Category Archives: Construction

June?!

I guess it’s June and almost Summer, but how did we get here so quickly?  I’m still back in May when Spring was new and the flowers were just opening up and the weather was almost nice except for all the rain.  And guess what?  June is becoming a very rainy month also. I feel so sorry for the guys who have been working on our house. They have actually worked outside in the rain, getting drenched and never complaining. At least I never hear them complain. Today is a beautiful day and they are working inside, of course.

The porch is more or less done. They will give the floor a second coat of stain and put up the screen doors after they are done working on our bathroom/laundry room.   Right now the place is all torn out and we have to run upstairs to use the bathroom. I can’t believe we lived like this for years with three children and one bathroom, but we did.  Now I look back at how we lived and I sound like an old pioneer woman when I tell our children how fortunate they are to have two or three bathrooms and Pampers.  I use to rinse all the cloth diapers in the toilet and wring them our WITH MY BARE HANDS and take them to the laundromat because as a pioneer woman, I had no washer and dryer at the time.  But I loved how fluffy and soft the diapers were after they were cleaned and I don’t regret it at all that I had to do all that. Now it’s  flip, a tape and a throw away and you are done with a diaper. Can’t help thinking how many landfills are full of those things.

But back to the bathroom/laundry. I can’t believe all the decisions one has to make about one little room.  Where to place the toilet and sink.  What kind of tile for the floor and shower.  What kind of faucets. What kind of lights. What color paint for walls, ceiling and woodwork.  I had no problem picking out the new washer and dryer. We have Maytags right now and they have been the best.  I could have probably used them for several more years, but me being only five foot one inches tall, it is becoming harder for me to reach clear down into the bottom of the top load washer to get all the clothes out, so we bought a front loader washer and dryer with stands so I think it will be easier to load and unload as I keep going into my tottering old age. Anyway, I hope it will be easier.  And they have a ten year warranty which is just about the time my warranty is up, so it’s all good.

I’ve been working on a patriotic wall hanging for the Fourth of July and onward. I get in the mood to sew and then something happens that I can’t get out into my shop and nothing gets done.  But here are some of the fabrics I am using.

 

Okay, this is how my fabric piles usually look when I am working on a quilt.

I really love this fabric and wish I had bought more of it.   This picture does not do it justice.

This is the pattern I am using. I got it over at Country Threads Chicken Scratch, Mary Etherington’s blog. I think you can still buy the pattern there until July 4th if you are interested. It’s a fun pattern, but I have to admit, it’s been a difficult one for me for some reason with all the pieces and my mind not quite on the job all the time with all that is going on.  But I have it pieced now and am starting to piece another one to go with it that I will show you when I’m done. It may be next July 4th, but be patient with me!

Here’s Uncle Sam’s legs. This is a long wall hanging which surprised me because I thought it would be little, but it’s not.  There is a pattern for a smaller one included which I may try sometime.

I did finish the quilting on a quilt I started last year.  A quilt I wanted to have for Autumn.

My apple quilt. I did a trash job of staging this quilt, didn’t I? Maybe when it’s done, I will show it off a little better. It deserves that.  But I do love it and will hang it up this Autumn. Maybe with a bowl of apples by it.

And I am still knitting socks. It’s really addictive and something I can do in the evening when I am watching my current favorite show, Wild At Heart, on Amazon Prime about a family that moves from Bristol, England to Africa. The father is a veterinarian and moves his family onto a game reserve and takes care of the animals. I really love this show. It’s family friendly. No cuss words.  No nudity. An old man in his underwear is as risqué as it gets which is fine with me. Too many shows now are so vulgar and going for shock value instead of a good story and good people.  Game of Thrones is one of them. So popular, but so vulgar.  I won’t be watching that one.  Not my cup of tea.  It’s getting harder and harder to find anything to watch on tv so I find myself watching it less and less which is probably a good thing actually.   I don’t even watch the news much any longer because it’s all so negative when I don’t think it needs to be.   Watch too much negative things and hateful things and you soon find yourself being negative and hateful.  And life is way too short to be negative and hateful.  I didn’t mean to get on a soapbox today.  Ignore me.

But, back to socks, I knit this pair and gave them to a friend who likes purple.

She had given me some flowers in a mason jar for Easter so I rolled these up and put them in the jar and tied a ribbon around it and gave them to her. Hope she likes them.

If you have been reading my blog, you know I have been having some health issues. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said it may not be my heart and was going to schedule a lung scan for blood clots. I really don’t think that’s what the matter is, but I’ll humor him and do the scan. Then the cardiologist set me up for a heart checkup where they go into your heart to see what the matter is and if they find something, he said they will fix it.  Still feeling breathless and faint at times even though I did plant twelve perennials this morning, but I find when I lean over and my head is below my knees, I don’t feel breathless or faint. Would be kind of hard to walk around like that for long though. Ha. Anyway, if you are a praying person, send up a prayer to My Father in Heaven because He knows exactly what is wrong.   But I don’t feel any fear about it all.

Enough about that.  Back to our new screened-in porch.  We had a gully washer of a rain the other day and we sat outside on it and didn’t get wet at all.

The wind was coming in at every direction and it was thundering and lightning.

Molly and Belle came running in and decided they really needed to rub against me!

