Thursday, December 30, 2010

Between Christmas and New Years

This week has always been a sort of week-in-limbo for me. First there’s the excitement of Christmas. After a day of recovery, my birthday creeps around yet again.

Then comes that period of anticipation of the new year ahead. It’s like we all pause and hold our breath, waiting for the new year to arrive, wishing for a better year to come with the changing of the calendar date on January first.

The residents here at Shady Hollow have been watching the slow melting process of our first white Christmas in what seems like forever. It was a beautiful Christmas Day, watching the snow fall in silent splendor. The air was hushed and still as the tiny flakes drifted downward. Simply awesome.



We were snug and warm inside the cottage. There were kitties at every window, watching the snowflakes float past. Occasionally a paw would tap the glass in an attempt to catch one. Jay Dog will not go out in snow, so papers were spread for his use and I again regretted not teaching him to use a litter box when he was a puppy.

It was a peaceful holiday for Pa and myself. We needed that.

I am spending some time in reflection of the year just past and also years further back in time as 2011 looms ever closer. Funny how you do that as you get older. Maybe I’ll post some of those reflections later this week. Some of them, at least a few, may be worth a post.

Be blessed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Adventures in the Snow and Cold

Last Sunday, we awoke to three inches of “30% chance of snow.” No biggie, it was Sunday and we didn’t have to go anywhere. I had stocked up on necessary items the day before. I had a “feeling” that the forecast was wrong.

About midday I decided to get laundry done and with a heaping basket of dirty cloths, headed off to the laundry room in the basement.

The basement floor was covered in water! What the heck was going on? Back upstairs to tell my husband. Then, flashlight in hand, back down again to track down the leak and see what had to be done.

The good news was that none of the inside pipes were leaking.

The bad news was that the leak was outside, about a foot from the basement wall. Water from the leak was seeping through the wall and flooding the basement. It would eventually destroy the wall. I know, it happened to my neighbor a few years ago. It only took a few hours to do tremendous damage to her house.

Then I did what any red-blooded Southern woman would do. . . I called my son. While he drove the 40 miles to come help, I started digging. 

I didn’t get the whole area dug out, but I made a start. My son arrived and in short order had the water turned off, hole dug and was on his way to get what was needed for the repairs.

Meanwhile, the artic cold air was pouring into our area, and snow had started flurrying again. It was cold and things didn’t want to cooperate, but my son finally got the pipe repaired. He was half frozen and muddy from head to toe.

Of course there was still plenty of work for me, moping and getting the basement floor dry. Luckily the major part of the flooding was in my husband’s shop area and the majority of his tools were up on benches and unharmed.

I also kept an eye out for signs of a failure in the repair work. My son was worried that it may not hold, due to the cold temperatures in place while he was doing the work. So far, so good on that issue. Maybe next summer we can dig it up again and do some major replacement of water line and prevent a reoccurrence of the problem. We’ll think about that seriously.

For now I’m just thankful the damage to the contents was minimal and that no structural damage was done to the foundation of the cottage.

I’m even more thankful to have a son who will drop what he’s doing and drive 40 miles to help his mother. How wonderful is that?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cold In The Mountains

It is COLD!!!

It isn’t even officially winter and the temperatures are plunging into the teens at night with single digit wind chills. Brrr!

We are staying warm enough. I got the insulated drapes up in the nick of time.

The bulbs are inside and the shrubs are planted. The potted shrubs are in a safe place to overwinter. I almost waited too long though and am thankful I listened to my inner voice and did those chores when I did.

Right now I can stand by the the dining room window and look out across the pond. It is obscured by foliage during summer. If the temperatures stay this low, I’ll be watching it freeze over soon. All together now. . . brrr!

If you are in the large area blanketed in cold air, please be careful and stay warm. If you’re not. . . you lucky rascal, enjoy it for you may be next.

Meanwhile, I’m staying in the cottage as much as possible. The gardens are dormant and so is the gardener.

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chores Are Done: Let It Rain!

I’m proud of myself. I actually got the cannas dug and hydrangeas planted late Sunday afternoon. Now Mother Nature is watering the hydrangeas in with a deep soaking.

We’ve had 2 inches of rain since yesterday afternoon and its supposed to continue raining all day today. My timing was perfect.

Of course, I’ll be even happier after I recover from the stiff, sore muscles I have as a result of all that digging and bulb carrying. I was more out of shape than I thought!

There is still some tidying up to do in preparation for winter: containers and pots need to be stored away for next year and leaves need to be collected for the compose pile. Those will have to wait for better weather.

The best thing to do this morning is to enjoy another cup of coffee and watch the cats nap while  listening to the rain.

Be blessed!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Looking for Deer and Planting Shrubs

Every day as I drive to work, I hope to see that beautiful deer again. I want to see him and I want to avoid hitting him if he doesn’t give me as much time to stop.

My husband and I are both spending a lot of time in the morning and evening looking across the creek into the field beyond, wanting to get a glimpse of “my” buck or the doe our neighbor saw.

We keep thinking we will see them down at the pond getting a drink. So far, no luck.

I did notice this morning how thick the frost was on the grass around the pond. That will be commonplace for the next months. Winter is roaring in.

I am running out of time to plant some hydrangeas I’ve been holding in containers since last spring. If I don’t do it today, next weekend will be my last chance. Stay turned for developments on that project.

I’ve let myself get so out of shape that I almost dread shovel work and moving those big pots. It will be a step toward getting myself back in shape though. I have to look at it from that angle.

I know I’ll be happy next year when these shrubs leaf out and bloom. They are a variegated hydrangea with blue blossoms. My plan is to plant them across the front of the cottage.

Some years ago we pulled out a row of ancient azaleas that had been in that spot since the cottage was built. Since then I have used annuals in that flower bed. I think these hydrangeas will look really nice in that spot. They will also cut the amount of work required to make it look nice. That’s a good thing, as my time to garden seems to diminish a bit more each year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Surprise Sighting

I was rounding a curve in the road, taking my time and thinking my own thoughts when he leaped down the bank ahead of me. Stopping at the edge of the road for a moment, he then pranced across. Big and beautiful, sleek and well fed.

I slowed to a crawl as I watched in awe.

Prancing across the road, he looked at my approaching car and it seemed he gave me a nod. Then with one smooth flowing leap he cleared the road side ditch and a rail fence that blocked his path.

I watched as he ran across the field. Strong. Happy. Free.

