Monday, April 9, 2012

Gutter Gardens

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After moaning and groaning about the rain, we finally got a day dry enough to fill the gutters. I know what you're thinking. "Don't most normal people clear the gutters?!" Why yes, yes they do. But we Smart's have never been known to be normal by any stretch of the word. So, we took our gutters, filled them with dirt and seeds and in a little over a month from now we will have.....Gutter Gardens!

We started with 3) 4' sections of galvanized gutter that I had used previously as ribbon racks in my shop (like I said, we don't do things like normal folk) that we screwed to the garage wall.

We had purchased 8' gutter from the hardware store and Ken cut them in half for me. The ends were purchased at the same time and they just snap on. I worried that the dirt might push the ends off so Ken used some waterproof caulk and sealed them.

Then he used a 1/4 drill bit and put a few drain holes here and there in the bottom of the gutter.

 I filled them with soil that we dug from a lower part of our property. Normally I would use Miracle Grow potting soil since I've used it in my planters before with awesome success, but since my goal is to use what I have, then plain old dirt it was.

I had decided to plant things that were not only beautiful, but edible, so I went with a combination of Nasturtiums, Spinach and Mesclun. All wonderful, healthy (not to mention pretty to look at!) salad ingredients.

I can't wait to see them grow. You can bet I'll be out there  every day looking for some green poking through the dirt. My kitchen window looks out at this wall so it's the perfect "wasted space" to use for growing while creating a beautiful view. I have a few old buckets that I'll add to the bench at the base of the gutter garden so I can plant some tomatoes and other good salad things. Won't it be wonderful to just walk out the kitchen door and pick a fresh salad?!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baby of Mine.

The saying goes that April showers brings May flowers, but April also brought me a tiny little bundle of joy 27 years ago today. Jonovan Jake was born a month early in the small Eastern Oregon town of John Day. He was so tiny and his lungs weren't quite developed enough. At just a few hours old, he became the first of our family to take a plane ride when they flew him to the children's hospital in Portland.

It still makes my heart wrench when I think that I might have lost this sweet baby. But he was a fighter. I had named him Jonovan after a poet that I liked. But his grandpa snuck down to the neo-natal unit one night and informed the nurses that he would need a tough name to survive and told them to call him by his middle name. So Jake it was, and Jake it has been for a good part of his life.

Since that first rocky start, he's done nothing but grow and thrive. He went from a tiny peanut of a thing wearing Cabbage Patch doll clothes, to a chubby happy little boy with a love for Waldo and Charley McCarthy...

(I'm going to pay for adding this picture!)

 It's hard to believe that that tiny little baby is now a man of 27. He's grown into a funny, witty and beautiful person and I love him very much.

Jake and his sister JoLee
 A few weeks ago he got the hard news that his job of 5 years was ending and that he would have to find a different career. It was a tough break for him, and its forced him to think about stepping out of his comfort zone and taking a different direction. He's a bit scared, but I'm so excited for him. I know he'll do just fine and be amazed at what the Universe has to offer him if he'll just take one small step through the door into the big awesome world.

Today as I think back on the terrifying day 27 years ago, my heart is filled with gratitude that I was allowed to keep this beautiful soul and bring him home to make our family complete.

 Happy Birthday baby Jake. Your Mommy loves you so very much. Here is a little rainbow and a reminder that you are filled with Infinite Potential. 27 is going to be your most amazing year yet.

Love you, Mom

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rain, Rain, GO AWAY!

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It's been quite a spring. March has brought unusual amounts of rain and snow to our area. Every weekend I wake up hoping for some warm sun and  a chance to dig in the garden only to find anther day filled with rain. I guess I really can't complain though. One of the reasons I love where I live is because it's so green. And we all know that you can't have green without rain, so there you go.

This weekend was more of the same. Every time I looked out it was raining buckets. So depressing. Finally, around 3:00 this afternoon I looked out and actually saw some sunshine. I was sure it would be gone before I could grab my garden shoes and gloves, but I did manage to make it out for a little bit and start the huge job of cleaning out the herb garden and getting it ready to replant.(Yes, there really is a garden area under all that mess!)

I can't tell you how good it felt being out in the fresh air even for just a bit. Managed to get about  a fourth of the herb garden tilled. I don't have a fancy gas tiller so it was some good manual labor with a garden claw. It was a bit muddy out but hopefully we'll get more sun soon so I can get out and get it finished up and planted. Doesn't look like much yet, but it will be beautiful this summer. Not to mention it will provide some wonderful fresh herbs for cooking. 

The rain didn't hold off for long and I finally had to admit defeat and  put away the tools. Before I headed in out of the rain, I did a quick tour around the yard just to see if there was any sign of Spring. I was happy to see that the lilacs would be blooming soon.

The white lilac is one that was here when we moved in and looks to be very old. The purple one is a start that I brought from my grandmothers yard several years ago. She loved them and had them surrounding her house when I was growing up. Nothing like the smell of fresh lilac. Can't wait to bring bunches into the house.

On my way into the house I spotted this pretty little bleeding heart blooming away in the corner of the upper garden....

A sure sign that Spring will be here before we know it. Thank goodness. I was really starting to wonder!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The "Good" Silver

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I have this wonderful box of good silverware that used to be my grandmothers. You knew it was an occasion when she told you to get the "Good Silver" out of the grocery cabinet. As much as I hate to admit it, I wouldn't know 'good' silver from 'silver plate', but I know for a fact that this is Good Silverware, because she labeled it that way....


 ...and it was all wrapped carefully in protective paper towels.

You don't do that for plain old everyday flatware! Just seeing her writing on the box and the way she wrapped it all up makes me smile.

A few months ago, I had invited my friend Cindy Wobbe out for brunch  as a post Christmas gift and a way to say 'Thank You' for the help she had given me as I was closing down my retail shop. I wanted it to be special, so naturally it called for getting out the good silverware. What a tarnished mess. Since I'm not really a 'time to polish the silver' kind of girl (and to be honest, had no desire to spend hours actually polishing silver), I didn't own a bit of silver polish. Then, thanks to the wonderful world of Google, I found a cheap solution that actually worked. And it used things that I already had; glass dish, aluminum foil, baking soda, salt and hot water. And little to no labor. Score!

You just crumple the foil in the bottom of the glass dish, add a few tablespoons of baking soda and salt,

and pour boiling water over the top of all that.


Then add your silver making sure that each piece comes into contact with the foil and is covered by the hot water. And just like magic.... starts to work almost instantly. Take a look at the handle of the spoon where I left it out of the water so you could see the difference...

After a bit of a soak, I took each piece out and rinsed and dried it. I like the way that some of the tarnish remains around the edges of the floral design and really makes it stand out.

This worn cardboard box of silverware is one of my most treasured items and I love it when I can get it out and use it. And now that I've found a lazy way to clean it, we may be using it more often!

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