Simple Beauty

The simple and pure beauty of flowers. A few pictures of what’s in bloom right now.

Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D. I have no clue what this plant is, but I like it. If anyone knows please let me know in the comments. It started as one and it keeps fanning out.
Photo by M.A.D.
Even the recently trimmed old tree is starting to show signs of life. It was trimmed about a month ago. (Photo by M.A.D.)
The grape vine is growing beautifully. The idea is for it to wrap around the veggie garden. (Photo by M.A.D.)
My favorite shade of blue (Photo by M.A.D.)

Love and Light.

Garden Bliss

I love this time of the year. The beginning of Spring, when bugs are still half asleep, and the garden is awakening. The temperatures are a bit cool enough to enjoy preparing the garden for the rest of the year. That is what we have been working on, setting up the garden. Cleaning up winter’s memories and hoping for a good gardening year. Last year we had a drought, and everything looked sad and dry. I am hoping for plenty of rain.

We cleaned up around the garden and added a new flag. Heavy winds and ice destroyed the other one. The first blooms are here.

We cleaned up the veggie garden. Had to discard one of the large boxes; it broke on the sides. A layer of fresh mulch was applied, and containers were moved around to make room for new planting boxes. My husband made veggie markers, and I am hoping to plant much more. Despite the ice and crazy weather, lettuce came back from last year. Two full containers, so I will not have to plant lettuce this year. It survived the frost.

I started two new areas in the garden this year. These are a work in progress right now. One is at the very front of the property, and the other area is next to the faerie garden. This area is covered by lush green moss in the spring, which I love, and the only thing I have been able to plant here are hostas; it is a shady area. We try to add to the garden something new every year. Little by little this garden has been transformed from the original mess of weeds and overgrown bushes to something more delightful. You can see the progress on the Restoring a Farmhouse series of posts.

The garden as it was. This was the entrance to the property.
What we started with when we purchased the old farmhouse. First time working on the garden. What a lovely mess!

I am very happy because a small garden center opened in our area, and now we will not have to drive that far to purchase plants or gardening material. After all that hard work, our reward was my delicious version of Fiesta Rice.

I hope you enjoy this post. Love and light.

Farmhouse Project – The Large Tree

In a previous post – Twelve Future Farmhouse Projects – I mentioned the need to tackle the very old and large tree that is dangerously close to the side entrance of the house. I loved this tree, but it was not looking good (sick), and with the strong winds and storms that sometimes make their way around here, it posed a risk, so we decided to eliminate the danger. I was sad to see most of it gone, and truly felt sorry for it; I guess I had developed an attachment to the tree, “feelings” for it. Due to the cost of cutting down a very large tree, we decided to go for a complete trim of the branches. It looks like at one-point, previous owners might have done the same. The company we hired (Southside Stump Grinding, with the crew of Cut It Rite), did a great job and left everything clean. We will be calling them back for the next tree project. It was nice to experience again good old customer service. They were punctual, fair in pricing, neat, careful, friendly, respectful of property, did what they promised, and had excellent communication throughout the process. Caleb Milam, owner, was on top of everything from the beginning. But going back to the old tree, I have to say that I miss it. One of the crew members said that it was a very old tree. The trunk is very thick, maybe like two and a half of me, and it remains, along with very thick branches, that eventually, we will cut down. For now, we have peace of mind, and that was the goal. I will enjoy what is left of this old giant, and who knows, maybe will cover it in pretty solar lights. It looks like a giant hand coming out of the ground.

The tree before. These branches did not look so thin once they were on the ground. The crew arrived at around 9 am. and worked straight through until around past 2 pm. It was a lot of work, especially because they had to be mindful of the house, the well, and the electricity cables on two sides.
You can actually peel off the bark, and there is moss growing in many areas.
Many branches starting to rot and break in some areas. Here you can see where the previous cuts were done on this tree.
This area at the bottom of the trunk (left) was what let me know it was now the time to do something. I have been watching that part of the tree separate more and more until it broke off. I guess it is part of a root.
And now it doesn’t pose any risk. I can see ivy fairy lights adorning it.

Another project crossed off the list. I hope you enjoyed this post.

