Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #2 -- Work to be Done

I'm tired and old but there's work to be done.

Look for more Wordless Wednesdays here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Color Yellow

Yellow is one of my all time favorite colors. I used to say it WAS my favorite but now I have added others to it, like cobalt blue, peacock blue, moss green, emerald green, lavender, plum ... well you get the picture.

Anyway, Angela over at Cottage Magpie is having one of her color contests, and I decided I would like to enter.

This is a corner of my family room. It's painted a soft yellow. That's a Tiffany-style lamp with daisies and the quilt is one I made. I hand applique and hand quilt. I like the little yellow bird in the topiary. My father made the shelf on his jig saw back in the 50s when that style was popular. I still love it. A nice picture if it wasn't for the doorbell on the wall (ugh!)

Same room -- The stained glass shutters were here when we moved in. It was a hobby of the previous owner, and then she turned her crafts into a business. This room that I use for a family room was actually her in-home store. Before that it was the doctor's office. I live in 101-year-old doctor's house; there were three doctors who lived here with their families over the course of 70 years. Many people tell me about how they had their tonsils and appendix removed in this house. The doctors sometimes delivered babies here. Unfortunately, there were deaths, also.

These are the fabrics for my next quilt. It's going to be my lap quilt that will cover me as I watch t.v. or quilt the next one :)

There's no yellow in my garden right now. The daffodils are done and I only have a few scraggly tulips left. This is a Mary Todd daylily. I took it last summer. One of my all time favorite bloomers; the color and size is fantastic.

As you can see by the fabrics and quilt designs, I surround myself with flowers all year long. And yellow is one of the colors that makes me happy.

Thanks, Angela, for running this contest.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hat or Hatless?

Do you wear a hat or are you hatless in the garden?

We've been warned many times over about skin cancer. And I've known several people now who have had cases of basal cell carcinoma and even melanoma, the more serious one. Some of my friends and relatives are golfers, or were sun worshippers in their younger days. Farmers and gardeners are especially at risk. Hats are also one way to prevent the sun from giving you age spots and wrinkles, a girl's worst enemy.

I like to wear hats but they don't like me. My head is too small, and they slip and slide all over the place. I look like the ultimate gardening geek with one on, but I persist. Someday I'll find the perfect hat -- one that protects me from the sun and also makes me look like a high fashion runway model. Since that will probably never happen, I just collect!!

The following is a private showing of my garden hat collection, just for your viewing, my gardening friends. And best of all, there's no charge for this fashion show.

One of my favorites. This one fits me and doesn't look too bad, but it is falling apart. It must be 30 years old now.

The one on the top is strictly decorative. My daughter made it for me. The other one is handcrafted in Mexico. It has a Spanish flare that I like. The sliding barrel bead broke, and I can't find a replacement that will accommodate the leather straps.

The one on the right here is hand painted. The bill is so big I look like Donald Duck when I wear it.
The one on the left is okay until I put it on. Then it sits crooked on my head. I can't figure out what's wrong with it. When it's on, I look like a complete dork!

These three are not too bad. I have to stuff the brim of the two on the left to keep them on my head. I use quilt batting and Velcro. They still fall off occasionally.
The other one fits great but doesn't do much for sun protection.

I bought the one with the black ribbon on sale. I thought it was perfect at the time. Not so. I look like all hat and no body with it on.
The other one is going to be used for a scarecrow lady.(I'll tell you about her later.)

Here's what I usually end up wearing. Not too fashionable, but it works the best for shading and keeping the hair out of my face when the wind blows. I'm not advertising Paul Mitchell products. It's just that daughter No.2 gave it to me years ago, and it fits just right. The brim is small and is in proportion to my face and head. You can see it had a workout on this day. Still dusty along with my gloves.

Well, that's it. Am I done buying hats? NOT!! I consider it my American duty to keep the stores in business as I search for the perfect hat of my dreams.