I know sighting a buck isn’t unusual in the mountains, but he was the first to ever cross my path.

I will never forget that beautiful sight. I feel blessed to have had a glimpse into a moment of his life.

Be Blessed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The leaves have almost all fallen. It seems to me that there were more leaves this year. The shade was deeper this summer and the layer of leaves deeper this fall.

The green grass lies covered in a blanket of brown. Moving quietly across the yard takes all the training my daddy gave me as a child.

I remember our walks in the woods vividly. He taught me the names of trees and plants. He taught me to love the woods and the creatures that inhabit them.

He taught me how to walk quietly in new fallen leaves. (I frustrated him no end, however, for it was much more fun to kick them and hear the  crunching, swishing sounds as they flew skyward.)

I did learn though; and could slip up on rabbits, squirrels and other creatures with ease by the time I was nine.

Hmmm. When I was nine. Oh, what a long time ago that was! I try not to think about it very often.

Daddy was my age when he was teaching me woodland stealth. Maybe I could teach my great-grandchildren. Of course, they may think I am crazy if I show them how to walk “Indian style” through the woods. In the days of computers and video games, walking silently through new fallen leaves is not very exciting .

It was fun half a century ago though, walking in the woods with Daddy. That’s what really matters to me.

Strange, isn’t it? The small everyday events and actions done by a parent can, in the future, become so strong a memory in the child turned adult.

Blessed Be.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Somber October

October is generally a happy time at Shady Hollow. Most years we spend time getting ready for the winter months; planting trees and shrubs, bringing in plants, digging bulbs to store for next spring.

My husband’s birthday is in late October and early in the month my thoughts were on planning a birthday party for him. The plans haven’t been made and nothing mentioned above has been done.

The month started out with a not-so-good doctor visit in which it was discovered that my husband’s cardiac health has deteriorated. OK, we can deal with that.

That same day one of our cats became ill and died a few days later. Our vet did all he could to save her, but it was not to be. Within a week our oldest cat also fell ill and we learned she has intestinal cancer and is on borrowed time.

So I haven’t even visited this site, haven’t done the usual autumn chores, haven’t done much of anything.

Maybe November will be better.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Is In The Air

The first tinges of red, yellow, and gold are touching the trees, bushes and undergrowth at Shady Hollow. The tulip poplars have been dropping leaves for awhile now. I’ve already removed them from the deck once and its ready for another cleaning.

Acorns and hickory nuts are falling. The sound of a big hickory nut landing on the metal roof of the garden shed is common at this time of year. Unfortunately those same nuts fall on our cars, mimicking hail damage.

Its time for fall chores. Bushes need to be pruned, gardens cleared of vegetable plants no longer producing, leaves to be turned into compose piles for next spring. These days, the mere thought makes my back hurt in anticipation.

My back will have to get used to it, however. The fall season lets me have one last period of garden activity before settling in to wait out the winter indoors (as much as possible) for I don’t do “cold” very well.

I have several hydrangea to replant, along the front of the cottage, I think. Other newly rooted shrubs will be placed in a south facing area to winter in their pots. There are bulbs to dig and place in the basement to overwinter.

If I get time, I plan to move some of the daylilies to a better location.

If I get time.

That statement seems to encompass my entire existence this year. Time seems to be traveling at warp speed. Days are flying by much too quickly. Maybe the slower pace of winter will be a good thing for me this year.

We’ll see.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Emerging Butterfly

A few weeks ago we noticed a tiger swallowtail butterfly that had just emerged from its cocoon and was drying its wings.

The years I’ve spent planting flowers and shrubs that are attractive to butterflies have paid off. Many various butterflies have stopped by to sample the nectar this summer. This one, however, in his or her stage of hatching and drying, was still long enough to have its picture taken.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Where Did the Time Go?

I haven’t posted to this blog in ages it seems. I wanted too. Really I did. Time just kept on slipping by and “I’ll do it tomorrow” turned from days into weeks.

Now, suddenly, it’s Labor Day Weekend. I have a few days off work and a list that’s as long as I am tall that I want to get accomplished. Can I do it? Not totally, I’m sure. I think I can make a dint in it though.

First this morning I have a vet visit with our cat, Tigger. After that I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and tackling some of my list items.

How are you spending the Labor Day Weekend? A trip to the beach or mountains may be in your plans,or just getting caught up on rest since we are all working harder these days.

Maybe, like me, you have a list of chores to get done around the house. I’d love to hear what you’re doing. It would make for great reading when I take a break.

Right now, however, I have to gather up a 16 pound cat and haul him off to the vet. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Garden Update: No Blight (So Far)

I absolutely LOVE home-grown tomatoes.

After 19 years of gardening at Shady Hollow and losing my tomato crop to blight every year, I finally got a little smarter and decided to use a fungicide this year.

I began spraying as soon as the plants were in the ground. So far it seems to be working. The plants have grown well beyond their cages and are producing beautiful tomatoes.

These are the first two picked:

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This is the view of the plants from the deck:

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I did go for a period without spraying and am keeping my fingers crossed that no blight spores were able to take hold during that time. Even if it does rear its ugly head again, we have already enjoyed more tomatoes than we ever have from our little garden. If blight returns, I’ll be more diligent in my spraying next year.

Another garden success this year is okra. I had tried several times to grow okra, only to fail miserably. Most of the time it didn’t even sprout. If it did manage to start growing it soon just sat there and did nothing but look miserable.

This year I must have done everything right for the okra; location, planting time, fertilizer, water, everything. The plants have gone wild and we are enjoying fried okra and fresh tomatoes. Yummy!

The final veggie success has been black-eyed peas. My mother used to grow black-eyed peas and cook them fresh from the garden. My hubby had never eaten them other than in dried form and was amazed at the difference in flavor when cooked fresh. He isn’t accusing me of wasting garden space on them anymore.

Veggie failures? Yes, and not what you would expect. My summer squash failed as did the cucumbers. Two plants that have never given me problems before. I have no idea what happened. But this year, no squash or cucumbers while last year was a bumper crop of both.

As we head toward the fall season my thoughts are on greens. I have turnip, mustard, and collard seed that will soon be replacing the peas, squash and cucumber. I’ve never tried growing greens at Shady Hollow. This could be interesting.

I’ll keep you posted.

Be Blessed.

The Vines Are Blooming! Finally!!

This spring I decided that instead of potting up cannas for the deck I would plant vines. I planted moonflowers, a hybrid morning glory, black-eyed Susan vine, and cardinal creeper. I gathered sticks for them to climb on and waited.

