Its Definitely Spring

Last weekend I was in the Bay Area visiting my mom. The sky and the green hills were particularly beautiful that day. You can see “Niles” painted on the side of the hill. That has been there since I was a little kid! My mom said they periodically go up and whitewash it.

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And just turning in a different direction:

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Then this weekend in my garden:

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the flowering almond is doing very well this year:

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This plant just says “Springtime!” to me.

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Some new hyacinths that are an unusual color. And Noah didn’t knock them down either :)

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Icelandic Poppy. I am going to get more of these next year. I think they are one of the plants that does best if you plant it in the fall.

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A pretty color combo.

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This camellia is one of the first plants I ever planted here (28 years ago!) It has never done well in its current location, and MLG and I were planning to move it, and then this year it decided to put on a big show!

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Chinese Fringe Bush. This plant almost gave up when I had it in a container, but now after being in the ground for a couple of years, it is doing extremely well. It blooms through several seasons, and I have seen it used in commercial landscaping, so I think it is a pretty easy keeper. I think the flowers are very different and pretty.

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Muscari?

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The tulips came back!

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And plenty of daffodils and narcissus.

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I’m including this picture for my gardening/landscaping friends. It doesn’t look like much now, but I am most excited about this. One day a couple weeks ago, I just got it into my head to put all the rest of my Japanese maples into the ground. And the very next time MLG came around, he dug four giant holes in this hard rocky ground, and got those big trees out of their giant pots, and put them in the ground for me. I’m hoping they will be much happier there, and will give me a better show next fall.

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Yep, spring has arrived in Northern California!

Storage and Garden Report

First of all, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for all the nice comments on my last blog about Mr. Monk. You all knew him better than most of my friends! All of us are doing fine. Especially Queen Sophie. After she got over her worry that she might be the next to be “banished” from the kingdom, she has taken back her “rightful place” on the chair next to me in the evenings.

And, I also wanted to thank so many of you for your interesting and informative comments on the previous blog about my knee. Since I wrote that, my first ortho doc got back in touch with me. He had been battling the insurance company all this time (over their refusal to approve the Orthovisc injections), and now advised me to file a complaint with the State Department of Managed Health Care. I completed that today. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.

In the meantime, how about a report on some everyday life stuff :)

Last week J. the contractor came back to finish the little pantry and add shelves to the laundry room. Squeee!!! MORE STORAGE SPACE. I hardly know what to do with it all.

Here’s the pantry. That’s all I’ve put in it so far. I have those two big corner cupboards with lazy susans in them in the kitchen. I’m not sure what to put there, and what to put in the pantry. If anyone has ideas or opinions, feel free to share.

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And here’s the laundry room shelves. Plenty of extra storage up there for I don’t know what!

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I also had J. put this little hanging cupboard in the mudroom. It used to be in my bathroom. I still liked it so finally decided that this would be the place for it.

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I tell you, for someone whose ONLY storage space for many years was a big closet in her bedroom, I feel like I’ve hit the storage jackpot!

And here is a view of the garden. Still pretty bare, but things are sprouting. There are little buds on all the trees. Its fun to go out there and scope things out every day. I have to be careful to not get carried away with planting, because there’s still a real possibility that we will get some frost, up until May.

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The camellia bush is chock full of buds. The Pink Flower Thief is keeping a close eye on it….

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Crazy California

It seems almost rude to post flower pictures in the middle of the huge snowstorms my friends back east are having to endure. But maybe these pictures will provide a little pleasant diversion from all the white stuff outside your windows?

Even though I live in California, Southern California seems like a foreign land to me. I had a hard time packing warm weather clothes to go on this trip. But, I was very glad that I packed my flip flops “just in case.”

Marsha, our hostess for the retreat, is a wonderful gardener. I took some close-ups of some of her outstanding flowers.

I liked this one so much that I wrote to her and asked the name of it. “Tournament of Roses.”

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The same rose two days later:

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Maybe a Peace rose?

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Decorative cabbage. I love these, but can’t keep them in the yard. I thought Sophie was going to explode one night after she tore into one.

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I love the soft color of this rose:

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And one more decorative cabbage.

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An oriental poppy that was out in front of one of the restaurants.

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And back home again, I found a few flowers in my own mostly dormant garden. Of course, violets are always the first to bloom.

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I have several primroses that I nursed through the heat of the summer.

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And crazy early, there are a few daffodils blooming.

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Keep calm and carry on, girls. Spring IS coming!