Silly ol’ dogs.  And there’s David as close to the weather as he can get. He loves thunder and lightning.  I do, too, but at a safe distance and only if lightning doesn’t strike something.

Have a great day.  Hope the sun is shining down upon you. Bye.

 

 

 

 

Feeling Good?

How are you feeling today?  Do you have some aches and pains that are bothering you?  Do you have something on your mind that causes you problems?  Do you have a physical impairment getting you down?   Whatever you have or are suffering, you are very probably not alone.  Health is a funny thing. When you have it, you don’t treasure it as you should and when you don’t have it, you despair of ever having it again.   And if you regain your health, you are happy for a time and then start taking it for granted again.

I try to never take good health for granted any longer.  For the past two years I have been battling something and no doctor seems to know exactly what. I’ve had just about every test conceivable for my heart and the doctors tell me my heart is healthy, although I do have some extra beats in one chamber.   I feel tired and breathless a lot of the time and I can drop asleep at the well, drop of a hat!   I can’t remember a day for a long time where I got up with a lot of energy and pep.   I do get a lot of things done most days, but it can be a real drag on occasion.   Maybe it’s these dark, rainy days we have had lately. Ever since the builders started work on our screened in porch, it’s rained almost every day. It’s raining right now. Is there a man named Noah building an ark somewhere? I am soaked from going out and feeding and watering all the chickens.  The chickens don’t seem to mind the rain at all.  The yard is green and the flowers are all in bloom, so they like it, too, but I sure could use a little sunshine right now.

As for the screened in porch, it’s much bigger than I thought it would be.  We could hold a dance on it and have plenty of room. We have talked about David building a swing bed for it so we could sleep outdoors when we want.   I am so looking forward to decorating the porch with a rug, screens and lights.  Everyone tells us we are going to love our porch because the bugs won’t be able to get in and bother us and we can sit there even when it’s raining.   I’m sure we will enjoy it if it ever gets finished with all the rain we are having.  The roofer came and went yesterday and still no roof on it.   I should be out in my shop doing some quilting, but I’m no in the mood.   After sewing all those mug rugs for the women’s dinner at church, I felt a little burned out.  I’m wanting to get into the garden and transplant some flowers and I still have flower seeds to plant and a new bed to make for in front of the porch.

Finally got some pictures of the new porch to show you.

This was just the beginning.  Like I wrote, it’s rained every day since they started so the process has been slow.

Then the floor and the walls were built. See, the floor is wet from the rain!

Then the rafters. This is where it really begins to look like a porch.

The overseer says things are going as planned.  Poor Belle and Molly. They have been penned up for days because the workers have to leave the gate open to get in and out with things so the dogs are penned up while they are here. They will love it when the work is all done. They still have a bathroom to remodel. Thirty-six years ago this same contractor built our bathroom downstairs. Until that time, this old house had one bathroom for five people upstairs. Built in the 1950’s!   I know because when they tore out the old toilet that was the date on it.  We really needed a second bathroom then.  Now he is remodeling the one he built years ago.

Molly and Belle enjoying freedom for a time.

Roof is still not finished, but they may do it tomorrow, I’m told.

The porch is a whole lot bigger than I imagined it would be.

Other things have been happening.  The ladies at my church had a brunch last Saturday.  The theme was “Wonderfully Made by God.”  They used some of my quilts on the tables.

My chicken quilt. One of my favorites of all the ones I’ve made.

Tables were set with the church’s best china.  It was a pitch-in. I made cinnamon rolls.

The little mug rugs I made were placed under the coffee cups and everyone took one home.  I really had fun making these and have a few left. I made forty-two of them altogether. The speaker talked about how we are like unfinished quilts, but God has a plan for us and is making us into what he wants us to be if we let Him.  We may look unfinished to the world, but God has a plan and He’s working it all the time.

One of our grandsons had his Spring instrumental concert this past week.  All the fifth and sixth graders in all the elementary schools in their town gathered at one of the high schools to play a concert.

The gymnasium was full and parents and grandparents packed the seats.

I am so proud of this boy and am so glad he is taking an instrument.   Next year both he and his younger brother will be playing.

It takes concentration to play an instrument.   Makes me want to take up the violin again.

We thoroughly enjoyed being there and went out to eat afterward with them.

Here’s a picture of the little screen door I bought at the antique show a couple of weeks ago.

The real doors look exactly like this and I have a larger metal star just like the one on this door. It will hang on a wall in our new porch.

Hope you are feeling fine and having some sunshine where you are. I don’t remember what the sun looks like!  Ha.  Have a great weekend. David and I are having a Friday night date night. Something we haven’t done in a while. Dinner and a movie. Going to see Poms about older women who form a cheer leading squad. Should be funny.

Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Color Purple

My garden changes almost weekly, it seems.  In the Spring the first flowers to bloom are the daffodils in bright yellows and pinks.   Now we are in the purple faze of the garden.

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I think these are flowers that came back from wild seeds I planted last year.  Dame’s rocket or phlox, I’m not sure.

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Clematis on our back deck.  It was floundering on the back of my shop so we moved it last year and is thanking us with all these blooms this year.

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Salvia and Irises.  Two of my favorite flowers for needing very little care.

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Not all my irises are purple.  This picture does not do this beauty justice.

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Irises come back every year prettier than ever and they seem to double in size.  I have to divided these clumps this year.