Ladies in the Garden

I have been in awe over the last couple of days admiring these ladies (and gentlemen) in my garden. I had been telling my husband that this year I have not seen as many butterflies as other years past. It must be that everything has been so dry from the lack of rain, only a few showers here and there, but no significant amount. Other areas close by have enjoyed more showers. The flowers have withered, some that were ready to bloom as well, and the veggies are growing slow – no tomatoes yet; only four cucumbers made it to the table along with a few leaves of lettuce. If anything, we will have a late harvest. We have been watering every other day, but it does not seem to be enough. Just when my gardening enthusiasm was fading a bit, we were blessed with a couple of short heavy showers overnight, and also the butterflies have been visiting the only source of nectar that has been doing good around here during the season.

Absolutely gorgeous in her lovely attire.
Perfect color combinations and patterns.
Another one of God’s lovely creatures.
This one is similar to the other one but with one less row of color on the wings; a bit of a different pattern.
Thanks to this bush, they’ll have plenty to eat until early fall.

I am grateful that I can enjoy watching them, their beauty, and share it with you here. I hope you enjoy this post.

A Few Garden Projects

Sometimes, ideas come to mind unexpectedly, and that is how a project is born. I saw a few pieces of wood that my husband had destined for the garbage and I decided to do something with those pieces. I had all the necessary materials at hand, so why not? One thing that came to mind was the UPS/FedEx truck passing our house, and turning back, and sometimes, back and forth, trying to find the address. For some reason, the navigation system does not point to the exact location; always further away. The house is set far back, so it is easy to miss. So I decided to help them a bit by making a house number sign with the leftover wood. I wanted a bit of a yesteryear look. This is what I came up with.

Materials – leftover wood, nails, and paint. The horse is one of my husband’s rejects ( he makes wooden toys …), and I thought it was the perfect thing to add.
I decided to spruce up the veggie garden. I made a cross with the rest of the wood, and added a homemade banner made from vintage fabrics and antique clothespins.

In the meantime, my husband was reconsidering his previous trail sign, scrapping it, and making another sign.

He likes this style better, and so do I.

What happened to the other sign? I placed it on the veggie garden. Unfortunately, the plants are not growing as fast this year because of the heat and lack of rain, even when alternating watering. Even the lettuce is not producing as well as last year. The peas dried up and died.

The red box is in need of painting already; probably next year.
This onion plant is like a piece of art – a sculpture.

These projects gave me the time to reminisce, and enjoy the work.

BEFORE – Sometimes one has to look way beyond the scrapping wood.
AFTER – We have come a long way from when we started; small steps make a difference.

I hope you enjoy this farmhouse project. Next project will be the rebellious hydrant. Parts are on order; who knew that Universal fit is not really Universal?

Of Critters and Paint

Nature never disappoints. I was able to capture a few images of some visitors. It has been hot and dry around here, the garden is growing slowly, even lettuce is taking its time. I do what I can to provide these visitors with some comfort, a birdbath always filled, small plates of water for ground critters, and areas in the garden for them to enjoy shade. Here are a few of the visitors.

I am not sure what kind of bird it is, but the colors are beautiful, and it is a larger size, larger than a Robin. The first time I see this bird around.
Bunnies have not been around as much as other years, neither do turtles, or snakes. I am not sure why.
Crows, Ravens, are a plenty around here.
BEFORE -The wood around the garden was in need of painting. I had leftover paint, so it was a quick an easy job, under an hour. We have been painting what needs to be, keeping up with time.
AFTER – The wood is shiny and bright again, at least for a couple of years. $$$Tip – If you want to save on garden wood/logs look at discounted wood, usually found on pallets around the garden section in home improvement stores, or the rough cuts in mills. This is how we did the entire perimeter of the house. Once you paint or stain it, the wood will look great and will last long.

Next project will have to be one that just popped up – fixing the hydrant, which has been leaking, unbeknownst to us. It requires digging, so it will be a learn as you go project. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate it!

Pledge of Allegiance

Around a Homemade Garden – Farmhouse Project

There is plenty to do around here; never a dull moment. We armed ourselves with motivation to tackle a short list, mostly things that have been waiting – installing a window a/c for when the heat becomes unbearably dangerous, weeding out the garden, trimming bushes, planting corn again (something plucked all my corn plants, one by one), caulk porch columns, and do some minor painting retouches. The caulking and the painting had to wait because of rain that never showed up during the day, but poured at night. We will tackle those later on. However, I was able to do a quick and easy project with left over materials – a bird/critter feeder, and my husband was able to work on something for his trail project.

