Sunday, May 21, 2017

Springtime Garden Love

I love this time of year when the hydrangeas put on their finest show.  Although they will bloom on and off a bit throughout the summer, it is now that they give it all they've got.

This shade of blue just might be the most beautiful of all to my eye.

But then, the tinge of blue now appearing on the bluebird babies...
well, that's pretty nice too.  I believe it will be any day now that they leave the safety of their wee little house.  Soon they will be soaring through the big blue sky.  It has been a joy to observe their entry into the world. 

Getting back to the hydrangeas...
Just when I think the blue are the loveliest shade in the garden, I turn to see this.  The varying shades of pinks, lavenders and even blue all on one plant make me stop and wonder how it is possible to pick a favorite.  In my book, hydrangeas=LOVE.

I think a heart shaped hydrangea falls into the

What are you loving in your garden today?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Busy Little Mama

Perched atop the arborvitae, one might think she was just resting from a day of soaring through the skies.
With a bit of keen observation, it becomes clear that much more was going on than a mere rest.

In recent weeks she wove a cozy little nest.
A safe spot to lay her pretty blue eggs.

Last week her little family entered the world.
No doubt happy to be cuddled up together as they nap and become accustomed to life outside of that little blue egg.

Mama spends her days collecting food for her little family.
Flying back and forth throughout the day.
It's so cute to walk near their little home and hear them
chirping away in there.

Mama has chosen the ideal place to perch while keeping watch over her babies.
It's a straight shot to their little home tweet home.

While watching this little bluebird family my thoughts went to all of the mamas out there who quietly go about the business of caring for their children.
It can be a thankless job at times, yet a job filled with precious moments and rich rewards.
I hope that you are reaping some of those rewards today.

~ Happy Mother's Day ~

Monday, May 8, 2017

First Farmer's Market of the Season

The cool morning that greeted us on Saturday was ideal weather for a little jaunt to the farmer's market.  We like this one located in Winston-Salem, NC. 
As we made our way over to the farmer's stands, it was inspiring to see what was growing in the gardens of the neighboring Old Salem.

The varieties of lettuce looked lovely together.
Almost too pretty to pick.

The large field of poppies was in it's glory.

It's so much fun to explore the different farm stands.
This one offered beautiful strawberries and spring greens.
Unfortunately we had just purchased strawberries (from California).

The floral bouquets were lovely too.

We purchased pasture raised chicken and sausage, tomato plants and a bush cucumber, spinach and tomatoes (greenhouse grown).
As it was getting near lunch time we decided to pick up our meal from the market.
Last year I tried this iced green "Peace" tea.
It was so good that I bought a package to make at home.
It has the health benefits of green tea and the refreshing benefit of mint.  So good especially on a hot summer day.

We took our sandwiches and tea to the car and had a little picnic.

As the day was warming up a bit,
I cracked the car window to this view.
Not bad for an in the car picnic.

I love going to farmer's markets.
The whole idea of eating locally grown food is so appealing to me.
As is being able to support the farmers.
I always learn something new when I take the time to talk to the farmers.  While buying the pasture raised chicken parts to make my chicken broth, the farmer told me that many of his customers tell him that pig's feet are an essential ingredient to the best broth.  Apparently they all say that once you make it this way you'll never go back.  He was all out of feet that day as they were such a popular item.  When I think of little piggy feet in my soup, I don't envision something delicious.  Tell me, have you ever tried it?

While chatting with him I was eyeing that bag with the pink bow above.
Trying to decide what I was looking at I finally came out and asked him.
Seems that is his young daughter's contribution to the farm stand.
Bagged up chicken p**p.
It was important to her to add the pink bow :).
Believe it or not I was very excited to find this.
I have always heard that it makes wonderful fertilizer.
He told me that popping a few p**p pellets on top of the soil in my container plants would work like a time release fertilizer and it also wouldn't burn the plants or their roots.
Sounds good to me.
I'll let you know how it works out.
If you already use this method of fertilizer, perhaps you can share your experiences with me.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Playing in the Powder Room

You may remember a recent trip to the bath and lighting shop in which I was looking to replace the powder room sink.
This one, to be exact.  The one that has always felt much too small.
As you can see the faucet handle is just waiting to send the soap jar flying.  Not to mention it always felt like you had to have the water going at just the right speed.  Too high and water often ended up outside of the sink.  Perhaps on you or the floor.
I'm not sure why it's taken us so long to replace the darn thing.

