Friday, June 29, 2012

Might as Well by Walking on the Sun

Oh lawd y'all it is HOTTTT!  Today it was 106,  I didn't even know it could get that hot here!
9:00 am - 95 and climbing and not a cloud in sight
I was chatting with the BDJ earlier lamenting the hot weather.  He had no sympathy for me since he deals with these temps for months out there in Hot Vegas.  I guess I know how he feels now.

 Last summer (his first summer in Vegas) he would tell us about the temperatures and we would toss out "well at least its a dry heat" and he set us straight more than once saying "105+ is hot......dry or not it is like walking around in your dryer."  I felt kind of bad today because he was soooo right and I hadn't been very sympathic to him (and I did feel just like I was walking around in my dryer).   Everybody knows Southern girls don't sweat....but I have to admit this Southern girl glistens during a normal Southern summer....sometimes I glisten a lot...but the last couple of weeks since we have had practically no humidity I have to say I do like the lack of glistening even with the high temps!

BDJ also pointed out that he had told us how weird it was to go days and days without seeing clouds.  At the time it sounded wonderful to me, but as I am watering two times a day and hearing my plants screaming for a break I can see where it would get old.

Now I don't want anyone to think I am whining about the heat because I'm not.  I like it hot.  In fact, I don't really enjoy yard work until it is about 85 and full sun. A cloudy 79 degree day sends me inside to read till it warms up!  I can take the heat, I can always seem to cool off but I can't take much winter since I apparently have no blood and can't warm up.  I am only whining about the lack of rain. 

I have the August yard crunch going on in June and the flowers I would normally cut back in two weeks because they were just too big, have yet to really grow at all.   I am struggling to keep my impatients alive and they are in the shade and watered twice a day!  I have to say BDJ was also right about everything being brown as it is there in Vegas getting old.....everywhere I look I see brown and I am tired of it.

The heat is even affecting my grocery shopping.  Nobody here in our little corner of the South seems to have any appetite at all.  The only thing that remotely appeals to me right now is tomato sandwiches and ya'l have heard me whining about my lack of tomato supply already so I won't put you through it again.  I think tomorrow I will trek to town and see if there is anyone crazy enough to be set up at the farmers market, maybe I will score some tomatoes there.

Life has slowed to almost a halt here this week and with the extended forecast looking the same and no rain in site, I can't really imagine the pace picking up anytime soon.   I have so many projects to do outside (mowing isn't one of them right now) but it is just too darned hot.  Low humidity would be great for all that painting I need to complete but I just don't care :)

So I was thinking about some of my favorite memories of things I can remember doing to cool down or things I did years ago that just make me cooler thinking of them.

For those of you fortunate enough to be from Tennessee I'm sure you are familiar with Fall Creek Falls.  The photo below is of the big fall. 

Photos of Fall Creek Falls Bed and Breakfast, Pikeville
 Courtesy of TripAdvisor

  As a kid my parents took us here for many a picnic in the summer.  For whatever reason we never got to get in the swimming pool there but we did wade the creeks and hike to the base of the falls.  You could stand and be covered with that wonderfully cool mist.  If you haven't been there for a visit you need to add it to your to do list....just being around the falls makes you feel cooler. 

Photos of Fall Creek Falls State Park, Pikeville
Why am I not in the car headed there now?
This photo of Fall Creek Falls State Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We didn't grow up with a swimming pool handy and spent many Sunday afternoons swimming at one swimming hole or another in the Piney river (really a creek).  Now let me say this, the temperature could soar to 120 and you won't catch me in a creek or a lake after my encounter with the Sneaky Snake earlier this summer.  I can remember not being super excited to wade through a field (even though someone had usually weed wacked a path) to get to said swimming hole.  I also remember the adults seem to always stand around watching the banks and talking about cottonmouths!  Really?  What were they thinking?  We were kids and we were hot so we would jump right in the icy water and tell ourselves it was too cold for snakes.

Before we trekked off for an afternoon at the creek we would sometimes stop in at the local ice plant to get a watermelon.  They kept a nice selection in the walk in cooler.  We would really drag out choosing one just to be able to hang out in the cooler just a bit longer.  We would take our melon and drop it in the creek to stay cool while we swam.  When we were finally turning blue, the parents would drag us out to warm up and have watermelon.  Naturally we managed to get juice all over us therefore requiring another dip in the creek before packing up for the day! lol

Lastly, I have always loved making homemade ice cream in the summer heat.  More times than not we end up making it for my birthday.  Lucky for me I just happen to have one of those coming up in the next few days!   I like it with bits of strawberries (but I will eat any flavor).  I always think of my grandfather when we do make strawberry ice cream, he loved it and his strawberries were the best.

