"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bringing Light Into The House And Adherence of State Fire Prevention Regulations

For weeks and months I have been thinking about how I was going to get three Cedar Trees "upskirted" which I have learned means cutting lower branches from a tree .  Here in California we have specific Fire Hazard Zone Regulations regarding maintenance of Defensible Space around our homes to assist in protection from Fires, specifically Wild Fires .

In addition to the County/State Fire regulations, two of the trees needed to be trimmed because the Internet Service Provider and Electrical cables were covered with tree branches. Also, the tree near the garage had branches over hanging to close to the house roof .  The third tree is the one outside of my dining room window that had grown so very much that it was also widening and preventing light from coming into the house.

Since I have issues with the mood disorder  (Seasonal Affective Disorder)  the darkness inside my home is a very challenging situation .  Unfortunately, the floor plan of my house lacks maximum use of window placement which means the interior is very dark . There are no windows on the front of the house which faces west .  There is no time of the day that I can work in the kitchen without turning a light on because it is so dark .

Two other facts that impact the lack of light in the house is that the eaves/roof overhangs are larger than usual .  Second, the large trees around my house have grown a lot during the 24 years that I have lived here which creates more shade .

This was the garage roof that also shows the roof covered with pine needles and cedar twigs as well as some deadwood that came down during a recent heavy wind.  And, now it is wide open and you can even see my Rooster weather vane.

In this photo you can see the cables at the top of the photo .  And, the branches were so low that they were laying on the Oleander plants that I recently trimmed and cleaned up.  The Oleander plants were also causing obstruction of view for cars coming up to the curve in the roadway in the front of my house.

And, now the front corner of my property is cleaned up and open.  My raised vegetable bed is on the far lower right .  It looks like it may receive more afternoon sunlight in the future and perhaps I can grow tomatoes again next year and get better results.

By the way,  the haze that you can see in the photo is smoke filled air from the Wild Fires that are burning north of here in the Wine Country in Sonoma and Napa Valley and Santa Rosa, California .  It is such a disastrous situation .  It leaves me in such disbelief just as so many of recent events in the daily news !

And, this is the third tree that will now allow light to come into my dinning room . The beautiful Burning Bush  is turning into its lovely fall color of blazing red .  Hopefully, next spring the Quince Plant on the left will get enough sun and it will give a full bloom for the first time with it's pretty orange-red flowers.


I hope your week is going well and you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather and associated activities.

Mary 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Autumn Tribute To My Fisherman - Tablescape

I thought it would be nice to share a Tablescape from the past that I enjoyed creating for My Special Man a few years ago prior to his passing.  I have missed creating Tablescapes for us.  Perhaps, in the coming months I will become motivated especially since my many hours in the garden will not be necessary.


This is a Tablescape in recognition of my Special Friend and his devotion to me and his love of fishing. Again, I have had fun creating this table design by looking for interesting dishes that work with the fun items that I already have around the house or in my garage. There are so many items that work well with the theme of Autumn and the hobby of  Fishing.


My inspiration and starting point was this Mary Lake Thompson designed Fishing Creel dinner napkin that I found at a little gift shop. I enjoy the detail of her work.


There were a lot of items that I easily found that became a part of this tablescape. The Yellow Flatware has been in my picnic basket since the 70's. The dimensional brown leaf bowls jumped off a store shelf at reduced 50%, and that was after I thought I was finished! What can be easier than picking up pine cones from my driveway that have fallen from my pine tree. And, the lemons are from a bowl of lemons I keep on my kitchen counter.  And, then we have little guys with smiley faces that blend nice with the color scheme.   Salt anyone - Pepper anyone?


I had a nice surprise in my picnic basket when I saw my small Parquet Teak round cutting board by Dansk that I picked up from somewhere in the 70's, probably a yard sale. It's a very inventive design with a knife that slides into the side of the board. One side of the board is flat for cutting cheese and the other side is concave for cutting lemons/limes so the juice stays on the board - not on the table.


The woven brown and black wedge place mats are from Bed, Bath and Beyond, years ago. Maybe a dollar each!  The place mats were placed on a Burlap tablecloth followed by heavy Koyo Stone Ware brown/cream dinner plates that have a masculine presence.


My focus plate is the salad plate from Rivers Edge with a beautiful large trout encircled with a fishing rod and real.


The brown stemmed Glassware and candle sticks are from a nearby Thrift Store. Votives are from Dollar Store. Wine caddy is from my garage!


And, there must be a fishing Creel and fishing Reel thanks to Ebay.


Now, the Piece de resistance - a vintage amber cod-liver-oil bottle with the embossed image of a fisherman carrying a large fish.

It's just something a little different and adds a little whimsy!  The bottle is something I had in the garage that I picked up years ago at a yard sale. There are a lot of "bottle collectors" out there. Who would have thought that I would use the Cod-Liver-Oil Bottle some day in a Tablescape?


Can you see the fisherman embossed on the bottle?

