Fall, 2015

Fall, 2015
Roger's Gardens, Newport Beach, CA Sept. 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

a new home....a new garden.... new roots

It's everywhere....

from the weather....

to the Seasons....

to jobs....

to all sorts of circumstances

The past 4 years have been filled with change...

Lots of it. 

Some who know me, know the 'not so good stuff'

So, I'm going to concentrate on the positive here and give you a glimpse into where I am now....

Well, it isn't a bed and breakfast, long story for certain, but selling a beloved and life-longed for log cabin and renting for 3+years turned into something else. 

An address changed

A future changed

Life Changed


We bought our current home last August, but didn't move until November.  There was a lot of work to be done and the day we put it under contract, one of those crazy kinds of storms came through and caused a TON of damage to it.  Now, it was still 'theirs' at the time, so that was good and bad.  Were they going to fix it all?  And, how would they fix it.  We had to do some negotiating to reach some good compromises, but we were still left with lots to do.  But we loved it enough to move forward.  

I'm not one for getting rid of things, so old furniture found a new place and sometimes, a new FACE!

These are my bookcases....I love these.  I bought them when I was 18 years old.  Seriously, I did.  That's the year I got engaged to my first husband.  He came home for Christmas from the Air Force Academy (home was Ohio), and I was working full time and going to college full time.  So, I started buying furniture for 'us.' 

The bookcases were my first purchase.  I bought them over the course of 2 and a 1/2 years, whenever they'd go on sale at Ethan Allen.  I've had them a LONG time and they've been all over the country....Ohio, Texas, Maryland, California, Alabama, Colorado and more....

I leave 4th of July decorations up until the end of August, so when we bought the new house, this is how packing started to look at the rental house.....

I planned to put the bookcases in the basement and I didn't want to 'darken' the space with them.  Plus, they had taken a beating over the years, and they needed a new look...so they got painted!!

 And here they are.....all gussied up for Christmas, 2014, in our new home.....They have a whole new character, but they are still my old friends.  they just hold fewer books because I have some built in bookcases upstairs. They may get filled up over time again, because I love books, but for now, they have space and air and light, and knick-knacks!  

And, remember the log bed in the log house?  It had to be squished into a teeny-tiny room in the rental house....but we made it work.  In the log house, it was one of my favorite rooms in the house....the windows looked onto the mountains to the west, and the horses and fields in the foreground.  It was sunny and bright, yet cozy and warm.  It was a mix of antiques, logs, quilts, and Susan Branch.

Now, it's in a space that doesn't show as well in the photograph as it really looks.  It's actually quite cozy, but definitely not as cozy as a log house.  It's masculine, yet soft.  There's a down comforter and a wool rug and a small desk and an antique night stand, and some pretty lighting.  It has some of the things in it that I had been saving for a bed and breakfast, like embroidered pillows that say "moose lodge" on them.  

Another angle...

Kitchen cabinets got filled with dishes, and all my Susan Branch things found new shelves...

Yes, A Fine Romance made it back safely from England
Here's the living room upstairs when we just bought it.  The carpet was pretty disgusting....even doggie poops on it! YUCK!  So, it had to go.  I will not go into the details of how this went, but it was bad, but we're only going to talk about positive here.....so let's skip all of that and go to what it looked like last Christmas. 

Last Christmas, we put up a Christmas tree, but we didn't have any furniture for the room.  The table you see in the photograph above went into "moose lodge" as a desk and chair and ottoman, a used one we purchased from the past owner, went into another space. 

This is a photograph of the middle of the project....it was not fun. 

But, we spread out quilts and all the family sat on the floor for the opening of presents, and it was actually quite amazing.  Snow was falling outside, and turned out to be magical. 

I know you see the drapes missing, right?  Well, I'll just sneak in a little 'bad' detail and tell you that the installers of the wood floor were naughty, very naughty. 

Let's move on...

When Spring came, I went crazy.  Every garden shop around now knows me and they know me in all sorts of disguises. Baggy sweat pants, no make-up, and hair tied up like aunt Jemima...... the jeans and flower catalog carrying girl, with a list of "I'm looking for" and "how can I's?"   And wearing shorts that I should not go anywhere in but I did because I got an email that there was a 3 hour sale on perennials and I just dropped everything to go.....You get the picture...

I had a garden again!!!!!!!!!!!

And I planted...

and planted....

raised beds got tilled and filled with organic soils and amendments

and became..

overflowing with plants...and I harvested this...

and planted potatoes for the first time....which turned out AMAZING!!
So fun to harvest!

and these... tomatoes of many varieties, chard, and tomatilloes

I've planted roses, perennials, annuals, and I've dug, weeded, hauled, raked, and tilled.  I've got trucker's hands with dirt so embedded because I end up taking off my gardening gloves just to get my hands in the soil. 

I am thankful

I know Fall is here calendar-wise

But the weather is still warm

But weather here changes abruptly.  Last year, we had a 70 degree drop in one day and many, many trees were lost.  My daughter lost an 11 year old plum tree that was magnificent.  So, I've got that in the back of my mind.  

In the next 2 weeks, we'll make collars for the roses and fill them with fallen leaves and mulch to protect them through the long, cold winter.  We'll be more ready.  We won't be perfect because Nature changes course and teaches us new lessons every year....

But this has been a wonderful experience in the garden.  

And I am so grateful.

So, so grateful. 


Friday, July 24, 2015

Arriving in England

Wow, am I behind!!!  I suppose you may want to see a few of the things we saw in our ONE DAY in England!!

We were going to spend a week, but my mom had been diagnosed with lymphoma just a week prior to our trip, so we cancelled all the extended plans but did not cancel the cruise itself (because it was too late).