So there you have it.....some of my favorite cool down memories.   My current fave cool down and what I fully plan to be doing in a few hours.....sitting in the hut, listening to my waterfall (pretending I am bobbing in the Caribbean just off Saphire Beach) and sipping a pina colada while reading a good book.

 Now I just have to wait until dark.....until then I'll be thinking chilly thoughts.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This Means War!

For those of you that that have slogged along with me this past year you know of my love of tomatoes.

I blogged about them here.   In fact I will pin you down to talk about chat with anyone about tomatoes and all the ways I love them.   Wonder Hubby's best bud has a really nice garden and had mentioned when they were over for dinner a couple of weeks ago that he had some tomatoes to bring us that he forgot.  That did it....I was done for the night all I could think of was tomatoes.

This lasted 2 weeks and I just couldn't stand it anymore.....I brought it up.....and whined a bit I think....and lo and behold last Friday he showed up with tomatoes.  Truth be told I think he brought them out of fear!   He and his family were headed off for a vacation Saturday and I think my not so veiled threats to raid his garden made him think I might just be crazy enough to do it.

Now I was in a quandary.  I was crazed with desire really wanted to eat them but I knew that once they were gone, I would have to be on the hunt for more since my tomatoes aren't near ready yet.

 Sadly,  I drug around and didn't get them out very early this year so I am a bit behind on getting to enjoy them.  I noticed the first tomato beginning to get a little pink just yesterday. 

So...I managed to hold myself off until noon Saturday and then I just couldn't take it anymore.

Yep....I gathered up this collection of totally healthy bologna, mayo and white bread and added the awesome fresh tomatoes....and then inhaled not one but two was heaven. 

I have been stretching the tomatoes all week but I am on my last one....and now I'm getting desperate.  You see, first thing this morning I wandered out to gaze at my mater patch and what I saw confused me at first and then infuriated me.

I found a branch with a cluster of 4 tomatoes lying in the driveway.  At first I thought I had a branch break, since this was the cluster that had one huge tomato (the one that was beginning to turn yesterday) on it....but not anymore.  As I stood there baffled I saw the enemy.

I don't even want to hear the collective awwwww from you all!  This is what they want us to think of them when in truth, this is more the way this little Satan was looking.

Like a real cracked out maniac. Wish I had a photo of what I saw but believe me taking a photo of this devil wasn't high of the list of things I wanted to do to him....especially when I saw my beautiful big just barely turning tomato in his hot little paws!  Okay, its on now.

I stormed inside still in my pj's and whipped up some of the dish detergent/cayenne pepper cocktail I served up during the war last summer and doused the whole darn area applied it liberally to my tomato area.

I am headed to bed early tonight because I fully intend on getting up at first light, grabbing a coffee and a chair and waiting for him to show up again....because this time when he heads in to raid my mater patch he will have hot little paws!

Being as I am addicted to tomatoes like a crack head to crack.....and considering I may have PTSD from the war today......I may or may not be able to keep myself from "checking" on my friend's garden before he gets home! teeheehee

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mini Blessings

We have had a big weekend, well actually, 6 days here in our little corner of the south.  Mini turned 16 yesterday (okay, I took so long to post it was actually last week) so we have been celebrating for days now!

I am going to do a little shameless bragging about her now.  I haven't posted about this but Mini recently made the decision not to cheer this year in high school.  I cried because I knew how much time she had invested in the sport (and because I had no idea last year was her last year and didn't take all the pics I wanted to!) and was a bit worried she might regret her decision.  She chose to not cheer this year because she is an officer in FCA, has a heavy class schedule next year, has a fundraiser she is working on and wanted more time to be more involved in church youth. 

Most little girls from our area dream of becoming a high school cheerleader and would never consider walking away, but not our Mini.  Although she loved it, she felt that her focus should be on God, then other community/school activities and that she could not devout the time to cheer she would need to and keep her priorities in order.   She wanted to spend her time surrounded by people with like drive and morals doing things that will change her life and others lives.  I was a bit sad that it was over, but so incredibly proud of her very mature decision.   How could you not be proud of that?

