Thursday, May 31, 2012

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

A friend of ours, Tom Smith, has a song he sings with the lyrics "Inch by Inch, row by row, it's fun to watch your garden grow......all you need is a rake and a hoe, and a piece of fertile ground...."

He's absolutely's fun to watch your garden grow!!

Impatiens my daughter gave me for Mother's Day.....with Hubby's American Flag in the background.
Note the rock wall.   It used to be a fence, which Hubby pulled down, then he gathered the rocks one-by-one to make the fence.   Every day he came home with half a dozen rocks in the backseat of his car!

The front yard only gets morning sun, so it's Impatiens and Pansies in the front garden.

My goal is to have gardens that are all Perennials, so I won't have to buy flowers every year.  These are called "Dead Nettles" and you can just begin to see the purple flower at the top of the plant.
The garden has another variety as well, which looks like it's going to have pink flowers.

My son Nick got me a Hydrangea for Mother's Day.  We put this in the front of the house by the porch steps, taking the place of a huge evergreen shrub.  Hubby put up the lattice to cover the bottom of the porch.

The rose bush I bought at the garden store is a climber.....we do want to put a trellis behind it.  It's almost ready to blossom...the flowers should be peachy colored.   We also found a rose bush hiding against a fence in the backyard, and I transplanted it to the front.  That one is a climber as well and looks like it will have red flowers.

I'm very proud of the front garden.  There were three huge Rhododendrons that covered the front window and now the garden looks like this.

There is one Rhododendron left on the back corner of the house.  I love the fushcia colored flowers.  Most of the blossoms have passed, but this one is hanging on.

Up against the fence in the backyard is a wild mess of miscellaneous plants.   I don't know what this one is called, but it's pretty and it covers a rock, so we'll leave it there.

These flowers are covering the shrubs and fence along the driveway.  Again, I don't know what they are, but they're pretty so they stay.

Hiding along that fence are some iris, another rose bush, some raspberry vines, etc.   I'll be going through all these and deciding what stays, what goes, and what gets transplanted elsewhere.

Finally, Hubby planted a vegetable garden at the end of the backyard.  The soil is wonderful and it stays pretty moist back there.  My only fear is that there won't be enough sun.  We'll see how the veggie garden goes this year and if we have to, we'll move it next year to a sunnier spot.

Green Beans



It's actually coming up faster than I thought.

What a fun summer it's going to be watching all our hard work come to fruition.  There'll be much more garden sown in weeks, months, and years to come.   But as the saying goes....."Inch by inch, row by row........."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Cookout

Today Hubby and I hosted our first Memorial Day cookout.  I'm hoping it's going to be the first ANNUAL cookout.   It was great that my family came over and we had such a wonderful time.

The weather was skies.....75 degrees....light breeze.  

Everyone brought lawn chairs and their own drinks, and we provided all the food, and the fun! 

My brother's grandchildren were coming, so we got a little wading pool and it was the perfect thing to keep them busy all day!

It was such a wonderful experience to host a party such as this.  It's what Hubby and I wished for all the time we were living in our tiny condo and yearning for a big backyard to host our families.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


On Sunday of our lost weekend, Hubby and I headed up to the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  This is a 32 mile winding road leading from Lincoln, NH to Conway, NH.   It's one of the prettiest roads in the state.  It's part of a State Park, so there's no stores, no gas stations, just the natural beauty of New Hampshire. 

The beauty of the White Mountains behind us

The river at the bottom of Sabbaday Falls

I got to put my tootsies cold!

Sabbaday Falls

Hubby carefully checks out the water temperature.  He did take of his shoes and roll up his pants when we got to the lower falls, and he stuck his feet in the Swift River.

Nothing says summer like eating a picnic lunch on an old wooden picnic table in the middle of the woods.

We came upon this flower.  Anyone know what it is?

We also went to the Lower Falls and climbed on rocks and enjoyed wading in the water.  What a beautiful day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yard Work!

Since our trip to Montreal was cancelled, we unexpectedly had a three-day weekend free.  That doesn't happen very often, since I often work on Saturday mornings.    Hubby very graciously allowed me to dictate what we did on Friday, since I was still somewhat of a raving lunatic about the missing passports.  I, of course, chose the beach.

In an effort at fairness, I allowed Hubby to decide what we should do on Saturday.  He chose - insanely - yard work!

Now, I have to say I was happy that he was finally going to remove the stumps from the rhododendron bushes in our front yard.  The rhododendrons were way too big:

They covered the front windows, and frankly, it looked like a jungle.  So Hubby cut them back for me:

And then it started raining, and it rained for two weeks, and we were busy on the weekends, etc, etc, etc.    So, before Hubby would be allowed to put in his veggie garden, he had to take out the stumps.

