So this is for all of you who didn't know Jane and Blondie's Journals way back when, and for those that did, a jog of the memory that I hope made you smile when I was at my happiest. Enjoy!
THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014
FLOWER GARDENING AND ALL SORTS OF WINGED CREATURES
A few posts ago I showed you my little handful of green beans which I grew in a container. Well, when life gives you green beans, make stew! This would be so perfect for fall but I am so not ready for that. The stores are already stocking for Halloween. I think they do that because they just have nothing else to put on those empty shelves. I'm not falling for it. My feet are firmly planted in summer and will stay that way until I see frost on the pumpkin. Anyway, the stew is a simple base of sauteed onion and pieces of chicken thighs (very juicy), some white wine, flour and chicken broth. I then added the green beans, Great Northern beans and all sorts of spices. It was so good and since it was a little chilly that day, it was perfect.
We came to the lake last Saturday (and we are still here). Our friends, Craig and Snow and their darling little girl, Ella, had been here the whole week as a little get away. Ella is infatuated with Layla, and Layla, of course, loves nothing more than to be held and adored.
Craig and Snow love to cook and actually get along while preparing meals together, unlike myself and someone else you know. They had a cheese and fruit tray ready, along with shrimp cocktail and in the picture above you can see the spread we had for dinner. Craig grilled hamburgers and barbecue chicken as well as fresh zucchini courtesy of my neighbor, Susie. And Snow made roasted potatoes and a tossed salad. It's always a big spread that leaves you moaning.
Sunday night we headed out to a new restaurant on Fish Lake. It was excellent. It's not always easy to find a good steak or tasty pasta in the wide open country so I think we'll be back to this place. We arrived back at the ranch, made a fire in the chimnea and sat back to listen to the bull frogs and look at the stars. And then Ella peeked out the patio door and said, "Aunt Jane, there's a bird in the house." I thought, okay, that's happened. I told her I would be in in a second to take care of it. And then it occurred to me..what sort of bird do you have flying around at night? "Oh, Ella...what does the bird looks like?" She replied, "It's big and black." Okay, Red Alert. The Husband ran for the fishing net and we cautiously came in. Snow and Ella were cowering on the settee while the menacing flying rodent swooped here and there. The dogs were barking at the sight of The Husband frantically running like a mad man with the fishing net, and of course the bat was swooping high and low and whizzing past our covered heads. Thankfully, after about ten minutes, The Husband was able to snag it. I wish I could say all was well, but I knew, deep in my heart of hearts, that the creepy little monster had not just swooped in through an open door. He (and his many friends and relatives, I'm sure) have a way in and a way out. Probably in the stone wall around the fireplace or perhaps in a crevice near the attic. Our house has settled and shifted so much on this marshy ground, anything is possible. Since that night we haven't been terrorized by any more, but I have to get an exterminator out. We've had them in the attic before and they just smoke them out...very humane.
As if we didn't have enough excitement that night, I awoke about 5:00 a.m. to get a glass of water. I was sort of puzzled that Layla didn't follow me to the kitchen. When I got back into bed, I felt around for her under the blankets. No sign of her. I tried to quietly call for her without waking up the house...but no Layla. I actually peeked in The Miller's room thinking maybe Ella had coaxed her in, but again, no Layla. I did get to see Craig in his boxers and I'm trying to get that image out of my mind. Finally I went outside. The doors were unlocked...typical men. They had come to bed hours after we girls. All I could think was somehow Layla had gotten out. I walked around the yard and stood in the driveway calling her name. Michiana Trash & Recycling drove by and waved. Yes, there I was in my ragged pink jammies and hair sticking up all over. I went back inside with my heart in my throat and into the bedroom to get dressed. Obviously I'd have to search, whether along the lake or down the road. North and south and east and west. By then The Husband was up and wandering around outside calling her as well. And then I heard something like a whimper...it was hard to tell since I can't hear that well, I looked towards our bed and I saw the blankets moving. I pulled the quilt off the bed and saw a lump down near the floor at the end of the bed. I pulled back the top sheet and there she was like a ladybug on it's back trying to turn over, caught between the half pulled out top sheet, a hammock of sorts. And stuck swaddled on her back! She must have just rolled off the bottom of the bed and the tucked in sheet caught her! I nearly cried in relief!
So that was my wonderful Monday morning. It then proceeded to rain 2 straight days. Comcast came out and you'll never guess why I haven't had Internet since May. I got a new laptop and apparently you are supposed to change your network and password. Oh joy. So I'm back in the game. Well except for at home...that's a whole different issue, but I'll try to keep my problems in check by locale if anything.
On Tuesday The Husband told me had been at Lowe's and had found a really pretty tree, a small one like I had been wanting for the front yard. I was surprised because he was against my idea. After hearing all about said tree, I said, "Go for it." And then he said come on along, we'll get plants for your little garden expansion. Whoa! Knock me over with a feather! I think you all know I've wanted to add on to some of my little flower beds in what I hope to be a gorgeous English garden someday. I was just waiting for Home Depot or our little nursery here in town to come down in price...like $1.99 for a 12 inch pot. Ha! Well, The Husband came through like a hero. He patiently waited while I tried to configure height, width, color, bloom time and hardiness. Only I can turn something fun and carefree into a science.
This is a terrible picture that I took of a picture I Pinned right off my computer. But this is one of the types of flower beds I'm trying to create.
You know, they actually make a spray paint that you can use to make an outline of your border with. I used plain old boat rope which we have in abundance.
It wasn't this easy. We dug and dug and dug that sod out and then rototilled. And digging holes for 34 plants (which I checked and double checked were in the right spot and spaced correctly) was a horrific job because of all the rocks we have. Tons. We filled two buckets with them. Sometimes we dropped the shovels and just used trowels to dig the stones out.
I'm sorry, I don't mean to give you the blow by blow. I'd love to just show you an after picture, or maybe a picture in 3~4 years when everything is all filled out, with a simple, "Oh yes, a little project we had fun with in '14."
These are some of the flowers. Yellow coneflowers.
And I brought my little copper birdfeeder up! I have it hanging in a dwarf willow and I actually saw a cardinal in the tree...not at the feeder but close enough for me!! And this is right smack in the middle of the English garden so I hope all these pretty flowers attract the birds. While were planting we saw 3 different types of butterflies hovering around.
After a long, strenuous and tiring day, we had a simple dinner which included tomatoes freshly picked from neighbor, Susie's garden Just some salt and mixed pepper. Oh my!
I can barely hold my eyes open but I haven't posted for over a week. We are going home tomorrow and then we're off to Madison, Wi., bright and early Saturday morning. Then it's back to reality and trying to figure out where to put three rooms of furniture while we have the carpet put in. Maybe I should just stay here a bit longer...bats and all. ;-)