"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday Tea In The Garden ~ Blue Bottle Herb Garden


Summer is here and it appears the extreme heat we're experiencing is here to stay until fall. I have been out working in my gardens early in the morning . I did not have tea in the garden, instead I had my morning coffee loaded with real cream. I remembered my garden hat too. I have suffered heat sickness far too many times in my life to risk being miserable simply because I forgot my hat.
 The morning is a good time in the herb garden. I have a bright blue umbrella to shade me and so much to watch as I sip coffee, tea, or cold beverages. My husband & I often read there together in the early evenings.
 I hung a little pocket of sedums on one of the blue bottle trees.
 The sage , lovage, and oregano are growing and ready to pick for yummy summer meals.
 My chives , transplants from my husband's father's garden many years ago, needed pruning. I've cleaned and chopped the prunings up for the freezer to plop into stews and soups later. The chives will grow up again soon for more fresh cuttings.
 This old chair sits at one of the gates to the garden and opens up into wet land where wildlife seems to thrive. Coyotes and raccoons also love to use this area as access to our poultry and livestock.
 Red squirrel helping herself to the sunflower seeds from the feeder we keep full. She appears to be a nursing mama and was not at all afraid of me. She ate seeds as I watered my herbs within a few feet of her.
 A little brown bunny ate herbs and fallen birdseed while I sipped my coffee. She was not afraid of me either.

" I myself have a coffee memory . It works best when fed large quantities of freshly roasted and ground caffeine. Early in the morning it's the only way it works at all. " A.J. Orde
 You might enjoy sipping your tea or coffee while visiting Judith *'s  Lavender Cottage Garden and for an enchanting armchair trip to England check out Nib's End *. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Good Father

"A good father is one of the most unsung , unpraised, unnoticed , and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society." Billy Graham
 
Happy Father's Day to you Jim, father of our children, grandfather to their children. You're an amazing father, grandfather, and husband to me ! I love you.
 
* Picture is of my husband many years ago with our first-born child, our daughter.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thursday Tea in The Garden ~ My weekly garden journal.

 It has been an unseasonably hot and rain free spring , we're not used to so little rain and so much heat this early in the year in the Pacific Northwest. Our gardens are not either. The grapes are already out of control and there are many clusters of growing and ripening grapes on the vines.
 Our kiwi vines are finally producing shade over their arbor and we now have a place to sit in the sun in our large front yard without need of a sun umbrella. Maybe next year the kiwi will produce fruit .
 A red rose we planted almost 20 years ago blooms prolifically in spite of neglect. She sits in a hot dry space against the southern exposure of our house. She has to be watered by hose because the rain rarely falls on her . She is a survivor. I think these are the best kinds of roses ! I am sure if I dig around her base I'll find the metal tag proclaiming her pedigree. She is sweetly fragrant and reminds me of the high hopes we had for a big rose garden when we built our home and dug the first flower beds.
 A pink rugosa has taken over a fence line and we work hard to prevent this bush from strangling a nearby hydrangea. Who knew when we planted both tiny bushes they would grow so large ? ( not us .)
 White rugosa bushes fill a whole corner and gateway in our herb garden, our Blue Bottle Garden. The rugosas fill our property with their sweet scent and attract many hummingbirds and honeybees. Mallow (left ) and Lady's Mantle grow under the rugosa on either side.
 My husband's veggie garden also abounds with strawberries and raspberries. Look at how high most of his veggie beds are ! The strawberry beds are front left....
 ...and guess what's for dessert ! Whipping cream is chilling in the fridge.
 There are a lot of snap peas but they rarely make it to the stir fry pot because I eat most of them as I pick them , and snack on them raw at night. I also add them raw to salads. They're sweet and crisp.
Tea in the garden is ICED peach tea , refreshing after a day of gardening.
 
Although this is not a linky party I think you'll thoroughly enjoy visiting these two gardening bloggers ( who've inspired me ! ) and seeing what's going on in their gardens . Judith * at Lavender Cottage and Flower Lady Lorraine * at Flower Lady's Musings. I hope you're taking time to sip some tea and enjoy the flowers this summer even if your summer does get too busy,is too hot, and seems too much work . There's always time for tea !

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Good Neighbors Matter !

 This is the view outside our trailer parked at our son's home in eastern Washington. His neighbors are a Mennonite family . When our son & his wife first moved into their home this farm next door was run down and sad. A severe winter storm a few years ago left so much freezing snow on this barn roof it collapsed. The previous family abandoned the farm and it seemed doomed to fall apart. It was definitely an eyesore.

Then a good thing happened, the farm was bought by Mennonites and their whole community seemed to come together to literally raise the roofs of not only the barns but the houses you cannot see in the pictures. Fences were repaired , out- buildings were made to house well kept farm equipment. Everything about this farm tells you this family cares about their farm, their family, their community, their animals, and God .
 I loved watching the sheep as I drank my morning coffee. ( This is the view from the window over the dining table.) You cannot see most of the lambs because the rich grass is so high and lush and they are still small. When the sheep grazed though you could spot the little lambs jumping , kind of looking like popcorn popping...jump, jump, boing boing boing ! So much fun to watch.
 I think this family has about 10 acres just in pasture ! (I am so jealous. ) The sheep would sometimes run from end to end as I watched them, and they'd be snatching big hunks of the grass in their mouths as they ran. If you know even a little about growing hay or keeping nutritious pastures, you know there is a lot of hard work invested in this lush patch of green, and all to feed a flock of sheep. This family also has hay fields, and they hay for many in the community.

