Changing Perspective

Remember a few months ago when I shared an unexpected treasure of overwintered carrots in the garden? Cocoa was breathing deeply as we explored the mess, and sure enough, with a little weeding, I came across two sweet lines of carrots. Me and the MR would enjoy an early harvest. It would be wonderful.

Fast forward a few months, and nothing turned out the way I planned. I picked a few and added cooked carrots to the menu. That was a mistake. Some of the carrots had good flavor, but the cores were so tough, you couldn’t even cut through them with a knife. Others tasted like nothing at all, so it was a bit of a crap shoot deciding whether to eat them or toss them. I’m afraid the worms enjoyed more than we did.

But wouldn’t it be nice to free up some space in the garden? Maybe they just needed a little better weather to sweeten up. It was not meant to be. When I revisited the carrot patch recently, they’d gone to seed. The carrots were hairy and mangled. Perhaps I could add them to my next batch of chicken broth; the upstairs freezer is woefully empty. I put a fistful of vegetables in Cocoa’s outdoor water dish and took a second look at the tops.

These carrots are something. They’re architectural and graceful, swooping and swaying, feathery foliage topped with delicate domes. I think they deserve a little space in my home.

 

 

Sometimes you just have to shift your perspective. You see, I wasn’t trying to grow carrots—you can pick those up at the farmer’s market—I was growing lovely, one-of-a-kind bouquets.

In case you were wondering; those are kombucha bottles. My favorite comes in a plain old clear glass bottle, but when they’re out of it at the store, I pick up one of these (or a couple if Baby Girl is around). I peeled off the label, plopped in some carrot tops, and ta-da, doing dishes just got a lot more fun.

Hope you’re enjoying the first of July. 

Don’t worry, the June recap is on the way. With the girls home off-and-on, the MR’s parents visiting, trips to here and there, and all the other stuff that’s part of life, we’ve been busy. 

 

 

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Making My Own Sunshine

I’m not a trusting soul. When the weatherman last night promised sunshine, I took a wait and see attitude. The rains pelting the roof this morning were no surprise. 

Perhaps with only seven days without rain this year he was trying to throw us a bone. 


It is what it is. Eventually the sun will come out. Me and the MR spent the weekend apart, but we still had that couple’s intuition happening. He bought flowers for the outside, while Baby Girl and I chose flowers for the inside. 


I have a habit of buying vases and just leaving them sit there for days, weeks, months, years…. 

Now at least we have a bit of brightness in the great room. And while I love real flowers, these add cheer and won’t wilt. I do believe there’s room for both. 


I was telling the MR over dinner last night about how a rainy spring and moldy, hallucinogenic flour may have contributed to the medieval witch trials. It’s feeling like that kind of year. 

Don’t worry. I’m keeping an eye on the flour. 

How do you add a bit of sunshine to your world?

Me and BG purchased our flowers at Pier 1. If your interested in how chemistry changed the world, check out Napoleon’s Buttons by Jay Burreson. 

Simply Pretty

A few weeks ago, after we moved Sweet Miss out of her duplex, attended graduation, helped host a BBQ, went to dinner and breakfasts with Her Fella’s family, moved Baby Girl out of the dorms, and drove hundreds of miles home, my first thought was to check on my garden.

The MR was busily untying ropes so we could get Baby Girl’s stuff out of the pickup, and I needed to stretch my legs and see what a weekend of sunshine and neglect had done to the garden and the orchard. As I headed out the back door, I was surprised when Sweet Miss asked if she could come, too.

Well, sure, and when did my children grow up enough that they went out to the garden without being forced? The broccoli and beets were growing; it was time to check out the berries. As we walked over to the orchard, Sweet Miss grabbed a fistful of daisies.

Daisy Stand

We have clumps of daisies growing wild around the meadow and the fields. The MR likes the flowers, so he takes extra time to mow around them. Sure they’re pretty, but they’re weeds, right?

