Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

 A June garden in bloom is one of life's great delights.

(Dianthus, first waterlily of the year, Lollypop lily, David Austen Lilac rose.)

Inspired by John Singer Sargent's portrait:
"Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose".
Love the garden, the lanterns, and the starched white muslin dresses.
If I had been blessed with a little girl, I would have named her after a flower!  Rosie?  Violet?  Marguerite?

In love with summer,

Come join me at the Garden Parties--so many lovely gardens and gardeners to visit!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cheap Cheeps

Once upon a time there was a girl who dreamed of fresh brown eggs.  

Actually, she just dreamed about cute fluffy sweet little chicks
but thought it best to tell her family about the wonderful eggs they would soon have.

Day-old peeps don't stay little for very long and would need a coop in a few months.  However our heroine was a romantic with a practical side.  She loved the idea of chickens, but didn't think fresh eggs should cost her the moon and the stars.  Ideally, she wanted to break even with her little adventure.  So she challenged herself to build a chicken coop as cheaply as possible.

is not it.

She did have an unused dog house

 and an idea.

She used old plywood, cabinet doors scavenged from the neighbors and some free knobs.
Along with linoleum and hinges from the Habitat ReStore and some leftover bedroom paint.  She did splurge on a roll of insulation from Home Depot since her hens would experience cold winters.
The growing pullets appreciated it. In fact, they loved sleeping (and pooping) on the flat roof very much.

Princesses do not like such behavior, so she rooted amongst a pile of old fence boards and 2x4s and created a pitched roof.
The hens lost their roof roost but gained a rooster who proudly decorated their remodeled coop.  With the addition of a tarp, the coop provided a cozy home for the winter months.

But the girl wasn't finished.  Summer arrived, and she found a quart of exterior semi-gloss that was still usable after sitting on the shelf for twenty-four years, more 2x4s and plywood.  She cobbled together a base to raise the coop off the ground, painted the whole shebang and insulated the roof.
Then she moved the whole coop forward so that it was was more convenient for daily use--although it made it impossible to get a good photo.  She plans to nail the other half of the roof as soon as she cuts the plywood. And paint the overhang.

But the Bombshells moved right in and began laying eggs.
Any guesses on the cost of this coop?

Hint:  the practical girl is very happy. Very happy, indeed.

Insulation:  Eleven dollars
Caulk:  Three dollars
Linoleum:  One buck
Roofing paper:  One dollar
Hinges:  A whopping fifty cents
Everything else: free free free.

Truth in blogging compels me to admit that an unknown "something" still has to go over the roofing paper and that will add to the total cost.

Best of all, the base, coop and roof are all modular so two people can easily move the structure by unstacking and restacking it.  The base could use some additional bracing to stabilize it even more and a cement floor underneath would be great someday.

I'm grateful to Donna (Funky Junk Interiors) and Marian (Miss Mustard Seed) for having blog parties where I can share this!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Guideposts--Week66


Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral. 

~Frank Lloyd Wright

The Bombshells would seem to agree.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Guideposts - Week65

My Guideposts seems to have slipped itself into a different time slot this week. But given my quote, how very appropriate!

Control is an Illusion.
-Lao Tzu

I learned that lesson last week on our little out-of-state jaunt.  So many motivational speakers have us visualizing great outcomes and uttering wonderful positive-thinking statements, and I respect and admire that aspect of striving to improve your life for the better.  I do it too.  Mostly.

But the truth is that we can only control so much.  Control IS an illusion.  As someone said--and I'm too lazy to look up the exact quote right now--the only thing we can really control is our reaction to things or our attitude toward what Life hands us.  But still I persist in trying to influence way too many situations around me.

With limited success.  Surprise.

I suspect that one reason I enjoy summer vacation so much is that I'm my own boss after nine months at the beck and call of others.  I move from project to project in a seemingly random and erratic fashion, but it gets results.  So right now, giving up control is hard. Frustrating. Challenging.

Rental vans are not cheap.  And adding my name to the drivers list would have added an extra ten buckaroos per day.  So I spent last week not having control of the steering wheel or the gas pedal.  Not being able to jump in and take myself to the Goodwill (it's one of the best I've been to) or visit Gardeners' Eden nursery (my go-to place) or even cruise back to Fred's and grab that pink peony.

Okay, I could live without those.  But, oh golly, watching us stuck behind a slow RV on the mountain roads and not being able to rev that engine and pass that sucker hurt.  We easily lost a half hour right there. And knowing that Law-abiding Husband was traveling exactly the speed limit made my right foot twitch with the need for speed.

The lesson the Universe was trying to send got through when we drove into Chez Pooh's driveway ten hours after we left.  Uh, that's usually exactly what it takes me when I drive the Queen Mother up for a visit.  So after that, when I felt any frustrations due to vehicle limitations or time constraints, I had a stern talk with myself.

And I didn't look at the speedometer or gas gauge once on the trip home. Zen comes in odd places sometimes.