The bird/critter feeder was something that I thought of buying but instead I decided to give it a try by using some recycled items – old metal cookie plate, leftover 2×4 wood, and foam planter bottom. It was quick and easy, and it works – zero cost. We gave the wood a coat of paint. The planter bottom serves to prevent weeds and to keep it clean around the base. My husband drilled small holes on the metal plate for draining the water when it rains. Eventually, I might plant some flowers at the base. Could not have been easier.

Homemade bird and critter feeder.

My husband decided to make a sign for the lighted trail entrance. This is a project that he started last year, will be time consuming and hard work, but he is obsessed with it, and will work on a small part of it when he gets a chance. My vision for it was two 4×4 poles with a wood beam across and a burnt wood sign in the middle, but he wanted to go the more natural and less expensive route, and use the trees already there; after all, it is his project, not mine.

This time he added a simple homemade sign. He plans on having two more entrances and an exit.

There is always time to admire favorite plants, and this garden has come a long way from the morass of abandoned overgrown vegetation it was.

Can you guess which Calla Lily is not real?
Love the color of this one. I leave the bulbs throughout the winter; they come back, and the plant comes back stronger and fuller. This is the third year.
Another lovely color.
My favorite shade of blue.

We will continue to add to this garden; it has been a labor of love. I hope you enjoyed this project.

Around the Garden – My Favorites

A few of my favorite glances this year.

Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.

Search for beauty wherever you can find it; it appeases the soul.

Farmhouse Project – The Pumpkin Area

We had plenty of rain over the past two days, so in the interim, we were able to tackle one of the projects from the immediate list – opening up an area in the back part of the property for pumpkins or other veggies . Last year, we tested a small patch of grass where we were able to grow a few pumpkins and cantaloupe, not many. We realized we had to move the planting a bit to the front, where there is a bit more sun, so we finally settled on the area. We took advantage of the very wet and soft ground after the rain, and we finished the job quickly. The seeds are planted. Only a few rows, just for a second test to see how it goes. This year we planted a few seeds – pumpkins, cantaloupe, sunflowers, and a bit of corn. Not too much because we are still testing. Here are a few pictures of the project.

Clearing up this section was easier than we thought because of all the previous rain.
While digging out grass, we found all of these interesting objects. Mostly, old electrical parts and tools, bolts … I wish I could have a window to the past and see the story attached to each one.
Of course, these will end up in my collection. Why? Just because.
And here they are; in their rightful place. It has become an obsession that doesn’t require an explanation.

After testing this area, if it works out it will be expanded a bit to be able to plant more, and added to over time. I am sure that we will find more interesting things buried in the soil. I hope you enjoyed this project; I surely did.

The Weathered Made Anew

It started last week when we restored a couple of old garden statues on a rainy day, and we decided to continue with a task that has been put aside for a while. While my husband tackled the remaining garden statues to be painted, I decided to restore the old porch chairs that needed a little TLC. The weather has taken a toll on the finished wood, but the chairs were still sturdy and solid. We already had the paint and materials around, so all we needed was time and effort. It is easy to discard something when it starts looking weathered and old, but it is not necessary at all.

These were a gift from a good friend for our first house, which makes them over 20 years old or so. When we moved, these came with us.
After my husband cleaned and painted these, the garden statues look great again. I think these can withstand a few more years in the garden.
This tired old chair is in need of some love.
All it needed was a light sanding, dusting, and a coat of stain.
This chair needs some attention before heading to the dumpster. I ask myself the more than one life question – is there still life left on it? If the answer is yes or maybe, then it gets the attention it deserves.
These chairs cost over $500 if bought new. Because we already had at hand the materials we needed to restored them (leftover stain, sanding paper, rag) the cost is $0.00.

Before discarding something as not useful anymore, ask yourself the “more than one life” question. If the answer is yes or maybe, go for it, and give it that life, restore it to beauty and good use once more. In the end, your pocket is happier/fuller, and Earth will thank you.