I then had the fun of going out and purchasing new things to put in the garden.  I decided not to try to put an English Garden in the front of the house, since I think it's too shady.   So I chose a mixture of perennial shrubs and some annual flowers.   Hopefully, as the years go on, I will fill the garden with perennials so I won't have to keep replanting.   For now, the garden looks like this:

It obviously needs more work.  The garden is smaller than what was there, so I need to make an edging and then sow some grass seed in front.  Also, we intend to put two trellises behind the rose bush, and add some morning glory to balance out the one rose bush. 

Finally, Hubby was allowed to go out back and work on his vegetable garden:

He planted almost everything from seed - green beans

Pumpkins, cantelope, squash, zucchini

And some tomato plants.

His reward at the end of the day:   A cold beer, a Kool Pop,  and a fire in the fire pit

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gotta Love my Hubby

I'm so happy my Hubby is the most understanding man in the world.   He sure knows how to make me feel better when I'm sad or disappointed.   I love the ocean, so when things weren't going so well yesterday, he took me to the beach.

We stopped first at the Mason-Hartley Reservation just before York.  A beautiful place with a great beach.  Then we drove past Long Beach in York and stopped at Nubble Lighthouse.  There's a little ice cream store there where we had a little snack while sitting watching the ocean.  Sigh..........can you just feel the relaxation seeping in?

We continued on to one of our favorite places....The Marginal Way in Ogunquit, ME.

He's such a sweetie, isn't he?

After walking along the ocean and back, we stopped in Kittery and used the $25 gift certificate for Reebok that  I won at work  and bought me some sandals.  And finished off our evening with scallops and haddock at Bob's Clam Shack!

The sign on this house says it all~

Friday, May 18, 2012


So....this weekend we were supposed to be in Montreal to watch my daughter play football.  We like to make this excursion into a short vacation, and this year was no exception.  

We had lots of plans.   We'd go to the House of Jazz Restaurant we love so much.  We got tickets to see Straight No Chaser at the Place des Arts.    We would visit Hubby's favorite record store.  We would stop at a Maple Sugar Shack restaurant on the way home.   It was a very much anticipated trip.

And then we hit a roadblock.   I lost our passports.  They have simply vanished.   They're not where I usually keep them, and they're not anywhere else in the entire house.  I know, because Hubby and I scoured the house from top to bottom.   And it wasn't just the passports.  It was the whole envelope containing our birth certificates and marriage license as well.  

After going absolutely buggy-insane with frustration and disappointment, I  had no choice but to accept the unacceptable.  We are not going to Montreal.  And we have to move fast to replace the lost documents in time for our trip to Niagara Falls in three weeks.

A local musician and friend, Tom Smith, has a wonderful song on his new CD.  It's all about how his life is like following a GPS, and many times he has to "recalculate".    The essence of the lyrics say, "when life puts a roadblock in your way, simply recalculate, turn right and move on." 

And that's what we did.  After getting over my initial upset, Hubby and I moved on.  This morning we spent running around, from Lowell to Methuen to Salem  - to get everything we needed to apply for new passports.   And then we went to the beach.

Because when I took the time to think about it, the reason I was so disappointed was that I didn't really  need a vacation in Montreal.....I just needed a vacation.  I needed some time away from regular life.  I needed some alone time with my Hubby.

And thankfully, Hubby understands that.  We spent the day together at the beach.  Tomorrow I've agreed to spend the day at home working together on our yard.  And Sunday we'll spend the day together in the White Mountains. 

Sometimes, the unexpected detour can work out just as well.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day

Mother's Day has always been a family day.   I'd pack up the kids and go to my Mom's where everyone else in the family had gathered, and we'd honor the woman who did such a good job raising us.

When Mom passed away two years ago, the bottom kind of fell out of the celebration.  The first year, I didn't want to have anything to do with that day.   I was still feeling the pain of losing my Mom, and I wasn't in the mood to celebrate.   Thankfully,  my Hubby completely understood and took me away for the day.   We went to an open house at a winery, then drove to the beach  (my refuge) and enjoyed the day together.

This year I felt the need to embrace my children on Mother's Day.  So I invited my kids over for a little cookout.  It was just my kids, my Hubby and my grand-daughter.  We don't often have the chance to get together just our little family.   To me, it was a very simple, but very lovely day.

We sat in the yard - our beautiful new backyard - and chatted........

We had a little BBQ......had a little fun..........

It was a beautiful afternoon....a joy and a pleasure to be outside, in our own backyard, with our BBQ grill going - and spending time with my wonderful kids and grand-daughter.

A perfect Mother's Day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What's the Decision Going to Be?

Each new project for our house puts me in a dilemma of decision-making.  Picking out the bedroom wall color drove me crazy.  It just seemed like a huge decision.   Turns out, we picked a color, I didn't like it, so we went out and picked out a different color.   (Anyone need a full can of green paint?)

