Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Garden

My youngest daughter has been pushing for more posts. She commented that she had read the July post a few times and I was reminded how remiss I have been about posting.  I have been extremely lazy this month. The month of July can do that to you. A little heat, the lazy summer days, it can seem like you have all the time in the world to get to those projects you wanted to do. So without further ado, here is a recap of what I've been up to the past 2 weeks.
 It goes without saying, I have been spending quite a lot of time in the garden. Mostly sitting and watching the birds and the baby rabbit that seems to have moved in. I love the flowers and being outside. Memories of that keep me going during cold Michigan winters.
 Mornings in the garden are my favorite. Those nasturtiums in the background are almost past their prime.  They seem to bloom profusely and then start to die off.
Which led to me getting up super early and being at the Farmer's Market first thing this morning to find some replacements.  Now is a great time to refresh your garden if it's feeling a little tired. The flowers are all on sale, and if you get there first thing, you get first choice! Today I found three beautiful hanging baskets of pink geraniums for only $20 for all three, a flat of Dusty Miller for $5 to add to the flat of red petunias I got last week for $5. The tired nasturtiums will get ripped out (sad) and the new plants will replace them. I also got a few assorted potted flowers for $1 each. Score!
 I've had fun letting a few of the chickens out to roam the yard while I'm out there to supervise. We have foxes, coyotes and hawks galore so I never let them roam when I'm in the house. The neighbors have a dog too, so to keep the girls safe they get to play when I do. I do love having them in the garden with me :)
Last night we had fresh beans and beets from the garden. The beets were roasted in the oven and then sliced and used in greek salads.  Along with the beans, they made a delicious dinner.  It's always fun to finally harvest what has been growing.

And that's all the news that's fit to print! Next week we get a visit from our daughter and her husband who live in Pennsylvania. I just can't wait. A whole week with them is just too wonderful to imagine.  Needless to say, it may be August before you hear from me again.  Enjoy the rest of July and try to stay cool.  Believe it or not, we will miss the long days and sunshine of summer when the December winds are swirling snow.

Have you been "lazy" or are you working on that summer to do list?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July

I sure hope you had a spectacular  Independence day! Again, where is the time going? Can it be July already, and more than half way through the year?  I closed the etsy shop for the summer, hey, I'm my own boss shouldn't there be advantages to that?  I need to take a step back, figure out where I am going with that and so many other things. I thought if I took that off my plate I would be able to relax a bit and still get so much done.  Instead, my head is spinning and I  can't decide whether I am overwhelmed with free time or overwhelmed with all the things I see that should be filling it.  At any rate, I'm trying to slow down and take things one day at a time. No worries about tomorrow's to do list. But it's hard. I'm a planner, an over thinker, a worrier. Anyone else like that?
So here are the amazing things I have gotten done. I switched out the pansies in the front door basket for ivy and peonies. Am I making your head spin? 
 I repainted the front porch floor, that was something that had been bothering me, and now it's done. Yay! I also started painting the little building we call "the garage". It isn't big enough to actually park a car in, but it's filled with the lawn tractor, snow blower, rakes, shovels, you know, all the things you need when you have a yard. It's most of the way done and looking so good! Next, paint the porch swing, work on quilts that I have started, and re-do the front garden,
My list makes me tired just looking at it. Good thing we had a relaxing day with our youngest daughter for the 4th. She made a fabulous cookout meal for us, grilled by her sweet hubby, and topped it all off with home made blueberry, raspberry short cake with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.,because we believe in gilding the lily whenever possible. :)

Summer's flying, what's still on your to do list?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Happy Place

