Sunday, May 30, 2010

Guideposts - Week21

"The nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."

~Lucy Maud Montgomery


Leisurely pursuits:
  • My young peony will be blooming for the first time this year.  
  • And the tomato plants obviously love hanging out on the kitchen heater vent--not only growing and blooming but actually setting fruit, whoo-hoo! 
  • I appreciate having a long, warm weekend to paint (Cape May blue), 
  • try a new bread recipe 
  • and move our lovely girls from the brooder into their outdoor coop. 

No stress.  No rush.  Relax and enjoy.  (More wonderful thoughts at Notes From A Cottage Industry.)

Contentedly,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer Tune-up

It's almost summer, isn't it?    Feels like it--my young walking partner and I played hookey and cruised through our favorite vintage store (Junkee, of course!) This sweet apron caught my eye.  The white cotton was so soft from years of laundering and the red trim provided just the perfect touch of color.  The arched waistband added a super-cute (and slimming) flair that made me long to whip up some meringue or bake a batch of Snickerdoodles.

Alas...it didn't come home with me.  Sad, I know.  I'm hoping it might be there on my next visit when I hope to have a little loose change burning a hole in my pocket.

Fingers crossed,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Adirondack Delight

There are some amazing blogs out there. And some of them are a very bad influence.  They feed my delusion that I can do anything.  Cook fabulous meals from scratch.  Remodel my home overnight.  Train my dog to outshine Lassie.  Operate power tools fearlessly.
So when Knock-Off Wood finally posted plans for her DIY Adirondack chair, I had only one thought, "Uh-oh, I'm in trouble now."

I'm a long-time admirer of these chairs--love the style, yes, but the comfort!  They just may define summer relaxation with their obvious laid-backedness (what else could you call it?).  Plus they have that lovely wide arm that's like a mini-table fit for lemonade or fruit smoothies or a morning bowl of cereal while I lounge and admire the waterlilies.

Not that I have the room for another chair--The Big Guy is still in residence accompanied by his sofa bed, recliner, Golden Retriever and patio set--but surely I could fit it in somewhere.  The only question is, "What color (this link has a rainbow of chairs) should it be?"

What color would be perfect in your garden?  Would you choose soft neutrals or bright primaries or yummy pastels?  Do you think a chair has to match your flower palette?  These are all Very Important Questions in my on-going search for summer patio perfection.  I just wouldn't be able to fully relax if I thought my chair was the wrong color.  So...maybe a circle of Adirondacks in all my favorite colors would be the answer?
 
I think my summer to-do list just got a little longer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In the Forest

Is there any tree with a more evocative name than incense cedar?
 
Our cedars grew and grew--now they're like big green umbrellas--very shady underneath and not much moisture gets through. So one summer (the summer of the Carpal Tunnel) I decided to remove the unhappy lawn grass trying to grow beneath them and make a forest garden instead.  It didn't help my hands any to be swinging the pick and ripping up sod--but the change was worthwhile.

With the grass a distant memory, I mixed in lots of compost and topsoil, raided my stash of landscape boulders and then transplanted the shade lovers flourishing beneath the pin oak slated for removal.
 
The sweet woodruff and Japanese anenomes approve of their new home.

And I had an excuse to go shopping (whoo-hoo!) for more shade-loving plants. I experimented with an azalea,
 
some assorted hostas, astilbe, columbine (of course) and a Russian violet. I've been warned about the spreading tendencies of this violet, but so far she's playing nice and staying put!
 
I didn't know it would have such dark leaves when I bought it, but now I like the way it contrasts with the soft greens.

It's not all shade here.  There are dianthus along the sunny edge.
 
They'll be followed by daylilies, volunteer hollyhocks and snapdragons when the weather warms a bit more.

And the hardy groundcover in the dry, hot corner that gets wheelbarrows, wagons and bikes cutting through some foot traffic is spreading so well that soon some will get promoted to beautifying Lilypad Pond.
 
The flowers are like small jewels--I guess I should dig out the tag to find out what this beauty is called.

More trees are joining the forest crew--last year a seedling Japanese maple and a dawn redwood

 
found their way here via Pooh's garden in Oregon.  The dawn redwood only looks dead, it's actually deciduous and will soon sprout lovely new green leaves.  (Metasequoia glyptostroboides has been a family favorite since my sweetie's grandfather was one of the first gardeners to obtain one when these living fossils were first imported from China.) I'm thrilled to finally have one of my own.

I may have neglected to mention that our forest is only six feet by ten feet, but size isn't as important as the wonderful feel that this small area now adds to our cottage.

