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.