Soon they were up and growing:

They grew and grew, but no flowers.

Now, at long last, they are blooming.

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I don’t have a picture of the cardinal creeper yet. It has only had a few blooms and I didn’t get a picture. So, there will be more to come.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Frog Encounter

My cannas were attacked by an insect that made it’s home on their leaves by winding a fine strand of silk around them before they opened. The caterpillar then lived inside the tube it had created, eating the leaves and finally making a cocoon. I have no idea what this insect is. I was mainly concerned with breaking the silken threads and letting the leaves unfurl.

As I neared completion, one remaining leaf needed my help, even though it had almost freed itself from silken bondage.

Imagine my surprise when I broke the remaining thread and found a little frog inside, hiding under the curl of the leaf.

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I guess it was a tree frog of some kind. I know it was tiny, and camera shy. I had to do some acrobatics that were downright dangerous to get a picture.

It didn’t stay long after I exposed its shady nook to the sun, but I’m sure its still in the garden, somewhere.

Be Blessed.

Monday, July 26, 2010


July is winding down. As August approaches I can’t help but wonder if it will surpass July in the number of super hot days.

We have had some real hot ones here lately, as has most of the country. The heat has taken its toll on me and on the gardens.

My single remaining hibiscus has started blooming. I told hubby yesterday that I will be ordering more seeds and starting more this winter. I lost the others due to my neglect, I won’t do that again.

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The cannas experiment (putting them in the front flower bed) has been successful. they seem to like it there.

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They should be blooming soon. I can’t wait!

Earlier I wrote about my Rose of Sharon that bloomed from seed. It only had one white flower. I am happy to say that more of the seed-grown Rose of Sharon's are loaded with buds and soon will be in bloom. I’ll be sure to post when they do, with photos. I am anxious to see just what colors I may have.

The container plants are finally filling in and looking better.

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I was worried, it seemed to take them forever to get going.

Have a beautiful end of July. Next time I’ll tell you about my frog encounter.

Blessed Be.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Finally: Rain

I knew that sooner or later one of those hit-or-miss thunder storms would have to pass over Shady Hollow. The law of averages had to kick in. I was beginning to wonder though.

Yesterday we had a string of storms pass over and another storm today. The grand total in our rain gauge was about 2.2 inches.

A quick check of the veggie patch this evening showed me that there will be bean picking to do in the morning. And provided I have taken enough measures to prevent blight, we may soon have some home grown tomatoes.

The flowers all look extremely happy to have had plenty of rain.

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I’m just glad to see everything greening up again and not looking so wilted. No amount of watering can do as much for the plants as a good rain.

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Watering Woes

Every time it gets hot and dry like it is now, I have to wonder to myself, why did I plant so much stuff?

I hate to go outside, all the plants from the oaks to the container plants are crying for water. Of course I can’t water everything. My budget isn’t set up for a water bill that large.

So the veggie patch gets a drink, the container plants and a few other plantings as well. That still leaves shrubs and daylilies thirsting for a drink.

On a walk around the gardens yesterday I noticed the ground has cracked and in areas looks like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Monday I drug out a soaker hose and placed it around the tomatoes and cucumbers in the veggie patch. That helped for the plants it reached. I didn’t have enough hose, dang it! So, yesterday morning I watered the remaining plants with the garden hose and hoped for the best.

I saved my shower water and watered the cannas, shrubs, and various annuals in the front bed. I was careful not to let it get on their foliage, so that should help them out a little. I watered the container plants.

I don’t mind watering the container plants. I expect to. Carrying water to some of the others is getting hard on my back since the arthritis has taken hold. But, hey, a gardener has to do what they have to do. Right?

We may get some rain over the weekend. I think we have a 60 percent chance of a shower stopping by. I hope its a big, long shower and everything can get a good drink of water.

Until then the hoses and watering cans are getting a good workout, as is the gardener.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Watering, Cooking and Miscellaneous Stuff

I am on my last day of vacation. It has been wonderful to be at home with my husband, our little dog and the kitties.

Yesterday I had to water the gardens. From the looks of the weather forecast, I’ll be doing more of that in the next week or two. The debate now is how much recycled water to carry in buckets and how much fresh water to use (running the meter at full blast while I do)

I learned during our last drought that I could remove the washing machine hose from the drain and use rinse water to water my gardens without any ill effects. I also would close the drain in the tub and use recycled shower water to water the plants. As long as you pour the gray water on the ground and not on the foliage it works just fine.

But I am a few years older now and the prospect of carrying those heavy buckets of water is not very appealing.

Other than worrying about watering plants I’ve had some fun in the kitchen.

My sweet husband bought me a pressure cooker. I am in my late 50’s and have never had a pressure cooker before. My mom used one all the time and I loved the food she prepared with it. I’ve just always been a little afraid of them.

Saturday I cooked my first whole chicken in my new pressure cooker and was amazed at how easy it was. (Yes, even for a fumble-fingered, easily distracted person like me).

It didn’t take but 20 minutes and the chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender.

I could start liking this, especially when I want to cook something before heading off to work. Yes, this could be a good thing!

Yesterday, I tried a new recipe for cooking ribs on the grill. There is more oven time than grill time with this recipe, but that works well for me too.

Cook ribs (I used boneless beef ribs) in a covered pan with 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup liquid smoke at 350 degrees for 3 hours. Remove and place on grill at medium heat, coat with your favorite barbecue sauce. Cook for a few minutes, turn over and coat this side with sauce. Cook a very few more minutes, remove from grill and enjoy. Don’t leave on the grill too long. They are already done, and too long will dry them out. These ribs are melt in your mouth tender.

Between the chicken and ribs, there is plenty of good food at the cottage right now.

Today is my last day of vacation. I am thinking about doing the necessary chores and then settling down with a good book or two. I have so many I have started reading and left unfinished due to work and chores It would be a good day to catch up.

Yep, that sounds like a plan.

Be Blessed!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Grown From Seed - First Blooms

One of my grown-from-seed Rose of Sharon bushes bloomed this week. It had one blossom, but at least now I know what color it is.

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A grown-from-seed cannas is also in bloom.

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I love collecting seed and propagating plants. It is a way to be frugal and still have a beautiful garden. Although I sometimes embarrass my husband when in seed collecting mode.

The Rose Of Sharon seeds were collected on a cold February day in 2008 while on a shopping trip. We had parked beside a store’s landscaped border and I couldn’t resist collecting a few seed pods.