Linking up to My Romantic Home's show and tell--stop by for more treasures to enjoy.


Monday, May 24, 2010

On The Way To The Front Door

Golly, we're all glad to have you visit--even the Wedgewood Blue Dutch iris which seldom blooms but makes me very happy when it does!
 
My candytuft demurely posing in the background is one of my favorite spring flowers--the white sets off all the other colors and is, let us say, fecund.  Can flowers be fecund?  I bought three four-inch pots a decade ago and now I've transplanted their seedlings in every corner of my yard and I've given away more than I can count.  Talk about value for your money!

I'm happy that the sea thrift is flourishing amidst crocus leaves and yet another hollyhock. 
 
I once had a hollyhock that was as pink as the thrift and I keep hoping one of the seedlings will be as nice.  I do love pink in my garden!

It's been a great year for dandelions this year--too windy to spray them without poisoning the other plants.  See them hiding there amidst my violas and creeping phlox?  Grrrr.
 
Just you wait, 'Enry 'Iggens, just you wait!

These frilly deep lavender-and-white bearded iris successfully compete with the pink flowering dogwood for attention.
Hmmm, didn't I snap a dogwood photo?  No?  Oh well, moving on...

On your way up to Meadowsweet Cottage's front door you'll be greeted by these bluebells. They were one of the first bulbs I planted here and have flourished.  I'm in the process of spreading these prolific little ladies into our backyard too.
I know it's not Easter, but some bunnies live in our cottage garden year-round. What would springtime be without a bunny to greet you?

You might get sidetracked by the scent of my favorite lilac before you reach the porch.  That red-violet color just makes my heart go pitty-pat.
She's my Persian lilac.  I wish I had more just like her.

I think my Nelly Moser clematis is my show-stopper though.  Those blooms are huge!
 
She's not shy about welcoming you, that's for sure.  And neither am I!

I guess you could say that when my garden blooms each May, life feels just ducky.
I couldn't resist!

Come back and visit my forest garden tomorrow! Or drop by An Oregon Cottage and see some other gardens (even some that have had real live warm weather).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Guideposts - Week20

 
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend or a meaningful day. 

~His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Making the world a better place, one flower, one child, one smile at a time...

Snowily yours,


More wisdom at Notes From A Cottage Industry--thanks, Tracey!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Twenty-three

What do you say when someone so young dies?  I don't know how to even begin. 

I know that my life was barely beginning at twenty-three.  I said "I do" and moved away from home with lots of hopes and dreams.  Little did I know how young I was and how much of life was still to be experienced.

I keep thinking "Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May" and I suspect Frankie is looking down on me shaking his head in disbelief at my inappropriate quote for somebody who was six foot five, athletic and outdoorsy, and never considered gathering a rosebud in his life.  But there are so just so many things that he will never get to do.
Still, he knew what it was like to have two loving and supportive parents.  He was expert at sibling rivalry as well as intense family loyalty.  He knew laughter and enjoyed sports.  He experienced the satisfaction of a career where he was well-liked. He was still finding his way, still learning about relationships and choices, but he was on a good trajectory. 

There are worse epitaphs. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thanks My Lovelies

Just a brief note to say thanks to everyone I read via my Google Reader or Follow. Your blogs are so lovely and cheery. I love visiting each point of the Compass Rose.

I needed your loveliness this week.

It's not just those photos of your remodels and redecorating, your garden flowers and craft projects--it's the loveliness of your hearts that shows through as you share your lives. You've brought peace and normality into a week that brought sad news, not stab-to-the-heart bad for me but for some people I love.  I ache for them, so much.

I'm probably not alone when say I barely react to news stories about car accidents anymore after a lifetime of hearing them reported.  Now and ever after, I plan to say a quick prayer for the people to whom that fifteen-second spot on the morning news means their world just crumbled. 

Life is precious and fleeting.  Hug your kids (whether they're in diapers or high school or all grown), hug them hard. 

Gratefully,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Putting The "Chick" in Chicken

That was then...
 Soft, petite loveliness.

This is now...
Sophia  and Rita--from blonde to redhead in seven weeks.  Typical teenagers--their brains haven't developed quite as quickly as their buxom bodies and they eat like I own a feed store.

Carole is still (partly) platinum blonde.
But we've nicknamed her Amelia.  She's our flier, friendly and curious.  I wonder if her flying ability will diminish as she grows up--Buff Orpington hens have been described as a "bowling ball with feathers".
 
