Sunday, August 17, 2014

Be Back Soon

Spending a few days at a cabin in the mountains with dear friends and their pups.  It's wonderful and relaxing, and we are having a great time!  I will be back in touch soon.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Work Pants

You already know that work for me usually involves something outdoors, where I will need tools, and that I expect to get dirty.  Old camouflage military BDU pants (or 'fatigues' for those of us who are old-time military types) are wonderful for this!  I pick them up at thrift stores when I find them, and I have gathered quite a variety of patterns from different eras and branches of the military.

I just realized that my vintage Desert Storm era pants are missing from the pile.  

Those of you who volunteered at Hollywood Cemetery in March saw me like this:

photo courtesy of Hollywood Cemetery

These pants are comfortable, have lots of pockets to hold everything that I may use while I'm working, and they are practically indestructible.  They also have had the extra added benefit of providing an imposing impression when I have met at least one of our daughter's questionable prospective suitors years ago.  ("Why is your mom wearing camo?")  It got his attention and put him back on his heels from the start.  Not what I intended, but not necessarily a bad thing either.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Not Quite Winnie's Size

Ever since Winnie passed her Therapy Dog test a few months ago, she and I have been volunteering with the PAWS for Reading program.  This morning, we went to YMCA summer camp for the kids there to read to her.  

While we were waiting for the children to arrive, I tried her Italian Greyhound friend Angelo's size extra small therapy dog vest on her.

This is why I had to make Winnie's vest myself, instead of buying one ready made.  (See her vest in THIS post.)

Feels great to be out there volunteering with one of my dogs again.  Emma was a natural born therapy dog, and it will be a miracle if I ever have another dog who loves it as much as she did.  Winnie is still trying to decide whether she likes therapy dog work.  She gets more comfortable each time we go.  As long as I can make it fun for her, we will keep at it.

Hard to look at her and not smile, isn't it?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throwback Thursday ... Our Barn

I will be working back by the barn today, which is about 200 yards behind the house  I'm prepping a small area to extend the English Garden, to plant iris, peonies, and climbing roses.  I will show this to you later when it actually looks like something to share.  For now, let's take a quick Before and After look at our barn beside this garden ... the barn was in sorry shape and was in desperate need of attention when we bought this property in 2002.

Here it is in the beginning, choked by brush and structurally compromised.

Bye bye, Brush.

Initial stage of shoring up the rotten framing.

Working down the length of the building, zig-zagging from one side to the other, replacing beams and posts.

Framing is finished, and new rough-sawn siding is going on.  The old siding is stacked inside.

The beginning of a paint job in the perfect Barn Red.

Finished ... except for a little bit of trim painting!

As I work nearby, I remember the awful condition that our barn was in before and I smile to see the state that it's in now.  (Click HERE if you haven't seen the whole story of the restoration, which is also in a link on the sidebar.)

Gotta go get to work!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Snapshot ... Sleepy Kitty

This is a photo of the scene immediately to my right early this morning.  I was sitting in my usual computer spot at one end of the bar counter that separates our kitchen and dining room, and Maggie was snoozing on the other end ... comfortably settled in on top of my pad of graph paper that has the sketch of the new Rose Field design that I have been working on.

Cats can tell the difference between the important papers and the everyday, run of the mill papers.  It's a gift that they have, I guess.

Let's not talk about the fact that she probably shouldn't be on the counter at all.  

I don't have an outdoor cat anymore.  (all three of our cats are strictly indoor kitties.)  This is as close as I get to having the company of a cat while I work ... not that much work is getting done since she's sleeping on my pad.

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

Friday, August 1, 2014

What's Happening Back in the English Garden?

Last time I showed you the English Garden back by our barn, it was April and I had just finished ridding it of weeds, pruning winter damaged canes from the roses, and putting down landscape fabric and a thick layer of mulch.  As time has passed since then, I have kept up with the few weeds that sprouted (mostly evil Nutsedge, which can use its little needle-like tip to sprout right through landscape fabric) and I am keeping to my twice-monthly schedule of spraying fungicide.  With few weeds and little blackspot, the roses, and the garden in general, look really, really good.

This post is full of links.  Highlighted text will take you to either a Help Me Find page with info and photos of a rose or to one of my former posts.

A few of my smaller roses in this garden were killed by the winter wind and cold temperatures.  These are roses that were already struggling as we went into winter, without the root mass like the larger, stronger roses had to store energy and from which to sprout back in the spring ... I'm not surprised that these didn't survive.  Earlier this week, I sifted through my Pot Ghetto, to find likely candidates to fill the spaces.

This garden was designed to contain my collection of David Austin roses, most of which are fairly rare and not easily available.  I have no Austins left in pots (which is a good thing), so I decided to mix in some Noisettes.  There were seven Noisettes in the Pot Ghetto, and only four dead roses in this garden ... with a little bit of rearranging, I made them all fit.

The roses in the photo above are:
1.  "Frazer's Pink Musk"
2.  "Joyce's Unknown Noisette"
3.  unknown Noisette, faded tag
4.  Yellow Seedling, cut back and transplanted from the Rose Field last week 
5.  'Lilian Austin', existing.
6.  Damson tree, replacing the pomegranate that died over the winter.

I moved 'Abraham Darby' from his former location in front of #2 and #3, above, to a spot across the aisle that was vacated last year when 'Sweet Juliet' failed to survive her transplant from a friend's garden.

Here is a view from the other direction:
1.  "Mine Road Noisette"
2.  'The Squire', existing, which is very prone to blackspot and has never before had leaves like this in July.
3.  another mystery Noisette who lost its tag.
4.  "Hollywood Pink Cluster"
5.  'Wildeve', existing.
6.  unknown Noisette, also shown in the first photo.
7.  "Joyce's Unknown Noisette"
8.  "Frazer's Pink Musk"
9.  "Moulton Noisette"
10.  'Morning Mist' which was the subject of THIS post about the severe damage that occurred in this garden last winter.

I moved 'Pretty Jessica', which was a small rose in a large spot, and planted "Moulton Noisette" there instead.

It was a LONG morning's worth of work, but what a great accomplishment!  Moved two roses, planted seven new ones, and this garden is coming along beautifully.  It looks a bit threadbare right now, since the new roses are so small and most of the existing ones are awkward and weird as they recover from last winter.

Speaking of planting:  Most folks are under the impression that we should only plant roses in the spring ... not so, my friends.  I plant potted roses any time during the year that the soil is workable (meaning not frozen or waterlogged).  As long as you have the time to keep an eye on the new ones and make sure that they are kept watered, go ahead and buy those roses and plant them!  (summer and fall are great for sales, too)

In case you didn't see them, or need a reminder, these posts from April will show you what I did to whip this garden back into shape:
Part One
Part Two
The Finale

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Feet

Life is too short to wear boring shoes, and these lovelies are the latest additions to my collection ...

These came from Journeys at the mall.  If you want a pair of your own and you can't find them in a store, order them online.  They run a little bit big ... size 10 shoes fit my size 11 feet perfectly.

Those of you who are planning to attend the Heritage Rose Foundation conference in New Orleans in November will get to see them in person.  (November 13-16, details and registration info to come soon.  Mark your calendars.)

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