In the end I had 11 plants which were planted around Shady Hollow last Spring. 

Cannas seedlings from last years seed collecting are growing now. I didn’t expect this many to germinate!

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When I save and grow seed from plants such as the cannas and Rose of Sharon I have no idea what the blooms will look like.

I also save and grow daylily seed. A grown from seed daylily takes three years to bloom, minimum. That’s a long time to wait, but sometimes the results can be spectacular.


Sometimes the bloom color is disappointing, especially with open pollinated seed. For me, and my goal of flowers everywhere I can possibly put them, it’s not a big problem.

I haven’t thrown away a single one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dry Spell

It’s dry here. The grass is turning brown and will soon be crunchy to walk on. The gardens are wilting. By midday everything looks pathetic.

I watered the veggie patch Sunday evening. I’m watering the container plants daily.  Everything else is on its own, at least for now.

During the last drought I used bath water, rinse water from my washing machine, and a rain barrel to collect water and save the gardens at Shady Hollow. It was heavy work that involved lots of 5 gallon buckets. I still have the buckets. I’m just not really wanting to lug them up and down the hillside filled with water. I will though. If I have too.

Each day as the thunder storms build, I watch and urge the clouds to head our way. Each day they go around us. They tease the gardens with a few stray raindrops as they empty the life giving rain on other gardens and farms.

Maybe today the clouds will pass over us and rain hard enough and long enough for the rain drops to make through the trees and water the gardens underneath.

In the meantime, I’m heading out to the shed to unearth my buckets.

Be Blessed!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Is Here

The high temperatures have been getting to me this week. I’m usually the one who absolutely loves it when the days get hot, but this year the heat is almost too much. Maybe I’m getting old or something.

The gardens are blooming, but right now they need rain. The little veggie patch is doing good. My makeshift fence is keeping the rabbits out just fine. It may not be pretty but it works. That’s what counts, right?


This birds eye view of the veggie patch was taken from the deck about a week ago. Things have grown some since then.

The squash and tomato's are blooming. We are looking forward to some yummy meals of fresh veggies before much longer.

I spent some time last weekend potting up impatiens for the front patio. They are starting to bloom now, as are the cannas.



The hydrangeas have outdone themselves this year.

303  The camera didn’t capture the brilliance of the blue in this picture, but you can see how full of blooms they are.

My variegated hydrangeas' were not doing well under the oaks. Last Saturday I dug them up and put them in big pots for some TLC.  This fall I’ll replant them in a better location. If I can find one, that is. Maybe in front of the cottage? They might like it there.

If I have learned nothing else gardening here in the shade on a hillside, its that if a plant isn’t happy where you planted it; dig it up and try another spot. The results are amazing.

Be Blessed!

Fishing Trip

Thanks to our friends Bill and Linda, Jim finally got to go fishing two weeks ago. It had been nearly three years since he had ‘wet a hook”.

Bill managed to arrange the trip to a private farm pond with easy access. I was pleased that we could drive right down to the pond and park in the shade.


It made it so easy to get Jim out and fishing in no time flat. Best of all, the fish were hungry. It wasn’t long before he was reeling them in.


Bill fished for awhile, then helped Jim with the fish he caught.


Then he helped Jim get to a better spot, there were bigger fish to catch.



Linda and I walked around the pond and enjoyed the beautiful scenery while the guys fished.


It just doesn’t get much better than this! Oh and Jim caught a fine mess of fish. He and Bill were so proud!


Jim and I are lucky to have friends who are as thoughtful and caring as Bill and Linda. We truly enjoyed the day and will cherish the memory forever.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I think there is a neon sign over the cottage. It’s invisible to me and my husband, but it’s there none the less. This sign stands about ten feet tall, blinks on and off and says:

Drop Off Your Unwanted Cats and Kittens Here

Our two new arrivals were found Monday morning on my walk with Jay Jay. I heard a small meow, looked and saw a tiny kitten walking down the center of the road toward me. It meowed with each step as it hurried as best it could in my direction. Once arriving at my location, it became a little unsure (probably due to Jay Jay’s presence) but came to me with a little coaxing.

I picked her up and brought her back to the cottage, fed her and then Jim held her while I set up the kennel and got it ready for the new occupant. Soon she was checking out her accommodations. I then told my husband that people who drop out kittens usually throw away more than one. 

I headed up the street, back tracking the first kitten. Upon arriving at a low hanging limb of a huge spruce tree, I stopped and listened. Not a sound. Then I said, “Are there any kitties under this tree?”

“Meow,” came the reply. It took some sweet talk and a lunge and grab maneuver, but I caught the second kitten. Soon she was fed and back with her braver sister in the kennel.

I went back a third time, calling and looking up and down the streets around the cottage in case there were more. I heard no more meows. Thus reasonably assured I had them all I went back to check on the new arrivals.

The kittens are young, I will guess about 9 weeks old. Certainly not old enough to survive on their own. The location where they were had no access to food or water. I suppose the person who dropped them out thought someone would take them in. They were lucky I found them before they became too dehydrated or starved to survive.

I know the survival instinct drove the braver of the two (now named Spice) to take a chance and come to me. Or maybe a Fairy told her I was the one who could and would help.

At this point Spice and her timid sister,Sugar, are doing well. They are playing happily in the kennel, but are ready to come out and explore. The first few days in the kennel are for the other cats to get used to them before releasing them to roam the cottage.

Then the fun will begin. Nothing livens things up like kittens in the cottage at Shady Hollow.

Be Blessed.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Garden Update June 10, 2001

I am happy to report that the beans I replanted after the rabbit invasion are up and growing fast. The row was replanted with a combination of yellow and purple beans which should be interesting. (Sometimes the “artist” in me just has to express itself.)

I have three baby cannas which have come up from seed I planted last year and one so far from this years seeds. I have a multitude of inpatients (at last) in the flower pots from last year. I felt certain they would reseed and they finally proved me right. A few are even blooming. They are so cute, the blossoms are bigger than the plants!

I didn’t start anything but tomatoes in the plant room this year. When planting time rolled around it was being used as a sick room for our rescue kitty, Ten. I had to wait until my outside volunteers came up to see what I have to work with this year.

So far I have inpatient and purple coneflower seedlings, cannas, a few petunias, cleome; along with the trusty balsam. There’s enough to work with to insure a pretty shade garden.

