Another Awesome April

Ok, so I wasn’t around much in April/ The big white house sat empty—for three weeks. Or maybe the housesitter counts? I don’t know. But even though we were far from home, April was awesome.

I have big plans to share some of our travels, but thankfully gardens and orchards continue to grow without me and the MR.

We have lavendar taking off on the steep slope below the well room.  I received some great advice on how to divide my plants when I posted about All That Swath of Purple Stuff, but I’ve been researching propigating options. Let’s be honest—it’s a big slope. I can afford to buy some more plants, but hundreds more? I’m not so sure. I’ll keep you posted.

Purple

I was out wandering the other day, and couldn’t find any sign of foxgloves.  Cross your fingers that it’s just too early. I do really love that hillside clothed in purple. Four years may have passed, but the meadow in bloom is still the background on my computer.

Coming home to garden beds in color was wonderful. I love these Sweet Azalea Surprises..

SS Azaleas

And a little Unexpected Bounty in the garden is fine with me. Remember how I said I’d taken pictures of our soup? Well, I really did, and after some searching, I actually found pictures our French Onion Soup.

April Soup

I told you it was tasty.  It’s never a bad idea to try and recreate fond memories of the past in food form. The bean burritos I lived on in my first apartment may be the exception to that rule. Let’s just say cheese was a luxury.

And the other day, I shared the Sweet Scent of Success in the form of apple blossoms that will some day turn into apples— cross your fingers, knock on wood.

SSofS Apple Blossoms

The currants and blueberries are more of a sure thing. They just don’t look as pretty outlined against the valley.

Sweet Miss saved me from totally relying on the landscaping and orchard for inspiration. She came to the rescue when I procrastinated. I know you’re mother is perfect; unfortunately I’m not, and sometimes my kids have to bail me out. Anyways, when I couldn’t put a photo collage together on my phone, she could on the laptop that her parents (that would be me and the MR) bought her. So I wasn’t succesfful, but she was with the tools that we gave her.

Thank you for coming through in the lurch. These photos just make me happy on so many levels.

SMTTR Photo Collage

I guess it’s not about perfection, or losing 10 pounds, or not raising your eyebrow at the crazy waiter who’s taking way to long to take a silly photo, it’s about all the memories you share with those you love.

And Sweet Miss also featured in this wonderful post about yarn and coming home safely. Despite the tragedy in Brussels, despite St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, and despite the 100th Anniversary of the Irish Uprising complete with a full military parade for several hours, Her Mama’s Girl made it home in one piece bringing with her beautiful Irish wool.  Very cool; but coming home safe and sound—even better. And yes, I do have plans for that lovely wool.

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We also traveled to Maui and Cancun, enjoyed dinners with friends, and evenings just me and my guy, we laughed, we played, we even went to work.April was good, and May is looking even better.

How was your month?

The Sweet Smell of Success

You know how when you’re a blogger, and time is tight, you think up quick and easy posts to publish on vacation, so no one will even notice you’re gone it’s so smooth and seamless? And then the power goes out, and you have coffee, and shopping, and the demands of the real world?

Well, lucky for you (and me), the apple blossoms were still in bloom when we arrived home from Mexico, and I didn’t have to waste my clever title.  Let me assure you, their scent is even sweeter than their blooms.

SSofS Apple Blossoms

All the other fruit trees have already blossomed and begun setting fruit.  This is the point where I was going to show you a picture of lovely gumball-sized plums hanging from a limb.  Unfortunately, my photo turned out more like a strange green blob amongst the leaves.  I’m still in my pj’s, so you’re just going to have to use your imagination for that one.

The blueberries are in full bloom.  I love the clusters of delicate flowers.

SSofS Blueberry Blossoms

And the currant bushes are loaded with tiny berries.

SSofS Currants

We’ve got a few peas, beets, lettuce, and spinach up in the garden.  I was low on seeds, so when I say a few, I mean a few. Anyways, we haven’t finished leveling out the former raised beds, but this might be a good weekend for a little gardening. I imagine I can pick up a few starts at the hardware store.

I’m looking forward to berries and fruit this summer and fall.  Here’s hoping that this will be the first year for a real harvest in our young orchard—patience Kim, patience.

Are your fruit trees in bloom?  How do you feel about edible landscaping?

 

 

Sweet Miss to the Rescue

You know how sometimes you just kind of put things off. I mean why worry about that? You have lots of time.

