant, but it sure is tall.  This is eye level:

The flowers haven’t quite opened up yet, but when they do, they will be covered with bees and butterflies.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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Cole’s Woods Hike Mon, 31 Jul 2017 00:16:57 +0000 This weekend was the most beautiful weather. Temps in the 70s and lower humidity. We spent a lot of time outdoors!

On Sunday, we went for a short hike. We had already biked 18 miles in the morning, so we didn’t need a long exercise hike, but just out to enjoy the day.  We decided to check out Cole’s Woods, which is about a mile and a half-ish from our house. It’s a little section of woods nestled in between the Northway, the mall and housing.

Cole’s Woods was initially built for cross country skiing and was one of the first trails in the US to be lit at night!  Below is the  squiggly line of paths available. The red line is a 5K loop and that is all lit at night.

Also to be noted –

Lyme disease is endemic here (like rabies), so you do have to be careful. There are a lot of ticks around here. I actually found one on me after working in my garden beds when we first moved into Radiance Manor and I was getting rid of the overgrowth! Ick.  Anyway, we sprayed ourselves with bug spray as a deterrent.

These paths are so nice. Smooth and wide.

There is no way you could really get lost because the trails were all really well marked, although they criss-crossed higgledy piggledy all over the place. The area is small and you bump into “civilization” on all sides. It was a little confusing to follow the path we wanted. We were trying to go on the red line. There were lights along that route in the trees:

It would be really cool to come here and cross country ski in the winter. You aren’t supposed to walk on the groomed trails, so we would need to ski it.

There was a lot of this going on:

It’s like one of those Choose Your Adventure books. Remember those? I loved them.

We crossed over a stream:

That blue color was reflection from the sky. Isn’t it cool? I didn’t color edit this picture at all. It was a cloudless, bright blue sky day.

Mr. ‘Merica Bear:

We reached four corners:

The paths all cross over each other here and make….four corners.

There is a monument to someone who really made the trails happen.

And he was an Olympian in 1952 as well.

That sign close up:

We did see some Phragmites, though:

That stuff is bad. It’s an invasive species and very aggressive. It will choke out a lot of water/marsh plants like cat tails.

Crossing back over the stream:

What a gorgeous day it was. One of those days where you say “This is why I live here”. 😀

The trees along here are incredibly tall as well. It seems they go up for miles:

And check out that sky.

We ended up only doing 2 miles. Somewhere we got off the main 5K path and ended up on some of those secondary ones, but we ended up back at our car just the same.

This is definitely a keeper trail. It’s so close to home and a great spot on a hot day with all the shade.

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What’s Blooming! Fri, 28 Jul 2017 22:58:49 +0000 It’s hard to believe it’s almost August! Our summer has been pretty decent. Only a few days where it was really hot so far. Now we have temperatures in the 70s.

Moving around from the front of the house to the back – here is the calycanthus:

This has flowers all over it. It’s a nice shrub that blooms on and off for the whole summer.


There were bees on my balloon flowers today:


Happy section of color that I love:

See the green feathery stuff? That’s cosmos that seeded itself from last year. I just let them grow. It’s getting pretty crowded here, though. I need to move my tippy pots somewhere else because you can’t see them!

Hydrangea blooming:

This hydrangea has a really interesting habit. It’s not bushy like most hydrangeas and has an open and airy appearance. I don’t think I knew that when I got it – or it could be that is just how it is responding to where I put it.

To the shade bed we go. Here is progress on the tipped pot.

I have to say I don’t care for these as much as the impatiens for this. I don’t think they are going to get much fuller.

Baby Heuchera:

These sure are taking a long time to get established. I can’t even remember now how big these are going to get. 😀

Potted heliotrope:

This is quite a large plant. I’m glad I put it in a deep pot. It smells sooooo good!

There has been a lot of critter activity in the back bed.  These are milkshake coneflowers:

They are getting a little chewed up and I think it’s Japanese beetles doing the damage. It’s been so humid and moist outside that the mosquitoes are absolutely terrible. I even used OFF and they were still biting me! So, I don’t spend quite as much time out there to see what’s doing the eating.

I was so excited to get a Baby Joe pyeweed plant last year. The regular Joe is over 6 feet tall. The marker card for the baby Joe says 24-36 inches. Hmmmm…..

