Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Since Last We Met

 When Brett went off on a business trip with my laptop (aka:  command central for all blogging activity) I wasn't too concerned.  After all, it was only supposed to be for a few days.  When it became apparent that the trip was going to be extended, I started to get a bit itchy and twitchy.  Ha!  I guess that's what happens when the blogging groove is interrupted for too long.  The next best thing was to keep snapping the moments.  Like a shot from Mother's Day which also happened to be my two son's birthdays.  Lots to celebrate that day :D.

 Right after that I had a visit from an eager little helper.

Each morning he was all too happy to help me keep up with the lettuce harvest.

 He has a great work ethic except for the occasional slowing of production to observe a passing jet.

 Much to my delight the first blooms of the "Double Delight" rose appeared.

As did the first hydrangeas.

 Meanwhile, my little helper happily fed Peanut every day.
Gotta love their enthusiasm at this age.

In the kitchen, great amounts of vegetables were prepped and consumed.

And many new-to-me recipes and ingredients were put to the test.
Here a sweet potato pie with an oatmeal/pecan based crust met with rave reviews.
My interest in a whole food approach to eating was just intensified after completing this workshop .  So well done by Heather who has the lovely blog Beauty That Moves.  

Now that the hubby has returned with the laptop, I plan to get around to visit with you.  I feel hopelessly behind at this point, but will do my best to catch up.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Slowing the Pace

 When my parents retired and moved to Tennessee, their dearest friend Bernice came for her first visit.  My mom was pointing out the beauty of the mountain views which were lost on Bernice.  Being a gal who loved to be where the action was, she looked at the mountains and said "half an hour of that view and I'm done."  She thrived on the constant activity going on near her Florida beach home.
I often think of that little conversation when I am gazing at the mountains.  This past weekend brought just such a moment.
A short getaway into the Smoky Mountains brought us to our home away from home for the next couple days.
Upon reaching our destination, we happily spent a few moments checking out our new surroundings.

 It was hard to resist the lure of the front porch rockers.
Particularly when the view in front of us looked like this:

Hills, valleys and the Smoky Mountains all combining into a beautiful, tranquil landscape.
In the foreground the croak of the bullfrogs could be heard loud and clear.  
The greening of the springtime earth was evident as far as the eye could see as was the sound of the birds singing their sweet melodies.
 Definitely not a fast-paced place, but that was just fine with us.

 A walk around the garden revealed that the irises were the star of the show at the moment.
Little hand painted ladybugs were hiding in amongst the plants courtesy of one of the innkeeper's granddaughters.

 The story of how this inn came to be is one that is best told by the owners.

Twenty-Seven years ago the idea of owning a bed and breakfast inn began to grow in the minds of Norman and Sarah Ball. Sarah, an elementary school teacher, particularly was intrigued with the idea. The 60-acre farm where she had grown up would make a perfect location. Once the idea turned to passion, she quit her job. Norman, an educator himself, was also an architectural draftsman and started drawing the plans for a Victorian-style farmhouse to sit on top of a hill overlooking the rolling hills and mountains. (He kept his job.) The inn opened in July 1987, when Norman and Sarah had a daughter in college, a fifteen-year-old son, and a five-year-old son.

And this in reference to the "blue mountain mist" part of the name :

The mist rises from every hollow and ravine, and the hills and mountains appear layer upon layer—their hazy-blue color giving meaning to the Cherokee phrase “Shaconage” (land of blue smoke). This land has a wonderful, mysterious, magnetic pull. The lush vegetation, varied wildlife, and spectacular views have an appeal that attract the Smoky Mountain visitor.

Each morning the tables were beautifully set.
Unfortunately I didn't think to take pictures until the meal was over and the tables were cleared.  Oops.  Guess I was too busy enjoying the scenery and the mouth watering food.  Speaking of food, it was all prepared by one of the sons, served family style and extremely delicious.
On this weekend they had a full house.  We shared breakfast with another couple who were about our age.  While making introductions, they told us that their getaway was a Christmas gift from their kids who think that they have too much stuff :).  We smiled and said that ours was a Christmas gift from our son who thinks we need to get away more often.  We all could relate to this stage of life where vacations may be more about a change of pace and scenery than visiting the local tourist attractions and purchasing souvenirs.    If however one was interested in that, Dollywood and Gatlinburg are just a hop, skip and a jump from here.  Since we had been there before with our kids when they were younger, we opted to avoid them this time.

Each evening homemade desserts, coffee and iced tea were set out at the "Temptation Station".  Did I manage to get a picture of the chocolate cake or the apple cobbler?  Of course not... but, trust me, they were scrumptious (and also made by one of the Ball's sons).

 All too soon it was time to head down the stairs, past the little frog pond and bid farewell to the Blue Mountain Mist Inn.
Pulling away from the picturesque country setting I felt thankful for the decision Norman & Sarah Ball made all of those years ago to share their land, home and gentle southern hospitality.
Also thankful for a thoughtful son who made it all possible.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Baby Announcement

 I was sitting here this afternoon composing a post about a recent getaway when Brett came in the house telling me to drop everything, get the camera and follow him... pronto.