Perhaps that’s my mindset a touch too often.  When we were getting ready for our recent trip to Hawaii, I remembered that voucher I bought on Amazon Local two years ago when it was still actually a company They were offering a great price on a canvas photo collage; it would be great next to Sweet Miss’ graduation photo.  I would put together a group of pictures of the girls growing up.  I’d have to have the one of Baby Girl riding on the MR’s shoulders on Lopez Island when she had those cute braids in her hair.  I even put together a group of photos featuring childhood memories.

But, and this is a big but, those silly girls don’t like pictures of them in what some might term those “awkward” years.  Now, I’m their mother, I think they look so cute in all their photos, but hear enough “why’d you let me weat that? or what did you do to my hair?” and even I get hesitant.  So my file was set aside, and time marched on.

I wasn’t too worried about it, since I had till the middle of April to figure things out, right?  That’s when I decided to look at the voucher and figure out just how much time I had left to put this together.  It wasn’t April, it was the end of March, ack; this was never going to work.

I decided to just forget it and move on.  Sometimes these things happen.  But then one of the first mornings of vacation, I came up with a stellar idea.  I’d already paid for it, it was just going to go to waste if I did nothing, I could just send in photos off my phone, and call it good enough.  That’s when an hour or two of frustration and I’ll admit a few tears ensued.

I could upload files, set up the collage, and then the whole process stalled.  When I tried to login on my Ipad, so I could see it a little better and have fewer fat finger mistakes, the website said I didn’t have an account.  That’s when I took a shower and a few deep breaths, and called in the cavalry, I mean the girls.  I sent them an SOS text asking them to help out.

I mean, me and the MR have bought them computers, I know they know how to use them.  They could help me in a pinch.  Sweet Miss came to the rescue.  I sent her the photos I had been using, told her to add some of her own if she wished, and told her to go to town.  Somewhere in the midst of that, she said I sent her to an off-color web site, the deal wasn’t working, she didn’t know what I wanted.

A few frantic phone calls and texts later, she had it all together and ordered.  So I was quite excited to pick up the mail upon our return and find a large package containing this canvas.

SMTTR Photo Collage

Is it perfect? No.  It’s not photos from some fancy photographer all staged and photoshopped, but it’s the last year in our lives.  It’s Baby Girl’s graduation and our anniversary. It’s Mom’s Weekend with Sweet Miss and Dad’s Weekend down in Oregon.  It’s Christmas with our silly dogs and kids and it’s hanging out on the deck. It’s my family, the people who mean the world to me, and I absolutely, totally love it.

And now Sweet Miss and Baby Girl get to share a little wall space with rest of the family.

SMTTR Photo Wall

Because this isn’t just a house, it’s a home filled with love and laughter.  A place where friend and family are always welcomed—usually by crazy, wild, barking dogs.

What do you do with all those great photos? 

 

 

Unexpected Bounty

You may have noticed that I’ve been missing in action.  Well, me and the MR have been out of town for 15 of the last 25 days.  First we traveled to Maui for his work’s annual vacation and then it was off to Cacun for a business conference plus a few days beforehand for fun.

Before we left, I had a plan.  I had blog posts all set up for the week.  I just needed to edit a few photos, get back down to the orchard for a quick close-up of apple blossoms, and post something from our trip—all set.  Instead of getting it done on Tuesday night, I watched TV with my guy on the couch.

So I had a rather rude awakening at 5 am, when the MR told me the power was out. Didn’t they know I was meeting a friend for coffee, I had to go shopping because apparently Cancun is a lot fancier than Hawaii, I had to get a pedicure (sandy beaches tear up your feet), it was my afternoon to work at the knit shop, we had small group in the evening, and I still had to pack?

Needless to say, that little power outage meant things went black around here for a week or so—not in real life just on the blog.  But we did have a fabulous trip, I did manage to get all those things done, and I came home to a few packages that’ll I get to share with you soon.

So what was that amazing blog post you’ve been waiting for for weeks? It was all about onions.  Hmm, I know, I have pictures of flowers, and pyramids, and cenotes.  You’ll just have to wait.  Today, the topic is onions.

You see I’ve been planting onions for the last few years to deter critters from visiting our garden.  The first year, we had success; last year, not so much.  The onions did fine, the critters came anyways, and before too long the zucchini plants swallowed up the whole onion planting.  To be honest, I figured they were a loss.  Oh well, a few onion sets don’t cost much.

