Category Archives: life in the country

Artful Gardens

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Art is everywhere- flowers are the most art-full of all things….

I may plant them, but Mother Nature is the true artist. I provide the “paper”, she creates them every year.

Our gardens here at Mountain Meadows have a long way to go before they might be eligible for a spread in Country Living, Architectural Digest, or Country Gardens……but, we love them anyway. They are a work in progress. Sometimes, the flowers don’t wait for us to place them – they just show up- volunteering to bloom, in a place they see fit!!!

My coneflower garden was purposely put there- taking volunteers who kept trying to bloom in my herb garden!! I decided these needed a home of their own – and they finally got the hint!!!

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Teasel grows wild – everywhere but near me- so I finally got some to grow right outside my basement door. I love it for dried arrangements in the fall. Bees love it now!!

 

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Day lilies are in bloom along the sides of fields and the roads. The bloom lasts one day, dies, and then the next one opens. They are VERY prolific. The old farmhouse garden is so filled with them, that alot don’t even bloom. 6 years into living here, and I finally convinced Mr. Green Jeans I need HELP moving and thinning these out!!!

 

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Lavender is also in bloom – as I try to furiously weave lavender wands each day, from the tall English lavender bed in my front garden.

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My cactus flowers are starting to slow down now – their bright yellow bloom also lasts for only a day – but there are many new ones each day.

 

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The baby magnolia, will probably never be a grownup in my lifetime!! There were 5 blooms this year…….so, if you are planning on getting a magnolia tree – if you can afford it, go for the big one!! They are slow growers….

 

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The vegetable garden is starting to produce – this small harvest was from last night – crook neck squash (from Baker Heirloom Seeds), zucchini, several kinds of heirloom string beans, snap peas,  snow peas, and after a rough start – basil is doing well!! Can’t wait for the corn, amaranth, melons, tomatoes, eggplants…….

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Every day, the blackberries are ripening and being thoroughly enjoyed by me!!! I haven’t even made it to the wild berry patch in the woods, my homegrown patch is doing so well!! Mint and hops are flourishing within  the berry patch too!!

 

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Thought I would just share a little view of Mother Nature’s floral works of art around the farm – time to get off the computer, and get pickin’ ….all is well, bright, and sunny, at Mountain Meadows this morning…….

 

 

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Evolution of a Free Spirit Totem

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While skimming thru Facebookland, I came across a post and picture that turned into a “prompt” for me!!!

Vintage Supplies showed a photo of one of their Outsider Spirit Dolls, and I thought maybe I should try that!

                                                                                         How hard could it be???

I knew I had an old sculpy face in a tin somewhere – one of my earlier failed attempts of years ago (I am much better at sculpting now!)- that would be perfect to use for this project!!

All the rest of the items would be scraps and flotsam and thingamabobs from my stash pile.

The armature was made of  twigs- so I picked some curly Harry Lauder Walking Stick branches that I have been saving for just such an occasion!

Now, keep in mind, the doll that inspired this had no legs- but I thought mine should have some. HA!

 Well, when this creature was finished- he/she was hideous!!! I felt like I wasted 2 perfectly good hours that could have been better spent elsewhere!!!

hagrid perga The Eggery totem

I was planning to tie him/her to the outside of chicken coop- let him/her be their totem- and let the elements have at him/her!!!  Weathering could only make this error in judgement  BETTER!!!

Then, I decided, why waste this perfectly gorgeous wool roving, and the expensive doll eyes…..sooooo, I started to dismantle the little stick being. As it was – attaching the sculpy face was none too successful – all I got were hands full of different kinds of glue – which, in the end- only held the face in place for about an hour!!!

 Surprisingly, while ripping the face off and taking it apart, a new and much more appealing  spirit emerged.

Faceless, she was more intriguing, and had a new lilt in her step. With her vintage lace capelet, and chicken feather adornments, she blithely ran along the stone wall of the herb garden. I could tell, even SHE was happier not being weighed down and judged by that unfortunate face!!!!

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Finally- stripped down to her very base “self “, with a tuft of wool hair waving in the breeze- the once ugly spirit had evolved…….

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Tea on Tuesday

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I thought I would get a head start on posting for tea, since I have missed the past couple of Tuesdays!!!

I am sipping a lovely Provence Rooisbos, with an orange flavored honey from my daughter. She discovered the honey in Charlottesville’s Whole Foods- it is delicious!