I did plant container plants for the big deck. There are four containers; moonflowers, purple morning glories, black-eyed Susan vine, and cardinal climber. I’m using old broken limbs for them to climb on. I’ll start posting some pictures of them soon. Right now the containers look bare with their sticks and tiny seedlings. If all goes well there will soon be plenty of beautiful vines and blooms.

It was time for a little update and hopefully I’ll get some new pictures up really soon!

Blessed Be.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Great weekend!

While Saturday was spent doing major house cleaning, today was a day of leisure spent with our best friends. Life just doesn’t get any better.

As parents and grandparents, we have plenty to talk about. We fill each other in on the escapades of the adult children and grandchildren. Then there are the cute things done by the younger grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Of course we fill each other in on the adventures our pets have had as well. Cats, dogs, and birds provide plenty of stories to tell which usually end in laughter. Pets can do some of the most amazing things.

The highpoint of the day was cooking out on our deck. You get the feeling of being in a tree house when you stand on our deck. Since the land falls away from the cottage and the deck is a full story above the ground we are indeed up among the tree tops when we sit outside.

Since my husband lost his leg, I have become the chef at our cookouts. I am a passable cook inside on a stove, on a grill I’m still a novice. But, I’m getting better at it. I actually cooked baked potatoes, steak and chicken today without turning anything into a burnt offering. 

Nikon 186

It was a great day. One I hope we can repeat many times as the years go by.

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pesky Rabbits

I had worked all day in the gardens. The pruning, dragging brush, carrying buckets of finished compost, hoeing, and planting had left me extremely tired. All I wanted to do was enjoy the evening out on the deck with my husband.

Proudly I began pointing out my accomplishments. “I replanted the gaps in the bean row”, I said. “Look, a rabbit!”

Said rabbit hopped across into my neighbor’s yard, hop, hop, hop. So cute!

Looking down on my vegetable garden, I realized the bean row that I had so carefully hoed and reseeded a few hours earlier no longer existed. It had just hopped away in the belly of that extremely fat and contented rabbit.

“I told you that you needed to put a fence around the garden.”

My husband was right, in fact, he had told me I needed a fence several times. I had procrastinated, because I wasn’t at all sure I could put up a fence. Insecurity had made it easy to put off till later.

“I’m going to do that, right now!,” I snapped at him as I headed for the car. I made the trip to Home Depot in record time. (It helps that it’s just 2 miles away.)

In short order I had 100 feet of 24 inch fence and 20 metal fence posts. I knew just where in the store to look, hubby had shown me on a previous trip where the fencing was and what I needed to prevent a rabbit invasion. But, I was in procrastination mode at the time.

My fence was up before dark. Anger at losing my bean plants overcame insecurity about my fence building abilities. I even managed to replant the bean row before darkness set in. With the rain we received the next day I should have more beans up and growing within a day or so.

With any luck at all, the rabbit(s) will be content with the clover and grasses growing around the cottage and in the meadow. If not, well, I haven’t had fried rabbit in many years and it would be delicious.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Plant Brutality – Success!

I had lots of yard work to do over the weekend. While there is more awaiting my not-so-gentle touch; I did get a lot accomplished. Yes, there was plant brutality involved.

Just ask those pesky poison ivy, Virginia creeper, and Asian Wintergreen that were attempting to climb one of our ancient oaks. Their remains are now turning to dead vegetation at the far end of the meadow. Accompanying them are the remains of two burning bushes that found themselves being sawn off about 12 inches above ground. Don’t worry, I didn’t kill those hearty souls. I just took them down a notch or two.

If you noticed the changed header picture, it reflects the happiness of the hydrangea's  at the burning bushes demise. Now they have room to grown and spread.

It was also taken from the top of the garden, looking toward the fairies’ domain. I like it better and hope you do as well.

I had several adventures during my “yard work” day. I’ll write about them later. They deserve posts of their own.

Blessed Be.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Plant Brutality – Pruning Shears Style

Upon walking around Shady Hollow yesterday, I made a decision to do some massive pruning on my Burning Bushes. I already butchered (yes, I meant butchered) two that shaded too much of my vegetable garden. I could almost hear their screams of horror as my clippers and I set to work. Almost. The begging of beans, squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers  for sunlight drowned out the burning bush’s complaints.

Burning Bushes are almost weeds at Shady Hollow, thanks to a massive “granddaddy-of-them-all” down the street. Hungry birds feasting on their fall berries have spread them far and wide.

I like them, and early on transplanted them all over my infant garden. Now they are out of control.  So, one day this weekend I will grab a saw and my trusty pruners and make the circuit of the gardens and trim them way back. I plan on being heartless and cruel and prune them without mercy. I’m sure the hydrangea, butterfly bush, and other small shrubs will leap for joy once the onslaught of pruning provides them with more sun and room to grow.

A couple of years ago I dug a burning bush out of the front flower bed. Last week I pulled out and repotted 45 small off-spring from the location it once occupied. Burning Bush babies were springing up everywhere around where the original bush had grown. I potted them up for my granddaughter, who has not started her garden and needs some pass-along plants from grandma.

That’s just 1 of my long list of gardening chores to do. I’ll fill you in on the others as I tackle or prepared to tackle them as well.

Until then, brightest blessings.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Beautiful Morning

It’s wet at Shady Hollow this morning, so instead of gardening, I’m working on my blogs. The gardening will have to wait until it dries off a bit outside.

More plants are blooming or have just finished.

Sony 2009-2010 131 

The clematis and roses are very happy growing together.

Cannon 2010 123

This bush, a pass-along cutting from a work friend, bloomed happily earlier this month. The blossoms are a light pink color.

Cannon 2010 138

The pink foxgloves are outstanding. I wasn’t sure if they’d like this location, but apparently they do.Cannon 2010 134

Thanks for visiting. I’ll have more to show you as the summer progresses and more to tell you after I check on how things are doing after their day of rain yesterday.

Blessed Be.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Overtime and iPods

I've been working overtime at my job. I'm much too old to be putting in this many hours, working late into the night. But with today's economy (and all my vet bills) and the influx of work we've had: well its necessary.

I would rather work late during the week than work on the weekend. However, I'm waiting for my boss to ask me to do that too. He actually told me the other day that I could, "work 20 hours a day" if I wanted to. Right. (oh, and yes, he was serious.)

I have spent some of those long boring hours listening to my new iPod. I never had an mp3 player of any kind before. I signed up for iTunes and learned that not only could I put my music on the iPod (I did); I can download all these neat podcasts, and audio books to listen to while I work. I am in love. I can listen to the content of my iPod instead of the constant droning of the machinery.