At just over 1100 sq. feet, you might say we are house poor.  I love our little cottage and it suits our needs pretty well so I'm not complaining, but sometimes you just long for a little space.  Where we are rich as kings is our yard.  Five wooded acres with a stream running through. About 3 acres are woods, but we have a glorious 2 acres to spread out in warm weather.  One of the best things we have done over the years is make this old shed foundation our raised garden.
 When we moved here 35 years ago, this was the site of a tumble down shed that pretty quickly finished its tumble, may it R.I.P.  What was left was a concrete foundation that we didn't quite know what to do with. We used to have a big garden just past this, but I was not fond of gardens and the work they entailed, it was too far from the house to care for easily and eventually we gave up.  But we really do like to grow things. We eventually looked at that foundation and decided raised beds and brick paths would be a perfect use for that area and would cover the eyesore.
 We have loved it ever since.  If I could give one piece of advice to anyone who gardens it would be to use raised beds. They are So much easier to care for!
 This is the latest addition to the garden area, My brother gave me an old cedar birdhouse that was in pieces. I loved it but it sat for several years waiting for repair. Earl pieced it back together and added it to this post in the corner of the garden. I had planned to paint it but I kind of love the rustic, weathered cedar. I can always paint it later if I choose to. For now I'm enjoying it as is.
 This $3 galvanized tub and an inexpensive solar fountain is a fun addition too.  I love the sound of the water.
 The nasturtiums are bursting with color! I always rim my veggie beds with flowers. These are planted around carrots and beets. It looks so beautiful!
 The bed behind is filled with beans and basil and rimmed with marigolds, beyond that are the peas and petunias. :)
 Our first harvest, sugar snap peas.
And here is the garden lit up at night. I love the string lights and we love to eat dinner out here listening to the water in the fountains and watching the birds at the feeders. It is so relaxing and a perfect end to the day.  This Friday we will host our first big barbecue of the season, I can't wait! I'll let you know how it goes. Do you have an outdoor happy place?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Not everyone gets a good and loving father.  I know because I wasn't one of the lucky ones, my real father wasn't around after the divorce when I was 3 and my stepdad wasn't much to write home about either.  I was fortunate to have a grandfather who was my everything, he loved me unconditionally and completely and we spent a lot of time with grandma and grandpa on their farm.  But having missed the real deal, I have been blessed beyond belief to have this wonderful man as my husband  and the father of our children.  His love, kindness, leadership, dedication and tenderness to our girls is even more precious to me. Just knowing that our girls have everything I ever wanted in a dad means the world to me and I know the girls feel the same way.

Victoria shared this on her facebook page this morning and it warmed both our hearts.

My dad has always been a solid rock. Someone I knew would ALWAYS be there and who I know can be depended on no matter what. In addition to this, he is funny, adorable, intelligent, loving, sympathetic, a great listener, a hard worker, and a humble man. If you can think of any good quality a man can possess, my father has it. He is patient and unfailingly good, and is one of my best friends. I cannot thank him enough for shaping me into the person I am today, and for being such a great husband to my mother, and a great measure for my morality and faith. Happy father's day.

He is all that :)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Fountainhead and Other Adventures

 Did you know we still have snowballs in May and June? Well, thankfully they are flower snowballs on the snowball bush rather than the icy kind.  I love that the Siberian Iris flowers at the same time, so pretty together.
I wanted to share this fountain that Earl made for me out of a lavabo that a friend gave me. It's a kind of old fashioned hanging sink.  This has been in my basement for ages with the thought that it would some day become a fountain.  Well, thanks to my sweet husband, that day has come. It took some figuring out, the silk fern hides the tubing that carries the water from the bowl back up to the faucet.  He had to mount it to a shallow box to hang on the back of the shed, (which is slated for painting this summer!) but the sound of trickling water is so beautiful as we sit in the garden now. I love it!
 This is my beautiful niece, she is a professional baker who just can't stop baking even on her day off. We spent the morning making these delicious frangipane and shortbread tarts with a topping of latticed rhubarb fresh from the garden.  What a fun way to spend the morning, creating something yummy while we catch up with our lives. I love this girl so much!  She works very long hours and I feel honored to have her spend some of her limited time off with me.
 Doesn't that look fabulous!? It is!  The recipe is HERE if you want to try it. Have you ever had rhubarb?
I have been wrapping up the etsy shop since I plan to take the summer off from working and concentrate on blogging again.  I need the creative push and I am in the process of simplifying. Sometimes we all need a little space to just be free and feed our souls.  Once the items in the shop are gone they won't be restocked until September, so if there is something you want before then, better get it now :)

I'm sharing today with Thoughts of Home on Thursday over at Stacey's Poofing the Pillows  and at Talk of the Town. If you haven't checked out these linky parties you should, so many great ideas!

Are you trying to simplify this summer or are you scheduled through Fall?