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Dogs grow in my garden too.  Molly Marshmallow is free to roam all through my flowers.  I call the back garden the dogs’ garden.  Surprisingly, my flowers are none the worse for wear with the dogs rooting through them for moles.

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Yes, Molly, that’s why you always have a bone to chew so you won’t chew my flowers!

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Last week my upstairs bathroom looked like this.

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Now it’s beginning to take shape.  The quartz cabinet top and new faucet still need to be installed.  But, I get to take my tub baths again. Oh, how I missed them.

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Love these new lights. They are so bright I told the contractor I could get a tan while in my bathroom.

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Just wanted to share a wonderful book I just finished, The Practice House by Laura McNeal.  I hated for it to end.  It tells about the dust bowl in the 1930’s and one family’s troubles and triumphs during that time.  It’s also about an immigrant from Scotland who becomes an important part of this family in more ways than one.   I got it free on Kindle Unlimited.  I love Kindle Unlimited.  I have read books by authors I might not have ever read if I had to buy every book and I have found some pretty good authors.   I don’t know how they make money on their books by being on Kindle Unlimited, but I am glad they are.

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This weekend is Mother’s Day.  My children and I are not getting together this weekend, but are planning a trip to Cincinnati.  I have noticed on Mother’s Day, the restaurants are all so busy and you have to wait for seats and I thought we could celebrate another day.  After all, every day should be mother’s day.  We should show respect and love our mothers every day.  I miss my mother even though she has been gone many years.  We never stop needing our mothers.  Some days I wish I could talk to her and get her opinion on something.   I know I will see her one day and look forward to that.  I hope she knows I am sorry for all the problems I caused her when I was a teen-ager.  I was sort of a rebellious child and gave her a few grey hairs while I was growing up, but I always knew she loved me.   God bless you, Mom.  I miss you.  Happy Mother’s Day.

If you have a mother, have lost your mother, been a mother or had someone who mothered you, Happy Mother’s Day.  Bye.

 

 

Discombobulated

I like the word discombobulate.  It is a great descriptive word for what I am feeling right now.  We are in the midst of remodeling our upstairs bathroom and it looked like this after yesterday’s demolition.

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Some interesting wallpaper was behind the paint.

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When I first saw this, I thought it was a tiled wall, but it’s tile wallpaper.

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Then there was this floral wallpaper.  I have seen this same wallpaper during other remodeling in this old house.

Whenever we are in the middle of a renovation, I get, well, discombobulated.  Frustrated.  Disconcerted.  The whole house is in a turmoil.  I don’t know what to do with myself.   I know it will all get done. I know I will love the end result, but right now, I feel, unnerved.

Add to that I am going on a trip I had not been planning a week ago.  A friend asked me to go somewhere with her nine hours away, which will involve two overnight stays in motels.   I am excited about it, but as with everything in my life, everything comes at once.  David and I had planned to go to a lacrosse game one of our grandsons was playing in and the next day go to see my sister and brother-in-law for a visit. Plus, our church is having a special week of Bible conference starting Sunday, which I was looking forward to and will miss one night.  All this is happening on the same weekend.   But I chose to go on this trip and I will be telling you about it soon.

I hear them pounding on the walls upstairs and I am thinking I need to get ready for my trip, so I hope you all have a nice weekend.  Bye.

Calm Before the Storm

We have lived in our old house for almost 40 years now and there has hardly been a year where we have not done something to it like removing wallpaper, putting up wallpaper, removing wallpaper, painting, stripping woodwork, replacing woodwork, putting down tile floors, removing tile floors, ripping out old floors, putting down new wood floors, replacing windows, adding a bedroom and bathroom/laundry room, putting on a deck, ripping down the deck, building a bigger deck, building a brand new front porch(which, to this date, is our most favorite thing we have ever done to this house) and multiple paintings of every room in the house.  David says our walls are at least one inch thicker because of all the paint I have slapped on them for the last 40 years.  One year, when our children still lived at home and the neighborhood kids would come over, one little girl asked me one time, “Are you always painting?”  I had to confess to her that I love to paint and yes, I was always painting something.

Well, we think we are almost done remodeling.  This year we are completely gutting the upstairs bathroom except for the big, old tub, which I love to soak in and having new walls put up, new wiring, new light fixtures, new plumbing, new cabinet and sink, faucets and new flooring put in.  We are also finishing up getting all our windows replaced. It has taken several years, but they will be done this year. Yippee!  Except for our hall window which I love because it slides up into the wall and they cannot find one like it to replace it, so it’s staying.

So today I cleaned the downstairs really well because I know for the next few weeks, my house is going to be tracked in, dust will fall as the plaster walls come out and total chaos will reign for a time.  I’m not good with chaos, but thankfully our contractor is not one of those who takes his time doing a job. He comes in, keeps his men working  until the job is complete.   At least he has in the past and I have no reason to think he has changed.  David has said we have him on retainer because he has worked on our house so much.  We still have one bathroom to go and I don’t know if we will get that done this year.  He and his men are very nice to work with and are very respectful of other’s property.   I worry about my tub getting scratched, but I have been assured they will lay something in it to protect it.   All the tilework around the tub is going to be replaced.  I have wanted to have that done for years.  No amount of scrubbing can make that tile look good, so brand new, sparkling white tile is going up around my old tub and my old tub will be so thankful! And after all the dust has settled and everything is done I will repaint the bathroom myself. I have the colors all picked out  We purchased this really big, old mirror to place above the cabinet.  Now I am wondering if I really want to see that much of me when I get out of the bathtub!   Right now we just have a little medicine cabinet in the wall.  One I am going to keep because it is vintage.  Probably put in the bathroom in the 1950’s.

