No More Skeletons in the Faerie Garden

Continuing with the old farmhouse posts, I will do another before and after of the garden area. It had been a lot of hard work to start getting this old place into shape, and this year, it is starting to look a bit better. It has been almost five years since we moved here. For those of you who are wondering what happened to the older posts, I had an out of body experience and one day woke up wanting to make this blog only about writing. Without a second thought, I deleted all those posts and the memories with them. Later, the alien inside my brain crawled out and I realized that this approach was not working for me, and I missed the old ways. I am more a glimpse on all sides person, so I decided to bring back those glimpses on this blog. I don’t think I can get back the deleted posts, so I am moving forward with some before and after posts. Hope you enjoy these.

The faerie garden was an area that was covered in bushes and weeds. It had a large carcass of a dog or coyote (I could not tell the difference) resting on a small piece of concrete. After clearing out the brush in the area, we discovered that the small concrete area was under grass that had taken over and continue to grow atop, alongside some moss. We scraped the area and uncovered a generous size concrete circle where we decided to place some patio furniture, a grill, and create a small faerie garden, which has always been a little dream of mine. The area has a large amount of kelly green moss growing and expanding, and I have always been a fan of moss, so it happily worked out. Every year, I add something to the area, whether plantings or any decorative feature. We tried to work with was already there, and it works for us. Here are some pictures of the faerie garden area before.

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Photo by M.A.D.

This is the area as it looked before, although we had cleared out a bit at that point, the skeleton gone. There was an electricity pole that one day just disappeared. It was puzzling; how does a gigantic pole disappears? When we inquired, it happened that when the previous owner closed her account after selling the property, the electric company came and took the pole out of the ground. I found it hilarious. Here are two different views, one of them uncovering the concrete circle.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Here are a few pictures of the area as it is today. I am sure that we will add to it over the years, more on the form of plantings, garden lights and stones. The flowers in that area will bloom around late spring/June. It is mostly a shaded area so I am happy that something blooms.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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A closer look of the critters and mossy area.

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Viewed from another angle. Al the stones, wood, and cinder blocks were found on the property, either around or in the woods behind. We dogged out many stones. The goal was to utilize what was already there, and find a way to create areas with purpose. When we start a project, we set a very low budget, and we consider existing/found/recycled/reused/restored/vintage first before spending on new. This approach has worked out for us.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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We added solar lighting to the area by  utilizing recycled wood, and painting it. All the outdoor lighting is solar. The area continues to emerge over the years.

I hope you enjoyed this post of the faerie garden. I will post more before and after pictures of other outdoor areas/projects in the future, as well of the farmhouse work.

 

 

 

 

 

Of Mind and Heart

During this time, like many of you, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect and do many other things at home, alongside my husband, who is at home as well. For some reason, my mind has been scattered a bit, and my attention far away, not conducive to writing my next novel. It is a mixture of being sad, foggy, and in a cloud, that is how I can describe it best. It is hard not to pay attention to the news, and what I hear does not help my mind and heart. I have read some posts, and many of you are dealing with similar feelings, and trying to cope with your situations.

Writing my novel has not been easy, and I have been writing sporadically, but mostly, have put it aside, only to visit it again when it crosses my mind, almost calling me. For now, I have joined my husband in many projects around the home, some of which have been put aside for lack of time before. We have been working on clearing out bushes, trees, chopping branches, burning brush, taking out stumps, making pathways, and tackling the hard chores around this place. We still have a lot of work to do outside, and this time has been good for that. It has help both of us, I think, to feel a bit more centered, and productive as well. We have painted, planted seeds, made new gardening beds, made new garden areas, and also enjoyed the good weather days. Outside chores have been therapeutic.

My husband is not used to being at home, so he has dived in a plethora of projects to keep himself busy. Although these are sad times, we are trying to make the best of it, in our own way, as many of you are doing as well. I took my camera and took pictures around, of some work done, of little discoveries, of trees and old bottles … . For those of you who miss the old farmhouse posts. Nancy, this one is for you.

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Photo by M.A.D.

We started clearing out brush to make walking trails around. That is a big project in itself, but it got started. Eventually we will frame an entrance that will have this message – Keep on the path of the Lord.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Started a circle garden and planted all kinds of colorful flowers seeds. Some of them are already showing up. We are going to have a couple of frost mornings so I will have to cover all seeds on Friday. Hope they make it. I have yet to make another circle garden next to this one, It will be planted with sunflowers.