That’s why I was surprised this spring to see a dense line of onions along the edge of the garden.  Now these were somewhere between the green onion and regular onion size and so smooshed together they’d never be able to get any bigger.  So I thinned them out.

UB Onions

Now what to do with all those onions when you’re headed out of town?  That’s when I remembered college days and Red Robin—yes, the burger place, just stick with me here.  Back in the days when $5 or $6 for a burger where out of my budget, I discovered that you could purchase a cup of French onion soup at Red Robin for about half that price.  I could still go out with friends for dinner and enjoy something tasty and cheap.

Of course French onion soup calls for regular size onions, but I say use what you’ve got.  I washed, sliced, carmelized, and sweated onions for hours ending up with a tasty soup I heated up after work.  Topped with melted cheeses and a sliced baguette, it was the perfect meal on a chilly, wet night.

I was sure I took a picture of our dinner in cute little Campbell’s soup bowls, but it’s not on the camera, or my phone, or my Ipad.  So you’ll just have to trust me; it was tasty.

I love how abundance in the garden can force you to try new things or perhaps old favorites.

How do you like your onions?  Any overwinter suprises in the garden?

 

 

 

 

Sweet Surprises

Spring in earnest has arrived at our house. We came home late last Wednesday from eight beautiful days on Maui and woke the next morning to a front lawn dotted with purple azaleas.

SS Dogs

Not black dogs—that was purple azaleas.

SS Bogart

What you didn’t hear that buddy? I said purple azaleas.

SS Azaleas

Sometimes you guys don’t realize what I go through just for one picture.  The azaleas are quite pretty.

SS Azalea CloseupBack when we were adding all the new landscaping last spring, I had no idea that all those sweet, little bushes would turn out to be azaleas decked out in purple each spring.  We were https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/making-a-statement/ and let the landscapers have free reign.  They did well.  Me and the MR were talking about adding in some annuals like last year.  It might be too early for the new guinea impatiens that brought such nice color.  The deer did really like to nibble them, so maybe a less tasty option would work better.

The original owners lined the drive with barberry and candytuft.  Over the winter, it gets a bit scraggly-looking, and I wonder why we don’t just pull it out.  But on our return home, it was in full-bloom.

SS Candytuft

It looks lovely in all its glory and adds a bit of brightness along the driveway.

SS Candytuft Edging Drive

I think a little hint of white in our new planting beds might balance things out.  Wait and see.  I moved a little dirt and sorted out the worm bin, while the MR sprayed weeds, mowed the lawn and the meadow, used the weed eater in the orchard and the steep hillside, and power-washed half the deck.  OK, so he tends to be a little more driven than I am. Our yard thanks him, and so do I.

How’s your yard looking this spring? Any wonderful surprises?

 

 

All That Swath of Purple Stuff

Remember a long time ago, when all was new and we’d basically done nothing around here and I dreamed of a swath of purple blanketing the hillside?  I thought we needed lavender bushes, but we already had beautiful foxgloves everywhere; I’d just failed to notice.

A Swath of Purple

Well, then we had a little over-zealous mowing, and we decided to put in an orchard, and the foxgloves didn’t make it quite up to the house but remained at the bottom of the meadow.  Anyways, I’m still in pursuit of that swath of purple.

So a few years ago, we ordered some plants online and they wound up in the mailbox while we were on vacation and  got totally baked, and never did anthing. But last year, we bought about 16 plants at the local FFA plant sale at the high school, and they’ve done really well.  At least some varieties have done really well.

Purple

Now, I have to decide whether to try to propagate my own lavendar plants or just buy more at the plant sale.  The sale is still a few months off, so I guess I can try both. Where are my FFA girls when I need them?

Have any of you had luck propagating plants? I’m looking for tips and tricks.

 

Her Mama’s Girl

Sweet Miss returned from her Irish adventure safe and sound with gifts for everyone.  The MR received a Guinness mug and a rugby scarf, Baby Girl received a beautiful aran scarf, and Sweet Miss brought me 450 yards of beautiful wool yarn.

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When she texted me that she’d spent a lot of time talking to a woman who spun her own wool, I was hoping.  I guess she knows her mama well.

Thank you Sweet Miss!  She claimed that after a night of flying, fresh out of the shower, with no makeup  on she looked horrible.  Ah foolish youth, you’ll always look beautiful to me.

Now I have to decide what to do with my new found bounty. Sweet Miss mentioned that the contact info was included just in case…

So many patterns and only one skein.

How do you decide?