Monday, April 27, 2015

Simple Pleasures

Do you hang laundry on the line outside?  I love to hang sheets outside when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining!  I use white sheets and white towels in our home.  Hanging sheets outside in the sunshine makes them smell wonderfully fresh!  Sunshine is a natural brightener.  We live in an older neighborhood that does not restrict the hanging of clothes outside.  How do you feel about some HOAs not allowing clotheslines?

I remember as I was growing up we did not have a dryer.  I don't think many people did.  Even in the winter we would hang clothes outside---kind of freeze dried them!  My Mama had the "fancy" T pole lines that I'm sure some of you are familiar with.  My lines are just attached to two large oak trees.  I'm all for conveniences and I do have a dryer, but I much prefer line drying.

I've made a deal with the birds.  If I feed them, they won't mess with the laundry on the line.  But you know birds, they are kind of like children, they don't always listen! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Beautiful Spring

Spring is off to a wonderful start in our area.  The garden is blooming and the weather is lovely.  We've been enjoying times spent with the family.  The grands always bring great joy!

Alex serving and Miles looking on.

Spring was worth waiting for this year!

Wisteria with bumble bee

I have a love hate relationship with this wisteria!  I keep it in our yard for a couple of reasons

The above photo is reason number one!  The second reason is that it came from Grayden's childhood home.  My mother-in-law's wisteria was always lovely and my husband enjoys seeing it.  If you have wisteria you know how invasive it is.  It can be quite a problem.  Wisteria is known to climb many yards per year.  So to keep that from happening in our yard, we constantly have to prune the runners. It also will pop up in the yard where you don't want it.  Many plants have been given away.  I frankly get tired of it, but keep it for the above reasons.  We have one on each side of our driveway.  They are pruned to mainly be tree standards.

It's such a beautiful time of year.  I hope you are enjoying watching the earth come back to life after a long winter!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Impossible Coconut Pie

Recently we had to take our walk at the mall--it was raining and we couldn't walk outside--my husband asked me if I wanted to buy some snacks after our walk.  I told him we didn't need to buy snacks, that I would make us a treat when we returned home.

After looking through my recipe file, I came across a very easy recipe for Impossible Coconut Pie. I've made this pie for many years.  If you have never made an impossible pie, it is one that the filling makes its' own crust.  It's more of a cakey crust, but delicious still.  Hey, sometimes I just want easy!

Impossible Coconut Pie

2 cups milk
1 cup coconut
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons butter-melted
3/4 cup sugar

Place all ingredients in the bowl of your mixer.  Mix until all ingredients are well blended.  Pour your mixture into a 10 inch pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray or greased with butter.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  It will puff up like a German pancake, but don't worry.  As it cools it will look like a normal pie.  Let cool.  Serve at room temperature or place in refrigerator and allow to chill completely.  I personally like it chilled.

When I was ready to serve the pie, our grandson informed me he had never had a pie like this before.  He tried it and declined his serving---He said he didn't like the texture of the coconut.  My husband and I both like coconut and enjoyed it very much.  I think you would like it also---if you like coconut and don't have a texture issue!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring in the Garden

I'm so glad we live in a world with Spring!

I have shown photos from grand gardens recently.  I thought it was time to show you some of what's happening in my garden.  The daffodils have come and gone in all their glory.  New double daffodils are emerging and proving they are not what they claimed they would be--but still lovely.  Now the earth is warming and the hosta are getting larger.  The hellebores are blooming profusely with their shy little faces.  Lily of the valley is just peeking through the soil.  Speedwell is blooming and spreading in the perennial bed.  My favorite tree is just beginning to bloom--the dogwood.  The azaleas are ready to burst open with color.  Bleeding heart is just starting its show as well as clematis on the mailbox.  Our pansies that were planted in the fall, and were covered in snow, are now blooming beautifully.  Lungwort is blooming.

I'm one of those crazy gardeners who surveys the garden several times a day to see what's happening.  I love this time of the year and am so thankful for all the beauty it brings!  What is growing in your garden?

Goldfinch are back!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Back to Belmont

I read in the paper recently that Belmont was having an open house.  We had been enjoying beautiful spring weather the last few days (today it's raining).  What a great opportunity it was to visit Belmont again. Belmont was the home of Gari Melchers and his wife Corrine.  We visited Belmont  in February and if you wish to see that post go Here.  The weather was pretty cold that day ---all of 17 degrees! The weather was much better when we visited this time---In the 70 degree range---I just loved it!  I thought you might enjoy the gardens at Belmont today!

