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?  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lemon Cake and Pansies

Well if you haven't forgotten me here I am again. So much to say and yet so little time to say it I suppose.  I've been popping in here and there to visit you but I have woefully neglected my own writing.  That signals time for a change in my mind.  I seem to have backed myself into the corner of 
saying yes to way too many projects and I am feeling a bit the worse for wear because of it.   That feeling of being overwhelmed and overbooked has finally made me sit down and re prioritize. I will be giving up some things I like in favor of some things I love, this blog being one of the things I love.
Triple Lemon Blueberry cake made by sweet hubby for my birthday!
 I suppose turning 58 last week triggered some of those deep thoughts.  Fifty-eight!  I spent the day with a dear friend who I have known since I was first married. (We had the best day, Coffee, estate sales, lunch, junking, ending with ice cream!) At one point I turned to her and said, did you ever think we would be this old? We discussed it for a while, decided we didn't feel old and that is what mattered and continued our adventure. Still, a little thought about where we are going in life is warranted every once in a while.
Find the recipe HERE
 The cake was made by my darling husband to celebrate my birthday, it certainly made getting a year older much sweeter! It's one of my favorites. If chocolate isn't on the menu, I want lemon :)
 I got these violas and pansies on clearance at the grocery store.  Searching my generous stash of "junque" in the basement I found an old tin baking mold that I knew I would never use and it had a slightly rusty patina that appealed to me. I poked some drainage holes in the bottom and popped my pansies inside.  
They are topping the tiered plate holder that I use for fruit on my counter top.  The morning sun lit them so beautifully I had to share :)

So that is the quick update. More to come I swear! (You know you are in trouble when your daughter texts "I demand a new blog post!")

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day

I know I promised another hospitality post, but Mother's Day is tomorrow and I just have to write what is on my heart, namely, my girls. Forgive the old 110 photos scanned into this post. Oh how I wish I had my DSLR back then!

I often wonder what special memories they have from their childhood.  We can never know how others view events that we share, we all look at things through a different lens.  I can tell you this, I have nothing but good and happy memories of my children.  Much as the pain of childbirth disappears when they put that precious new life in your arms, I have no memories of my children ever having done anything wrong.  I remember disciplining them on occasion, and I know that Victoria will never let us forget how horribly we punished a minor infraction by removing her beloved books from her room! But truly in my eyes no two more perfect and lovely children have ever walked the face of this earth.

I remember rocking them and singing to them and the warm chubby little bundles of beauty they were.
I remember their smiles and how they make me laugh. Birthday parties and hugs and kisses and prayers at bedtime followed by endless repetitions of Charlotte's Web on tape as they went to sleep. They wore out 2 sets of cassette tapes of that story and never seemed to tire of it.

I remember when Lauren was in 3rd grade and Victoria in first, I had the flu, and a fever and after picking them up at the bus stop collapsing on the couch with chills. Lauren pulled a stool up to the stove and made dinner and Victoria sat near the sofa where I lay, stroked my forehead with little cool hands and read me Dr. Seuss, At some point I realized she was reading the whole book and I hadn't known she could read until then! They were capable children and I love that.

I remember camping trips up north at our favorite beach campground and first snowmen and dance recitals, and dress up tea parties with their friends. Homeschooling, field trips where they dressed up as pioneer girls, and watching Earl read them the entire Chronicles of Narnia when they were so little that one sat sucking her thumb and the other sat with her pacifier, still and rapt and enthralled by the stories unfolding and their father's beautiful voice.

Christmas baking and Christmas hayrides to cut the perfect tree.

I remember teen years and parties with friends and the laughter and joy. Graduation open houses full of family and friends.

And finally wedding dress shopping and weddings.

I could spend all day recounting the fun we had. Family vacations to Washington D.C. and Boston, and so many happy times.  Mother's Day is for celebrating mothers, I know, but for me it is a day to celebrate the incomparable joy that these two girls have brought,  and continue to bring to my life.  They are married now, and I miss them every single day. We get together as often as we can and we talk and text often.  But nothing compares to wrapping my arms around these dear children of mine and just holding them close for a while. One of the perks of them being married is that now I have sons! As a mother of girls, I find these men funny and sweet and sometimes incomprehensible. Boys are so different in so many ways and I sometimes catch a glimpse of what they must have been like growing up.  Just plain fun.  My girls chose well and my new sons fit into the family seamlessly.  I love them all.  On this Mother's day I feel blessed. I am blessed.  So I celebrate the wonderful girls who make this day so special,  Lauren and Victoria, I love you.