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So, here are pictures of the bathroom as it is now. A very nondescript little room. But it has served its purpose well for these last few decades.  I have bathed my  children and grandchildren in the big, old tub.  I have waited impatiently outside its door for teen-agers to get done doing whatever teen-agers take forever to do.  I have been so sick in this bathroom, I’ve wanted to die.  I have spent hours soaking in the tub.  I like showers, but a good soak in a bathroom is bliss to me, especially when my muscles are screaming in pain, which they seem to do more often these days.  Yes, it’s been a good little bathroom and deserves to be remodeled and brought into the twenty-first century. Or as far into the twenty-first century as I am willing to go.

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The tub. One would think I would have prettied things up a little before taking this picture, but, well, this is how the bathroom looks most of the time.   I am planning to be neater in the new bathroom.

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We did replace the commode years ago.  The old one had been there since the 1950’s.  But we are getting a newer, more high tech one.  Thank you for looking at my toilet.  I am sure it’s been the highlight of your day!

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Yes, we are keeping this little drawer by the bathtub which has absolutely nothing in it.  And, yes, I do buy shampoo a lot and don’t use up the bottles.

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I love this corner cabinet, but there is nothing you can do with this corner with it there.  So, it’s going.  I’m going to look at antique stores for a storage cabinet of some kind to replace it. Who knows what I will find in the dark, back corners of this cupboard when I take everything out.  It kind of makes me sad it’s going.  Is that crazy, or what?  I tend to hold onto things.  Does anyone want a nice corner cabinet? Let me know before next Wednesday.

I painted this bathroom several times.   The last time was many years ago and my, then, daughter-in-law put the wallpaper border up for me. I have always loved this wallpaper.  I will be sad to see that go too.  I still am friends with my daughter-in-love although she is not technically related to me any longer.  And she is a great mother to my grandchildren.

So, I will be taking pictures of the remodel.  I hope I won’t be screaming in agony as the old bathroom goes.   Who gets attached to a bathroom, anyway?   There is a lot of history between me and this bathroom.   And the people who live in our house down the road will be glad that the bathroom doesn’t date to the 1950’s.  I hope that won’t happen for a long time.  Bye.

 

Windows, Chickens and Flowers, Oh, My

Been busy around the old house the past few days, or is it weeks?  I’m not sure, time is flying so fast.  I have to keep my shirttails tucked in to keep them from flying, time is going so fast. Did I say time is going fast?   In my Bible study this week I learned that time is not going, it’s coming.  There is something really big coming our way.  The Bible speaks of her time coming, his time coming, the time came.  I find that fascinating.   I don’t really worry about time.  We all have a certain amount of it on this earth and we should make the best of it and give God the glory and love one another.  That is really all we can do.  We cannot change the weather.  We cannot change time.  We really don’t have control of much of anything when you really think about it, but if you put it all in God’s hands, it will all work out for the good(to those who love Him.)

Whew, I didn’t mean to get all theological on you, but that’s how I am.  Things have been happening around here.  We called our ever faithful contractor to replace more windows.  This house has so many windows and they all have been in the house since about the fifties, I believe, so one by one we have been replacing them with brand new insulated, double paned windows  when we save up the money.  This time we replaced our big window in our dining room.  Our contractor said we saved the hardest window for almost last.  It had to be rebuilt, repainted and replaced.

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Here it is taken out.  Nice breeze today.

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We have a nice view.  Well, when the trucks and ladders aren’t there.

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Reframing it. These men are pros.  They have worked together for years and work like a well oiled machine.  They almost know what the other one is going to say before he says it.

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New windows at last!  I was a little afraid that by replacing these windows we would lose some of the old woodwork around it and change the look, but now that they are in, it looks just the same, except we don’t have those awful, old, ugly storm windows on them any longer.  They will be so much easier to clean.

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I couldn’t wait to get some curtains hung.  See my new ladder.  It’s mine.  I picked it out and I will be the one using it for painting walls.  It’s sturdy, not like our old wooden one that rocked when I climbed on it and swayed with each movement.   This one stands strong and firm and I love it.  Really.

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I am using lace curtains this Summer, but I have bought new insulated checked curtains for this Autumn and Winter.

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After the windows were in, I painted our dining room.  A soft grey.  Sometimes it looks cream colored and other times really grey depending on the light.  I like it.  I was getting tired of the yellow walls that I really loved when I painted them a few years ago.  I’m fickle like that.  David and I went to Hobby Lobby this morning because we(I) wanted to get some flowers to put in my chicken feeder that I received as a Christmas gift last year.

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Remember when I wrote about this surprise gift that appeared on our front porch?  I didn’t know what it was or who it was from.

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It was this really nice, antique chicken feeder.  I told my friend who gave it to me that I was going to design a room around it, and I have.  Here it is, Shannon.  Look what you made me do.