As beautiful as the gardens were, we then went into the home of Gari and Corrine Melchers.  The home was left as it was in 1955 when Corrine Melchers passed away.  The home was given to the state of Virginia and it is a treasure filled home.  The furnishings of priceless antiques, rugs, and china are beautiful. There are even magazines from that time--left just like Corrine had been reading them.  We learned an interesting fact about Belmont that I had never heard before.  When the Melchers were looking for a home they considered buying Kenmore!  They felt it was too fancy for their taste!  They felt that Belmont was very similar to the home they had in Holland.  Corrine Melchers was an acclaimed artist herself and we were treated to some of her work in the home.  No photography is allowed in the home.

We then strolled to the studio of Gari Melchers where we were allowed to photograph his original work--I was thrilled!  I'm happy to share his beautiful artwork with you!

The Nativity

The Crimson Rambler was on loan from a private collection:

The Crimson Rambler was painted by Melchers at his residence in Holland in 1915.  It is his only pure garden piece.

Belmont is a wonderful place to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Gardens of Chatham and Kenmore

We visited Chatham and Kenmore a few weeks ago.  Go here to visit Chatham and to visit Kenmore here.

While we were there the gardens were not yet blooming.  We recently returned to photograph the gardens in their early spring bloom.  Chatham was still lovely, but Kenmore was past its prime.
Here are a few photos that I took on a cloudy rainy day.  I hope you will still enjoy them.

We walked around the gardens at Chatham.

We then crossed over the bridge to visit Kenmore.  Looking back at Chatham across the river.

Most of the early spring bulbs were past their prime at Kenmore.  Here are a few things still in bloom at the mansion garden.

This is such a lovely time of year.  Spring has definitely come to our city!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Special Memories with Grandsons

We had a lovely Easter with our family.  Our son and his boys came up to spend the weekend with us.  Alex and Miles stayed for a few more days as they were off from school for spring break.  We didn't have anything special planned other than spending time with each other.

We always have an egg hunt first thing Easter morning.  Yes, even in their pajamas!

 If you have children, seven and older, they would enjoy the game of Blokus. 

We also played many sets of Bocce Ball.  We take this game to the beach every summer.  The boys love it!

Of course they spent some time with their Kindles.

A lovely time with our three Grandsons!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Do you compost?  I think I've been composting for at least 20 years.  It's a simple, easy way to add nutrients and minerals to your vegetable and flower gardens.  As they say "Compost Happens".  It's what the forest floor is made of.  Any green or dried plant material will do.  You can add egg shells, newspaper, coffee grounds, tea bags, and vegetable and fruit peelings.  The leaves from trees may be added to your compost.  If you have a mulching mower all the better.  Just run over the leaves and add them to your compost pile.  The most important thing to remember about your compost is to NEVER put meat or dairy in it.  It will attract undesirable critters to your compost.

There are many complicated articles written about composting.  Topics about ratio of green to brown material.  I'm sure I might be able to make compost faster if I followed some of this advice.  But I have time to let it sit --  It is not complicated and you don't need any special equipment.  All you need is an out of the way space in which to add your dried or fresh plant materials.  Our compost piles are behind our fenced in area.

We have three separate compost piles in the back point of our property.  We use the 3 year plan.  Every year we have a fresh pile of black gold or as some call it, chocolate cake compost.  Letting our pile sit for 3 years, all of the material is broken down to wonderful compost.

Compost area 1

Compost area 2

Compost area 3

I plant all my containers using this compost.  You can add vermiculite and perlite if you wish, but to be honest with you I have not for the past few years and my flowers do well.  I also put this compost over our perennial bed and around shrubs as long as I have enough.

It's work, but so rewarding and my plants love it.  You are keeping leaves and such out of the landfills.  So that makes for a better environment and better plants.  Truly it's a win win process all around.

This morning, with the help of Grayden and Samuel,  we were able to get 6 wheel barrow loads of wonderful, rich compost.  The guys shoveled it out of the pile and Grayden and I applied it to the large perennial bed and the new daffodil bed and the hostas around the oak tree.  It looks nice and the plants are so happy that we gave them some extra nutrients.

Chocolate Cake

My strong helpers

Isn't it beautiful!

New daffodil bed with compost

Hostas top dressed with compost

Compost on bed

Grayden thinks we have about 12 more wheel barrows left of compost.  We will get to this as time allows--(and our backs allow).  We will be putting compost on a couple of garden raised beds in the back and also in our brick planter around our patio.  I fill several pots with it also to decorate the front porch and the patio.  I just love having this free resource to use.  It is amazing!  So, do you compost?

Compost remainder

Day lilies are coming up!