I still long for a more lengthy stay..... investigating the lake district, the farmlands, and all the hidden treasures of this beautiful country.....

Departing the lovely lady was difficult....a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I shall never forget!!

terminal to exit

Our first stop was a rental car---once acquired, we had 24 hours of fun to be had!! So off we went!

  The adventure to our bed and breakfast was fun....lots of darling, quaint towns to pass through, railroad tracks to cross over, flowers to see!!

Our first sign for Milfor-on-Sea, where our bed and breakfast was located.  This location was perfect because it was quite close to Southampton where the ship came in.

Of course, driving on the left took some thinking!! I was the co-pilot..... always saying..."too far left"  "too far right"  ....

And here it is, The Beach House, where we stayed.  Owned by French folks who served a wonderful breakfast and welcomed us with fresh apples and lovely smiles, we were delighted to get settled.

Here, the view from our upstairs.... across a patio area, gardens, and the sea...

This was our suite---and the bath was glorious.  I don't know why I didn't get a picture of it....extra large tub, fluffy towels....very nice!

We did some reading about this forest, very close to where Morwenna lives!!

It was difficult choosing a place to eat that night....there were so many wonderful choices!  We walked from our inn as well....so nice!!

I LOVE Indian food!!

After a good night's sleep, we packed up and headed to Winchester.  I had seen it briefly on my last visit, but longed for more.  And, it was on the way to the London airport...

First stop, tea for two

Loved the hedges, the thatched roof houses, the chimney stacks....all the green!

And here it is...Winchester Cathedral....Jane Austin, a beloved author, is buried there.

Winchester is home to many, many, many shops and restaurants....it is a delight!

Many tea shops, gift shops, restaurants, and antique stores, too

Look at this gorgeous wall of pansies.... surrounding a doorway

Baskets of flowers were dripping in blooms!

Inside the cathedral...

yes...........a cricket game!!

I love seeing how people shop....this butcher had beautiful meats in his window.
 And, I love the little banners....they were everywhere.  Buntings are just cute, aren't they?

Just an alley between homes.... flowered and lovely

This building looked almost German or Austrian...

Candy store...

Antique store!!

And then....time to get in the car and head to the airport.  Luggage?  Check?  Passports?  Check....  Ready to go?  hmmmmm....please no!

but we did....

Until next time!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Across the Pond with Music, and of course....Susan

Susan has inspired me for YEARS....I'm telling you YEARS!!
But when she wrote, "A Fine Romance," so different from anything else she had ever written....well, I took her inspiration to heart!!  I may have left out a pair of shoes in my suitcase, but that book was coming along with me!! 

So our journey begins.... after a night in NYC, we boarded the QE2

I looked at all the people everywhere, and even though it was typically an 'older' crowd, there were plenty of families, small children, even a baby or two!

 And....here we go!
 Bye-Bye NYC.... and that pool?  Well, I don't know if anyone went in it....but I sure wasn't going in it.... but it was lovely to look at...
 They handed out flags for us to wave as we passed the Statue of Liberty....
 And there it was............the main lobby and these lovely flowers, which I watched being changed mid-crossing..........very elaborate...just beautiful!
 Here's the dining room, just like in her book.............the pages were coming alive!!

 Blessed.............it made getting older not so bad afterall....
 And the statton-island ferry............. sure enough!

Now, we're ready for our first meal............table for two?  YES!!
 The shows were wonderful............

 And this cruise had ONE stop..........so we got our land legs on and headed out.  We didn't buy any of the excursions.......we chose to explore the place ourself: Halifax...it was lovely!
 Halifax is part of Canada....
 There were LOTS of shops and restaurants
 And Cunard himself lived there!!
 The Halifax public gardens were breathtaking............
 Scrumptious, aren't they?

 Wherever there's a moose, there is me.........
 Here, some of the locals dressed up in vintage attire....
 There's Cunard.....he knew what he was doing when he started building ships!

Well, we walked and talked and then it was time to get back onboard and sail away....

Ahhhh, time for afternoon tea!!  (Yes, I'll admit that we did this every day!)  Well, you've got to do something if you're not swimming in the pool, right?
 Cute little teapots with the Cunard logo on each...
 And fantastic deck chairs...............like in the movies!
 See the gal in the red coat?  shhhhh......that's James Taylor's wife...remember how I told you the family was on the crossing and they were going to perform?
 The night before his first performance, he did an hour plus long talk with the cruise director.  It was pretty fascinating.........I learned that the Beatles actually got him started!!
 And, here's the line that people stood in to shake his hand and get his autograph.
                      There he is!!!
 The concert was fabulous..............see the woman in the middle?  That's his wife.  See the young boy with the microphone?  That's his son Henry..........one of his twin sons.  But, they don't look alike.  You'll see him later...........
 Yes, A Fine Romance came with me everywhere............I was telling everyone about it....
 There's another shot of his wife in the middle and his son.
 What an entertainer...........I've listened to him since I was a very young teenager.  Dream come true!
 And this is the ascot ball....and this little girl was such a hit with her darling dress and cute hat!!
 And my book came to the ball, too.................

I had to have it handy in case I needed to talk with someone about it...........or get an autograph or two in it, right?

                                               LIKE HIS SON HENRY, maybe????

Yes, it's blurry, but it's the only one I have of him...... and I didn't want to keep him waiting.  He wanted to run off  (literally, he and his brother and friends ran all over the ship)  What a sweet young man he was....very polite and kind. 

Well, I'll close for now.............Southampton is in the distance....time to pack up...

Stay tuned and I'll tell you a little bit about England....