Friday, May 20, 2011


Its been a frustrating spring in a lot of the country and we here in the Pacific Northwest are no exception.  I'm used to having some open weather in the winter and reasonably nice spring weather in which to clean up and get my garden going.  No such luck this year.  But still, there are some lovely things going on in my garden, if you don't trip over the weeds.  So, come along for a quick little tour.

This is the view from our back yard into our lower pasture .... hello fellas.  They are enjoying the Oregon  green just like the rest of us.

Don't you just love Exebury azaleas?  This little area is a bird hangout complete with a feeder and a bird bath (which you can't see).

I lovingly refer to her as 'Our Lady of the Septic Tank' because living out in the country, we have one, and its important to know where the lid/access is in case there is ever a problem.  And, believe me, you can't live in the same house for over 20 years without occasionally having said problem.

These are dwarf iris .... sooooo, cute!  They are almost done and the standard irises are coming on (albeit late this year).  This next one is a Beverly Sills and when it blooms it is the most exquisite apricot color.  I have masses of them so that at one point I had to throw them away as I could not get any takers.

Then, there are the other pretty flowers that either spread in masses like my Lilies of the Valley or lavender.  I love the French and Spanish lavenders with their little helicopter wings on top.

And, this is a picture of a Japanese Maple I put into a shady area about two years ago.  It is called 'Cinnamon Bark' and so I ran with that and planted heuchera in varieties that picked up that warm tone.  When this shade garden really gets going, there is some lovely complimentary astilbe and ferns in the mix.

And finally, here is a close up of the montana clematis growing on my arbor.  It is so beautiful and massive that its worth the pain of having to regularly cut it back to keep it from bringing down the entire structure.

Thank you for coming along on my little tour.  I'll try to keep posting the various stages of my garden.  My roses are in bud but have not bloomed.  Same for the peonies.  And, the weeds are as high as an elephant's eye so I won't be doing any sweeping photos until that mess is cleaned up.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up

I live in the country ... between two very small towns.  Now, our house is not particularly isolated, there being houses just down the road from us on both sides but, we look across the road to miles of farm fields and behind us ... the same.  The road we live on is a fairly busy one, being the only way between points A and B.  This big, old house was built on the site of the original house on the property and I'm quite sure that  there was very little traffic early on.  Things have changed and this road is busy and the house is really too close to the road for my taste but, when we scored this monolith back in the early '80s Oregon was in a recession and it was a steal ... and I am not kidding .... 4,000 sq. ft. on 25 acres for $120,000.  What?  So, we bought this money pit and began to raise a family.

But, I digress.  The subject I'm going to talk about is this busy road out front.  Because of the traffic and our high profile close to the road, we might as well have a sign on our house that says, "GOT PROBLEMS?  STOP HERE"  We have had everything from the folks who are lost and looking for an address to teenage joy riders whipping around our paved, circular drive, and on to various serious incidents with auto accidents, etc.  We actually had a drunk driver leave the road at 100 mph and hit one of our outbuildings thus killing one of her passengers, paralyzing another and badly injuring herself.  That one was by far the worst and very traumatizing to my young children.  We've heard the screaming when teenagers ran off the road, we've had very sketchy people come to the door wanting to use our phone and well, you get the picture.

So, last night at 10 p.m. when the doorbell rang and no car had pulled into the drive, my husband and I looked at each other with that 'uh oh' look.  (Paranoid much ... why yes we are.)  And, this particular incident certainly didn't disappoint in the weirdness department.  Although, having said that, I'd rather have toddled off to bed without it.  Alright, so back to the story.  A hysterical woman was at our door, looking a little worse for wear and soaking wet from walking in the rain.  She whispered (yes whispered) "Call 911, he's trying to kill me."  Are the hairs on the back of your neck standing up because mine were?  I grabbed my phone and as my husband talked with her I dialed the police.  I was asked about her mental state .... um hysterical, her name ... which we finally got out of her, where she'd come from, etc. and then I was told it would be awhile as they didn't have anyone available.  WHAT?  For all we knew, some armed psycho was right behind her.  I told my hubby to go ask her if this guy she was so afraid of had a weapon and she said no so, whew.  She would not come inside, was hyperventilating and then rambling.  She sat on the porch while we waited for the police.  And then, after all that, she wasn't there.  That's right, she took off.  We didn't know which direction as it is very dark out here and it was raining.  The police finally came and said they would look for her and that they were going to the address she had claimed to have come from.  And that folks, is all we know.  I know, right?  Nothing like not getting to hear the end of a story.