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I sent away for these chicken posters.  The flowers I found at Hobby Lobby had feathers in them!  How appropriate.  Now the feeder sits in all its glory.  I love how this turned out.  Hanging the pictures was fun(not.)  David measured and measured and measured again and one of the pictures kept looking lower than the other.  I measure things with my eye and kept telling him they were not level with each other.  He measured and measured and measured again and finally decided our lopsided old house was the problem so he let?! me eyeball the pictures and we finally got them almost level.  As a friend use to tell me, “You will never notice it on a galloping horse.”

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I love these pictures.

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He could be the husband of one of my barred rock hens.  Wish I could have a rooster.

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We rehung this picture our daughter gave us last Christmas.  Kind of goes with the theme of farm and chickens.

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I have been picking these the last couple of weeks.  My favorite flower.  The peony.

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I have tried to get a little of this in, but haven’t got much done on the doll quilts lately.  I am hand quilting them as I get them pieced.

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I saw this purse on a blog, I wish I could remember which one and got on Fat Quarter Shop and ordered the pattern.  The Abby Bag.  I hope I can find time to make it.  Of course, I will have to make my granddaughter, Abby, one some time.

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Just finished reading this for the second time.  I got this book either at an auction or an antique store.  It’s about a woman who was left behind at her family’s cabin in Alaska one winter when her husband couldn’t get back to get her.  She went through many trials and tribulations like being in a landslide and breaking her arm and hurting her leg right off the bat.  Besides that, she was expecting a baby and had to deal with that and give birth all by herself.  It is a true story and when I read it, I realized I don’t have it hard at all, although I would really love to live in Alaska.

Maybe hard times is what hones us and makes us stronger.  To live a life of ease and relaxation all the time would be a complete bore to me.  I like action and hard work and doing things myself even if they don’t always turn out so well.   Anyway, if you ever get to read this book, I think you would enjoy it.  It was also made into a movie.  I’d like to find it.  I saw it a long time ago.

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Just wanted to show you something my Sunday school children made last Sunday.  They did all the cutting out and gluing and putting on stickers and I brought home the squares and tied them all together and will take it back to show them next Sunday.  We should do as the words say, “Love one another.”  Bye.

 

One Day at a Time

You just have to take one day at a time or things get out of hand.  If I take the time to think about tomorrow, I start getting tired because today is not finished yet.  One day passes after another and suddenly you look up and a week, a month, a year has passed and you wonder where it went.   Time is going faster.  I truly believe it is.  What do you think?

I am blessed that my days are full.  I have something to look forward to and work to accomplish.  What would life be without work?  Work is invigorating.   I love work.  I learned a good  work ethic from my mother and father who were certainly not afraid to work.

We are having more new windows installed this Spring.   Today the contractor came and nothing was happening so I went outside and the contractor was looking at windows that were not going to fit.  I felt for him.  His day was not starting out very well, but I just knew it would all work out.  They were special order windows, too, so he was worried that the lumberyard would not take them back.  I told him I would pray for him.   He left and later in the morning he came back with a smile upon his face.  The lumberyard had taken them back and ordered the larger windows and gave us the discount we had gotten on the first windows.   Anyway, we got one window replaced in our livingroom and tomorrow they are replacing one in my shop.  We only have seven more windows to replace.  Next year.  This old house may get done one day.  I tell David we are sure making a nice house for the next owners.

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This is the first sunrise I have seen in a long time.  I am a late sleeper and miss these beautiful scenes.  I had to get up to let the contractors in so up I got.

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Remember last post I told about the lady who sent me all the material?  There were pieces like this already made for a large Dresden Plate.

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Piles of pieces for Dresden Plate blocks.

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Such cute fabric.

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This fabric had chickens on it.  Yay.  I will cut some of my fabric and put it with her fabric and make a Dresden Plate quilt.  But first, I have three other quilts I have to finish.  I am trying to get some of my quilts done.  Quilts that have been laying around for months and some even years.  I also am making doll quilts to use up my little pieces of fabric.  I may sell some, I don’t know.  Just love piecing them and all the cute fabrics I am using in them.

The garden is looking so pretty.  Every morning there are new surprises.

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The flowering crabapple is glorious.

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I can see it from my front window.

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Or sitting on my front porch.  See the lilac bush?  It is loaded with lilacs and smells heavenly.

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A new snowball bush I planted on the north side of the porch.

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Planted three azaleas like these.

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I looked out my back door and saw what looked like a little tree, but it’s really a columbine.  Don’t know how it grew like this, but it is interesting.

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Can’t you almost smell these right from the screen?

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I bring in big bouquets of these and the house smells so good!

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The azalea that I didn’t think would grow here.

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Isn’t God good?  Look at this beautiful bunch of lilacs.

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This little solar hen lights the garden at night.

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Meanwhile, Molly sits in her chair and guards the backyard.

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No one gets this seat but her.  I love this dog.  She is getting sweeter every day.  Not as many Tasmanian Devil antics where she would suddenly start biting.  She loves being with me. And I love being with her.  I love just sitting and petting her.  I knew she would make a good companion.   David and I saw a huge Mastiff at Rural King yesterday.  I just saw it out of the corner of my eye and jumped and David laughed.  I thought someone was leading a pony through Rural King.  I pet her and she was so gentle.  “This is my next dog,” I told David who I had told only a few months ago that Molly would be our last big dog.  Ha.  I knew that wouldn’t last long.