And now for a little trivia about these Vintage Amber Bottles(Source)   "The man stoops forward, glances out from under the brim of his hat, legs braced under the weight of his load. A thick rope, wrapped around his waist, shoulders, and hands, secures the load on his back—a huge fish with gaping mouth and glassy yellow eye, its tail sweeping the ground. A common codfish, the Gadus morhua is recognizable by the brown and amber spots on its body, the light stripe down its side, and the three dorsal fins. The man has few identifying features, but the words “SCOTT’S EMULSION” appear along the hem of his jacket."


"By 1900 'the man with the fish' was famous. His image was engraved and embossed on countless boxes and bottles of a cod-liver-oil preparation; printed in full color on advertising trade cards, booklets, and posters distributed around the globe; and in one instance painted several stories high on the side of a building in lower Manhattan. The man with the fish endures today, a testament to the persistence of an age-old tradition, even as scientific and commercial interest in cod-liver oil has waxed and waned."



I am thinking a nice autumn dinner of Sweet Spicy Country Style Pork Ribs and Beans along with some Crusty Bread. Some kind of a salad and maybe some homemade Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream.


I believe the table looks quite lovely.   And, the dinner was great.

I was amused with a definition of Tablescaping that I recently read. It was something like - Tablescaping is an event where grownups play with dishes and then take photos of what they have created to post on their blogs. Don't you just love it?

I wrote in an earlier post about how my love of dishes started when I was a very little girl. I guess some of us just never grow out of it! 


Thanks for stopping by and sharing my Tablescape from the past with me.  I really miss My Special Man.  But, I am thankful that he does not have to live through the horrible world events of the recent past.  Blessings to all.

Mary 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

It's In The Pot

Crock pot , that is.

It is just a pretty basic recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast .  The roast sits on a bed of celery chunks and baby carrots .  A thickened sauce of mushrooms, onion, garlic, tomato paste, beef broth and rosemary and thyme is poured over the seasoned and well seared beef roast . And, I plan to add some chunks of red potatoes closer to the end of cooking time .   I'm not sure what else I will prepare to go with this for dinner .  I have plenty of time to figure that out.
Finally, I have been able to finish planting the Lavender "Grosso" plants.  There were only four plants, but OH what a lot of work to get them planted.  I'm done digging rock for a while !!
They should do well  -  with all my TLC in helping them to get a good start.
While I was checking the Zucchini I was happy to see this little visitor !
The garden is slowly going to sleep for the winter
Before long the Burning Bush will be a fall of crimson red.  At this time of year , I always enjoy seeing it turning colors through the dining room window.

I would like to ask for some positive thoughts sent my way as I am trying to recover from a very disappointing phone call from my twin brother on our birthday .  It has been years since I have heard from him and he continues to be arrogant, egotistical, self-serving and very unkind !  Oh, if you can,  please send me a couple hugs, too.

Wishing each and every one of you a very enjoyable weekend.

Mary 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Love Love Fall Color

I love love love all the fabulous fall colors at the front of my property .  The Yellow Chrysanthemums are blooming and the Maroon Chrysanthemums that are spaced between the Yellow are coming soon .   We are expecting a warmer week into the nineties that will help them to bloom .

Some twenty years ago, Oleander plants were planted around my property on the outside of my fence.  In the past few weeks I have been able to clean up all the weeds and stuff at the base as well as prune the very large shrubs .  Last Spring the weeds were so high that I had to "weed whack" .  I hope this coming year I can control them better .   I am very happy with how it looks now.

The Autumn  Joy Sedum color is changing into its fall shade of a deeper pink .  So pretty!  

Finally, the luscious looking tomatoes are turning RED .  I look forward to making a Tomato Tart or something interesting .  I bet I am going to enjoy the delightful home garden tomato flavor !

Most of us enjoy a surprise and I have another little garden surprise .  At the time that I purchased the tomato plants, I also tossed in my cart one zucchini plant .  All of  these were little 4 inch potted plants .  With no  planning , I just popped the zucchini into my strawberry barrel that was doing very little in the growing department .

I think the wine barrel looks so nice with the strawberry plant expanding over the edges .  And, that little zucchini plant is no longer little!
 Look ! ! !  A zucchini !
 And, another one on the way !
Hopefully, there will be enough to add as a side dish to a Pot Roast dinner I am planning for the near future .  The fall weather says to me that it is time to do some yummy cooking.

Sadly , a little neighborhood nursery that always stocked top quality nursery stock has lost their lease and will be closing .  The nursery sits on a site of large acreage that will be going up for sale .  As a result they have a 25% off sale on every thing .  I stopped in and bought four Lavender plants that I am planting between some daylilies along a pathway .
It is taking me a long time to dig the holes to plant them because there is so much rock to do battle with .  You can see how dense the rock is in these photos .  I also have to buy some planter mix to give them support to hopefully continue to grow into healthy plants.


I think the contrast of foliage color will look good .
The White Clematis continues to bloom profusely on the fence behind the White Garden.

And, and, and, believe it or not, I baked some yummy blueberry muffins.  The cooler weather is coaxing me into the kitchen.
I hope your week is going well and you are starting to enjoy the definite change of season.

Today was my 78th Birthday.   It was just a usual day-no celebration.  Life is what it is.

Mary

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