Friday, June 23, 2017

Garden Friday

 The move to the new house was finally complete this week.
Our home is on just over 1/2 acre of land,
which is far less than we were originally hoping for.
Turns out, there is plenty of outdoor space for our various projects.
It was lovely to discover the magnolia tree smack in the front yard.
It just screams Southern Home.

One of the first ventures I'd like to work on is our mailbox planter.
We will replace the mailbox itself with a larger one
(we tend to get lots of packages).
Then I'd like to add some native flowers around it,
as well as sow some sunflowers for the birds and bees.

This butterfly bush will no doubt be a gathering spot
for local pollinators.
I look forward to adding a number of butterfly host and nectar plants.
Consideration is being made to creating a butterfly nursery in the side yard,
so that we can share our love of these critters with others.

This is the side yard where I hope to create various gardens
and possibly start a native nursery.
The mature trees that surround it provide a wonderful backdrop
for just about anything we can dream up.

 Tucked into the corner of those massive trees
is this alcove, perfect for a compost pile.
This will be one of the first outdoor projects we tackle in the fall.

 Our backyard is mostly wooded and quite sloped.
I'd love to create a woodland garden here,
again using native plants
(but no poison ivy!).
The bird population is fantastic,
and we awakened on our first morning
to the glorious sounds of our feathered friends.
The goal here would be to make it more usable.

 This is the view from the edge of our property line
looking toward the house.
The privacy is stellar,
especially considering that we came from a house
where you could literally see into your neighbor's house.
We love that we are part of a community,
but everyone has ample seclusion.
We are blessed with the best of both worlds.

One of the things I soon discovered (to my delight),
is that almost everyone who lives here is a gardener.
I counted numerous veggie beds planted,
as well as expansive landscaping along my walking route.
It seems that I am in good company.

For now, the "tin can garden" that we started at the rental,
will be housed in this little area on the southeast side of the house.
I'm hoping that in a couple of weeks, when the boxes have all been unpacked,
the sowing can commence for summer and fall crops.
Until then, what we have will be nurtured as time allows.

So many possibilities for this piece of property.
We are so happy to have our own hunk of dirt.

What's growing in your garden this first week of summer?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

And so it begins...

We are moving into our new home tomorrow.
It's been a long time coming,
and we're really looking forward to the adventures that await us.
The former owners have been out of the house for a week,
so we took some time to paint before actually moving in.
It feels so good to be able to put our own stamp on the place.

C decided on a lively shade of orange for his room.
We started painting and then realized that the color we were using (on the right),
was actually slated for the fireplace.
Thankfully, we made the discovery before we got too far.
 This is the first time we've gone to the expense of using
No VOC paint.
Better for us, better for the environment.

It's so great to see him taking ownership of his space.
He enthusiastically helped with the painting
and a few other chores we got done this week.
We all feel very comfortable in this home,
and have from the first time we saw it. 

Big K chose a sage green hue for the master bedroom.
This room faces the north side of the property
and doesn't get much light, especially when the trees are full.
This house is very light and airy,
and the pastel colors we're using will enhance this feature.

My room is a shade of my favorite color on the planet, periwinkle.
It's calming, soothing and centering.
This room will consist of a daybed and my sewing machine.
We will customize all of the closets.
I'm hoping to fit all of my "daisy tote"  materials here.

 The painting took us a couple of days.
We plan to go back and touch up the trim in a crisp white.

One thing I have to say
is that I don't know anyone who is a messier painter than me.
Big K paints and paints and never has a drop on him.
I, on the other hand, have paint in every nook and cranny.
A good scrubbing and I'm good to go.

Another job C assisted with was to remove the many items hanging on the walls.
Here he is dismantling the molding that was covering up the tv wires.
He also installed the back door locks.
One of the first things we did was change the locks on the doors,
because you just don't know who might have been given a key.

With the bedrooms painted and the locks changed,
we're ready to tackle a few more things.
It'll be so much easier to work on projects 
once we are actually there.
No doubt the next few days will be busy,
but we'll try to keep you posted on our progress.

It's wonderful being a home owner again!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Garden Friday

This week's Garden Friday comes to you for the last time
from our rental here in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina.
The move to our new property is scheduled for next week,
where we will begin a new adventure as a family.

Our "tin can garden" will be making the trip with us.
The beauty of growing in containers
is that you can, indeed, take it with you.
Much of what we started here on this property
will be restarted for the new growing season.
We still haven't figured out the logistics of where the veggie garden will end up,
but it's wonderful to have this time for planning and designing.

Two of our tomato plants will be readying fruit for the next tenants.
The variety on the left is the Arkansas Traveler
and on the right is the San Marzano type.

 These are sometimes called "paste" tomatoes,
because they are used for making gravy (pasta sauce).
Their shape is more oblong than standard tomatoes.

 The first Arkansas Traveler was spied yesterday.
Fortunately, we have more transplants to take with us,
so we hope to be able to sample these crimson gems later in the season.

 The six months we have spent here has been challenging.
There is just no getting used to renting
when you are homebodies like us.
We are so looking forward to nestling into our new home.