IMG_2849

Our pocekts filled with blueberries and currants, me and Sweet Miss made our way back up to the kitchen. She cut the stems and plunked the flowers down into a canning jar. I added a bit of orange ribbon, and suddenly, we had sweet, humble centerpieces for our dinner party last weekend.

Daisy Bouquets

Pretty doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. It can be as simple as a few daisies in some old jars. Thanks Sweet Miss for teaching your mother a thing or two.

Do you enjoy fresh flowers? Any centerpiece tips?

 

It’s Been a Great Week

We’ve been having fun around here. It hasn’t been a good blogging kind of week, but it’s been a great living kind of week.
Baby Girl turned 18, and Sweet Miss came home for spring break. In my book, that’s enough to make it a banner week, but of course there’s more.
The girls
Last Friday, we visited a tattoo parlor–a first for me–so Baby Girl could get her nose pierced. I thought it was a sister’s kind of outing, but when they invited me along, how could I say no?
On Sunday, we surprised BG with tickets to Cirque du Soleil. Sweet Miss wanted to blindfold her, and the MR wanted to just tell her, but then BG came up with the best solution unwittingly. She started talking about going to the movies after church, and we all agreed. We piled in the car early, so we could go to the hardware store before hitting the movies–wink, wink. The best part was when we pulled into the parking lot, and Baby Girl says in surprise, “This isn’t Home Depot.” It was a magical afternoon.
Cirque
Monday featured a marathon shopping trip in town. We added some lovely spring items to our wardrobes, and Baby Girl found her prom dress. We met up with the MR for dinner and hit a few more shops on the way home.
Wednesday, I had a presentation in the morning, and then after school we were off to the movies for real this time. Then Sweet Miss has been longing for my burgers. The secret is Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Last night, me and the MR went to a fancy dinner sponsored by a local winery where we’re members. We enjoyed fabulous food paired with very nice wine and caught up with sweet friends. That brings us to today. Papa Willy along with my brother and sister-in-law are headed over for dinner, and Sweet Miss wants to fit in one last trip to the mall.

We’ve been lucky. Baby Girl had to work three nights this week, and Sweet Miss has caught up with friends a few nights. All this running around is wearing me out–it’s been a long time since I was 20.

Like I said, it’s been a living week not a house week. We did have a repairman here Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ve been enjoying brisk–sometimes icy cold–showers lately. Apparently, an animal has been in our heat pump and done it’s business on some of the circuits. The repairman will be back.

Yesterday at 5:56 am, the MR started texting me from under the house in the well room–my phone was on silent, because some people like to sleep at night–that can make others a little crabby. Anyways, after he burst into our bedroom, turned the shower on full blast, and started demanding a thermometer, I did wake up. Water at the well was 104-degrees, but up here it was around 100. In the upstairs shower it was even cooler. The MR did some adjusting, and Baby Girl had the first warm shower in weeks today.

After a string of rainy days, yesterday was beautiful. Checking on my garden left me blue. The pea shoots have been plucked out of the ground. If it’s not slugs, it’s bunnies or birds. The MR added more wire to the fencing around the garden; maybe it’s time for netting?

Today, I’ll leave you with our latest mantel bouquet. I hopped through the puddles this week and picked a few lonely blooms. Together they add a little springtime color and cheer.

bouquet

 

We say goodbye to Sweet Miss tomorrow as she heads back to school. It’s been a good week.

How was yours?

Romance Blossoms

I mentioned last week that I was headed to the Flower and Garden Show. This year’s theme was Romance Blossoms. That has to mean flowers–lots of flowers–right?

I have to admit; I was a little disappointed. While the displays were beautiful, many of them featured tulips. I have a bit of a checkered past when it comes to tulips.

Picture me and the MR as young newlyweds in our first home. I’d never been much into gardening, but the MR knew all about landscaping. That first fall, we bought some bulbs and planted them by the front door.

I waited anxiously and watched as the tulips came up the next spring. Then just as the buds opened, we had a windstorm, and the beautiful blooms turned into ugly sticks. All my hopes were dashed; I had lost my faith in tulips.