 

Sightings

A few sights from the weekend:

A late poppy–especially brilliant in the fall light.

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First cup of coffee fixed in the new kitchen:

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First baking excursion in the new kitchen:

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Debby does home improvements! (Putting polyurethane on the underside of the butcher block top for the island.)

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Sleeping beauties.

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Lots of good stuff happening around here now. I hope to have COMPLETELY finished rooms to show you by next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me :)

 

Sneak Peek

Yesterday was a really exciting day! Started out bright and early with MLG (master landscaping guy) working out in the garden. We took down the two gigantic tomato plants, and then he got to work digging holes in my VERY HARD GROUND, and we put two trees in the ground and transplanted two other large plants. Oh, and we set my fairy garden up on this pot so its more visible. I got the fairy garden on my trip to Tahoe (which was a very nice time, I’ll write more later.)

Henry Lauder Walking Stick in its new location!

Henry Lauder Walking Stick in its new location!

Fairy Garden in the back of the garden

Fairy Garden in the back of the garden

Inside the fairy garden

Inside the fairy garden

Overhead view

Overhead view

Next, really before we got any of that done, the cabinet guys arrived!!! Wow, that was really quite a production. Somehow I hadn’t realized how much work they would have to do after they got here. Here’s just a sneak peak at part of the kitchen. I am in love with the wood of these cabinets, to say nothing of having ALL THE SPACE. I am excited beyond words. Oh! and that overhead lighting? I resisted that quite a bit, but now I am SOOOO happy with it. Nice and cheery and bright in the kitchen!

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(A few of the drawers are missing, because they forgot the inserts, and took them back with them.)

In the meantime, J. the contractor worked on finishing the laundry room. We planned to use the leftover wood flooring, but found that there was not quite enough. So mid-day I took a quick trip to Sacramento to get another box. So much for saving money on that floor… but it does look nice.

And THEN, J. stayed late and brought in the washer and dryer and hooked them up! Guess who was washing a load of clothes at 8pm? What a novelty, to walk around the corner from my bedroom and plop the clothes into the washing machine!

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Anyway, I just wanted to give you a sneak peek at what is finally happening in the kitchen. Floor might go in today, the countertops arrive Monday, Tuesday the new appliances will arrive, and I’m guessing that Wednesday, J. will do the backsplash. Its been a wild ride, but the end is finally in sight!

Just a bit of this and that

I stepped out the door this morning to check on the garden and was shocked to see this:

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Yes, one whole morning glory flower on that whole vine. As the days got shorter, I guess the vine did not get as much sun as it wanted, so its been weeks since I have seen a single flower on it.

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Is it any wonder they are named morning GLORY? The flowers absolutely look as if there is a light source shining out from their center.

Hey, look what I did! My first furniture painting experiment. It went pretty well, if I do say so myself! I’ve only thought about painting this chair for about five years. What can I say? I have a hard time making decisions :)

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The other day I was flipping back through my own blog, looking for something or other, and I realized that yes, quite a bit of progress has been made on the house. Here are pictures from this morning–the siding is up, and a lot of the painting is done. The roof is bare–they had to strip off THREE layers of old shingles! And already, by the end of today, J. the contractor had a good portion of the roof re-shingled!

The front of the house:

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And the back:

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And a gratuitious cute doggie shot:

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And that’s all the news that’s fit to print tonight. Hope you all have a good and relaxing weekend!

Gratitude

A book I’ve been enjoying lately says gratitude is good for the soul.

I stood in my little mudroom and looked out at the late summer garden and saw it with different eyes. So many times I am just looking closely (and critically) at things–this weed here, that dead branch there, the dead flower heads that need to come off. But this day I marveled that in two years I am blessed with such a garden.

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Petunias are the best. And free petunias are better than best! Most of the petunias that are still blooming are free ones that hybridized and self-seeded from last years garden. This bi-color one just now showed up!

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And this one? I brought back some pretty petunias from Cambria. They went from that cool seaside climate to over 100 degree dry heat here. Needless to say, they did not fare well. I came back from my two weeks in Sisters to see some unknown plants coming up. I thought they were probably weeds, but decided to give them a chance. They were the offspring of those Cambria petunias!! I’ve never seen such a thing.

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And from that book, Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg, here is a beautiful collection of words.

We all have two worlds, an outer world that is visible and public and obvious, and an inner world that may be chaotic and dark or may be gloriously beautiful. In the end, the outer world fades. We are left with the inner world. It is what we will take with us. I am an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s glorious universe.