I mean .... I really, really  could not make this stuff up.  And to think, people think it is quiet out in the country.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Little Things

I have been thinking a lot lately about how overwhelming life can sometimes be.  And, that made me wonder if life is truly more complicated these days or if we complicate our own lives with being overly connected.  We are bombarded daily with world and local news that is usually negative and the result of this is that we often feel disillusioned at best and helpless at worst.  Also, with the advent of the cell phone and texting, we are never out of touch and people tend to expect instant gratification when they text.  It can be the equivalent of a toddler screaming "ME, ME, ME."  Add to that all of the manufactured drama via Facebook and Twitter and it can just get to be too much.  But, we do it to ourselves people.  We can turn off these electronic devices .... right?  I mean, when you think of what makes you happy, is it television, your phone, Facebook?  Probably not.  So, I keep thinking of all of the relatively simple things that make my life a little better ... a little happier.

I love a good mocha.  Do I need this ... no.  But, its a lot of happy in a little cup.

I like color.  I like the way all of the various greens of spring in Oregon play off each other in the sunlight .... or really, in any light.  It is glorious and there is no price for looking.

I love my flip flops when the weather is nice.  Slip them on and off you go ... not much money but, happy feet.  (A good pedi, although slightly spendy, can't hurt either).

I love my bed .... crawling into it and reading at the end of the day or coming home to it after a trip.  That is why I take the time to make it nice.   There is nothing like the smell and feel of nice clean sheets over a cushy mattress.

I love hearing one of my kids coming through the backdoor for an unexpected visit.  They yell, 'Hi Mom' and, yes, my eyes light up.  Their visits are special not only because they are my kids but because they are fun people to be around.

I love sitting with a good friend(s) over coffee or a glass of wine.  We can talk for hours, laugh and catch up and it is some of the best time in my week.  (I turn off my phone for these get togethers by the way.)

Although I could go on and on about the simple pleasures of my life, the common thread here is that not a single 'little' thing that brings happiness to my life depends on electronic gadgets.  Its the down time that makes life pleasurable, that gives us time to renew and refresh our spirits and, maybe most importantly, to think without the constant input from the rest of the world.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the convenience of these things when I need them but, I'm hoping that the pendulum will finally swing back to a time that we are in control of our use of these devices and not the other way around.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

No News Is Good News

I've been rather remiss lately about blogging.  There are a few reasons for that.  Not much has been happening ... life has just been going along semi-smoothly (knock on wood).  I have a few projects in the works but, unfortunately, the weather has not been entirely cooperative.  Oh, we've had some pretty days but, I need some consistently dry days so that I can do some outside painting.  PLEASE!  We get a day or two and then it is back to raining.  Definitely not enough time for wood to dry out.  I now find my mind turning back to some indoor projects that are inspired by reading so many wonderfully creative blogs.  I have a great old side table that is so interesting looking but, its finish is dark and not in good shape.  I'm beginning to think that it would look awesome in a distressed vintage white.  I am also in the process of redoing my front porch.  I got as far as I could without painting weather.   So, let it suffice to say that I have a cameral full of 'before shots' and I need the time and weather to get to the 'after' phase.

On another note, our family is into the two month countdown for our second wedding of 2011.  This has proven to be a little less stressful as mother of the groom rather than the bride.  Plus, my son's future mother-in-law has this thing firmly in hand and that is comforting.  I think I mostly just get to enjoy the event.  And, I feel so very lucky that our kids have chosen partners that are truly wonderful people and fit so well with our family.  It makes the celebrations of their marriages so joyous.  Busy, busy summer .... coming right up.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Interrupt This Blog ....

Well, a moment in history occurred today that seems at first glance to be a joyous occasion.  Osama Bin Laden was killed today and the general mood of U.S. citizens seems to be glee ... and relief.  After all, this man orchestrated mass murder.  Thousands of innocent people died because of this man's hatred turned to pure evil.  I do feel relief ... I think that his death sends a clear message to terrorists that this country will never rest when it comes to avenging the death of our innocent citizens.  And then, I have all of these other feelings.

I remember that it was my daughter's very first week of high school when the terrible events of 9/11 occurred.  Her experience (along with that of every other child in the country) was forever changed.  Our world became a lot less innocent.  We have had to inconvenience ourselves in countless ways for the hatred of a relatively small group of people.  The world is a whole lot scarier because of Bin Laden and the horrific devastation he instigated.  I am pretty angry about that.  I think most Americans are and so they react to his death with something between joy and pride and relief.

What goes so terribly wrong in an individual's life that he will go down a path of wreaking havoc in the world?  Who are the people who are so weak-willed that they will follow such a man.  Those are questions that would take volumes to dissect and answer ... if anyone truly could.   But, here is the thing that keeps creeping into my mind .... How would it feel to be someone so despised that millions of people felt joy at your death?  I mean, I know he's feeling nothing now but, he must have known he was a dead man walking.  He's lived in hiding for years.  It is just beyond comprehension.

So, although it goes against everything I have ever been taught or intuitively felt to celebrate a death, I do feel glad that he is dead.  I'm glad that he cannot be the figurehead for a poisoness organization.  I'm glad that he cannot personally spread his brand of hatred.  I'm glad that the families of those killed on 9/11 can feel a tiny bit of closure.  His death is the justice he deserved and so, yes, I'm glad that he is dead.