Whispering Wood

Sometimes, you just don’t know what pieces of wood are going to tell you. The other day, I was looking through some pieces of scrap wood that my husband saved for me to use in future projects. I came across a couple of pieces that whispered to me what they wanted to become. As soon as I looked at them an image in the wood grain appeared; so I listened.

This piece of wood was telling me a story, one of a seaside landscape, and happy summer days at the beach. If you look at the wood grain, it is almost painted there.
It became “Seaside Dreams.”
The second piece of scrap wood spoke of babbling brooks and mountains, of days in the wilderness. I listened, and a little house appeared at the mountain base. Soon, I was there.
It became “In the Wilderness.”
Here the wood is whispering of a place far away.

It became “Mountain of Hope.”

You never know what wood is going to whisper, might as well listen. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Life Goes On

Everywhere we look, there is life going on, even at the microscopic level. Spend a few minutes outdoors and look around. From foliage to tiny critters moving around and about, our existence is full of life; isn’t that wonderful? I have been observing a Mama Bird caring for her babies for the past three weeks or so, and I have avoided using the side entrance so I would not disturb them. At first, I thought there were two abandoned nests in each of the flower pots hanging at each side of the entrance, although one of the nests seemed as if it was started and left halfway through undone. It is a shady and cool area, and I have not been able to grow anything on those pots despite several attempts, so this year I placed artificial flowers inside. I noticed that the halfway done nest disappeared and the other one seemed bigger and fuller. I assumed it was being built, and the nest material was being used, so I let it be. Later on, I would see Mama Bird flying back and forth, and chirping; later on, I heard a few chirps but did not want to go near the area in fear that I would scare the birds. On Saturday, I did not hear anything, or see any movement, and on Sunday, I discovered an abandoned nest. Wanting to preserve this lovely memory, I sat down and attempted to paint the flower pot with a few watercolor pencils I have around.

The nest is behind the artificial foliage.
My rendition, although I did it by memory. I thought the flowers were purplish and fewer, and the pot ornament is the one on the opposite flower pot, which have fewer flowers. I guess age creeps on you.

It was relaxing, and I preserved a beautiful memory. I used to draw and paint when I was a kid, and for some reason that I cannot recall, I suddenly stopped. As a young adult, I tried to get back to it but was hesitant for some unexplained reason that puzzles me and I cannot comprehend. In my late twenties, I even bought an easel, several types of paints, and other materials but always felt something stopping me, and it all sat waiting for me to pick it up. I carried the stuff from place to place. On my last move, I got rid of 70 percent of my stuff, but for some reason, I could not let go of the painting materials. I had attempted a few drawings and paintings, on and off, but It wasn’t until a few years back before my last move that I started, and I pushed myself to paint something, despite my “hesitation.” It has been very diluted and sporadically, rudimentary, but I am feeling a bit more at ease with it. I cannot recall why I stopped, or anything negative associated with painting or drawing, other than a teacher in third grade making a big deal in front of the class because I painted blue hair on a coloring book. Another teacher telling me in class that it wasn’t me who did the drawing on a novel we were reading in 7th grade (we were supposed to draw or paint a scene), even when it was all me. So I have no clue as why I stopped painting suddenly, but I intend to keep on painting something from now on, and enjoying it. For some reason, it feels as if I picked up where I left off. No Picasso here, just the joy of it. Life goes on in ways more than one.

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.

Common Ground

Realizing that we are more alike than different does not come easy, especially when everything around you is telling you the opposite – news, financial status, social media, protests, our own views of the same … Sometimes, one thing, one incident, something you heard or saw, reminds you that in the end we all want the same things. We want to be loved and love, we want to be safe, we want to prosper, we want joy and happiness, we want a happy home, we want to be fed properly, we want to have fun, we want to help others and be givers, we want to care … Sometimes, in the pursuit of those same things we become boulders in the path of others, and in the one to our own journey. Sometimes, it is so hard to understand one another, but what makes it a bit easier is realizing that we all want the same things. In illuminating our own road, we can also be a light for others.

Photo by M.A.D.

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.

Less Will Have to Be More

Glancing back this month and reviewing our budget, I realized that expenses are on the up and up. Not that we are spending more, but that things are costing more. If you have been paying attention, not to the news but to the world around you, you might have noticed inflation creeping in. If you pay attention at grocery prices from month to month, you already know it. When people refer to “less is more,” they usually do so in the context of aesthetics, décor, clutter… I think that with our current “real” state of the economy, not what the news are reporting daily, but what you see people live day by day, less will have to be more. If you have no clue of what I am talking about, on your next shopping trip to the grocery store (a definite need) be a bit more observant and glance at people’s grocery carts on line ready for checkout. It is an eye opener. When people are downsizing basic needs, it is a sign of how real things are becoming. It is true that the pandemic caused much damage in many households, and for many people income dropped, while for others, unemployment assistance became a blessing, increasing their income compared to the job they had before being unemployed, hence why many people are not interested in returning to work right away, but that is another subject. So for many others, less will have to become more. Less groceries will have to be stretched out for more people/servings for a longer time. If you think that the pandemic already did this in 2020, wrecking people’s lives, incomes … you are right. Post pandemic it will be inflation.

For us who have been around in the 1980’s, we remember inflation. Interest rates to buy a home were at 14% or more, and the cost of living was high. In my opinion, and I am not a financial expert, only someone who observes life, the difference this time around will be that the salaries have remained pretty much the same since that time while everything else has gone up in price, and possibly much more if inflation hits us hard. For the younger generation, it will be an eye opener, as their purchase power will be challenged much more than it already is. Old timers will not be as shocked but will see the difference, especially, if they are on a fixed income. What a recipe for scrambled eggs, hopefully not kept in one basket. Maybe it will be a lesson in grateful living and appreciation of what one already has, and going back to basics.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Matthew 6:26 NIV

Restoring Old Garden Sculptures

It was a rainy day, nothing to be done outside. It was the perfect day to tackle a chore that had been put aside for some time – bringing back to life old garden sculptures. People tend to discard garden sculptures because paint has faded over time or the elements have taken a toll on these; however, with a little effort these can be brought back to life. We purchased a few garden sculptures over 15 years ago for our previous home, and when we moved we took them with us to the farmhouse. Although I love the weathered look of garden sculptures my husband likes a more clean and painted look, so he took on the task on a rainy day, and I joined in the effort. We sat on the porch, enjoyed the sound of the rain in the old tin roof, and painted away. A cup of hot chocolate made the task more enjoyable.

It doesn’t take much effort, other than dust them off and make sure the sculptures are not wet, or at least almost dry, but we had put the job aside for years, and because I like the weathered old look there was no rush; however I have to say that these really look good painted. After painting them, we sprayed a light layer of clear coat to protect the paint. The paint and clear coat will help the sculptures last longer, and also prevent the concrete from eroding faster. Here are a few pictures of the project.

Before – In the process of painting these two bunny sculptures.
After – The bunnies look beautiful now. The pots in the back are filled with two tiny evergreens I found around the property. On the opposite side, there are two more. They will grow to resemble Christmas trees.
This one has grown fast; it was barely three inches when planted.
I liked the old patina on this cement pot, but the birds were not noticeable anymore, so we decided to bring back the original color of these birds and leave the old patina just be.

We have a few more sculptures to restore to beauty. Old things are lovely, and can be made lovelier with a bit of effort.