Take the poll on the sidebar. I'm interested to see what you think of hats.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Honorable Mention and more

In the last post, I gave awards to ten bloggers. I kept it in the garden community because that is where I received it. But I realized that I left out two important non-gardening blogs, and so I take it upon myself now to give this coveted award to two special people.

One award goes to Diane at dkMommy Spot. Diane's blog has helped many mothers and mothers-to-be learn about raising their child in a healthy and natural environment. Diane is the reason I am blogging. She encouraged me to start a blog and then patiently walked me through the learning process. Even though Diane is much younger than I am, we have a lot in common. We enjoy spending time together. We both love music, reading and gardening. And most important of all we both love one special little boy. You see, Diane is my daughter. I am very proud of what she has accomplished, and the respect she receives in the mommy blogging world.

The next blog I would like to present is to Mike at Mike's Show-N-Shine. Mike is a car enthusiast. He has a 64 1/2 red mustang that he proudly drives around town in the summer. He decided to do a blog on classic cars and enlisted my help to get started. Since then he has been asked to write articles for online newspapers and to work on a project with a fellow car enthusiast across the state. Mike helps me out in the garden also. Now I can tell you that Mike is a pseudonym for my husband Duane (which is also a pseudonym. shhhh, don't tell!) I'm proud of what you've accomplished in the car blogging world, Duane. Keep it up; you've only just begun to set the world on fire.

A New Award!

Last night when I checked my email, I was very surprised to find that Mary Beth at Cultivating Paradise had bestowed upon me the E for Excellent Blog Award. I am so honored to be one of the 10 she chose. So now it is my duty to pass it on to 10 deserving people.

Mary Beth said that she was often a silent fan, and I totally understand that. I, too, read blogs for a long time before I got the courage to jump in and add my comment. Once I did I found that there was a world of generous gardeners out there, eager to pass on their experience, praise, sympathies, and friendship to someone they have never met. What an amazing group of people you all are. So, I humbly thank you, Mary Beth, for including me in your favorites.

I agonized over this list as I do most things in life, and then I make a quick decision. It's who I am. I don't like rating people or their blogs so I am just going to list them in no particular order. I chose them because they are all diverse. Some have interests similar to mine in plants, music, books. Others are completely opposite of my style, but I feel that is what challenges me. The one thing they all have in common is that they publish great posts and photos, and they are all appealing to the eye.

So here they are; 10 blogs that have raised the bar on garden blogging:

1. Cherry' the garden

2. A Maritime Gardener

3. Muck n Mire

4. Digital Flower Pictures

5. The Secret Garden

6. Old Country Gardens

7. Heirloom Gardener

8. Soliloquy

9. Dragonfly Gardener

10.Notes From a Cottage Garden

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Cherry Tree is Weeping

I'm ecstatic but my cherry tree is weeping. And that's fine with me. Maybe this long, cold winter will prove to be good for our gardens.

This is the most dense the flowers have been in years. (Don't ask why I have a white tree against a white house. It's a sore spot)

And the honey bees are all over this thing. The buzzing was so loud it sounded like a sawmill.

Duane has the fountain running. We had to put in a new pump. And everything is popping up all around it.

My first tulips, Sun Gold.

And even the vinca minor, myrtle we call it here, is coming in nice and thick and full of lovely periwinkle blue flowers. It grows wild in the woods and you can spot it carpeted all over as you take a country drive.

So my cherry tree may be weeping, but I'm on top of the world.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Forsythia puzzle

Don't you love the bright yellow of forsythia? To me, this really says spring is here. There are lovely yellow bushes all over the neighborhood. This particular one has been on the side of the house for years before I came on the scene. It might be time to replace it. Each year I think, maybe we'll cut it down after it's done flowering, and then I don't have the heart to do it after all.

I thought this picture would make a good puzzle with all of the criss-crossing branches. Are you game?
What's your score? Leave me a comment and let's compare notes.

