Friday, August 4, 2017

SLOW LIFE


Happy August (or is it already September?).  I feel like we simply can't be winding down this fast.  I actually have two clematis I haven't planted.  I'm not even worried about enjoying their pretty vines and flowers, I need to get them in the ground pronto before a frost shows up!  I didn't go crazy with potted plants this summer.  Just three along walls that surround our patio, like above, and a few here and there you can see from the beach.  I found these blue pots at Dollar General in town.  They were $3.00 each. You would never know they are plastic.  I love clay but it dries plants out so fast.   I'll use plastic pots that you mostly see from afar like I do faux flowers.    

I am still loving my bird feeders.  I had been seeing baby cardinals every day and then finally the father showed up in all of his bright red splendor.  Mama is probably at home sitting on more eggs, poor girl.  I adore the nuthatches.  They love the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  They scurry up the trunk of the tree the feeders hangs from and bang the seed against the bark to break it.  Just so fun to watch.  I was at Lowe's yesterday and couldn't help but look at the wildlife area.  I decided to buy a suet feeder.  I'm excited to hang it.  I don't know a whole heck of a lot about them-I'm hoping I don't attract coyotes or raccoons.   I'll do some research but feel free to chime in on your experience with them.


These flowers were a gift from The Husband.  He surprised me yesterday afternoon by driving up from Chicago and  knocking on the door with this bouquet and the makings for a lobster and crab dinner, complete with salad fixings and a baguette.  He's such a sweetheart.  We really do miss each other but talk on the phone every evening and text throughout the day...even in the middle of the night if one of us can't sleep.  It's a different life from what we've known for thirty years but we are enjoying navigating and exploring independently.  I really and truly needed to learn to fall back on myself, worry and tend to my own needs instead of others, and devote my time when and where I wanted it.  I love that saying, "Don't just do something, sit there!"  I'm learning...finally.  




I had to cut back my climbing rose but I still have the little bit you see at the bottom.  Everything was neglected for two summers and I'm really surprised I have what I have.  The daisies are usually very lush and a few summers ago this bed was so crowded I thought I needed to divide them.  This is a vintage trellis I found at a barn sale somewhere around here long ago.  It's a beauty.  It's attached to our shed which I can see from every angle of the patio and yard, as well as from the Great room inside.  So c'mon roses, grow!



We have an abundance of mourning doves all around.  They love to make their nests in any sort of crevice they can.  I must have, at minimum, three right now that have come since an earlier clutch left. This little one was just below a nest on the walkway off my patio.  I think it was kicked out, and  a day or two later the nest was empty.  And this afternoon I happened to notice a new mama (or papa) sitting in a nest that belonged to robins two weeks ago.  Nests For Rent:  Call Blondie at 1-800-FOR-BIRDS.




Miss Madelyn had her first professional photo session and they were all taken outside in the early evening.  Each and every picture is a keeper.  She is always so happy and animated; she simply can't take a bad picture.  I have a new one on my sidebar if you noticed.  I also have some on my Instagram page, as well as a few videos.  I need to get some pics of the newer grandkids, they are cuties, too, and growing so fast.    



I wrote my last newspaper column with a focus on summertime appetizers.  Those which don't have to be hot or reheated.  Refreshing and easy to make.  My grocery store carries this mango guacamole at a high price for a small amount, yet it is ridiculously easy to make.  I fiddled with this and made a lot of changes, but the original photo is from Pinterest.

Fresh Mango Guacamole

4 avocados, pitted and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1 cup fresh or canned mango, diced
1/2 cup each: red pepper diced small, green onion and tomato
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves minced garlic
S & P to taste.  

Mash the avocados in a large bowl leaving some chunky bits.  Add the remaining ingredients and fold gently to combine.  Chill at least one hour and serve with tortilla chip.  If not serving right away, keep the pit of one avocado in the mixture to keep it from discoloring.  Same for leftovers.  

*****

My reading habits are improving thanks to a loose schedule.  Gardening and doing not much of anything with coffee and pups in the morning, writing in the early afternoon, errands and more time outdoors late afternoon, reading in the early evening and before lights out in bed.  Blogging is creeping in here and there and I hope many of you see that I'm popping in more.

I just read a great book called The Widower's Wife, by Cate Holahan.  It's a murder/suspense novel and had me hanging at the end of each chapter.  I couldn't have read it in one or two sittings if I had wanted to, so it was really exciting to open it up when I could.  I highly recommend it.  I think I found it at Target.  I have another suspense novel on the coffee table but I wanted a fun beach read (and maybe on the beach!), so I have an oldie by Mary Kay Andrews called Ladies Night.  One chapter in it sounds very light and funny.  

I'm up in the loft once it gets dark doing a little blogging while switching back and forth on the TV from CNN to MSNBC to Bravo.  Ha!  That's me...a paradox.  Hysteria is definitely a reoccurring theme, though.

