Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Lazy Summer Day



I'm having a lazy summer day. I say that with guilt as I have many things that I need to get done. Not on my 'to do' list but still an accomplishment, I clipped this beautiful David Austen Heritage rose early this morning. Isn't she lovely?

Maybe that's where it started because as soon as I inhaled the sweet fruity fragrance of the rose, I became intoxicated with laziness. As the day began to warm, the crickets started to buzz, and the birds began to chatter, I just continued to fall deeper into my lazy stupor.

I can tell that this is going to be one of those days when the hour just before hubby comes home from work, will be one of my most productive hours of the day. There will be magazines to put away, dishes to load, vacuuming to be done, dinner to prepare...any sign of productivity gets thrown in during this time.

S t r e t c h...and that hour has arrived, so off I go.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our Little Lucy


This is Lucy. This is her all dressed up with a rose and a pearl necklace on our wedding day nearly five years ago.


We had a casual country wedding in a little white country church. There was no wedding party - just our little Lucy. She stood in as both bridesmaid and groomsman.


Hubby adopted Lucy about ten years ago from the animal shelter. She had been a stray. She was, and continues to be, much obliged for his open heart. So much so that she would follow him to the ends of the earth. She loves her Papa.


The ends of the earth being on the inside of the canoe of course. When hubby jumps off the bow of the canoe to go for a swim, she draws the line there...but only there.

Other important information to know about our little Lucy is that she loves her sock monkey, has the softest ears in town, doesn't bark, talks a lot (although I'm the only one who can hear her), is a good listener, loves to sleep, smiles often and makes friends easily.

She's our girl.

Friday, June 26, 2009

At the Lake



This is our dog Lucy doing what she loves best...fetching a stick up at the lake.
Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Green Orchards




Among the thousands upon thousands of orchard rows in this valley, I've come back to this one quite often. It's the orchard next to the flower farm I go to. I often pause and look down this corridor of green and always feel this temptation to run ecstatically through the canopy of branches, bright with smile and giddy laughter.

I don't.

Not yet anyway ; )

Happy Summer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It Feels Like...


...forever since hubby and I have had a weekend to play, laze around, or linger with abandon. That's because we've been on this final push to get three big projects completed before summer officially begins - the outdoor dining patio, two sets of stairs (patio and front porch) and our picket fence (fence pickets shown above).

Who ever said that building a fence was easy? Oh, no one? The above photo shows my work station for the past week. I haven't actually been working at it the whole week, but having it set up makes me somehow feel like it's getting done.

My task at hand is to sand each picket. I've created this task for myself because I have this disorder (some would say) of 'attention to detail.' You see, some of the pickets we got from the only fence store I could find within a 100-mile radius, are a bit rough. And one thing I like is consistency so I'm sanding each one with a palm-sander to give them all a smoother finish. That's 320 pickets in case you're wondering.

Why am I not out there right now? Well, I made a discovery last weekend. After making a bunch of horrible noise, I discovered a Robin's nest perched up in the eave of this barn. Two baby Robins were huddled together in their nest, compelling me to stop all production immediately!

The work station will have to be relocated of course...until then, I've been turning my attention to the yard where I've planted seven new hydrangeas. Note: this is in no way related to our three big projects that we're pushing to get done before summer officially (June 21st) begins.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For the Love of Ladybugs


This is hubby with a handful of Ladybugs. I love , love, love Ladybugs. Every time I come across one, my day is always better. So you can imagine how overjoyed I was to release hundreds of them last night when we sprinkled them over all of our hedge roses.


Our local nursery sells them for natural pest control...those darn sweet Ladybugs will eat up all of those nasty little aphids, which I've had my fair share of this spring. The Ladybugs come in a perforated little bag, and as you can see above, hubby is shaking the last of them out on to the rose bush.

This isn't our first Ladybug release. I guess we're about on our fifth - this spring. You see, Ladybug lovers have a very hard time paying for their flowers while there are bags of Ladybugs sitting next to the cash register, just singing to come home with you. Oh, it's very difficult and I've tried to avoid eye contact (yes, with the Ladybugs) but it just breaks my heart to leave them behind when they could happily come home with me.

And I have to say, as I lay in bed at night thinking of all the Ladybugs living here on our little farm, a smile overcomes me as I drift off to sleep.

I love you Ladybug.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Day at the Farmer's Market



I bought these beautiful Sandra Bernhardt Peonies at the Farmer's Market last week. They come from an organic farm that offers amazing organic produce all summer long. You can imagine how thrilled I was that they also had their first crop of organic strawberries!



I bought half a flat and we finished our last berry over the weekend. They were so good!

Happy Strawberry Season!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Blueblossom Lilac



The wild lilacs are in full bloom. The overgrown shrubs we talk about clearing away every year are now delicate blossoming blue flowers. Of course now we want to keep all those shrubs so that we have the blossoms to look forward to. That works out nicely, as that means we can take something off our long to do list.


These bushes line our driveway (above), the fields and are throughout the entire valley. It's always so amazing how all of the wild flowering trees and bushes stand out after going unnoticed most of the year.

The wild lilacs are very fragrant so I have been making bouquets for the house. It's a wonderful summer-sweet fragrance...oh, happy heart, I truly love this time of year.

Happy flower watching!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fresh Cuttings



I have begun to enjoy some of my first cuttings from the flower garden. This vase holds some Minuet Peony and David Austen's Windemere Roses. I can't stop smelling them. Whether cut or in the garden, I'm often found bending down to inhale their delicate beauty. I can't breathe deep enough.



Still wearing my pajamas, I wandered out into the yard this morning. I went to see all of the Iris blooming in an abandoned flower bed by the barn. They seemed so resolute and so regal standing tall against the weeds and overgrowth growing around them.



Saying hello to them was a wonderful way to start the day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Green Living



When we bought our house, we knew we wanted to make it as healthy as possible, both for us and for the environment. The first step we took towards that goal, was to hire an environmental survey firm to establish potential health hazards (lead, asbestos) in our home. This is significantly important to people such as us, who were about to set off on a major home remodel.

The environmental survey firm, who came recommended by our local Health Department, started by coming out to do a site visit. We could have sent floor and paint samples to them directly, but I think it's most beneficial for them to come to you, primarily because they test everything - things that most people (including myself) would never even think to test.

They took lots of paint samples from all of our rooms, samples of dried up adhesive on our walls and flooring, samples of our several layers of linoleum, wall insulation, plaster and to my surprise, window mortar from our original windows.

Our results were invaluable and helped us navigate the next steps of our remodel. In rooms where paint contained any levels of lead, extra precautions were taken to not disturb the paint. For example, we plastered and painted over all of the glue marks from the paneling rather than scrape it off the painted walls, which would have created a lot of harmful dust.

We were fortunate in that the only asbestos found in our home was in the skim coat of our plaster ceiling in the living room and some linoleum squares found in a few of the kitchen cabinets. The skim coat was a practice used to soften the rougher surface of plaster and was often found in the most formal of the homes rooms. Due to the size of the living room, we chose to hire a separate firm to do an asbestos abatement. This firm was certified in asbestos removal AND proper disposal, which is also an extremely important component to this process.

The cost of the environmental survey was $840. The cost of the asbestos abatement (which included removing the living room ceiling plaster down to the lathe) was $1,000. Of course, two thousand dollars can buy a lot of things, but for the peace of mind of living in a healthy home, it was priceless.

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