I usually have a locally harvested honey from Mud E Acres– I LOVE tea WITH my honey in the morning!!! But, if someone gifts me with honey – I will always be happy to use it!!! Mud-E Acres is also on Facebook@

I am excited about having bee hives on my property come spring. I will be attending a mini workshop on hives on the 16th- even tho’ I will not have to do anything with the hives here, except to admire them from afar (very far!!) I am very interested in what they are all about- the building and the upkeep, etc. “My”  hives will live here, courtesy of Mud-E Acres. I am excited!!!

Since today is all about tea- I found a few tea related photos-these two adorable little tea whimsies are created by local artist Deborah Sherwood

I have several of her creations hanging in my kitchen window! The first one is “tea for 2”- a teapot with 2 little dangling teacups!

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The Great British Tea Party on Facebook is a great source of anything tea related!

Here is my kind of tea party!!!  Gertrude’s Tea Party by Greg Becker

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If anyone watched Downton Abbey last night – I bet they did have tea after their rousing game of cricket!

Imagethis is Wattle Park, Victoria, Australia circa 1936

I LOVE Wind in the Willows- Rat and Toad have tea- 1908 EH Shepard

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In 1907, a tea party in Co. Louth., Ireland – (courtesy of Nat’l Library of Ireland)

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Edwardian tea party-

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And, last but not least- what tea fancier would not want to own one of these?????

Sequin teapot purse (www.mellowmayo.com)

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I hope you are all enjoying a hot cuppa this morning – especially, if you are reading this post from one of the snowbound states!!!!!

Please come back anytime, not just Tuesday- and be sure to drop by Patty’s blog for a list of other tea lovers!

Unseasonably Sunday…….

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Yesterday was the best Sunday in a long time!

It is January, but the temperature was a little above 70! Overcast, but that was fine- I can just imagine how much warmer it would have been, had the sun been allowed to shine!!!

While Mr. Green Jeans was finishing painting the guest room, I flitted around from one thing to another!!!

First a light Sunday brunch-my French style local organic scrambled eggs, with muffins and red grapefruit.

Then, barn duty, and taking the blankets off the big boys!!!

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Took the dogs out to play, and later they got a walk thru the woods, and down to the river.

I was going to give Mycon a bath, but, that needs two people, and Mr. Green Jeans was still painting.

Cisco , wondering why John gets to free graze.....

Cisco , wondering why John gets to free graze…..

John and I went for a ride-  at the end of every ride, his reward  is to be allowed out to “mow” the lawn. He was so eager to get to munching, he was fussy as we walked thru’ the fields- snorting and stopping and turning to look at me- mildly protesting about WALKING thru’ all this grass he could be EATING!!!!

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John got into the routine when we got to the old road, but as we neared the end of the ride, his pace picked up- enough of carrying me around – he wanted the after ride reward!!! The old guy can still move, when he has too!!!

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Went in for lunch, and then cleaned off the bird feeder “balcony”! A whole seasons worth of seed hulls needed to be shoveled off the porch. This little temporary deck was added on the 2nd floor back door when the house was built- ’til we got a real deck. Seven years later- still waiting for that REAL deck.  So, for now ( and into the unforseeable future), it is a bird feeding station!

Next, it was out to the front garden for some pruning- I cut down the dried hyacinth bean trellises, and culled 2 small bowls of seeds. We had Showtime free for the weekend- so spent some time with the seeds and free movies!!

 

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Some of the bean vines that wrapped around the twine trellises might make a nice weaving project! I will be back out there tomorrow for more pruning and weeding (after a trip to the local apple orchard to get one more bushel  before the season is really over!)

 

I also managed to get some camera time in (no big surprise there!) – trying to figure out all the settings on my new camera- and trying to find a perfect picture for a new Art House Co-op photo project I signed on for……..Reading the little booklet that comes along with the camera told me nothing!! Guess I will have to watch the dvd that came with it. But, I figured out a few things on my own, purely by accident.

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Another walk with the dogs- it was too nice a day to stay indoors for too long!

Then, it was time for dinner- pasta with a freshly made sauce made from my garden tomatoes, and basil, dill,tofu, and cheese.

Back to the barn, for the horses’ dinner, and putting the blankets back on- even tho’ it wasn’t supposed to get cold – the weather report seemed a bit iffy- and the “old man” needed to be kept warm and dry from the rain that might come during the night.