 Having been in a temporary residence for this short time
will allow us to truly appreciate having our own space.

 The garden here was planted by someone else,
and it has been thrilling to watch all of the changes
from December through the late spring.

It's almost like a new beginning,
discovering about growing in a less mild climate than I was used to.
Nothing tropical here,
so I am hopeful to visit some local botanical gardens
to  explore what does best in our region.
There's always something new to uncover.

I can't say we'll miss this place,
as wonderful as it looks in pictures,
it's been a trying experience.
Maybe we'll share that sometime in the future.
For now,
we choose to focus our attention on what is,
and that means a brand new start in our state of choice.
Hoping that you are feeling blessed on this late spring weekend.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The New Homestead

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Welcome to our new homestead.
It's been a long journey here,
but we have finally landed in a great place.

We have been planning a move to North Carolina for many years.
Selling our home in Florida proved to be quite an ordeal
and after being actively listed on the market,
it sold after 3 years.
We actually ended up getting more than we asked for,
but we still never made back what we paid for it in 2004.

It worked out just fine because we were able to find this gem
for less than what we got for our home in Central Florida.
It was important to us to be able to pay cash,
because we wanted to be debt-free.
The search up here was tough,
as it is a seller's market and the homes go quickly.
We feel so fortunate to have found our new digs.

When we talked about making the move,
we had an idea of what we wanted.
A smaller house with more property
in a more rural area.
We got that and a lot of the things on our wish list,
but I can tell you one thing-
our new home is nothing like either of us pictured.
We were hoping to be able to get 2-5 acres in the country,
with outbuildings and lots of wide-open space for spreading out.
It didn't happen.
The market has changed so much in the past 5 years
and we pretty much lost our chance to have that dream come true.
It was fairly devastating at first to realize
that all those plans we made wouldn't be coming to fruition.

Then we got some news about health concerns
and it all seemed to make sense.
We needed to be surrounded by people.
We had to be in a neighborhood,
so that we could interact with others
and possibly learn to count on neighbors and friends.
It was a tough lesson, but willingly accepted and embraced.
I know that God has our backs
and that this will all work out for our benefit,
even if it is difficult to see that sometimes.
The experience has fostered both trust and humility.

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 So, we're back in suburbia,
(in an agricultural area)
without the HOA,
on more property than we had in Winter Haven,
in a smaller house,
with a roomy 2-car garage.
Is it our dream house?
Not even close.
But the house had such good vibes
that we knew it was where we wanted to be.

So many blessings abound
and that is on which we are focused.
We have quite a few projects ahead
to make the house more functional for us. 
We'll be sharing pictures and more details as we get settled.  

We closed about a month ago,
but the nice folks we bought the house from 
needed some time to get their affairs in order, 
as they were moving back to Europe.
They rented the house back from us for a month,
and just left last weekend.
This week we are readying the inside for painting
and a few other odd jobs.
We are slated to officially move in next week
and we can hardly wait.
The experience in the rental hasn't been easy,
and it'll be nice to feel that sense of being centered once again. 
Having our own space is paramount to our well-being.

There truly is no place like home.

"Love begins at home,
and it is not how much we do,
but how much love we put into that action."
~Mother Teresa

Friday, June 9, 2017

Garden Friday

Let's begin Garden Friday this week with something to celebrate.

"Yes, we have some tomatoes,
we have some tomatoes to-daa-aay."
(Remember the song, "Yes, we have no bananas"?)
What a glorious sight these beauties were to see this week.
With less than 2 weeks left on our lease,
we shall see if we can harvest even one of these San Marzano tomatoes
before we move to the new house.

I have yet to harvest even a salad's worth of leaves
on this Red Salad Bowl.
I'm thinking it may just be a wash
and will attempt to try this variety again at the end of summer
for a fall crop.

The carrots are doing well
and will continue to grow in this bucket at the new place.

Not sure if the beets will be getting much bigger,
as summer temperatures are drawing near.
Perhaps finding a bit of shade would help them along.

As we conveyed last week,
the worms got to the cauliflower out front.
The leaves are just shredded.
This is another crop I can restart for fall harvest.

The apple tree that was trimmed a few weeks back
if still fruiting.
Literally half of the tree was cut away
after it toppled to the ground.
The remaining half is bearing fruit,
although they are small and seem to have some disease issue.

These started sprouting up a couple of weeks back.
I think they are elephant ears,
something I never thought would grow here.
I always think of this as a tropical plant,
but it's thriving with the consistent rains.

This dusty miller has been blooming for months.
It's starting to reseed itself.
It makes such a wonderful contrast against the 
other shades of spring color.
It is drought tolerant and seems to be quite content in this shady spot.

These orange lillies are exploding everywhere we go.
These were a pleasant surprise coming up in the side yard.

Every morning they greet us with a cheery burst of color and vibrancy,
then close up in the afternoons to get ready to put on another show the next day.

That's what's going on in our garden this week.
How 'bout you?
What wonderful discoveries have you recently made in the garden?