So imagine garden after garden filled with them. I put my love-hate relationship aside, and embraced the beauty. These walkways lined with spring bulbs and variegated grasses are lovely. But cannas won’t be blooming in spring. This is cheating and sets up many a new gardener to failure and heartbreak.

Profusion of Blooms

One of the first years that I attended the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, a display featured paths made of hot pink gum balls. Sticky? Nasty? Crazy? Yes.

Then there’s the mix of indoor plants with outdoor plants that drives me crazy. I have a difficult time keeping cyclamen alive inside. If I stuck it outside in a pot; there’d be trouble. So I’ll take to heart the profusion of flowers and pots in the same hue in varying shapes and sizes. These things I love; these exact flowers–not so much.

Potted Garden Collage

I like more practical inspiration like this giant ball fountain.

Giant Ball

OK, maybe that’s not very practical either. Some of the gardens featured glass art scattered among the blooms. These were quite pretty and fanciful. I especially liked the salmon swimming in the sea of tulips.

Glass Garden Art Collage

I hesitate to put anything breakable outside with our crazy dogs but love the whimsy these generate.

I also liked the idea of carrying the color of the blooms onto the pots and pillows of a nearby seating area. Look at all that lovely peachy-orange.

Flowers Pillows and Pots in Orange

 

Carrying the tone throughout the display adds such nice continuity. Perhaps I need purple blossoms in the planting bed by the little bench? I don’t think I want to paint it yellow to match the daffodils that are blooming now. Something to ponder.

I also liked this arrangement of calla lilies and ranunculus  in the same tone coupled with textural grasses.

tone on tone arrangement

That’s what these shows are all about–making you think and generating new ideas.

A hanging teepee is not my picture of an idyllic retreat, but someone might enjoy this.

Hanging Teepee

And while we don’t have to go for a bike ride to enjoy a picnic in the meadow, it’d be fun to set up a blanket with petals for a romantic dinner outside when the warm weather comes.

Bicycle Picnic

 

With our steep slopes, I’m always looking at interesting ideas for retaining walls. Maybe large metal planters are the answer for some areas near the house.

Metal Pot Retaining Wall

 

I think a chair in a field of flowers next to my vegetable garden would be the perfect place to read a book or drink a glass of lemonade after tending the beds.

Reading ChairThe MR has been talking water features for a while. I don’t think this Rube Goldberg-esque fountain is quite what he had in mind, but I’d love to have one down by the orchard. I’m on the hunt for old brass instruments.

Water Feature

 

And wouldn’t this be a wonderful place for a wedding, a proposal, or just some pretty photos?

Rose Bower

 

While I love the waterfall, and the “floating” walkway of stone, I’m ambivalent about the flower bumpers. It seems kind of like a good idea gone a little overboard.

Now if we’re living large and money were no object, we might have to add a few of these basalt columns–so graphic, so beautiful, so heavy, so expensive. It’s OK to dream a little.

Basalt Columns

 

Now if you’re planning a Mother’s Day Tea or a spring event, these bark covered posies are sweet and fanciful.

bark container tableau

Last year, I came home with all sorts of purchases. This year, I held back a little. I did buy a finger weeder and a wonderfully sweet smelling daphne. I’ll let you know how they work out.

Are you ready for a new season of gardening? Getting inspired?

 

Spring Has Come

I love daffodils–those sunny yellow harbingers of spring. When we first moved in and were facing siding issues, heating issues, flashing issues, plumbing issues, boiler issues, well issues I was a little worried. What had we gotten ourselves into? Then one day in early March, I was greeted by sweet flowers heralding the coming of spring, and I knew it was all going to work out.

Perhaps that’s why this sight makes me smile each year.

Daffodils

We have a hope and a future. Daffodils remind of the coming of sunny days, blue skies, and warm afternoons. God is watching over us, and it’s all going to work out.

Even the flooding of this past week has its silver lining. The valley looks beautiful covered in water reflecting the skies and hills.

Flooded Blue

We’ve been enjoying blossoms inside, too. The plumeria has been putting on a show for the last month.

Plumeria 1

Hoping blue skies and spring flowers are headed your way.