Now, at the end of another week, I'm very tired, but wanted to at least fill you in on why I have not posted much anywhere lately. I have flower pictures and garden updates to post this weekend. Until then, be blessed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Big Jobs: Part Two

The grass was so tall I could have had it baled as hay. Heck, it had started blooming and setting seed. The weeds in the "meadow" were also tall and mingled with young pivot hedge bushes, Asian Wintergreen vines and the ever present wild honeysuckle vines. Shady Hollow was a mess.

It was stormy yesterday afternoon, but I set to work between thunder storm threats mowing and trimming. The mowing went fine, and I managed to finish before the first thunder storm came through. Luckily we were on the South side of the storm and only got a sprinkle of rain.

Hubby had talked me into getting a gasoline powered string trimmer. I'd only used electric ones previously, so this was a new experience. The difference in cutting ability between an electric trimmer and this baby is amazing! I'm hooked.

The trimmer we bought has a blade attachment for tough to cut areas like the meadow. It made a world of difference in what I could cut. I finished the meadow just before our second thunder storm threat of the day. This one missed us as well, giving me time to take a much needed shower and hopefully wash away all the poison ivy juice that has deposited itself on my face and arms. (If I was unsuccessful there will soon be a poison ivy post).

At least I have one more "big job" out of the way for the moment. With that done, I can get back to digging and planting seeds.

Be Blessed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Big Jobs: Tillers and Power Washers

Last weekend I finally got the garden tilled and planted. Oh, sure, there are more things I want to plant (and will), but I got the "big-job" part done. I have gotten to a point where I don't like big jobs. I prefer several smaller jobs. I can easily mark them off the list and feel like I accomplished something. Big jobs seem to go on forever.

Just as I was finishing up my tilling, the tiller (a Honda Harmony) stopped tilling. The engine ran but the tines refused to turn. Hmmm. Hubby and I cleaned them out, oiled, greased, etc. and then tried again. Nope, they still refused to budge. A little more tinkering and hubby pronounced her broke. The gears that turn the tines appear to be stripped.

I hand dug the rest of the garden bed I had been tilling and finished my planting. A quick trip to my handy-dandy search engine uncovered the fact that stripped transmission gears are a common problem with these tillers. Oh Great! My tiller is about 5 years old, but has been used very little, but it's out of warranty.

My next search was for rebuild kits for the transmission. I found some places that sell them for about $90.00. A new tiller will cost around $350 - $400. I'm thinking over the pros and cons of fix vs. buy. I even told Hubby that I might do neither. My garden beds are small and if I apply a very deep layer of mulch and maintain it I might can just plant through the mulch with no tilling or digging at all, or at least very little. He is skeptical. I am not.

My second big job within a week's time was power-washing our deck. My son built this deck two years ago to replace the 30+ years old original deck. The original deck was about to fall down. That would have been a very bad thing, it it a two story high structure.

I finally got around to giving it a good cleaning yesterday. Hubby talked me into getting a 1700 psi electric power washer. He said washing a deck this size would be too much for me to do via the scrub brush method. After looking at the sorry state of the deck (think 2 years under trees on the north side of our cottage),I agreed.

I had never used a power washer in my life. It made the job so much easier than the mop and scrub method would have been. Don't get me wrong, it was still work and took several hours, but it was easier.

Of course, like any project I undertake, there were mishaps and adventures involved. The first hose I tried to use looked OK. But after getting it all attached to the power washer and the water turned on it sprayed a stream of water that would make Old Faithful proud. Hubby reminded me that hoses should be drained before freezing weather. He said that would have prevented the backyard hose from having such an early death.

I then managed to get the long hose out and hooked up. Yay! It worked, no leaks! All right! I began the power washing adventure. I had planned all week to wash the deck on Saturday and nothing was going to stop me: not work, husbands, critters, or wind.

I did mention that our deck faces the north? On power-washing day we were blessed with a stiff breeze from the north with gusts above 25 mph. My mind was made up to wash the deck, and wash it I did. It felt like white water rafting with the wind blowing all that spray back into my face and soaking my cloths. Luckily, I was not cold. Wet I didn't mind, but I don't do cold. The sunshine kept me warm as I peered through mist covered glasses to try and see what I was doing. I figured if hubby pointed out a spot I missed I could blame it on not being able to see.

The only other problem I had was convincing a carpenter bee that cleaning the deck was not going to interfere with her efforts to drill a hole in the deck rail. Pesky bee. We reached an agreement and she flew off until I could finish washing down her neighborhood.

It took almost the entire afternoon to clean off two years worth of grime. The deck is clean and looks good. I was even able to sit out there and enjoy the fruits of my labor for awhile after I finished and changed into dry clothing.

I have been able to mark two of my "big jobs" off the list for awhile. Now the grass needs cut, the meadow needs a visit from the string trimmer, and there is more planting to do. But today is Mother's Day and I'm not doing any big jobs today.

Be Blessed....and Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good Help

I've mentioned that my garden chores have fallen behind, along with just about everything else around Shady Hollow. I think I need to clone myself. (Scary thought, huh?)

But I did get some wonderful help with the flowering magnolia the other day. My sweet husband decided to help prune out some dead branches. He did a good job too. My love and thanks to him for his help. Once upon a time he did all the pruning on this tree, keeping it down to a manageable size. Over the past few years it has started reaching for the sky and we decided to let her grow.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Rambling Update on the Garden

The only plants I've started under lights this year (so far) have been tomatoes. They have done well and I'm hardening them off now. There were 15 at last count, so if the dreaded blight doesn't get them first, we should be good to go on 'maters.

Wandering around the gardens this morning I discovered we will really be 'good to go' on 'maters' because I found scores of little volunteers. Some are in one of the flower boxes, others on the top of the compost pile! Well, hmm, that does present a problem. I was planning to use that compost to help with the tomatoes. Oh, well, I guess the garden gods got a jump on me there. Of course I will have to fight the blight, but so-be-it.

I almost tilled the garden last week. Upon seeing the forecast for heavy rain, I decided to wait and I'm glad I did. The storm system that wrecked havoc in Alabama and Mississippi has arrived. If I had plowed the garden would be washing away right now.

It just goes to show that sometimes my tendency to procrastinate works out to the positive.