The weather has been hot and humid a lot since I came up about ten days ago but it usually cools off by early evening and then the dogs and I like to have a little time on the patio with the sun setting in the west.  They are so relaxed here.  Maybe it's the fresh country air or the slow life, I'm not sure.  We have a routine that is so dependable for them that I think they need and want in their older years.  Maybe me, too. 

Some of my neighbors were here this past week on vacations and it was fun to see and talk to people which usually doesn't happen except weekends.  And this week was our County Fair.  I have such warm memories of The Husband and I taking the kids, watching the rodeo clowns and eating Elephant Ears.  I once had an entry in the cooking contest and came in 2nd Place.  I made Chicken Divan, which one of the judges couldn't pronounce.  The 1st place prize went to a sweet lady for her apple pie.  A very valuable lesson...do your best and don't try to impress.    

I finished up my front porch this week with seat cushions, pillows, and some candles and such for the little coffee table.  I have sort of a nautical red, white and blue theme going.  Today I picked up some plants to liven things up.  I'll get some snaps soon.  The Husband and I have agreed that the wisteria is really taking a toll on the house.  It's invasive and strong.  We are going to have to consult with an expert on how to remove it.  If I ever did it again it would be on something made of iron or brick.  Then again, the ivy at my Chicago home ate around windows into the house, as well as under the gutters through the roof.  Caution people...caution.

I'm off.  We've already had our seafood dinner now and that darn guy also brought mini Key Lime pies.  I'm going to have to get out for a good amount of exercise tomorrow.  After rain, gloom and temps in the low 60's today, tomorrow is supposed to be 80 and sunny.  Yay!  



See you all soon!

Jane xxx









41 comments:

CJ said...

You're right, it pays to think carefully about climbers before they're planted. They can be hard to deal with once they take off. Life with you sounds blissful and calm, and really great that you're getting some regular writing time in. Lovely that your husband came and surprised you, that's so sweet. Gorgeous photo of little Madelyn, she's adorable. Good luck with the bird feeders. I'm afraid I don't know anything about the wildlife you're likely to attract - the most it would be here would be a squirrel or a rat. American wildlife is bigger and bolder I think! I hope you have a good weekend. CJ xx

Vee said...

Yes, that husband of yours sure knows how to charm...good ideas all around. This post was a charming read...an accounting of easy summer days, almost desultory except for the joy in them. Your little granddaughter is adorable...a wonderful photograph of her.

DUTA said...

Baby Madelyn is adorable! Your hubby - a perfect gentleman!
As for the recipe with avocadoes, I suppose you don't have a weight problem, as avocadoes do add weight.

ann said...

Look, Jane. I am at the top of the comment list this morning instead of at the bottom. I would be so excited to see Cardinals at my bird feeder. We don't have Cardinals in Colorado, so I fly to my brother's ranch in the Texas hill country to see them. I have to laugh because I have a hydrangea and three fairy queen spieria to plant that live on my patio at the moment. Madelyn is just a little doll; such sweet baby smile. Have a wonderful weekend.

bj said...

ahhh, the grandgirl's photo is awesome...she is a little movie star.

I haven't done much gardening either. Since Mr. Sweet got sick in Feb, he was all any of us could think about. He is in a better place,I know but, ooo, how I miss him.

Have a good month of Aug...

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Your grand-daughter is so precious, what a beauty and great smile. Love your garden, ours is non-existent at the moment. Still tons of stuff to do to create a pretty garden.

Mereknits said...

It sound slike you are getting the much needed rest that you deserve so much Jane. You sound happy and lighter. Your granddaughter is adorable. I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Brenda Pruitt said...

You sound calm and relaxed. Good for you! That baby is getting cuter by the day!
Brenda

Deb from frugal little bungalow said...

That knock on the door sounds like a wonderful ( and delicious ) surprise!

You'll get lots of little chickadees in the winter with the suet :)

Susie said...

Blondie, Reading this post was relaxing to me. I wish your Madelyn and our Max could meet...they are both some pretty and smiling all the time. Well mostly I would say. I love her new photos. Your husband is romantic, because bring flowers and dinner is awful sweet. I like the plastic blue pots...who cares if it's plastic if it looks good. :):) Blessings to you sweet girl, xoxo, Susie

Karen Ann said...


Beautiful baby!

Glad you have carved out some time for yourself to truly enjoy the oasis you've been working on for so long. Why ever not! We tend to invest in others, to do for others, but not ourselves often enough.

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Great post Jane. So glad that you are enjoying Lake time. I am afraid that I would be up there all summer long.

The books sound interesting - I love to read and generally read at least 2 a week.

We have had such HOT HUMID weather here along with lots of fires. The air quality is terrible.