By the time school was out she had her first job and was ready to get started.  Wonder Hubby was not a huge fan of us having to drive our gas guzzling 4runner to take her to work, but hey, when you have a kid that has a job and wants to work you better just shut up and drive so I did :)

So she has been busy with church and a job and enjoying some down time for the first time in a long time as we were leading up to her birthday.  Both our children saved up money for a car and we and their grandparents contribute to the fund so we have been on the hunt for her first car.
Mini and her new car and 1st "Little Black Dress"
Finally, last weekend we found one!  Yea.....I think we had considered about 200 and it was growing tiresome! We purchased the car on Saturday.  Sunday we shopped for a dress to wear out for her birthday dinner.  Monday night we took her out for dinner at the Melting Pot.....for those of you that have not been it is a must do.   Here are a few pics.
She has the best smile!
Mini's birthday finally arrived and she was visited by my little brother aka P.  P delivered a gift that he and BDJ had gone together on.

They got Mini her first set of real pearls....necklace, earrings and bracelet!  Lucky girl to have a brother and uncle that spoil her (FYI....this little brother doesn't spoil me like this....not unless you count putting on brakes and such! lol).

Mini and P
Mini and BDJ (that is him on the phone she is holding....we told him to smile...but I think his eyes are closed!).

Mini and her pearls.

By this time Mini had a car, had enjoyed a great dinner out at The Melting Pot and gotten some really beautiful jewelry but the day wasn't over.......

She and Wonder Hubby set off to the DMV.  I was a nervous wreck and figured since I had done this with BDJ, I would let Wonder Hubby flip out enjoy this with Mini.  Off she goes on her driving test.

And she is back

.....tapping foot waiting.......

 She passed!  Everybody grab your helmets!  She asked the nice DMV examiner for a picture (I remember thinking they were very scary people back in the day when I tested).
We finished up the day with cake and ice cream with the family (all but BDJ who was hard at work in Las Vegas and couldn't be here,  I know he wished he could have been) and I made her wings for dinner.

Worn out after days of b-day celebrating!

I do believe Mini was/is a very happy fact I saw her tweet telling the world what a great day she had and how blessed she is.
When I went to bed that night I knew that our lives had shifted this day and would never be the same.  As excited as I was for her to be Sweet Sixteen and to have her license and a car.....I knew my role would never be the same.  So much of our children's lives is revealed on those drives to and from school and practices...and now that completely uninterrupted time is gone....I know, I know, I'm whining.  I'm happy...really I am!

I mean it's not like we are actually gonna let her leave the house anytime soon :)


I wrote this post a week ago but never got it posted......since then we did let her leave the house for her first solo drive to work on Saturday....this is what it looked like.

I am kind of crazed about her driving but I am getting better.  I just keep reminding myself that I have it much better than my parents did....I get to be in constant contact through phone/texts! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Simple Summer Al Fresco Dining

We love eating on the deck in the hut as much of the year as possible.  Strangely, this year we have managed to only eat there a couple of times.  So, when Wonder Hubby told me last Thursday we were having dinner guests Friday night, I was glad the weather was going to be good for dining al fresco.

I had seen this picture in a Pottery Barn catalog and knew I wanted to do something similar.

I put together this simple yet elegant summer tablescape and I really like the way it turned out.  I really wish I had 6 burlap place mats to use with this look (hint, hint spare daughter, I need two more to go with the 4 you made me Christmas, wink!)  but alas I had only 4 (which I would have used but Mini vetoed the idea) so the table is sans place mats. 

This tablescape gave me ideas for a couple more for the summer season....gotta get started on those :)

I love the simple color palette and organic materials.  I am still loving my square Food Network plates Wonder Hubby got for free at Kohl's, even after 3 yrs.!  The glasses were a yard sale find from my dad, wish they were depression but are only Whitehall....but they work just fine.

I used a bit of burlap left over from the Coastal Bedroom redo last fall as a runner.  The pier was a Christmas gift from my Dad for that bedroom, I said this before but he has a pretty good eye for things :)

The shells were collected over the years on various beach trips. Even the crushed shells that filled the bottom of some of the votives were collected and a darn good copy of the PB ones! 

The napkin rings are another of my Playing with PVC creations.  I blogged about some of them here.  Since I was trying to mimic the PB photo a bit, I needed to use some rope and had none.   I dug out my trusty twine and used it and some PVC and ta da....napkin rings.  I may make another set and add shells but I was on a limited time frame so I went with simple!

There is, however, a negative to using twine

Your napkins can get a bit hairy....I discovered this oh about 3 minutes before guests arrived, yikes!

