A Clever Old Porch

May 26, 2009


Climbing Rose at Farm 2

When we moved to the farm, we did alot of renovating.  And one of the things that really needed renovating was this little porch that had a door into the dining room.  We never used that door, in fact, we put the Christmas tree in that corner of the dining room each year.  The door was treated as just another window inside the house. 

Climbing Rose at Farm ZoomBut, from the outside, it was obvious that this porch was in very bad repair, and really should be replaced.

But, apparently, you don’t get to the age of this old porch, without having developed some survival skills.  So, the porch had very cleverly cloaked itself in this beautiful climbing rose.  So, whenever we talked about tearing off the porch and building a new, prettier version of it, the debate would always eventually turn to the climbing rose that we enjoyed so much.  And, each time, we would come to the conclusion that there was no way that the rose would survive the upheaval of having its buddy the porch torn down. 

So, each spring we looked forward to seeing the beautiful climbing rose, and we put up with its friend, the old porch, the rest of the year.

Spring Memories of Lilacs

May 16, 2009


When we lived at the farm, we had a huge lilac bush (at least 7 ft. tall) in the yard.  And every year at this time, I would cut branches from it and put them in vases in the house.  What wonderful memories I have of our big old farm house in the spring, with windows open, a light breeze blowing through, and the scent of those lilacs permeating the house.

So, a few years ago we put in a miniature lilac bush at this house, but until now it had always been sort of scrawny and only had a few very small blooms on it.  But this year, (maybe because we have had lots of rain) it has finally come into its own!



This year it has produced large enough blooms and enough of them, that I could actually cut some and bring them in the house!

P1010835(2)   I love Spring and I will always associate it with the scent of lilacs.

A Fun Christmas Outing

December 8, 2008


Candy, Belinda, Kelly and I went to the Botannical Gardens Friday morning to take part in a workshop to make a Christmas centerpiece.  Here is my centerpiece. 


It turned out okay, but I wasn’t thrilled with it.  Because it was my first time, I didn’t know how to make it “interesting.”  But, when I got home I replaced the tall glass chimney that was supplied, with this ornament-looking dish that has a candle inside.   Because it was so plain, I think the colorful candleholder gives it a little “bling.”

Just as a side note, Belinda has participated in  this centerpiece workshop for six years, and her centerpiece shows that experience (totally discounting talent!) really makes a difference.

100_4111ee  She had a tea party at her house yesterday for a few of the neighbors, and when I sat down at her table and had a chance to really look at her centerpiece, it struck me how beautiful it is!  It’s unfortunate that all that beautiful food got in the way of getting a really good picture of it.  As you can see, she just threw some lunch meat and bread on the table for this little “do” (tongue firmly planted in cheek!).

You know, there are people who entertain, and then there are people who ENTERTAIN!  Belinda is definitely one of the latter.

100_4114e  Belinda’s dog, Bailey, was even into the Christmas spirit in his festive little sweater.  He is sitting on the back of the sofa.  We were standing around talking near-by, and I think he just wanted to make it easy for anyone who got a sudden urge  to pet or hold a cute little dog.

But I digress, so at the Botannical Gardens, after scrubbing the black gunk off our hands, from handling the greens while making our centerpieces, we did a little walk-through of the gardens and I took a few pictures.

 100_4007e1 The poinsettas were really beautiful with the backdrop of all the lush green plants.  And they are all raised there.  I found that out from talking to a woman in the gift shop.  She said she is one of many volunteers who come in August and cut the poinsetta plants all back so that they will bloom for Christmas.  What a fun volunteer job — to see the “fruits of your (August) labors” in such glorious bloom in December!

100_4009e2  I have no idea what the curlique plant is.  But it was all around.



100_4015ee  These reminded me of peonies.  Candy called them ruffled poinsettas.




100_4010e1 I don’t think there is any Christmas-related significance to gardenias, but I had to take some pictures of them, because I have always loved their scent.  I loved their scent even more before I was a high school girl who received a gardenia corsage for a formal dance.  While the scent is charming as you walk past the flowers in the Botannical Gardens, take it from a girl who knows — if you wear one on your shoulder for several hours, it can be pretty overwhelming.

100_4014e1 I loved this picture because of the red poinsettas behind the gardenia.