Here’s to new windows, quilting, Spring bouquets and sweet dogs.  Bye.

 

It All Started With a Picture

Several months or years ago, I’m not sure, time goes by so quickly, I saw this picture in a magazine.  I think it was Country Living or Southern Living.

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I fell in love with the porch on this house.  The stone pillars, the railings, the metal roof.  We already have a metal roof on our house which we love so this just looked like something that would go with our house.

I filed the picture away for future reference.  At that time, a new porch wasn’t even on our agenda.  Then one day David said our old porch was pulling the walls outward in our living room, causing cracks in the wall and it was going to have to go.  “How soon?” I asked.  “Sooner rather than later,” he replied.  So began our adventure into porch building.

We called our favorite contractor, Claude Wright Jr. and asked him to give us an estimate on adding a porch and on replacing more of our old windows.  We got the estimate, I almost passed out and then we invited him over to talk.

He, David and I sat around our dining room table discussing what needed to be done.  ” Maybe we could save some money by not having the pillars across the front,” David suggested.  My heart sunk clear to my feet.  The pillars are what I loved about the picture in the first place.  “No,” I said.  “Those pillars have been a dream of mine for a long time.”   After some more discussion, we decided to bite the bullet and go for it.  After all, we will probably live in this house for the rest of our lives if we are blessed.  I’m not planning any moves, anyway.

Thinking I had lots of time to move the flowers in front of our old porch, David then asked, “How soon can you start?”   “Next week,” Claude said.  Yikes.  I had just a few days to move a lot of flowers.  So we said go for it and the fun began.

David and I spent a couple of days digging up and replanting dozens of flowers.  He measured how far out the new porch would come so that we would be sure to get the flowers all out of the way.  I have a little magnolia tree I have been babying for a couple of years and this is the first year it had blooms on it.  I put a fence around it.  I cringed for that little tree the entire building process, but the builders were very careful about working around it even though they had to squeeze around it at times.

Soon it was going like gang busters.  The old porch was torn down.  My house was dusty.  The new porch went up. My house got dustier. Then we had a roof, railings, a new tongue and groove floor, wide steps and finally the stone pillars. Hey, so I didn’t dust for a few weeks.  The men worked together like clock work.  They each knew their job and did it quickly and efficiently.  Wiring was done.  We even got a couple of extra outlets put in while the walls were open.  Men came to install new gutters.  It was a busy time around the old Craig house.  I had to watch what I was wearing because I never knew when a man would be working right outside a window.  Reminds me of a show I use to watch, The Gilmore Girls, where Lorelie Gilmore was having some construction work done on her house and one day she came out of the shower stark naked and found a construction guy standing in the hallway.  I did not want that happening to me.

It took about a month, but the work was finally all completed.  The dust settled. It’s still settling.  I could not wait to start landscaping. I had been purchasing perennials here and there wherever I went and had them waiting to go in the ground.  I spent the next few days staining the floor and steps, planting the perennials, replanting some of the flowers I had had to move, decorating the porch, and hanging new hanging baskets.

Want to see the finished project?  You don’t?  I’m sorry, I am going to show it to you anyway.

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First you are welcomed by my little chicken welcome sign.

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Come up the wide steps.  See the walk David put in all by himself?  He planned it and he did all the work.  I love it.  He’s quite a man.  Flower beds on either side.  On the left use to be grass.  I got rid of more grass.  Yay.  I hate to mow.

 

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David’s and my rockers.  His is the one with padding.  I don’t need padding.

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David used left over lumber and built this little table to put our drinks upon.  It’s really heavy.  Took us both to carry it up here. I stained it the same color as the railings.

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I put a table and chairs on the porch so we could eat outside.  Have we ate outside yet?  Nope.

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I brought this little chair and pillow that were in the grandchildren’s Adirondack room down and put it in the corner.  So, we don’t really have a cabin.  I can pretend.

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What’s a porch without some flowers?

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I placed humming bird feeders all around.  The little rascals sometimes zoom right over our heads as they fly through the porch.

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David placed our fountain in front of the porch so we could sit and listen to it gurgle and splash.  The birds like to drink from it also.  We saw one like this in Nashville years ago, but when we went to buy one, no one had any so I went on the internet and found this one.  We have been using it for years.  It looks like stone, but it isn’t.  We have had people go up and touch it thinking it was stone.  Our grandchildren, when they were little, ,liked to slap their hand on the fountain and make a splash.  Where did those little ones go?

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We bought this wind spinner online.  When it spins it looks like a rainbow.

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David built this bench from a leftover piece of the old porch and some cement blocks and I painted it.

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We hung our not glass, stained glass window in our new front window.

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I planted annuals in a piece of the old porch.

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This use to be one of our dining room chairs that had seen better days.  I painted it lavender and set it in the garden.

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So this is the ta-da moment.  The porch I had dreamed of and kept that picture for.  It’s everything and more that I could ever want.  David and I spend a lot of time sitting out here and talking and watching the world go by.  Why don’t you join us?

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It’s almost impossible for me to write a blog and not include flowers.  I can’t remember what the yellow one is called, but the lavender one is called speedwell.  Kind of looks like salvia to me.

