Monday, June 26, 2017

Another early morning breakfast visitor. . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . .and this time it was not my granddaughter!

On opening the dining room blinds early this morning I was quite surprised 
to see this larger than usual visitor checking out the bird feeder! 
In the almost thirty years we've lived in the cottage, we've never had deer
in the garden, and we can count on one hand the times we've seen one in the 
cul-de-sac. . . . . . . until yesterday early evening when a neighbor called to tell
 me a deer had just walked up my driveway. I didn't get photos then as it jumped
 over a fence and was gone in no time flat. We are not in the country and are 
actually just a heartbeat away from a very heavily traveled main road.
This morning I was able to grab a camera, managed a few shots from the
 window before this one toddled off over the lawn, then crossed the street into
 the small wooded area opposite.

We really don't want deer knowing how they can enjoy three meals a day
 once they find plants and shrubs on their menu growing in your garden. 
My neighbor has tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions coming along 
and is going on vacation soon. As I'm going to be cat-sitting for a couple of 
weeks I've been given the go ahead to harvest - and enjoy cooking/eating - these
 summer veggies. I'm growing a lot of basil in pots, so I'm ready for fresh-picked 

- Neighbor's veggie patch -

Methinks I may be spending more time in the garden in my robe these
coming mornings! I have big plans for gazpacho, ratatouille, pasta sauce etc. -
and I may need to be out there ahead of the deer if those are veggies they enjoy!

If you are growing veggies and have visiting deer - do they eat them?
Any tips will be welcomed. . . . . . but no instructions for building deer 
fences please, too late for that.

Just taking a break and sitting in the garden on a sudden whim is not really an option
 for me at this time of year. . . . . .unless I spray heavily with messy, smelly bug
 repellent I become a feast for every mosquito within a square mile.  
This morning I did venture out after the deer left, after all I was already armed
with a camera, nobody was around, being in pj's and robe was acceptable,
 (it's actually one of those 'old lady' habits neighbors expect I think!).
  The garden did look pretty in the early sunlight. . . . . . . and I wanted 
to share a little bit of North Carolina with you.
Have a fabulous week dear friends.

Bob will be heading out with the mower shortly - as you can see, time to
tackle the grass again, grows non-stop at this time of year.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

NO green thumb required!

Word Origin: 
Noun - green thumb
An exceptional aptitude for gardening or for 
growing plants successfully

House plants provide much pleasure for the city dweller with a green thumb. . . . . 
. . . . . and you can always cheat a little bit!

You just knew, didn't you? It didn't take long to realize I was not satisfied with
 two planters taking up all that dining room table space! 
We don't eat every meal there but when we do
it's good not having to move too many items, including faux plants.

Yes, tried placing them UP on the top of the Welsh dresser - much too close to
 the ceiling - I wish I had high ceilings. Cottage style homes don't of course!

I decided to split the planters - leaving just one on the table - and this is working well.

Yesterday morning when granddaughter Jasmin came 
for breakfast (she's dog sitting for my neighbors this weekend), we indulged
in fresh-made fruit smoothies with scrambled egg croissants and had plenty of
 room to eat.

Photo via Jasmin's iPhone

 The second planter I've placed here on the hearth, lightening it up,
bringing a little more of a summery feel to the living room.

Heavy rain last evening - I swear the grass grew an inch over night.
Today is so humid - the only garden activity here will be squirrels, birds,
and I see my very tiny chipmunk already out there munching on 
dropped seeds under the bird feeder.

Have a good Sunday - 'see you' here during the week!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cottage Collage. . . . . . .

Late afternoon
Camera in hand
Walk around the cottage
See things you enjoy, collect, love
From around the world
Push the shutter button
End up with lots of disjointed images
Something fulfilling about making a collage
Putting things in their place
Some things change
Some things always stay the same

A very hot, humid Saturday here. . . . .but it's still
 early so I'm off to do some small garden chores.
Have an enjoyable weekend dear readers.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Signs of the summer home. . . . . . . . .

We recently gained a new store in town. 
I've seen bloggers from across the country mention Hobby Lobby Arts & Crafts
 over the past years but I'd never visited one.
A few days ago I was looking for some summer greenery for the dining room 
 and had heard this store had a great selection of faux florals etc.
My two vintage iron containers needed something green and airy which wouldn't
 require direct light or constant watering, but would add a touch of color. . . . so
faux was the way to go for a little summer oomph!

I found two small ferns in tiny pots which I've transferred to larger white china pots
 I already had. I bought one spray of the trailing greenery which 
 is quite pretty - cut it up and divided it between the two pots. I quite like the cool
 feel of this look with the two inverted antique Victorian flower baskets. . . . . . but
I may move them around later as they do take up a lot of space and will need to
 be moved when we eat here.

Hobby Lobby is quite a place - especially if you're into crafting and signs!
They do have a huge amount of merchandise and I only skimmed the surface,
 but I did notice signs. . . . . . . . . . more signs than I've ever seen. . . . 
and several caught my eye.