The evening ended with Downton Abbey – a new passion of mine- I missed the 1st 2 seasons, but have caught the “fever” and am watching as often as I can remember! Just love the fashions!!!

Today is another overcast day – rain in the forecast, but still unseasonably warm –  that won’t last! As the week progresses, we will ease back into true January weather.

It was fun while it lasted!!!

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Tea on Tuesday – The “Eyes” Have It…..

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Cold, cold, cold here in The Gap….

So, I am sipping some Lady Grey, in my thrift store Denby pottery mug.  This is my mug rug, one of several I made for an online swap last year. I am working on a few more for belated Christmas gifts – sssshhhh…..!!!

IMG_0016 This one was made of batik scraps, just sewn together willy nilly, with a blue autumnal leaf fabric I dug out of my stash. I use this mug rug (and the others received in the swap), more than I thought I would – perfect size!!!

At a loss for subject matter for this Tuesday’s tea – I thought I would just share some random donkey photos- totally unrelated to tea- but…….

I was trying to get a really good photo of Finnegan’s blue eyes- but donkeys can be notoriously UNcooperative- and as you can see by my attempts- the little trickster was true to form!!! And, always very curious about that clicking camera thing!!!!

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my favorite

Soon, they got bored with the photo shoot, and went looking for trouble – the hose is always a good play toy!!!

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Welcome to a day in the life…………….my camera, my donkeys, and always with a cuppa TEA !!!

Drop by anytime for tea on Tuesdays, or any other time – leave a comment, let me know you were here, visit a while…

Shutterbug Tendencies………….

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If you get a chance – check out my latest photos!

These were all taken with my point and click. Editing is so much fun, and then some days, there is a capture that is so absolutely perfect, just the way it is………

Just got a new camera- what fun I will have now!!!!!!

 

Matted signed prints available upon request.

LINK

 

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Wyeth inspired……

dirt barn

hagrid pole barn

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Rock Day

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It all started years ago, when I had angora rabbits, and got interested in spinning their fur. I took some lessons, had a big Ashford wheel, and as things go when you have small children, spinning fell by the wayside.

Fast forward 20 some odd years, and my interest was again piqued, when I had an old spinning wheel refurbished.

For years, my mom had been carrying around an old wheel she unearthed over 30 years ago in an antique shop. Thru’ all her travels with my dad in their RV, this wheel came along, but was definitely worse for wear, and literally in pieces.

I was put in contact with a wonderful woodworker named John Robson, who  brought this old wheel back to life!! It is a treasure- circa late 1700’s-early 1800’s.

There was a celebration in town today – a group of local spinners got together at Plan B in Broadway, Va, to celebrate Rock Day.

Rock Day (rock, roc, or rocke) , or,  St. Distaff’s Day, is a celebration on the Monday after Twelfth Night- the Festival of the Epiphany.

I guess, for convenience, today’s  gathering was held on Saturday, the 5th (and Plan B is not open on Monday!)

The term rock is no longer used – but in times past it referred to the distaff– the long piece of wood used to hold unspun fibers/wool while spinning. In olden days, the day after Twelfth Night, was when all the festivities of the holidays were over and done with, and it was back to the mundane chores of everyday living- which included spinning!

So, very similar to our present day quilting bees, it has become a tradition for spinners everywhere to come together in groups to celebrate the day, and just spin, chat, and share.

I brought my old wheel down for advise, and Sue Ober was kind enough to get it working – the general opinion was it is a very nice, very  old wheel – in great shape, and totally usable!!! Woohoo!! Money well spent in bringing it back to life!!

 

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Sue Ober working my wheel

 

The atmosphere was welcoming, there was live music perfectly attuned to spinning.

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Beautiful handcrafted items were for sale – felted bags, mittens, fingerless gloves, hats, in wool and fiber of every hue. Most all the items were made from scratch – literally in some cases, straight from the spinner’s shorn sheep, goat, or alpaca- carded, cleaned, dyed,and then spun, and knitted or felted into beautiful creations!

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Judy Post admiring Vicki Mongold’s beautiful wares

 

And, the wheels- oh, the wheels so many different kinds- not at all the “traditional”  looking wheel I remember. Their smaller size makes them very portable. And, there was one that was painted, giving it  its own unique character!

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That is Priscilla Blosser Rainey (hope I spelled her name correctly) on the right in the green vest- she made the beautiful hand dyed yarn pictured above.

 

All in all, a great day- creativity, camaraderie, food, fiber– what more could you ask for???