Nothing like a box of matches to throw off the whole thing huh?

I would love to show you pictures after dark with the whole hut illuminated with my candle chandy and other candles......but I got so caught up with good food and good company that taking pictures completely slipped my mind.  Isn't that how a good dinner party should be?  Thanks for stopping by, I hope you will come back soon.

I am joining



Thursday, June 7, 2012

I am a Job Creator

I have been more or less MIA from blogging for the past couple of months.  I thought I would give a little update, lest some of you think I have been lying about sipping something tropical and eating bonbons.    I have been busy creating jobs for myself and to Wonder Hubby's chagrin him as well!

Since our winter was so mild and spring came so early I was out working on projects quite early this year.  I shared a bit of what was blooming back in March in this post.   I also showed a bit of the sad excuse for landscaping we had going on in the front of our house.  Since then I have been a pretty busy girl. 

We opened the fish pond and discovered our pump was dead (always fun to buy a new one of those, not).  So after a couple of trips to Lowes we got the right one and now the pond is up and running.  I cannot imagine my yard without the sound of the waterfall.

I will have to remember to take pictures after everything fills out more.  See my frogs on the right?  The big guy is in charge of getting the croaking started nightly...and let me just say he is very good, so good in fact some nights it is deafening. I am really shocked the neighbors don't complain!   The little guy behind was a gift from BDJ when he came home in March.  Against my wishes he name this one Fred....he is sick that way.  Fred frolicks nightly.

I am still loving that I replaced mulch around the pond last year with rock.  We did change it from pea gravel to Alabama Sunset rock this year and I really like the change.  It is so much easier to keep weeded and neat.

 Try to ignore the complete lack of grass....we were taken over this year with some kind of crazy weed that ate all the grass....we are working on it but I don't expect much improvement this season...ugggg.

We had some severed storms back in March that ripped up my hut and did some damage to our roof.  Lots of hail.

 We now have half the roof damage repaired which is good, however I was irate mildly annoyed at the number of plants in the new landscape that were damaged...errrr.

  After putting up the new hut top,  I realized just how bad the deck needed sprucing up.  I am sure I am not the only one out there that creates 10 jobs out of one so I know you understand how this happened.

  Wonder Hubby took a week of vacay and since we didn't have any "big" projects to work on (yeah, right....all the little things we planned to do, grew and grew)  we were going to tackle the deck spruce up.

  Our deck has been stained very dark brown for years and we were planning to go the same again.  Naturally I had to create a headache for us by deciding to change things up a bit and choosing a different stain.   I figured a couple of hours and ta da we would have a refreshed deck.  I will admit it, I figured wrong. 

Ready to be freshened up...should be quick and easy right?
What a mess!  First of all let me say to READ and FOLLOW the instructions on your stain.  Since I spend more of my time than not with a paint brush in my hand, I figured I  knew enough about paint and stay and I would just skip the whole part of the stain instructions where you should mix multiple gallons into one container.  BIG MISTAKE....BIG BIG MISTAKE.  I (and Wonder Hubby and the Nana) ended up staining with two different stains to rectify the mess.

 I don't love the way it came out...but it is what it is going to be as I have no intentions of cleaning/stripping it or attempting any other fixes...I can live with it.

Stain 1 gallon 1 was all pigment no sealant....stain 1 gallon 2 was all sealant and no pigment....and stain 2 gallon 1 would only soak up in the stain 1 gallon 2 areas...the rest beaded up like this.

I am just glad it is over now...and lesson learned I will ALWAYS follow stain instructions.  So the hut is up and the deck is stained and ready to be foofified.

Okay hut up, check....deck stained, check....oh man now the deck table is looking rough.

  Remember, I am a job creator so here I am excelling in my job once again! 

Ah....much better.  Now I need to get on with the decorating of the deck. 
I will have to post that later.

So I am moving on, completing projects and feeling good.  Then came The Nana. While showing her my Peony in bloom she pointed out just how bad the front landscape looked.  Moms are just good about that aren't they?  Sadly, she was right and I knew it, but I wasn't planning on tackling this project until at least fall.  The next day I just couldn't keep from staring in that direction while working in the yard.  After a couple of hours of this I just couldn't take it anymore and decided I should at least weed the area. 

   But, as all involved projects happen, weeding led to removing all but two some of the shrubs (I really did plan on moving some of what was there around to save money), and then I decided we needed to expand the landscape  which required topsoil and on and on and on.  What was to be an afternoon job turned into a large project. 