I also noticed that there are plenty of baby inpatients, sweet annie, and petunias arriving on the scene. that's a good thing since I haven't started seeds yet. Maybe I won't have to and procrastination will pay off again.

The hosta are up and growing like crazy. Even the ones I planted around the oak are doing great. I'd had doubts about them, since I planted them very close to the tree.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Beautiful Spring

Spring burst upon us here in Western North Carolina with a vengeance over the past two weeks. In an amazing twist, the super cold and snowy winter seems to have invigorated all the plants.

These daffodils have faded now, but I wanted to share them with you...

The forsythia was beautiful and made a golden arch for my pathway steps.
The tulips...
I've never seen so many blooms on the flowering quince:
If the beauty I see around me is any indication, it's going to be a great year for gardening!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Is Springing Out

Spring is definately underway at Shady Hollow. The flowering magnolia put on quite a show last week. I don't remember it having this many blooms, ever.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Writer’s Block, Sick Cats and the Grass Needs Mowed

If you write, you know about the dreaded condition known fondly as "writer's block". Also known as "a dry period" it comes on like a thief in the night, stealing words, ideas and ambition and carting them away.

Sadly, there is no pill, no treatment, no magic formula or other quick fix to the problem. The writer has to work through it or wait it out.

I have a mild case of writer's block. I also have obligations that are taking time away from gardening, daily chores, and just about everything else except going to work each day. It's a deadly combination for this and my other blogs. I've been waiting it out, now I'm trying to work through it.

One can only do so much with a houseful of sick or nearly sick cats, a workplace needing all the overtime you can give them, a husband fed up with the chaos, and spring chores needing done, topped off by a slight case of depression. It's a perfect breeding ground for writer's block.

I've been dealing with sick cats for months now and a fresh wave of sick cat problems has surfaced this week. I have to pick Lisa up from the vet later this morning and get advice on caring for several who have developed head colds/cat flu. Sometimes I think the cottage has turned into a cat hospital.

The warm weather has sent our grass on a growing binge that would make a fertilizer company proud. I have to make a trip for mower gas before I can cut it and I saw on the way home last night that gasoline prices here had jumped a dime a gallon while I was at work. (Glad I gassed up the car earlier in the week.)

I still haven't done our taxes and tax day is looming large on the horizon. Of course the fact I've procrastinated on the taxes again has fueled hubby's ire and put me in the doghouse for another April. Let's see, that's twenty April's and counting. (He still doesn't realize how bad I hate doing taxes and that I will put them off to the last minute for as long as I live.)

Work. Well that is something I could really rant about, but as the boss might read this blog, I won't. I'll just say that with a third of the workforce laid off, now that we have work, they want the remaining few to do it all. The stress is tremendous. We are all tired.

Maybe that is the reason I developed writer's block. Maybe I am tired and overwhelmed. Nope, that can't be it. Maybe it's spring fever…that sounds better at least. Or maybe I'm lazy. Or crazy.

I'm recovering though. I wrote this post! I actually sat here and worked my way through it! It was great to visit with you for awhile. I have to go now though, I've got to call the vet, go pick up Lisa, feed, water and doctor the other kitties, check the gardens for what's new this morning, and well, you know….take care of life.

Be Blessed.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Flowers

Here are some flower photos taken so far this spring.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Over the past month I have either been busy or under the weather. I finally came to the realization that my 'under the weather' was a flare-up of my RA, and that I would have to treat it as such. I've been taking it easy and am on some meds to (I hope) make some of the symptoms go away.

I think between work, sick cats, politics, and the general state of everything I stressed myself into this flare-up. Oh well… my world won't end. I just have to baby myself a little bit and get over it.

In the meantime, the gardens are looking better, with daffodils in bloom….I promise to get some pictures up real soon. My walks around Shady Hollow now are full of excitement for I am spotting new and returning life everywhere.

After the harshness of this winter, I expected to lose a few plants here and there. Much to my surprise, the very plants I was certain wouldn't survive have started putting out new buds. It may be a beautiful spring and summer around the cottage after all.

One thing is certain, I have lots to do. I just have to rein myself in for another week or so until I whip this little physical setback.

I'll keep you guys posted and will be posting pictures over the weekend. In the meantime, be blessed.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Taking Stock

I spent some time yesterday checking out the gardens to see what might be taking place as spring approaches.

The crocus are blooming their little hearts out. (I have pictures to upload later.) One daffodil was in bloom, with others sure to be open today. There should be some flowering quince blossoms open today and the flowering magnolia buds are showing some color.

It was the worst winter we've had since moving to Shady Hollow. I expected to have more damage to the plants. So far it seems that they, like us, managed to weather the cold and the snow without much damage.

The stump I turned into a bottle tree last year has deteriorated to the point of no return. I am going to remove the bottles and cut it off at ground level. There is another tree stump in the back garden that can be the new bottle tree. I also have more bottles to decorate with. Once it is transformed into a new and improved bottle tree I'll post some pictures. It is near the fairies favorite haunts and I'm sure they will be pleased.

The biggest thing right now is cleaning up the residue left by fall and winter. Once that is done I can get down to the important part: playing in the dirt.

Be blessed.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Warmer Weather

Finally! It is supposed to get warmer. I just checked the Weather Channel and the forecast for this week is wet…but wet due to rain. Highs are predicted to be in the 50's and the lows in the 40's. Maybe, just maybe the wet stuff will be rain this time. Maybe the snow-every-week cycle will be broken.

I discovered three crocuses in bloom yesterday. The flowering quince has buds showing red, within days of opening. Two sure-fired signs of spring for me. My husband reported sighting a small group of Canadian Geese doing a fly-by of the pond. Oh, and the daffodils are up and budding.

Most of us "old timers" think we will have at least one more snowfall. None of us are predicting how deep or if it will lay. Even so, it looks like spring may be considering making an appearance.

There's plenty to do here when spring does finally arrive. I admit that I did a very poor job of yard and garden clean-up last fall. That only means more work to do this spring, but I get more excited about yard work when things are starting to grow.

It has been a long hard winter. It is time for spring and the renewal it brings. I'm ready, aren't you?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What a Winter!

It snowed yesterday, and once again the weather service estimates were wrong. Our local paper reports we received 9 inches of the white stuff. The prediction was for 3 inches. So far this winter, we have watched almost 3 feet of snow fall.

Lucky for me, I was able to get my driveway plowed and our street was plowed this morning. There are some benefits to living on a school bus route, even without children. I'll get to go to work this afternoon, a good thing.