Click to Mix and Solve

Hooray, the mulch has arrived. I ordered dark brown this year. Can't wait to get a start on that pile. Five yards will take me weeks and weeks if I am to do it myself. (Duane's back is out again) There's always the weather and my work to interfere, too. I find the heady aroma very soothing, so I actually enjoy the work, and the results grant me immediate satisfaction. That's a good thing.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Garden is Blooming

It has really begun. We've had 70 degrees plus for a few days in a row. The garden cleanup is well on it's way, although it somehow seems bigger this year. Or is it just that I am one year older? Well, there is that one little area that Duane hasn't noticed yet. (you won't tell, will you?)

Pasque Flowers.

Please ignore the dry ground. Soon it will be loosened up and the mulch will be in place. I always feel bad for this little plant. It doesn't get a chance to shine in a well-tended garden. Each year it blooms before I've had a chance to get a good start on the cleanup. But I love the fact that it is so colorful while I'm out there working. Maybe I should plant some more.

I've already taken a shot of my naturalized area but the daffodils are in full bloom now. Aren't the white ones so crisp and clean looking?

Well, back to the dirt, if my back can take it, that is. Oh yes, and those calf muscles; ouch!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bill Cosby Said..............

What does Bill Cosby have to do with my yard and garden? Well, once upon a time, Bill Cosby said......

It was the early 80s. We had a new house in a new subdivision. We were yuppies! Yes, we were. And at the same time, we were all becoming very aware of our environment, thanks to Phil Donahue, and we knew cutting down trees was a big no-no. We wanted to do the right thing. So we re-cycled and never threw trash out of the car window,(unless it was biodegradable, of course.)

As the children were growing up, and knowing that all too soon they would leave the nest, we decided it was time for an in-the-ground pool. But there was one problem.

We had planted some fruit trees, because I wanted to be homey and nurturing, and I thought I'd like to grow and harvest my own peaches, pears, and apples. They weren't faring too well because I didn't know that I needed two of each or that a neighbor must have one of the pair so the bees could cross-pollinate. I was a city girl, after all.

Over coffee with my friend, I proudly talked about our new project.
My friend said, "Where will you put the pool?"
I pointed to the spot; the only logical place.
"But the trees," she said.
"Oh, we're cutting them down," I said.
And then came the look of shock and horror.
"How could you? You can't cut down trees!"
I must admit to being embarrassed for a few minutes, and then I remembered
Bill Cosby's famous words to his on screen son,Theo.
"I brought you into this world and I can take you out!"

These small little saplings, devoured by the rabbits, are exactly like those trees at my previous house.

In my eyes they are nothing more than an overgrown garden plant.

I brought them into this world, and Duane will take them out. Thanks, Bill Cosby, for easing my pain.

I'm sorry, Apple Tree; may you rest in peace.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Skywatch Friday #1

My sky in Michigan on Friday afternoon. Look for more Skywatch Friday shots at Welcome to Wiggers World

It's almost Time for Thyme

German Thyme

My garden still doesn't look like much, and I don't think you need to see another post about me cleaning out the dead, wet, leaves and putting down mulch. This is all I've got to show for my herb garden. But there is a little green starting to appear and so now it's almost time for thyme!

English Thyme

I couldn't take a walk around the garden yesterday. Rain, rain, rain! I thought maybe we wouldn't have a wet spring after all of that snow. But nature just takes it's course and April is, after all, time for spring showers.

I haven't been doing much with the herb part of my life. So I thought you might enjoy this recipe for thyme-flavored oil. It's very easy.

It can be used in salad dressings or to lightly brown or roast vegetables or meats. With a little salt and pepper, use it as a rub on chicken before baking. Squeeze some lemon juice over the chicken, and bake as usual. This oil has so many uses, it's impossible to name them all. As a matter of fact, it is so versatile, it was used by the Greeks as a massage oil.
I'm sure you'll come up with your own fantastic ideas, and it will soon be your favorite.

