Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Let me tell you about more 
of my unusually beautiful hydrangeas.

 This bush sits in 
an ivy clad corner of the Secret Garden 
and it has never gotten more
 than two or three blooms
 per season before.
  It starts its day 
in the cool shade,
 looking full, pretty and bright.
  By noontime, however,
 the hot sun hits it
 and it droops and looks like 
it is coming apart at the seams. 
 The first time we noticed it 
looking like that,
 we ran for the hose
 and thought we had lost it for sure.
 when evening comes around, 
it makes an unusually 

I never started out 
collecting pitchers 
but, over time, I've noticed 
that I do have quite a few. 
 I really like using them 
for flower arrangements.

  On a recent trip to
 Home Goods, 
I saw this beauty...

...a little unusual 
in its decorations,
 with the look of spongeware and stenciling 
that I adore,
 with some real 
farmhouse charm thrown in.

 As I reached
 to place it in my cart,
 I noticed an old familiar pinch
 in my lower back.
It registered in my head,
 but I didn't feel the results 
until the next morning.

I have been hobbling around 
for the week
 not being able to straighten up. 
 When it gets like this,
 I just can't walk straight 
and the more I bend
 the worse it feels.

I just have to 
take it easy and 
let it run its course. 
It is almost a year to the day that it happened the last time.
 Just before we were getting ready 
for the Country Sampler
 magazine shoot.

The pitcher 
feels an unusual responsibility,
 even though I say 
it is my own fault.

 It was me, after all,
 that wanted to go to 
Home Goods 
in the first place.

I gave it 
a bouquet of these
 unusually beautiful hydrangeas 
to try to uplift 
its spirits,...

"We may think 
we are tending our garden, 
but of course,
 in many different ways,
 it is the garden
 and the plants 
that are nurturing us."

Jenny Uglow

I think it
 might be 


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Tuesday, July 3, 2018


I have seen this welcome mat 
in a few catalogs 
and since we finally decorated 
the front porch for the holiday,
 I thought it would be fun
 to re-create it...

welcome to the porch,
 the official hostess for 
the Cottage 
on this 
Independence Day.


We are offering
 baskets of fire works
 in an array
 of colors...

...some resembling 
the intense sun 
that is shining
 down on us

We took a ride 
in the country to
 Bald Mountain Nursery 
where we picked up our
 pretty baskets of 

The nursery is settled 
in the mountains 
a short way from us.
  It is pretty 
and green 
and cool,

...the hills 
surrounding it
 are brown
 and dry...

...and we are sure hoping 
that we won't be hearing of 
any wildfires 
popping up.

We see evidence of 
past fires 
as we listen to
 spotter planes flying overhead.

 The conditions are all favorable,
 in a bad way,
 as it is hot 
with strong breezes.

Back in the Cottage garden 
the hydrangeas 
are adding their own
 spots of color...

...as are the mystery flowers,
 only they are not
 as prolific as years passed. 
 They may be on the verge 
of blooming themselves out.

 the Chinese Lanterns, 
that we planted a couple of years ago, 
are making a
 nice little corner for themselves,
 getting ready for fall color, 
and maybe 
planning on taking 
the mystery flowers place 
in the landscape. 
I wouldn't mind it too much
 as they are pretty and green
 for much of the summer 
and I love their
 fall colors.

A few years ago,
 the Captain came home 
with this beauty.

 No, not me, 
the morning glory! 

 It is not like a regular morning glory 
that comes back year after year.
 (That is only me, just to haunt him). 
 It only blooms for one summer
 and then it dies. 
(At least in our climate). 
 We haven't been able to
 find another
 until now.

It only comes up a little way
on the trellis so far 
but, it is a fast grower,
 and will pretty much cover it
 until it dies in the fall
 when the weather turns colder.


I hope everyone has figured out 
how to get the comments back 
into your e-mails now.
  I had so many
 thoughtful (and smart) friends 
(and thank you all so much) 
giving me directions 
on how to do it. 
 It took me awhile 
but I did figure it out 
and in case there is someone
 "slower" like myself, 
I want to pay it forward:

Open Blogger dashboard
On left side will be list of posts published, etc.
Scroll down and click on  "Settings" 
and then click on "e-mail"

Your address will be there 
in the box next to 
"Comment Notification Email"

Delete your address within the box
 and then click 
"Save Settings" in top right side

Go back to "Settings" and "e-mail" 
(I clicked them again 
even though they were already opened
Add your address back into
the same box and then, again, click 
"Save Settings".