Happily out-of-control,

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Letter

Dear Summer Solstice,

Welcome! We've been waiting eagerly for your arrival! I'm glad you're almost here at last.

So is my double peony. She almost hasn't been able to contain herself.
She and the Madison mini-roses have been hanging out together. Your sister, Spring, needed an attitude adjustment this year (as if you didn't know)--but her coolness just made the rose colors more intense.
I don't think mini Peaches has ever been quite this lovely.  She almost glows, especially in the shade.
Although the Queen Mother's favorite soft pink is always lovely no matter what. The bugs certainly think so--usually her petals have been chewed to lace by now.  It's a nice change to see her looking her best.
You may have heard that we took a brief trip to Oregon; yeah, we hadn't had quite enough rain are completely nuts so we left sunny Nevada to experience a few more showers! Oregon rainshowers are actually easy to ignore and gray skies make it pleasant to garden, but I'd trade them for blue skies and your heat any day!
Our "gypsy wagon" was the deluxe variety.  We had Sirius XM satellite radio--nice reception on the ride thru the Siskiyou Mountains.  And so much leg room that to touch the front I'd slide down in my seat and s-t-r-e-t-c-h my toes! I enjoy our delivery trips to Oregon just so I get the excuse to rent a mini-van.  I became a convert the first time I discovered stow-and-go seating.  Lo-ve!  Yikes, I'd better be careful so my sweet little Subaru doesn't hear me, lol.

You know I've been trying to be good about daily exercise and I did my daily walks religiously.  I could've wished for hills to challenge me, but I did carry weights.  Yes, I'm still carting around my old heavy digital!  Hey, she fits in my pocket plus I remember hauling my old film SLR around in the old days.  I don't miss that bulk at all.

I did go a little nuts taking peony photos.  I've got to get one of these light pink beauties.  I think this is "Sarah Bernhardt" and she's pretty easy to find.  She's almost as light a pink as the mini rose that the Queen Mother likes even though she looks darker here.  I almost brought one home that I saw at Fred's.  The Oregon prices are great (and I love no sales tax) but I wasn't sure if I wanted to travel with it.  I probably should have.  Sigh.

I did get one of these whites with the red "breaks" in the petals for Mothers Day.  It was a bareroot from Walmart (I know, I know)--but we've had pretty good luck with their stuff in the past. 
I figure that I should get my first bloom from her about 2013!  Good think we gardeners are patient.  

Well, that's all for now.  See you SOON!

Your friend,

Sharing my letter with my buds:
and Cindy

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Old Lane Cedar Chest

It's an older Lane cedar chest that has seen better days.  (Stop drooling over the fancy antique trunk and focus on the cedar chest, people.)
What?  You don't think those faux Mediterranean handles add anything to it? Me either.

Remove them and you suddenly notice that those grooves seem like beadboard.  Ahhhh!
It's had a few ups and downs and the finish is finished.  And the storage tray inside is in pieces and will need to be rebuilt.
Now it's time to give it some TLC and send it to a new home where it will become a storage bench in the master bedroom.

This is one reason why it will be painted rather than refinished to match my sister's bedroom furniture.
The wood is permanently damaged (water?) where the finish was marred on the lid.
Even sanding didn't improve it.

And here's another reason.
Right now you're probably thinking that you love the little heart-grained wood pattern.  Me too.  So what's the problem??  

The other end isn't holding up its end of the wood-grain bargain.
Blah is the kindest thing I can say about it.

Finally, the dainty relief on this carved edging (which no one ever noticed before) will be the belle of the ball once some paint dances with a bit of glaze.
Ninety-minutes with my palm sander and some 120 grit sandpaper...
A little wood putty in the holes, a final sanding, a coat of primer and it's ready for a lovely coat of soft white paint.  Are you ready?



And that carved molding?
Looked great without any glaze.

Start to finish, I spent little bits and pieces of time for a month.  It's been delivered to its new abode, complete with the key, labels and original warranty plus the rebuilt tray inside; ready to store seasonal clothing, extra blankets, special keepsakes or linens.

Thrilled that I actually have a furniture piece to share at:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gypsy Rambles

On vacation = no Internet. I can do without my cell phone and my own bed. I can live out of a suitcase and sit in a car for long hours without complaint. But no connectivity? Sigh.

So I'm grateful for a brief hookup today thanks to Tigger whose iTunes cards are calling his name (loudly) but who is allowing me to monopolize his computer for a bit. 

Can I just say that the Pacific Northwest has gorgeous rhodies and peonies right now?  They make my gardening fingers twitch!  I couldn't have timed it better to see them if I'd tried!

I can match their peonies, but my struggling high-desert rhodies will never have the humidity levels in Oregon, alas.  Still, the beauties here in the Portland area have inspired me to elevate my rhodie care to full-on TCL when we get back.

Pacific NW roses have decided it's summertime too.  Just gorgeous.

I have photos--oh my!

Miss you,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Guideposts - Week64

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. 
~Celia Thaxter

Grateful for quite a lot,