Once in awhile I'm glad I listen to him

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Look Quick



 Spring is taking on a new sparkle now that the pollen has been washed away.
Nothing like several days of non-stop torrential downpours to make one appreciate a sunny spring day.
Last week it was all about rain and dogwoods and rain and Kwanzan Cherry blooms and rain and a nest filled with bird's eggs.
As you can see this week it's all about azaleas, azaleas, baby birdies and azaleas.
  That birdhouse is on it's last leg.  We have a new one ready to replace it once the little ones fledge.  They don't seem to mind the condition of their abode.

While trying to capture a shot of the azaleas in their glory I looked down and noticed this lone bloom lying on the mulch.  Hard to believe that something so beautiful will be but a memory tomorrow.
That seems to be how spring goes.  Look quick or risk missing the glory of this most lovely season.

Every April, God rewrites the Book of Genesis. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cottage Garden or Garden Cottage

~ another print from the under the bed collection ~
Our rainy weather is preventing me from puttering in my garden today.

  It isn't, however, stopping me from puttering indoors.

 During my recent (never-ending) decluttering mission, I found these little garden miniatures tucked away in a drawer.  I think they would be charming in a fairy garden, but today they became a part of my indoor garden.  The one in the little cabinet in the powder room. 

By now you've probably noticed that the garden seems to wind it's way right into my house.  If I had to dream up a theme around here, it would most likely be Cottage Garden.  
Recently I was thinking it might be time for a makeover in this little powder room.  I was envisioning the wallpaper coming down and being replaced with beadboard.  Around this time my sister-in-law presented me with these petite garden boots, which are actually soap.  That was all it took to make me decide I really do still like this wallpaper and it fits into the cottage garden theme just fine.

 Thinking the indoor garden could use a boost from the outdoor garden on this rainy morning, I wondered what I might be able to clip while still in my pj's.  Thank goodness for those pansies right outside the front door.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Morning

Well, look who I found peeking into my window this morning.

I couldn't help but ask him why he wasn't at work today.
After all it is Monday.

 Hmm... let me think a minute.

Ya see, it's like this...
My coffee maker is on the fritz and I just can't seem to get going this morning.  It's a long walk to the office and I thought I smelled coffee as I walked by your house.  A peek in the window affirmed my thoughts.  I think if I had a nice hot cup of coffee I'd be able to make it to work today.

  I never knew geckos were partial to coffee.  I'm not sure I'm buying this story.
However, just to appease you, here's a cup for the road.
Now get going before you're fired.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho... it's off to work I go.

 I guess we all have those mornings once in a while.

 Happy Monday,

(all images from here except the first 2 which are (unfortunately) mine).

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Strolling Through the Spring Garden

 While enjoying my lunch on the patio today it occurred to me that it was time for some new material on the blog.  The only problem is I'm having trouble coming up with new material when really right now it's all about springtime.

 Every day there is something new happening right outside my door and I fear I'll miss it all if I stay inside too long.  The thing about spring blossoms is that they need to be appreciated promptly.  Procrastination in this area may mean missing the show entirely and that would mean waiting an entire year to see it all again.
To that I say... No Can Do.
So, I hope you'll join me for a springtime stroll through my garden.

 Most of my daffodils have come and gone already.
Thankfully a few of the late bloomers are still going strong.

For the most part tulips perform as annuals here.
This lone beauty came back for a repeat performance, much to my delight.

Hostas popping up here, there and everywhere.

A glimpse of the quince.
I planted it many years ago.  It didn't do much for most of those years.  It just sort of sat there... not growing, yet not dying.  Two or three years ago I dug it up and relocated it.  It seems to be very happy in it's new location.  It has doubled in size and is filled with blooms this year.  Had I not decided to stroll the garden today I might not have even noticed it as it is in a somewhat out of the way spot.  All the more reason to make it a point to stroll the garden in springtime :).

The dogwoods are always such a welcome sight to my eyes.
Sadly three of our trees seem to be nearing the end of their lives.  Much of the tree is now dead wood.  I'm choosing to crop that out and focus on the beautiful blooms that remain.

A stop at the bluebird nestbox revealed the work of a busy little Carolina Wren family.  Recently I set some of my dryer lint in amongst the branches of the butterfly bush.  It made me smile to see it appear in the base of the nest waiting to offer a soft place for the baby birdies to begin their new lives in.  I also spy bits of moss and some hair in there.  It seems there are lessons to be learned from the tender care our bird friend's show in preparing for their babies.  Amazing little architects they are.

Thanks for joining me in the garden today.
Perhaps you are still waiting for spring to arrive in your part of the world.  If so, I hope you enjoyed an early peak of what you have to look forward to.  If you are living in a southern location where spring is in full bloom, you will no doubt relate to the picture of my foot.  Notice the pollen covered toes and flip flops.  It was so thick out there today it looked like a yellow haze in the air.  We really could use a good rain to wash it all away.  I had to blow it off the picnic table before I sat down to eat. 
Oh well, I guess that's the price we pay for this profusion of blooms.