You will receive 
an e-mail 
giving you two options to click:

Choose and click on "Subscribe".

That should do it. It is so nice to be up and running again in the usual way.


Since we finished the screened porch
 and Romeo and Juliet
 are hatching their babies 
(we are pretty sure 
that has happened 
as they are in and out of the nest a lot 
carrying food back in), 
we have rather neglected
 the front porch,
 so now 
we present her 
in her holiday finery 
and welcome the 
2018 Grand Illumination.

It has been so hot here. 
 We have been watching 
the Hallmark Movie and Mystery channel.

 There is nothing like 
watching a damsel in distress 
during a Christmas snow storm 
to cool a person off in July!



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Tuesday, June 26, 2018


"Happiness is
 the settling of the soul
 into its most
 appropriate spot."


On a fine summer morning 
a porch is the quintessential spot 
for soul settling. 
 It is there
 that a comfortable chair,
 a friendly word with a neighbor, 
a cup of coffee...

...or just sitting quietly 
in the dappled sunlight, 
can set things right.

"The power of 
finding beauty 
in the humblest things 
makes a home happy 
and life lovely."

Louisa May Alcott

I would like to
 share with you 
some of the happiness 
I have collected 
this past week:

A burst of sunshine
 freshly picked 
from the market...

...a little Meyer Lemon 
boxed cake mix 
from Trader Joes. 

 Oh, so good...

...two old wood kitchen wares,
 a white pitcher,
 all crazed and perfect,
 two Johnson Bros. blue and white plates,
 a great flag, 
and a coverlet.  
All collected 
from a yard sale 
on our street...

I think the coverlet 
may be old, 
but I'm not really sure.
  It is worn and tattered 
but very heavy. 
 I'm hoping to get 
enough out of it for
 a couple of pillows.

It has this inscription 
woven into one corner
 and it reverses to white...

...and the tattered spots 
come off of the backing 
like shown on 
the eagle...

...and on this particular spot.

What do you think? 
 Could it be an old one?

I showed these pillows last week. 
 I was going for a grain sack effect
 with the lines painted 
on the back of my 
"cheap" pillows...

...after perusing Pinterest,
 I felt they were a bit lacking 
so I added some more stripes.
 I'm liking them better...

... and it takes nothing more 
than a good karate chop 
to make one 
sit up and take notice.

It seems I've said this
 so many times already but...
the little wrens,
 Romeo and Juliet, (the originals?)
 are back and,
 we believe, 
they are now sitting
 on eggs!

Tami had these
 two sweet little treasures 
waiting for me when we last went down 
for Jake's graduation. 
 She just thought 
I would like them 
and she was so right!
  She is always so thoughtful 
and I love them. 
 Thanks again, Tam.

Speaking of Jake's graduation...
one week 
after all the intense years 
of schooling is over, 
he has accepted a job
 with Kaiser-Permanente.
  He starts mid-July 
and we are so proud and excited for him. 
It is a great opportunity 
for his future.

"Tomorrow morning,
 when the sun shines 
through your window,
 choose to make it
 a happy day."

Lynda Resnick


There are things going on in places 
that are unsavory and devastating,
 to say the least, 
but I would like to tell you about 
a good friend to me 
(and to many of you also).

Is the sweetest, kindest and caring person.
She feels that 
 focus needs to be put
 on the good things in life,
 that we need to take 
special care of each other 
and help lift up those of us 
that need a boost from time to time.

 Sometimes those values get lost
 in everyday life and
 we need to shine a light on them 
whenever we can.

 For this reason, 
I am telling you, 
Kris is sharing an important message 
and giving away some wonderful gifts
 on her blog.
 If you don't know Kris, 
you should take the time to visit with her. She not only has 
a beautiful blog,
 a sweet little cottage
 and a gorgeous garden,
 but her way of looking at the world
is truly happiness for the soul.
 Thank you, Kris, 
for being my voice of reason
 on a day when
I most needed one. 
 It is my pleasure 
to count you
 as a good friend. 

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