Summer is reading time(although I read all the time).  But, anyway, I have a couple of books that I would recommend for reading  For my Christian friends out there and those who would like to know more about the Christ I serve there is this book by Max Lucado.

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It’s a wonderful book about Jesus.  There is a description of Jesus that I have never heard about before.  I don’t know where Mr. Lucado got the information, but read the book and see how he describes Jesus’ appearance.

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There’s a wonderful series on Netflix called All Creatures Great and Small.  It is based on books by this author, James Herriot.  This book is about some of the dogs he treated in his veterinary practice and their wild, wacky and sometimes odd owners. I have laughed out loud at some of his stories.  All true, with names changed to protect the innocent.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer.  Take some time to smell the flowers and read a book. Enjoy it.  It will be gone before you know it.  Bye.

Seasonal Snippets

It’s been a very busy month.  By busy I mean planting, cleaning, building, sewing, walking, and visiting among other things.  Summer is building up to be very busy also.    Every Summer we look at the three long months ahead and think of all the time we’ll have and then things start to be planned and before we know it, Summer is over. Right now we have a graduation party, a wedding, a trip to Chicago, visiting relatives and a Sunday school party planned.   I would like to have a candlelight dinner on our new porch, but haven’t got the plans all together for that yet.  I’d love to have a ladies’ day camp at my house where all my friends could come to spend the day, without children, and swim, sun, hot tub and eat yummy food all day.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  I’d love to have all you girls come enjoy the day with me.

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I am going to talk about our new porch for a minute.  I know you are thinking, “blah, blah, blah, that’s all she talks about.  Her new porch. Boring.”  I know, but I just love my new porch so much.  David and I go out every day and look around and tell each other how much we love it.  The stone mason got the stone laid last week despite that it rained every single day.

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We had cloudbursts after cloudbursts.  The garden loved it, but it made it hard to lay stone as the cement couldn’t set in the rain.

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The stone masons made themselves a little tent to work under.  I felt so bad for them as I stood inside my nice, dry house and watched them work.  They are truly artists at their work.  The pillars came out even more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.   I am so glad we decided to do them as we were a little afraid of the cost.  Since we plan to live in this house the rest of our lives, I think we made the right decision.

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David had had his eye on these rocking chairs we saw at Sam’s Club and he finally decided to go buy them.  They were the last two they had so I think we were meant to have them.  They are so comfortable and made of teak so they will fade to a grey.  We have originally become old, I said. Two old folks sitting and rocking on their front porch.  I would love to put a bed out there also.  To sleep under a metal roof while a soft rain is falling upon it sounds like bliss to me.  I fell asleep on our swing in our back yard yesterday and when I opened my eyes, there was a carpenter bee right in front of my eyes.  So close that when I swatted at it, I hit it.   I wondered just how long it had been flying around my head and looking at my nostrils as a place to call home!  Yikes!

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I love the way the shadows fall upon the porch.  It’s just a magical place, I have to tell you.  I know it’s just a porch, but it just makes you feel good to sit out there.

I have been having a wonderful time landscaping around the porch.  I had purchased a lot of perennials that I was just itching to get into the ground.  I spent a couple of days planting.

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This little patch of flowers are on the left side of the steps.

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We dug up some more yard for another bed.  The less grass I have to mow the better I like it.  I have planted these plants and sowed zinnia and cleome around them  I also planted some hollyhock bulbs, but I am not sure they will grow.  I have decided buying prepackaged bulbs from certain stores are not the healthiest of bulbs.  I bought garlic bulbs from one particular store a couple of years ago and not one grew.

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Now you know I have to have something about chickens in my garden.  I found this cute garden stake at Rural King, one of my favorite stores.  It has a little bell that really rings.

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I’ve planted and planted. Did I really need to buy eight packets of sunflower seeds?  Really??  I managed to find places to plant them, but my garden is getting packed full.  This is an old lawn spreader that I painted pink and planted with annuals.  A movable flower pot!

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I never tire of seeing the perennials bloom every year.  The irises, poppies and peonies are beautiful right now.  Peonies are probably my very favorite flower.  The poppies were started from David’s grandmother’s garden.  She always had a beautiful garden in her backyard.  I can still see it in my mind’s eye.

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Peonies make such a beautiful bouquet.  If I were getting married again, I would want to get married when the peonies are in bloom so that I could have them in my wedding bouquet.

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Two of my favorite colors together.

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Even the white ones are gorgeous.

Meanwhile, David has been working hard to get things ready for summer.

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Want to come swim in our pool?  What’s that?  You say it’s green?  This is what it looks like every year when we(meaning David) takes the cover off.  Then the real work begins.

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David spends many hours cleaning, flushing and checking the chemicals.  It’s hard to believe that soon this green pool will be a beautiful, clear blue ready for swimming.  Our grandkids are coming over this weekend, so hope the pool will be ready.

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We needed a new walkway to our porch and David spent a day working on it.  It was his plan and I must say it turned out really well.  I will show you the ta-da moment on another post as I forgot to take pictures of the finished project.

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Doesn’t he have a nicely tanned head?  Working outside in the sunshine will do that.

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Over a year ago, when our new porch was just a figment of our imaginations, we bought this stained glass picture to hang in our front window.  We didn’t want to put it up until it would be in the shade as my stained glass pictures in my shop windows faded after years in the sun.  I love this with all the different birds on it.