Sounds like the dinner that husband brought up was wonderful. I think he misses you.
So glad that you are enjoying your time.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Hugs,
Mary

Kathleen George said...

Madelyn looks adorable in the picture!
Very romantic of your husband surprising you with flowers and a delicious dinner:). Ivy was never my friend growing up, even though the wisteria is gorgeous, structures are important. The little ones ( doggies ) and I have a routine too. Enjoy the rest of your summer at The Lake House, Fall is around the corner where you live, here, maybe November and I bet it's beautiful there too:).
Kathleen in Az

Lynne said...

A summertime surprise at the door with flowers and yummy eats . . .
How much sweeter can one be!
Maybe just as sweet as that Little Maddie Adorable . . .
She could be a model but then, it might rob her of her sweetness!
I have some vines here at our "little slice" that tend to take over too.
Wisteria can be beautiful but has that other side as well.
The Mango Guacamole looks like a winner . . . YUM!
I have been in reading mania . . . guess it is time for me to do a post.
Wonderful books . . . The Red Notebook is one . . . oh my, entered my "Favorites" list!
Happy August . . . we are zooming through 2017 on FAST!

Rita C. said...

Your slow life really sounds pretty darn amazing, Jane. How sweet of your husband to come bearing gifts. I seem to remember those days....hmmm.
Madelyn is so darn adorable - those pictures!
I've never planted wisteria for fear of its vigorous growth. I don't even feed birds anymore, other than hummers. The flowers must be doing a pretty good job though, because I don't seem to be without company, nests or just drop-in visitors. I do keep a fresh birdbath. Suets might attract woodpeckers for you, but I always seemed to get the obnoxious starlings on mine when I did use them.
Enjoy your August days and the art of doing nothing, or next to.....
XO,
RIta

Junkchiccottage said...

So sweet of your hubby to bring you dinner and surprise you. Glad you are enjoying your free time and finding peace up at your lake house.
xoxo
Kris

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I never thought about it, but you're so right about the clay pots drying out plants! Makes perfect sense now. :) I bought a suet feeder in early spring and not one single bird has taken a bite. We have to throw it away now, I guess. Oh and Miss Madelyn...so cute!!!

Scribbler said...

Good advice about the climbers. That Cecile Brunner Rose (pair) on our from trellis has developed canes the size of tree trunks, and is NOT flowering all summer as promised. Various other climbers like Lady Banks will take over if one is not vigilant.

A real romantic is your Husband. Appreciate!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

After reading this, I have slow-life envy, Jane! How romantic to be surprised by your hubs with dinner and flowers! I have a had a suet feeder for awhile now, and I hang it high up, mainly so the squirrels don't get to it. I haven't had any problems with attracting any other wildlife because of it. Have a great week!

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

We learned our lesson early on about suets. They attract bears like nobody's business here, but I don't think you have that issue so I have no advice.

Maddy is just beautiful, and I notice she looks a little like Elsie. At least in the sidebar pics it seems. Gorgeous grandkids you have!

I think when you look back at this summer you will remember it fondly. Who can blame you?! Sounds like everything summer is supposed to be. Even your pups think so. ;)

xxx

It's me said...

Owwwww sweet Madelyn...love here picture....enjoy summer love Ria x ...

A Joyful Cottage said...

Aw, sweet Madelyn. What a doll! Your summer life sounds idyllic, Jane. Good advice on the climbers. $3 plastic pots? No way! They look fantastic. Hubby is a dear to show up with dinner and flowers. You've trained him well. ;)

Kit said...

Hello Jane! Do you know what I love about your post the most? You sound very happy! I am so glad you have carved out some time for yourself, at a beautiful place with lots of time to do what you love to do. Bravo! Enjoy your August! :) Kit

Mary said...

Before I forget, that little Madelyn has to be the most photogenic baby ever - I think she's adorable, and so does everyone else by the sound it Jane! Know you must love her to bits.
All sounds good up your way, love that A arrived with flowers and supper makings - he's such a nice guy - hope we get together again one of these days
Summer is waning, I feel a slight change in the air. We were actually able to dine outside on the deck Sat. evening with a group of neighbors we invited over for an Italian supper - we were too many for the gazebo. I sprayed the area first and thankfully didn't get a single mozzie bite for a change!
Glad life is calmer and you are enjoying your days at the lake dear - we all need time alone now and then, good for soul I think.
Take care - love and hugs.

Theresa said...

You are living the life!!! That is one GORGEOUS little girl:) I love her! Have a blessed day, read and rest sounds perfect to me! HUGS!

Leslie said...

Flowers and Pie... what a great catch! Sounds like summer at the lake house is going well, and to FAST. Happy Wednesday.

Simply Farmhouse said...

Lovely post! Mixed with happiness, laughter, and your beautiful life. Enjoy your August, my friend.