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Photo by M.A.D.

A fairy garden has been completed, although I am sure that I will add more faeries to it, and other critters. It is an area with moss and where all kinds of critters are welcomed. I placed water dishes for frogs, bunnies … When we bought the place, this part was covered in weeds and bushes, and there was a carcass of a dog or coyote in it. We uncovered a beautiful mossy area, and a circle of concrete that was probably the area where patio furniture was placed at some point. We made it into a grill/patio area, and the perfect spot for a fairy garden.

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Photo by M.A.D.

The last box for the veggie garden was built and painted. All seeds have been planted for this year. This area was also covered in bushes and overgrown weeds/grass. Little by little we have been getting rid of the untangled mess, and clearing out the place. The large pine tree in the background was covered as well, and now it is free and happy. It is as old/older than this place, over 110 years.

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Photo by M.A.D.

This used to be a tiny rose bush that was being choked to death by overgrown weeds. We uncovered it, and it has grown into a beautiful rosebush. We had to build a trellis for it.

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Photo by M.A.D.

The old well got a coat of paint and top. It used to be covered by bushes and grass, you could not see it. The entire place was hiding under a morass of overgrown flora. We never got to paint it after fixing it. And so did the old shed door. It was rusty, with a door hanging to one side. Amazingly, the inside has been preserved; it is the old log and mortar construction that eventually was covered with aluminum siding. As old as the home is.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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We rescued this holly tree. We found it growing in the back, under a mess. We cleaned around it, and hopefully it will do a bit better now. We might have to cut those two trees next to it.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Trees around here seem to grow in two’s and three’s.

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Photo by M.A.D.

This area was the driveway, and it was also covered in bushes and weeds. The grass was so tall that it hit my knees. A couple of weeks ago, we managed to clear out the last two stumps. These were chopped and burned, along with many other branches.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Slowly, many garden areas are emerging. I have found single plantings of what might have been a long lost garden, and I have replanted some of them. This hydrangea was the inspiration for the blue paint we used on the place. There was no garden. I have more plans for other areas, little by little. There is a perfect spot for a rain garden.

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Photo by M.A.D.

I took this picture last year. The garden was starting to come alive. This year it has come back stronger. This area will have stone where the wood panel is for now.

Here are a few before pictures of the area. I had forgotten the nightmare. On another post, I will share some more. I don’t want this post to run too long.

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Photo by M.A.D.

The old shed as it was before, at the point of being cleared of weeds. We had to make a pathway to get to it.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Here is the driveway as it used to be. You could not even see the road.

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Photo by M.A.D.

The old well in the process of being cleaned up. All around the place the grass was brown; now it is green and even feels like carpet under your feet.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Little by little we uncovered the place, house and everything else. In this picture you can see a bit of white if you follow the path my husband carved to the right. That was the shed before it was cleaned up.

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Photo by M.A.D.

The old farmhouse starts to emerge. There was even a concrete pathway. It has been tons of work but rewarding.

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Photo by M.A.D.

This picture was taken two years ago around Christmas time.

I hope this hasn’t been too boring or too long. It has been quite a journey, a labor of love by two people. We still have tons more work to do. The old roof was coated and painted, but we need to install a new one. The interior was finished. I will continue with the before and after of the place on a couple more blog posts. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these pictures of the progress so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track-by-Track: “66th and City” — Zapateria: The World of Zapatero

I am sharing this wonderful and amazing song from The World of Zapatero. I enjoyed it so much that I must share it. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss it. In one phrase, it is full of feeling.

 

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/track=3615006918/album=178845971/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/

Back in June, I read an article about prog rock in the New Yorker. If you’re not familiar with prog, it’s a category of rock exemplified by bands like Yes, King Crimson, early Genesis, and arguably Pink Floyd whose songs tended to be fairly long pieces marked by various movements akin to those in classical […]

via Track-by-Track: “66th and City” — Zapateria: The World of Zapatero

When the Cows Come Home

We all have heard the popular phrase “till the cows come home,” referring to a long and indefinite period of time.  “I will party till the cows come home” is a good example of it.  However, what happens when the cows come home?  And if they do, are we prepared to receive them?  I have asked myself that question many times, and the answer is always the same – I’ll never know until I see them.