I thought long about the kind of neighbors that consider their community and their neighbors in their daily lives. People who live honorably as they tend their homes knowing that being good neighbors DOES matter. People who really do sacrifice self-interest in order to do what is right. I do not know this family personally, but our son and the surrounding neighbors do, and the Mennonite family seem to practice what they preach , they have a good reputation for being hard workers, honest people . Their farm & flocks show this.
The back end of the pasture was just as lush as the rest of it. I think this has to be the most perfect life on earth a sheep can have. Endless green grass, well-kept strong fences protecting the sheep from the many predators lurking in the hills nearby ,shepherds that tend them as they ought. "The Lord is my shepherd , I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." Psalm 23:1-3

Good neighbors are a blessing, often rare , and do matter . A lot !

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Over The Mountains & Far Away ~ Family Time

 My husband has worked so hard for so many years it is good to see him enjoying time away with our sons and their families .
We journeyed over the mountains and far away to be with our sons and their families. We have a home there where we will re-locate within the next 2 years, but until then we visit when we're able. This past week we were there visiting and we also went fishing. This is a picture of Diamond Lake where we went fishing. We LOVE to fish....
...especially when we're catching fish ! Look at this stringer full of Rainbow trout my husband and youngest son are holding ( it was heavy ).We all limited out and later on the same day we had a fish fry. Enough fried fish for everyone to have a whole fish. So delicious.
Our sons' families ( including 7 of our grandchildren ) enjoyed the fried fish and all the goodies that went along with the meal. We enjoyed the company of our sons and their families.

Yes, over the mountains & far away holds our hearts and God willing, will soon be the place we live until we die. This pic is of a few of our grandchildren watching one of their cousins ride our youngest son's ( their uncle ) horse. So many good times, so many good memories, so many hopes and dreams over the mountains and far away.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Snippets

 Look at this flower blooming in an old bucket I hung over a chicken pen ! I planted bulbs in it 2 years ago and this is the first year it has bloomed. I can't remember the name of the vine but love the brilliant pink . There are even more blooms on it now and the blooms are lasting a long time.
 I also planted sedums and Kenilworth ivy in the bucket. Easy keepers and the bucket of green and blooms adds splashes of color that make me happy as I tend and watch my chickens.

 We have a pair of bullfrogs residing at pond's edge. They sun themselves in the same spots every day. When I go down to the pond the female ( shown here ) and the male leap into the pond , swim a few feet, then pop up to watch me. If I sit down and stay quiet both of them climb back to their original spots in the sun. This bullfrog is at least 12 inches from nose to back toes. I should give her a name, what do you think ?
 I have an African Violet that has been with me for years. I don't seem to be able to kill my African Violets and I attribute this to neglect. This AV is huge and doesn't look real because it is so huge. The picture doesn't do it justice for scale , but that is a large clay pot it is planted in. After many years the violet began moving itself out of the pot it came in and I relented and bought potting soil and a new pot just for this plant. Looks like I've been rewarded for my good deed.
 Our oldest granddaughter , daughter of our oldest son , was in Seattle singing with her high school choir at the Emerald City Choral Festival at St. Lukes Cathedral. Seattle is only about an hour or so away from Cedar Pond so we were able to see her there.What a treat to hear her sing with her high school choir and also hear amazing vocals from many other high school choirs , plus a few famous performers too. We only had minutes to visit with her as her choir hopped back in the bus and headed back home ( 5 hours away ) shortly after the performance. We loaded her down with chocolate chip cookies, flowers, hugs and kisses, before she got into the bus for home. I love this picture ( above ) of our granddaughter with my husband.
Mother's Day was so much fun for me. I got to go fishing , one of my favorite things to do , with our daughter. I only caught one fish but it was a big one. My husband caught his limit, but my fish was the biggest , so we all had a good time and I had freshly caught Rainbow trout cooked by my husband for dinner that night.

It's been a busy few weeks and any spare time is spent watering and tending our gardens. We also try to spend as much time as possible with our family and quickly growing up grandchildren. Seems lately when I sit down to read & write blogs I usually feel like my time would be better spent getting a good night's sleep ( really, when I find I have fallen asleep while blogging I know it is past bed time ! ). How about you ? Is this a busy time of the year for you ?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Remember

 Memorial Day, a time to remember and honor the many men and women who lost their lives in military service to our country over the years. I come from a military family and have many family members who've served in the military. Some still do. We are fortunate to have not lost any of them to death in warfare even though so many have fought in wars. My heart hurts for those families who have. It is a tragedy when a serviceman or woman loses his /her life, but the family left behind has suffered a great loss too. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives & children will live the rest of their lives without someone they love. There really aren't words adequate to express their loss. Remember, just remember them, and pray for the families left behind.
 "Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand , the spines of others are often stiffened." Billy Graham
 " As we express our gratitude we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words , but to live by them. " Joseph Campbell
" The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them , glory and danger alike , and yet notwithstanding , go out to meet it. " Thocydides