At least Carole/Amelia will always have her frilly petticoat.

 I caught Norma Jean critiquing Sophia's tightrope act. They just love exploring the great outdoors.
It's almost time for me to pack away their cozy brooder and permanently move them outdoors into their coop.  Sigh...they are growing up too fast for this doting chicken mama.

Awww, come on, you can't keep us babies forever, Mom.
No, but I can sure enjoy your baby pictures, girls.


Linking up with My Romantic Home's Show and Tell Friday--thanks Cindy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Junkin' Treasures

Volunteering for two days at the fund-raiser yard sale reaped a few rewards for all of us.

The chicks' made out like the little raptors they are. They scored coop refinements like this edging which will make cleanup much easier once it's glued in place.
As well as this brand-spanking new netting to replace the white trash combination of chicken wire fragment/scrap net/black plastic garbage bag jury-rigged system currently in use to hawk-proof their run.  The neighbors will appreciate the new netting, I'm fairly sure.
But the girls are having the most fun with the pine shavings inside their coop instead of the paper layers I've been using since Day 1.
Why? Because it's such a delight to scratch! I found that it flies inside their feeder (hence the avocado green plastic dog dish that replaced their chick saucer), gets saturated when kicked into the water bottle, permeates every nook and cranny inside their coop and with the proper enthusiasm (which they certainly have) will even migrate over the door stop and out onto the garage carpet. 
Chicks' grand total: $2.50.

Us humans did okay too.  My sweetie was happy when I found him a never-been-used dehydrator.  It'll come in handy when the peaches/apples/tomatoes deluge us this fall.  And the solid wood picture frame turned up in an unopened box during the last fifteen minutes of the sale and I think it's the perfect size for an unframed oil painting he got for his birthday.

I discovered three pierced dishes. (Okay, maybe one has a glaze issue and one is a bit sharp around an edge--but the third plate is perfect.)
I am seriously loving the detail here!
The chandelier was definitely my find of the weekend. Two. Dollars. (Really.)
I can hardly wait (hello, summer!) to play with a faux mercury-glass paint job for this baby and gussie her up with some dangly strands of crystals.

Non-avian total:  $9.

Feeling pretty lucky,

Monday, May 17, 2010

No Longer MIA

Blogging certainly has its ebbs and flows and I apologize for my week-long ebb. It's not like I don't have anything to say (you may have noticed I always have something to say!) but somehow no thoughts made their way onto my computer.  I wasn't even spending time reading and commenting on other blogs--I have 154 unread items(!) in my Google Reader right now--I guess I have a little bit of catching up to do to put it mildly.  But before I allow myself to revel in your unread blog posts, I need to unload all the thoughts that have been piling up in my brain for the past week:

Our annual Mother's Day Brunch featured:
  • sunshine, spring showers and hail
  • a lace tablecloth adorned with blooming violets
  • china and silver place settings
  • spiced wheat waffles with apple cider syrup
  • scrambled eggs and omelets made to order and
  • discussion about next year's menu featuring fresh eggs from our hens. I know about not counting your chickens before they're hatched, but I'm worried there may be advice about not counting the eggs before they're laid!
Spring weather has tried its best to wreak havoc, and I'm trying not to be jealous of the cheerily blooming gardens throughout Blogdom as I deal with Twenty-Ten's killing frosts.  There's nowhere I'd rather live than northern Nevada but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's a bit of a gardeners' challenge.  The poor little redbud thought it was safe to leaf out. Those might be Kharma's knee sox sneaking into the upper northwest corner of this photo.  She's always interested in what Mom is doing :)
And I don't think the roses looked at the killing frost calendar before flaunting lush new leaves.  Maybe somebody pruned a tad early?
Oddly enough, those are the only casualties.  That and my plans for moving the chicks and their coop outside.

Dining on my pink tablecloth feels so very elegant. I noticed that Somebody's Girly-girl Pink Nose matches the tablecloth...
I don't know how I ever resist her perfected begging look.  She makes me laugh with her continued campaign for table scraps.

Thanks for your input on my ironing board legs.  They'll stay the same interesting color--sort of pinky/mauve/brown--oddly neutral and authentically vintage!

Whoo-hoo!  Less than a month until summer vacation.  I find myself waking at night and planning what to do with my free time.  That's a post in itself!

Our second annual neighborhood yard sale kept me busy for part of the weekend.  The chicks think they got the best goodies from my treasure hunt, and I'm not going to disillusion them BUT...I guess I'll have to let you judge for yourself from the photos tomorrow.

Until then,