Thyme Oil:

8 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
8 black peppercorns
8 juniper berries
25 oz. virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Put all the ingredients in a clean glass jar or bottle, and seal. Shake well. Place the jar or bottle in a sunny window for three weeks before using. Shake the bottle/jar occasionally to bring out the flavors.

There you go. No fuss, no cooking. How easy is that? (Sorry, I watch too much Rachel Ray. I pick up her phrases all the time -- oops, thyme :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Talented Men, My Heroes

This post is dedicated to the talented men in my family.
I do all of the weeding, planting, and hauling, true, because gardening is my thing, but without my men my garden wouldn't be the same.

Every spring Duane gets out the garden tracker, loads up the trailer with all of the items that were stored for the winter, and rides around to each spot, carefully placing each statue and birdhouse in it's designated position. He's usually right on with the placement -- okay, I do go out and make a few adjustments after he's gone, but until he read this blog, he wasn't aware of it. (The secret to a happy marriage.)

He's built arbors and fences and kept that $#%*&! pond cleaned and running. He fusses over my fountain when the pump(also &%#@%!) gets clogged, and regularly fills the birdfeeders.

This winter Duane spent a lot of hours in the basement making this "bayou" shack to go next to the "froggie" dock. If you click on it for a closer look, you'll see how each tiny board was individually placed for that run-down look. In my opinion the chimney is a masterpiece. The shack still needs some leveling and needs to be secured, but this is the general area it will be in.
Thanks, Duane, for everything you do for me.

Now for my father. My Dad is a decorated World War II vet. He saw it all throughout Europe. He was at the Normandy invasion, the Battle of the Bulge, and marched through the Arc de Triomphe to liberate Paris. If you've ever seen the Band of Brothers, my father was in the 10th armored division that followed along with E company, the group that was portrayed on the show.

He's 86 now, and the only time he's missed a day working in his woodworking shop in the garage was 10 years ago when he had a quadruple bi-pass. He stills takes care of his own yard and (much to my mother's horror) every winter goes up a ladder and actually climbs on his garage roof to clean off snow. Nothing stops this man and don't even think about trying.

My father has made many of my birdhouses, two windmills, and my front porch swing. This is this year's contribution. It has a beautiful copper roof that shines brightly in the sun. It was so blinding that I couldn't get a good shot of it. Soon it will turn a lovely verdigris. I'm sure my feathered friends will love it.
Thanks, Dad, for all you've done for me.

I love you both.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Finally! My Garden Wakes

Finally, after what seemed like a never-ending winter sleep, my garden wakes. As I strolled the yard with my camera, I found signs that we are about to start the annual floral journey. It's been a long time coming.

The border along the driveway shows the tulips bursting through the soil. I am anticipating glorious colors if a frost or freeze does not damage the blooms.

The burning bush took a hard hit from the rabbits. They chew it down every winter but it will come back. It just never gets as big as some of my neighbors' bushes.

I don't bother with crocus anymore; it's just too tasty for the long-eared chompers. This one survives each year because it is tight against the wall. Maybe they don't notice it there.

Yup, it's one of the many daylilies. The winter also did a nasty number on the markers so I'll have quite a job again going through my photo album trying to remember which one is planted where.

This is the creeping thyme covering a rock garden. Yes, it's definitely turning green!

These are Resurrection Lilies. I separated some clumps and edge them along the pond. The foliage will grow for a few weeks and then disappear. Suddenly out of nowhere the flower stalks will shoot up, without any greenery, and produce delicate pink trumpets.

This is at the back of my property where the daffodils are naturalized. It will become one big wave of yellow and white. We're not too far from that point now.

And lastly, one of my peony trees starting to bud.

Now the work begins. It is supposed to be above average temperatures this weekend, so if all goes well, I can start to clean up the sticks and leaves. Wish me luck!