100_4022e1 The “desert” area was interesting.  I’m not used to seeing cacti decorated for Christmas!

100_4027e1 With lights that look like peppers — how appropriate! 

100_4018e1 In case you can’t tell, these are blue lights wrapped around this palm.  Very exotic!

100_4025e1This cactus wasn’t decorated but I thought it was interesting because it looked like it had been sewn together with black thread!


A nice day at the Botannical Gardens.

Picture Editing Surprises!

October 20, 2008


I was working with my photo albums in my computer yesterday.  You know, deciding which photos were worth keeping and which could be deleted.

There was one that I had taken of colorful bushes in the yard, through the screen on the sun porch window.  It was blurry because of the screen, but before I deleted it, I played around with it a little bit, and got a pleasant surprise.  I cropped it, enhanced the colors, and got a picture that reminds me of a painting of flowers! 

Then I came to a rather unremarkable one of a spider web, but when I zoomed in on it, it became apparent that it was probably woven by an “apprentice” spider, who must have been at “cross purposes” with himself!  I don’t know how long the web-weaving apprenticeship lasts, but I think he’d better get his act together!

Mama loved photography.  I wish she were here, now that I’ve become interested in it too, so that I could “talk” photography with her!  But, I have you, right?  That’s almost as good!

Happy Monday.

The Subject Is Roses

February 13, 2008

Well, it’s the day before Valentine’s Day, and many women will receive roses tomorrow, but there are some of us who probably won’t.  So, I’m re-printing a post I did in September in hopes that it will help anyone who DOESN’T receive roses to  count the blessings they have.

Roses – How Temporary

September 26, 2007

red-roses.jpgHubby has always had a problem with flowers as a gift.  It’s not that he can’t see how beautiful they are.  It’s just that he finds them so — temporary.  And his solid German Lutheran, farm family background means he was raised to like solid, usable kinds of gifts (thermal underwear or savings bonds come to mind). I learned this before we were even married, in a very memorable way. After high school, I went to work at a large insurance company as a secretary.  Hubby-in-waiting and I became engaged that summer (I was 18, he was 20).  At the insurance company I worked with someone else who was engaged — the beautiful “older” (20) secretary and part-time dance instructor, who glided instead of walked — Loretta.  She was not only tall, graceful and beautiful, she also had a soft well-modulated voice and was one of the nicest people I had ever met (don’t you just hate her type?).  The beautiful Loretta was engaged to the besotted Dick, who always looked at her with adoring eyes that clearly said how lucky he knew he was that she was going to marry HIM. 

One Friday morning beautiful, long-stemmed red roses arrived at the office for Loretta with a card that just said, “Happy Friday, Love, Dick”  That was just about the most romantic thing that my 18 year old self had ever seen!  So, that evening when Hubby-in-waiting and I went out, I told him that romantic story.  He didn’t say much but I found out later he WAS listening.

The next Friday evening when we went out, I found out what Hubby-in-waiting felt he had learned from the story about Loretta and Dick — fiancee’s liked surprise gifts!  So, when we got in his car to go to a movie. he pulled out a little box with a bow on it, and, of course, professed his love.  How exciting!  It was a long box, so maybe a bracelet!  But, I couldn’t really picture him picking something like that out — so I opened the box to find what he HAD lovingly picked out — a beautiful — (drum roll) — pen and pencil set. 

Hmm.  I’d like to say that I ohhhed and ahhhed over said pen and pencil set, but I remember my 18 year old self well enough to be pretty sure Hubby-to-be would have easily read my underwhelmed-ness. 

Over the years I have told this story many, many times — always with lots of laughs at the punch line.  And Hubby has always just smiled and taken the ribbing good naturedly that he always gets about it.  But, I have come to treasure this as a story that says so much about who Hubby is.  He loves me but he tempers that love with practicality — something that I have always been short on myself.  He is a rock not a fluffy cloud. 

Hubby is not perfect.  But, he is the absolutely perfect husband for me.  God knew that when He gave Hubby to imperfect me.  I am so blessed with my thermal underwear, savings bond, pen & pencil set guy.  

God’s blessings are sometimes in pen and pencil sets when we’d rather have roses.  May we all be able to see the love in the gift more than the gift in the box.