We don't normally get but one or two snows in a season that amount to more than a dusting. Warm temperatures usually melt them away within a day or two. This year snow has been on the ground in places since December. I (and almost everyone else) am sick of it. If we wanted this kind of winter we'd move to Maine!

The forecast calls for warmer temperatures by the weekend; so maybe, just maybe some of this stuff will melt. I hope so.

I spent my snow day taking a few more snow pictures and doing some chores around the house. I no longer get a thrill from standing in the window and watching it fall.

The last time this much snow fell in our area was in 1960. I was 9 years old and the memory of that winter has always stayed with me. That was 50 years ago. I don't know about you, but I hope Mother Nature decides to wait another 50 years before doing this again. Maybe if Al Gore will just sit down and shut up she won't feel such a need to prove him wrong.

Be Blessed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh No! More Snow!

I just checked the Weather Channel website for Western North Carolina. Here we go again.

My heart goes out to the folks up north who have received feet of snow in the past few weeks. However, several inches of heavy snow can create the same havoc here. We just don't do snow very well. At least I don't.

Let's see, I went to the grocery store Saturday, so have plenty of milk and bread. Maybe I can get by without a last minute dash to the store.

If we do get the snow, I have plenty to do (if I do it). I bought seeds over the weekend for tomatoes, chives, peppers, and a few others to start in the plant room. This should be extremely interesting, as the plant room is currently doubling as a quarantine room for a sick stray cat we have adopted. You can read about him here.

So, depending on my mood, I may start some seeds tomorrow if I'm snowed in. I know Ten will enjoy having me with him for an extra amount of time. I'm also sure he will "help" me plant the seeds as well.

Or, I may just read. I have accumulated an enormous amount of books to read over the winter and have only read part way in several. So many good books and so little time!

Whatever I do with the down time, I will be praying this is the last snow of this seemingly never-ending winter.

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Anniversary

Today marks the first anniversary of this blog! I entered the blogging world with no idea what I would write or how it might turn out. I decided to write about my home, garden, pets and life in general. It has been a blast. Some posts are better than others, some I almost go back and delete. Some make no sense to anyone but me, but that's OK.

Sometimes the urge to blog is almost a compulsion. I guess that happens when you have stuff to say and nobody to 'talk to yourself' on the pages of your blog and hope someone else will read and understand. Take tonight, for instance. I've been up a long, long time. But, I wanted to get an anniversary post up bright and early on Shady Hollows anniversary day.

To my follower's and occasional visitors, thank you so much for taking time to read my ramblings. I hope you at least get a chuckle ever so often. I'm looking forward to my second year of blogging and what it may bring. The frustrated writer has finally found a home.

Blessed Be.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Longing For Spring

I don't mean to complain to the Mother, but enough with the snow already! I'm longing for spring right now, warm breezes and new growth. I want to see a hint of green in the landscape instead of gray, brown, and white. I miss my flowers. I miss trudging up and down the hillside tending the plants. I miss shoveling dirt and compost. Shoveling snow does not have the same meaning to me. Shoveling snow is work, shoveling in my garden is a labor of love, its fun.

I want to sip my coffee and write my blog posts from the front porch or the deck. Not inside looking out as a cold wind blows snow around.

As each new morning breaks the sun rises a bit earlier and the days are getting longer. Soon winter will loosen its grip on the land. I know that. I just want it to hurry up!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Snow at Shady Hollow

It was absolutely beautiful as it fell from the sky. The tiny flakes glistened as they fell past the window to settle onto the remnants of the previous snow. This morning a glance out the window shows a winter wonderland scene. Tree branches with a beautiful coat of white stand out in the ghostly glow the night time takes on when the landscape is covered by fresh snow. I stand and look out at the beautiful scene. I whisper to the Goddess of Winter, "OK, we get your point, enough is enough."

Yesterday it was reported that every state in the union except Hawaii had snow. It isn't over yet. We still have the rest of this month and then March (remember the Blizzard of 1993) to get through before snow danger is over. Of course, Mother Nature doesn't use our calendar, I can remember a 4 inch snowfall that occurred in April about 29 years ago. We may be building for another of those late Springs, if the weather pattern holds.

We are all snug and content at Shady Hollow. Jim has a bit of cabin fever and I'm itching to dig in the dirt. It's much more fun to shovel compost than snow as far as I'm concerned. Everything in its season is the rule of the game that has existed since time began. Maybe we'll get out soon. Jim needs a change of scenery. I need new florescent lights for my grow room and a big bag of potting soil. I have the seeds already.

Be Blessed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Why do my cats have a path from the bed to the dresser that includes a leap to my computer desk, followed by a stroll across the keyboard, and completed by a jump to the dresser?

Why do they insist in using this path while I'm trying to type?

Why do a select few of them think the mouse is a nice item to sit on in the middle of the night, causing the computer to come to life and awaken me from my few hours of slumber?

OK, I know why; its because they are cats and that is what cats do. Sigh.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Morning and Back to the Grind

It's Monday, again. I had an unplanned four-day weekend due to the weather and managed to be about as lazy as one-woman can during that time. Other than normal household chores I mainly buried myself in a history book I'm reading and let the world flow by on its own.

Maybe I needed the downtime. I don't even feel guilty at not doing all those things I might have done. We had the ice storm that I had foreseen back in December. Lucky for us, the main blast hit on the other side of town. People over there had up to an inch of ice and some are still without power. Farther north, the storm reached epic proportions and made history with the amounts of snow it deposited in the mid-Atlantic states. Some of my northern friends are still digging out.

Today I'm up early. It only takes a few days for my body clock to revert to normal time vs. second shift time. That's a good thing today. I have things to do and places to go that I couldn't do last Friday.

Now that my inner voice says its safe, I have some potting soil to buy and seeds to start in my plant room. Spring is just around the corner, you know.

Be Blessed!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


After 3 above average snowfalls, and below average cold weather that lasted for a longer than average length of time; I am ready for some sign of Spring. A ray of hope, just a small one will suffice.

And the Goddess said, "OK. Here you go."

"How about two?"

The daffodils and iris are working hard at making their way up through the snow, responding to the returning light and other forces only they understand.

There are more, peeking out of their fluffy blanket. I didn't want the wet shoes and cold feet that would have incurred to take their pictures. I think these are enough.

What I am really watching is the Flowering Quince. It still has it's buds folded tight. Once those cheerful blooms burst open I will know that Spring at Shady Hollow will not be far behind.

Be Blessed!