Less you think I have forgotten all about the chooks, I haven’t.

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They are so happy to have ground where they can take their dust baths again.  Here they are in front of one of the dog houses.  There’s Freedom getting ready to run.  She always runs when she sees me despite the fact I spent weeks nursing her back to health last year.  Ungrateful chicken.

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Here she is thinking she has escaped me, but I cut her off at the pass.

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Dorcas, or is it Beatrice, is friendlier to me and will come right up to me and let me pick her up.  She’s such a pretty girl.

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Even though Freedom is afraid of me, she keeps her eye on me.  She will follow me all around the coop, but as soon as I go to pet her she’s off to the races again.

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Of course laying season is picking up.  Sometimes I will find as many as four eggs in one nest.  Chickens like communal laying, I guess.  We give a lot of eggs away.  They are good, organic, free range chicken eggs and taste like butter.  I have eaten more eggs this year than I think I have all my life.  Egg salad is a mainstay at the Craig house.

Well, hope you are enjoying the weather and getting outdoors and giving God the praise for His glorious creation. Bye.

 

Of Bugs, Bruises, Blossoms and Boys

Each day fades away into the next and life here at our little plot of ground is moving on.  David and I say almost every day, “Where did the day go?”   I really thought when you were retired or at least semi-retired the days would be long and lazy.   But then, I don’t think either of us would like that too much.  David says if we don’t have something to do, I’ll think of something.  Don’t want to be bored, don’t you know.

This past weekend I walked a 5K MS walk with my daughter and her family and some of her friends.  One who grew up and spent as much time at our house as she did her own at times and we took on a vacation with us to Mammoth Caves.  She now has three children, one as tall as she, and I am feeling old.

The day started out with thunder and lightening and heavy downpours of rain.  But by the time of the walk, the sun shone through and we walked all over our town for 3.1 miles.  It was nice seeing some of the gardens and the older homes that are kept up so nicely.  My grandsons made it the entire walk without one complaint.  I told them they would get ice cream if they walked the entire walk, so after a lunch of pizza, we went over to the local Dairy Queen and got them ice cream.  It was a fun day.

We see our two youngest grandsons more often because they live closer than our other grandchildren.  I would love to see the others more, but they have busy lives too.

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These boys enjoy entertaining us.  We went with them and their parents to a walking and biking trail in Nashville.  It’s about a mile round trip walk.  The boys took their bicycles and practiced riding.  One had just gotten his training wheels off.

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Their father, in the picture, took a fishing pole and caught two fish while we were walking.  Pretty big ones, but he threw them back.

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A few days ago, we saw bug webs in our crabapple tree and David took his blow torch and burned them out.  He said as many dropped from the tree as got burnt up.  And guess where they traveled?  Right to our new porch.  We were sitting out there and started to see worm after worm crawling up the pillars.  Ugly little things that would rear their little ugly heads and wiggle around.   Suddenly, I felt a tickle on my ankle and looked down and there was one of those worms crawling up my leg!  I let out a scream and swatted it off and squashed it.  David and I called them silk worms, but our daughter said she looked them up and they are tent worms.  They do make little tent like webs in the trees around here.

Speaking of legs, oh, I didn’t?  Oh, well.  I have gotten two big bruises on my shins the last couple of weeks.

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This one I haven’t a clue how I got it.  I am always bumping into things while working outside.  This one was a doozy, but didn’t hurt.

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This one on the other leg, however, hurt like the dickens and I know exactly how I got it.  I tripped on a step at our daughter’s house.  I was thinking there were just two steps, but there were three and I went down like a sack of potatoes.  The only thing I could think of when it happened was ” Get the donuts! Get the Donuts.”  I had baked muffin donuts for my grandsons and had been carrying them when I fell.  They have two big dogs that were jumping all around me and I was afraid they would grab the donuts.  All was saved and I survived until the next time I bruise myself which could be any day now.

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Mother’s Day was quiet and nice.  I got this gardenia from my older son.  A Yankee candle gardenia candle came with it.  Gardenias do not survive outside in our winters so I will have to  bring it inside when it gets cold.  I have planted it in a bigger pot and it will get bigger and hopefully bloom this summer.

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David put  new shutters on our upstairs windows this morning.   While he was doing that, the stone masons were putting the stone on our pillars.  I’m really liking how it looks.

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It’s been a month, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the porch building.  It should be done this week unless it rains every day like it is forecasted(okay, I know this is not a word) right now.  We had some thunder and rain this afternoon.

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I’m loving these hanging baskets I got at Smith’s Gardens.

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The snowball bush is loaded with snowballs.   It’s the best it’s ever bloomed since we planted it.

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This Gerbera daisy is so pretty and bright.  This is a wonderful flower that I over winter in my shop and get it out in Spring and it’s just as pretty for another year.

 

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The old fashioned Irises are blooming madly and have spread over much of the yard.

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Then there is the mulch.  The Brown mulch.

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And the black mulch.  Eighty bags in all.  I will spread most of this myself and by the time I am done I will be able to bench press a cast iron skillet.  Ha.  Really, though, I do find I can lift things much easier after hefting this many mulch bags around.

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I guess I won’t be lolling on our front porch any time soon. Won’t look like this either.  Bye.