Pam - @diy Design Fanatic said...

Miss Madelyn is so cute and sweet! Hope you and your family are doing well!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jane, you are sounding well rested. Little Madelyn is such a beauty. What a great portrait. I have a "reproduction" trellis that is so pretty. I stuck it in a barrel with the star jasmine and now you can't even see the trellis. That is typical of the way I garden. I am copying down that recipe. It looks and sounds so good..Keep enjoying life..xxoJudy

Melanie said...

How nice that your hubby surprised you and brought you dinner! Madelyn just keeps on getting cuter...what a little doll. Never thought of putting mango in guacamole - sounds delicious.

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Hi Jane, it sounds like you are enjoying every moment of your summer this year. It's so nice to have time to yourself to do whatever you please, whenever you please. Life just moves along too fast sometimes. Love the photo of little Madelyn and the setting, too. Back in the day, photos were taken in a studio with those lame backdrops that looked so fake. Feeding the birds is so fun and gives you great photo ops. I had to stop because of the undesirables.....the skunk spraying the dogs was the last straw. Hopefully, you won't have that problem! The guacamole looks so good and I didn't know that leaving the pit in there would stop browning. Good tip! Your hubby is a sweetheart, for sure. Love that he showed up with flowers, a meal and dessert! Wow! I am actually looking forward to fall. It is my favorite season. I am tired of watering, the bugs, and the heat! xx Karen

Cheryl @ TFD said...

What a sweet hubby you have! It sounds like you are having a wonderful, relaxing summer. Little Miss Madelyn is adorable!
Thanks for telling me about the paint color Alabaster. It made my final 3 choices.
Enjoy the rest of the week...it's going by entirely too fast again.

Bluebird49 said...

Hi, Jane! Oh, what a dreamy summer you've had in the practically new lake house. I think I could use just a little cottage by the lake about an hour and a half away from here. Ed has been retired for the last 9 of our 51 years together. I had more space to "breathe" when he worked swing shift and had 5-days off before going back in. We're up under each other all the time now, even slogging through Walmart together!
We have no schedule, which I need desperately; we stay up much too late and get much too late.
Maddy is as cute as ever. Please keep finding ways to relax, for I think the pups take their cues from their mummy!
xoxo, Trudy

handmade by amalia said...

I love the quiet beauty of small moments. And you certainly have a lot of those. Good for you.
Amalia
xo

Pam Jackson said...

Great blog. Never had mango guacamole...sounds great. Thanks for sharing that.

Nancy Crowley said...

Hi Jane,
Your summer sounds pretty good. Madelyn is BEAutiful!!! She must bring so much joy. i was wondering how you are finding the extra columns for work? Is it stressful? I don't know if i could do that, and admire your ability to write like that. But perhaps like your blog, your columns flow freely from noticing the wonderful things in everyday life. Anyway, it's hard to believe we are almost halfway through August. Summer passes so quickly. Love your pics on instagram. xx Nancy

Kathleen Grace said...

You sound relaxed and happy Jane. Your husband is a doll to surprise you with flowers and dinner! Sounds like he misses you :) What a darling photo of Madelyn! She is such a beautiful child! Wisteria and Ivy are so beautiful, it's a shame they cam be so destructive. Your guacamole recipe sounds so good, I think I'll try it this week. I love guac AND mango so I'm sure it will be a keeper!

Ann Thompson said...

Oh my, what a little sweetheart your granddaughter is. The mango guacamole sounds pretty good

Stacey said...

Jane, I admire that you are taking that alone time for yourself. I don't like to be alone that much so I can't even imagine. Having that knock on the door with flowers and dinner means he misses you. Sweet. :)

Thank you for sharing how easy the guacamole mango salsa is. Sounds delicious! I like mango in Mexican food but don't really know how to pick a fresh one out. Not sure that I've ever seen it in cans which is crazy because mango is on the menu everywhere here. Maybe I've just never looked for it.

Wisteria...I will never plant it again. We had it in Oklahoma. I began calling it he devil weed because it was coming up in every part of our yard.

Enjoy your sweet summer days there.

The Crowned Goat said...

I love it when you share your flowers and life with us. I can't believe you have so many birds nesting, that's really exciting. I can't wait to try to salsa too. I love guacamole but I've never had it with mango in it before. It's so sweet you and your husband still court like that. I know it makes the time away even more special, hugs, CoCo

Dewena said...

I wonder if you have any idea how comfortable with yourself you sound in this post? Isn't it amazing that someone doesn't have to come out and say they are and yet their written words bear witness to it as plain as can be? I'm kind of proud of you, Jane. You remind me of Alexandra Stoddard, I always admired her for figuring out what she needed in her life and then keeping to it, with results that proved it not only right but a necessity.

And you better believe that your dogs do pick up on that and they thrive too!

Best to you,
Dewena