 This is a pic after I had weeded and removed some of the shrubs (as usual I got into the project before I ever thought to take pictures).  I don't know what we were thinking when we planted this originally, I had way too much in too small an area.  

 Everything had grown together (fought to survive might be a more apt way to say that) but when pruned everything looked just plain scary.  We were ready to do a dead forest Halloween display here year round!

I planned on keeping the shrubs on either side of the stairs

After further consideration, the fact that they were growing at different rates and had large areas of ice damage all but one was ripped out.  I thought I would (and by I, I mean Wonder Hubby) would move this one, but he let me know I was wrong about that, so it went too.

Now we were down to only 2 azeleas and 2 bohemeth holly trees. Wonder Hubby had planned to leave the holly since they were gonna be tough to get out but after living with this for a day he decided they had to go too. 

Removing them took a bit more than a little digging.  So now my little weeding project involved  Wonder Hubby and my Dad and a chainsaw.

Told you I was a job creator.  So far I have managed to put The Nana, Dad and Wonder Hubby to work on a project that wasn't supposed to even happen.  I really should work for the government!

Now to extend those beds.  Sounded straight forward enough, but I soon realized that I really wanted to amend the soil and have a good 4-6 inch edge in the front.  You know what that means don't you?  That means I created another job.

On this day I employed Mr. Jerry the topsoil man.  What a nice man he was!

When I was a little girl I would have never imagined getting excited over a big ole pile of dirt, but I did. 

Now I going to admit this and some of you will laugh and others won't even be surprised.   I was planning on doing this all myself (hahaha....well except for the digging up the roots of the shrubs and cutting down those overgrown holly trees) and that included moving the above mentioned big ole pile of dirt.  My dad had said "you can't move all that with a wheelbarrow" which just made me even more determined, so I got started.   I thought I was doing well and making progress albeit slow but progress nonetheless.

 Did I mention this was the week Wonder Hubby was on vacation?  Well it was and he quickly lost interest in watching me move 1/2 a wheelbarrow of dirt at a time and had no serious interest in spending his whole week doing it either.  He was quite relieved when Dad offered to bring the tractor and get it all moved.
Wonder Hubby seems to be the man with all the shaping with a shovel skills so we got the edge just the way I had planned it.  Now it was ready to plant, we left only 2 azaleas  from the old stuff.  I just couldn't give them up they are such a pretty red.  I had 3 but one had literally been chocked to death by the other shrubs.  I really wasn't negotiating on keeping these and I hate to admit this but they really made laying out my new plan a real pain.   Three would have been fine but the two threw the whole design off....oh well we are living with it because, a. I don't want to give them up and more importantly, b. I don't want to admit I may have been wrong.

My plan was to get things to this point and then go back to all the projects I had going before I jumped into this.  I wanted to wait until fall to do the planting.  This lasted about a week and Wonder Hubby couldn't stand it so we went ahead got the plants.

Laying things out was hard because I was so used to the big stuff!  Everything is so small!   I am still adjusting to all the space. 

Seeing the two giant azaleas is going to drive me crazy till some of the other shrubs catch up!    I know I will love it when things fill out but for now it looks weird to me. 

We put in Encore Azaleas, Soft Touch Holly, Firepower Nandina and Monkey Grass.  I AM going to take my time with the last few things that I will put in.

Currently,  I am on the hunt for a Crown Jewel Gardenia....if anyone sees one, please, please let me know where.  I am also thinking of adding a couple of hydrangea as well.  I definitely left room for garden art.....statuary, obelisk, orbs.....I haven't decided yet, I will know it when I see it.

We still have to decide what to do about a walkway, we have been using stepping stones but aren't sure if we will keep them.  We will also be working on recovering the grass lost to construction and/or the monster weed that took over.

It was right around this time that we had our encounter with Sneaky Snake.  That really put a crimp in our landscape interest! 

 My favorite part of the new area.....why the pot Wonder Hubby gave me for Mother's Day of course!  

It is planted with a Boxwood topiary, Needlepoint ivy, Lobella and various shades of purple Calibrachoa.  I love, love, love it.  I am already thinking of what I will do with the pot in the fall and at Christmas since the boxwood will have to move inside.

In between these projects, I have planted my maters (y'all know how I feel about those) and my back flower bed and planters, worked in a few crafts and actually enjoyed a little down time with Mini.
So...that explains some of what I and several folks that were kind enough to be part of my job creation program having been doing.  Thanks for stopping by for the update.