As if the above wasn't enough , the faucet has been reduced to this.
Pictures bring everything in to better focus, don't they?
What must my guests have been thinking while washing their hands in this room?

This bathroom was decorated when shiny brass was "the thing".
We now know that is no longer the case.
Having said that, I must admit to still liking brass and not being interested in replacing the light fixture, towel bar, etc. just to suit the latest trend.
While at the bath and lighting shop, we were presented with an interesting option in the form of "champagne brass".  Not shiny and not exactly what we used to call antique brass.  The gal who was helping us said that it would work fine with the shiny brass lighting.  In fact, we learned that it is very current to mix various metals now.  Who knew? 

Although our new sink is bigger, she also suggested the crosshatch handles to afford more space for that soap jar.

New sink in place.

A funny thing happened while shopping for that sink...
Seems we didn't realize how much we really needed a new toilet too.
Although the old one was working just fine, it had a few quirks that always annoyed me.
Namely the fact that the tank cover sloped forward just enough that putting anything on there was a set-up for having them slide right off onto the floor.
With a tiny sink and a sloping toilet tank, where's a gal supposed to place the fun stuff.

Like, for instance, the fresh cut roses or...

the all-important scented candle.

Or maybe even both.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekend Patio Report

One thing I miss about working in an office is the Monday morning catch-up chats with my co-workers.  It was always fun to see who did what and where their weekends took them. 
Now the only co-worker I see on Monday morning is Brett and I pretty much know what he did all weekend as I am usually with him for the bulk of it.
Speaking of co-workers, I called one of them from a long time ago and got caught up on Friday.  A long conversation, but so nice too.
Saturday found us running around doing errands.
As the day went on the temperatures rose into the upper 80s.
By the time we got home, the zero gravity chairs on the patio were calling our names.
As much as I enjoy lounging on the patio, it seems a challenging feat for the gardener in me.
Just about the time I settle into this view, something catches my attention and makes me pop out of the chair to go exploring.

In this case it was the irises I noticed in the perennial bed past the pond.
They haven't bloomed since being transplanted a few years ago.
Was it possible that they were finally performing?
Only one way to find out.
Hop out of the chair and go exploring.
Sure enough they are blooming.
This warrants a photo.
Back into the house for the camera.
Back out to the perennial bed for the photo shoot.
Back to the recliner for a sip of iced tea.

The camera proved to be a valuable tool for allowing me to enjoy some uninterrupted recliner time.
I don't often capture photos of the goldfish in the pond as they tend to be camera shy.
From the recliner I was able to get a shot of a few of them.
They are getting so big which amazes me since we never feed them.

The bird activity at this time of year is so fun to watch.
They all seem to be travelling in pairs as they, no doubt, are working hard at all that is required to set up housekeeping for their soon to be families.
This birdhouse is located at the very back of the garden.
When we noticed a bird flying in and out, I counted on the camera to see just who it was.

A bit of cropping and we see it is an Eastern Bluebird.

Looking in on her pretty blue eggs.
This photo was taken last week during Jaxson's visit.
He and grandpa did a good job of monitoring the nest.

The birdfeeder to my left was a busy spot.
The top of the shepherd's hook seemed to be the place to wait for your turn at the feeder.  Glad I was able to catch this house finch as they didn't pause long for their photo shoots.

Another little garden friend .
This one was a bit hard to spot at first as he so closely matched the stone he was crawling on.

By the time he made his way to the top of the shepherd's hook, he had morphed into a bright green and...

when he displayed his "dewlap" he became downright colorful.
His funniest behavior was something I wasn't able to capture with the camera.  As he ran along the patio he would stop every so often and do a set of push-ups.  Well, I suppose that wasn't really what he was doing but it looked like it to me and made me laugh every time I saw it.
When I first moved to North Carolina and saw these little reptiles I wasn't quite sure what they were.  Thanks to the wonders of the internet I now know that they aren't chameleons or iguanas.  Instead they are Carolina anoles.
Fascinating little creatures.  Read more about them here if you are so inclined.


So, that's a bit about my weekend.
Now it's time for me to ask about yours.
Was it a good one?