That’s a shorter branch, too. It’s over 5 feet tall. Guess it didn’t get the memo. Last year it was 3 feet tall. Must like this spot or something.

Bee balm:

Globe thistle:

That is quite tall as well, 4-5 feet. On the left you can just see the red stone path. On the other side of that we used to have a fence. I was planting for height with these, but now without the fence, they are a bit too tall to have here. However, globe thistles do not like to be moved as they have a tap root. Not quite sure what I’m going to do about that.

These go well with coneflowers, I think.

More bees! Lots of bees on these. There is a hummingbird that comes around these, the bee balm and the coneflowers usually around lunch time. I need to get my telephoto lens out and see if I can get some pictures.

It’s so good to see the bees. They have been absent for a lot of the summer. This is why I plant what I plant. Pollinator friendly.

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Word Wednesday Thu, 27 Jul 2017 00:46:01 +0000 I was going to do a Wordless Wednesday post — after first checking to make sure it was actually Wednesday — but then I realized I just like words. I may not use a ton in my posts, but I like them nonetheless.

Morning biking today for breakfast:

I do love my routines.

I actually had pretty good sleep last night. The day we got back from Colorado, I had horrible insomnia, which was my pattern for a while now. Then for 2 days in a row I slept and slept hard getting about 8 hours of sleep. I was shocked!  I felt so good those days and thought “this is what people who sleep normally feel like”.  Too bad it didn’t last.

I shared a picture of these on instagram the other day:

Yes – I made them. King Arthur Flour has a bake along series and each month they post a recipe for everyone to try.  I hadn’t done one until this month, I’ve got the baking bug. I really do love to bake, but for obvious calorie reasons, I don’t bake near as much as I would like.

Anyway, July’s recipe is Blueberry Hand Pies. Here is the link to the recipe. It’s pretty easy, although there are a fair number of steps.

These were delicious!

I really haven’t been steered wrong with KA recipes. Good stuff.

I’m gearing up for fall and holiday with the soap biz already. Getting stock up for the wholesale buying which really starts to hit in August. Boxing and labeling:

Still lots more to go, but I’m feeling pretty prepared for the season so far.

I don’t know about where you are, but we have had garden friendly weather this year. Rain every few days. I’ve actually only needed to water the garden a few times this whole summer.  See how happy it is?

And it makes me happy 😀

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Saratoga Cupcake Ride! Sun, 23 Jul 2017 23:40:44 +0000 Finally we got down to Saratoga. Our legs were definitely itching for a long ride as it has been a few weeks.  That means cupcake time!

The ride down to Saratoga is not that exciting. It’s not as nice as how we used to go at our old house. It’s mostly along the main road with a couple of side tracks:

We packed lunches to have down there, so I needed to stop about halfway down to have a bit of a snack:

It was a cloudy day and only about 80 degrees, but pretty humid. I’m glad it wasn’t really sunny and humid!  We arrived in Saratoga and went to Congress Park to eat lunch.

This weekend started the horse track season and it was really quiet downtown because most people were at the track, which made it nice and peaceful.  My lunch:

That just looks like bread, but it’s a sandwich 😀

After eating, we strolled around the park.



There was one duck with a little clutch of ducklings. Late in the season for these:

Baby ducks are just little puffs of cuteness. I wanted to gather them all up! 😀

Very nice landscaping. John was actually naming flowers that we passed. I guess he does listen when I natter on about my garden!


The carousel:

It’s a very, very nice park.

After walking around for a while, it was time for the purpose of our ride!

We got some coffee and our cupcakes. Mine was cookies and cream:

This picture doesn’t really show how big this cupcake is. We call them gut bombs because that is what they are LOL!  Soooo good and super sweet. You would never want to eat a whole one of these without a 40 mile ride, that’s for sure!

We headed on home pretty uneventfully. We made good time, probably powered by some sugar 😀


Ride stats:

Total miles: 41.49

Average speed: 14 miles per hour

Saddle time: 2 hours 57 minutes

Calories burned: 1244  – half of which was replaced by the cupcake!


Legs are still feeling great for the season. It’s hard to believe that we are approaching August already!


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