This simple quote I would love to look at often - I may have to go back for this one.
Being a world traveler, off to often new and unexpected places, 
I agree that coming home is more than special.
I love this short quote on bold painted wood.
I thought of my blog friend Donna which I saw this pillow - her blog titled GATHER is one
of my favorites.  Donna, you need this!

. . . . . and there were a few lovely framed prints that caught my eye - such as this
 one of the dilapidated farmhouse and barn. If I had somewhere to hang it I would
 definitely have brought this home. Perhaps can make a space for it, just thinking!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Scribble Picnic ~~~~~~~~~ Jars

The good old Mason jar. 
Glass jars are by far the most popular containers for home canning.
It was, and often still is, a homemakers major kitchen chore for preserving
 the bounty of the garden, the veggie patch, the fruit bearing trees.
The longest used form of closure on them was a zinc screw-on cap.
I had a sizable collection for a few years, enjoyed them displayed in my 
kitchen. One day, seeing something I wanted more I did a swap at
 SuzAnna's Antiques and said goodbye to them. Things like that happen when
 you get involved with antiques and vintage. . . . . . it's a form of treasure hunting.

Photo edited to a sketch - colored with watercolor pencils.

Antique canning jars such as my Ball brand above, are collector's items.
The value of a jar is related to its age, rarity, color and condition.
Colored jars were considered better for canning as the color blocked some
light from reaching the food, helping to retain flavor and nutritional value longer.
Most antique jars that are not colorless are aqua or "Ball blue", a blue-green
shade named for the Ball Corporation, a prevalent jar manufacturer.

Michael's Scribble Picnic theme for today is JARS - 
do stop by HERE and check on the group's offerings, I just know it will 
be interesting.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Getting away from it all. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . and what could be better than a road trip, a mystery trip!
Pack a bag for a couple of nights, secure the cottage, jump in the car and
head west (or east, even south or north), and discover new places one
has missed before. No time constraints, no deadlines, no reservations, just an old
fashioned road trip. . . . . . . drive on, stop when you want to admire a view, watch
a waterfall tumble from high above, listen to a mountain stream make music
 trickling over its rocky granite bed as a whistling hawk circles overhead.

Spectacular places within a day's driving distance of home, even more beautiful
 than expected. June weather was perfect, cooler in the western part of the state
 than here. Warm, sunny, with amazing cloud formations and just two light five
 minute showers to rinse and freshen the greenery. . . . . . . . . and native
 rhododendrons bursting into bloom along the mountain roads then nosediving
 en masse to the valley floors far below.

Bridal Veil Falls, Nantahala National Forest, Highlands, North Carolina

A road trip can take you to places you will never see up close any other way.
There are 100 counties in North Carolina and we have now visited every one.
We drove almost 900 miles over the weekend. . . . . . .it was really lovely viewing 
our beautiful state dressed for Spring.

How do you feel about getting out on the open road?  
Do you enjoy 'getting away from it all' and seeing the countryside in your
close to home area?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A road trip - away, but not for long. . . . . . . .

Father's Day
Bob and I will be remembering our dads today. . . . . .even though we've been
 without them for quite a while now. They were great men who helped mold us
 into the people we are today. . . . . . . . true hands on, always there for us fathers,
 who made raising their children a priority even when times were tough, and they
 often were. Strict yes, but good, down to earth, hard working, respectful to our
equally wonderful mothers, loving and caring men.
Our dads only met once when mine visited the US from England back in
 the 1970's. They hit it off immediately and enjoyed their time together.

Before leaving home this weekend I was busy doing some late Spring cleaning
around the cottage. Washing china, dusting and polishing woodwork and
 moving things around a bit. I'll share the changes with you later.

We're on an impromptu road trip for a few days - something Bob wanted to do for a while.
Taking different back roads west, visiting several North Carolina counties we've
 somehow missed over the years. . . . . . . . . . .but we'll be back soon.

. . . . . . .there's no place like it!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Noto, Sicily. . . . . . . .

May 10, 2017 - Port of Pozzallo, Sicily.

Some photos from Noto which, quite simply, is the apotheosis of Baroque
 town planning and architecture. Completely destroyed in the terrible1693
 earthquake, it was rebuilt from scratch on a new site about 10km from the old city.
A picturesque city, it is located on the terraced slopes of Mount Iblei among
 olive groves and almond trees. One can spy carved brilliance around its
baked pale vanilla walls, and on almost every corner stands a beautiful

The idea was to create a linear, perfectly proportioned urban center whose parallel
lines would provide myriad panoramas. The town was divided into three parts by
 three roads running from east to west, thus ensuring the constant attention of
the sun. At the top lived the nobility, in the middle the clergy, and at the bottom the 
"hoi polloi" - the ordinary people.
The main building material used was local compact limestone, a substance that 
seemingly absorbs the sun's rays and transforms them into a soft golden-honeyed
glow. The effect is quite breathtaking.

 Tourist activity in Noto is simply to wander around the beautiful narrow streets, 
admiring the golden-colored stone buildings, lovely facades and
 balconies. . . . . .perhaps throw in a little window shopping, then
find a shady spot for a coffee, a pizza, or my favorite. . . . . . . 
a bowl of delicious gelato!

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