Now we're turning our time and energy to the outside of the house.   Jamie is painting our trim a nice cream color.  Tag has cleaned out a big section of the backyard that was covered in brush.  Hopefully we'll be able to grow a small vegetable garden there.

In the front of the house, we cut down three huge rhododendron bushes.  They were too big, unkempt and they covered our front living room windows.   Now for the big decision:

What do we put in their place?

I want something pretty, colorful from spring to fall,  and easy to maintain.  That means perrenials.   One problem is that the house faces east, so we get some morning sun, and then the area where the flowers would be is shady the rest of the day. 

I've always loved an "English Garden" with tall, loose flowers planted sort of willy-nilly and slightly unkempt looking.   But I don't know if there are enough colorful perrenial flowers that like shade to make a garden like that.

My other choice is small shrubs interspersed with flowers and bulbs.   I either have to go one way or the other.  I can't do some tall, loose flowers and some shrubs.   But which way should I go?  I supposed if it doesn't work out, I can do like I did with the bedroom wall paint and change my mind later.  But I'd really like to get it done right the first time, so I can sit back on my front porch and admire my lovely garden.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So Many Places to Go, Things to See

Working at a travel agency has its up-side and its down-side.   On the up-side, I get to investigate and plan all kinds of different vacations for people.  On the down-side, I have to plan all kinds of different vacations for OTHER people.

Hubby and I like to travel.  It's fun to see new places and meet new people.   At work, I do "auto travel" which means, of course, that all the vacations I help plan are in the United States.   I like that.  Because 1) I think everyone should see the USA before they venture into other countries, and 2)  travel in the USA is all Hubby and I can afford right now, so planning vacations for other people gives me some great ideas.

A lot of the places I want to see are still on our "bucket list".   Like the west coast....San Francisco, Seattle, the coastal route along the state of California, all the National Parks.    We'd also like to drive all the way down the Blue Ridge Parkway to Nashville, TN.   Those trips are  going to take some time and money, neither of which we have a lot of right now.  But eventually, I hope to cross some of those things off our list.

In the meantime, Hubby and I have some pretty nice vacations planned for this summer.  In a couple of weeks we'll be heading once again to Montreal.  We actually go there to watch Jamie play football, but it's been a great opportunity to visit a new city.  This will be our fourth time there, so we're starting to feel comfortable there.  I know we'll enjoy it.

Our "big" vacation this year is Niagara Falls.  We'll be staying on the Canadian side of the falls.  (All right, before you say anything, I know both Montreal and Ontario are NOT part of the USA......but they are close enough that I feel I can say we're still traveling in our own country.)  

Niagara Falls is someplace we've never been before.  Of course I've done tons of research on it, both for customers and now for myself.   I think we're going to have a wonderful time checking out some brand new sites.

We'll also be going into Boston for a weekend.  Hubby got me tickets to see Neil Diamond in concert at the Boston Garden, so I'm hoping we'll stay overnight for the weekend.   Of course we've been to Boston tons of time, but there's so much to see and do, we'll still be able to do some "sight-seeing".

And finally, this year I finally got us tickets to see the Boston Pops at Tanglewood.   Neither of us have been there, and we're very much looking forward to it.   We've been out to the Western part of Massachusetts so we are familiar with the area, but I know we'll find lots to see and do there as well.

And there you have it.  Our vacation plans.  I know we'll find something fun to do in the Fall as well.  I'll look forward to investigating and planning something new and exciting for us to do.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Daughter Has No Fear

One of the things that needed to be done on the house is to paint the outside trim.  The house itself is vinyl sided, but the trim is wood.  And it is all discolored and looks terrible.   Hubby is not fond of heights, and even less fond of ladders, so I posted on Facebook, "Does anyone know anyone who could paint our trim - inexpensively".  

Daughter Jamie replied, "I'll do it."   Needless to say, I'm a bit nervous about her climbing a ladder to the second floor, but she's a good athlete and quite agile, so I figured I'd give her a chance.   We negotiated a barter in the form of her doing the painting in exchange for me buying a kayak, and the deal was sealed.

To avoid having to go too high on the ladder, she climbed up into the attic to get the trim on that little cupola on the top, then climbed out a bedroom window to stand on the porch roof and get the part about that.

 Here in the front, she did the left half, which is above the porch roof...........

but couldn't do the right half because of huge Rhododendron bushes in the way.

Now.....we were planning on taking them out anway.  We don't like the way they block the front windows.  But we were going to wait until they had blossomed before we did so.   Unfortunately, I wanted the trim painting completed, so they had to go.

Yea, it looks bad now, but I plan to put in a nice flower garden, which should beautify it sufficiently.  It is a very shady spot, so I'd like to find perennials that do well in the shade.  Any ideas?