Preparing for life changes can be exciting, exhilarating, scary, and many other things; however, we won’t know until the cows come home.  We continue with our plans of leaving Jersey and moving to the country.  Although we are preparing for it, and are excited … we won’t know until the cows come home.  For now, all we can do is wait for them, and prepare for their arrival.  In a way, it is good that things happen a bit slow, it gives you time to appreciate the road, the roses, the thorns, and yes, it gives you time to wait for those cows.

Picture taken on our way to the farmhouse.  I guess some cows where having second thoughts and heading back.

Living the Simple Life

Learning to live the simple life is more than pairing down some of your stuff.  Although it starts at that point, it develops into a spiritual quest, and appreciation of what every day brings.  Most people think that living simple is living without; this is not the case.  You might start clearing out things that you don’t need or feel are necessary for your happiness and daily comforts of living, but soon you start realizing all the blessings you have, and all the money you wasted in so much extra stuff that was far from being needed.  That is not to say that you turn into an extreme cheap and frugal person; it is far from that.  You will learn to be frugal, but out of not being wasteful and out of gratitude for the blessings in your life; it is more like a natural state of frugality, and not imposed by the lack of something.  You learn to be frugal because you recognize the abundance in your life.  This is hardly being cheap.  At the same time you will want to give more to others, and this is not being cheap either.
Living the simple life is surrounding your environment with healthy and simple things that have a functionality, as well as a purpose.  You also like and love these few things.  It is returning to simple forms and appreciating the job that these objects do.

For decorating the farmhouse, we will use the necessary furniture that we already have, and we are getting rid of extras.  We will choose simple materials, basic in form and purpose.  Some of these we already have, some we will scout for at a bargain price or recycled.  It will depend on what we need and when – and availability.

We have decided to forgo the central air or air conditioning which we have grown so accustomed to and instead, learn to open the windows, and use ceiling fans in some rooms for when it gets too hot.  We have selected a basic white ceiling fan with one center light.  We also selected a simple design portch light made of aluminum, that will last for many years.  The total cost for these two portch lights and two ceiling fans was $80.00.  Before buying them, I scouted around for these items to see if I could get them for free, but most fans available were too big or required four or more bulbs.  Since these were 19.99 a piece it was worth it to get them brand new plus it served the purpose in form, design, and simplicity.  The lighting could not be more simple and durable too.

Here are some pics.

Simple Aluminum Portch light
Simple one bulb four-blade ceiling fan
My advice here is that you try to find what you need – free first or recycled – and give it a second life, but if you cannot find it, then go with something simple at a reasonable price.  There is no sense in getting something for free if it does not serve the purpose.  I could have gotten many ceiling fans for free but they were either too big or had too many light bulbs, a waste in my opinion.  If you can wait for it to materialize in the future that is fine too, we are doing things in stages, so we decided to fit them in now.
Living simple is about saving money, but also about less excess, and the right form and function for the purpose.  And of course, loving it too.

   

A Better New Year

The Holiday festivities are over, and the New Year is here – and we all wish that 2010 will be a better year.  2009 was a rough year for many, for our Country.  Despite all the challenges, we start 2010 with hope – hoping for the best.

I had my share of good news on the farmhouse.  The survey has been completed and so far so good; the affidavits all taken care of.  Now it is a matter of getting everyone to sign and proceed to closing.  Then, the restoration will begin, which I think is the exciting part, along with moving to a different part of the country and starting a new simpler life.  We will have to get used to the southern accent (which I love), and many of the small town living customs.  It is all good!

A friend of mine mentioned to me the other day that she will not plan for 2010.  Instead, she will receive every day and enjoy what the day brings.  I think it is a wonderful idea!  I will try to do the same, although we all know how difficult that has proven to be for me.  The thought of not planning is a bit unsettling for me.  So far, I have managed to make lists and timeframes for pretty much everything, and it is not even the 10th of January.  Managed to straighten and clean all my files, created a budget plan, logged all my goals and timeframes for this year, organized the office, and reviewed my decluttering schedule … It goes on and on.  This is why I thought my friend’s idea was a magnificent one.

Well, I am determined to make the best of every day of this year.  The New Year is here, and the clock started ticking …