Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas at Pinewood Cottage

Here's a look at the house all decorated up for the Christmas season. We really enjoy putting out the garland, the bows, and the lights. We can actually do all this in about three hours. It only took 15 years to figure out the secrets... zip ties and cup hooks.
The front door gets thick, heavy garland and loads of lights. Through the door you can see all the way into the back of the central hall. The Pencil Tree is positioned to center in this door. 
Here's the Pencil Tree all decked out. Our ceilings are 11 1/2 feet tall so I guess the tree is 10 feet tall. This tree is usually all decked in silver and red balls and goes in the living room but this year it gets center stage.
Underneath the Pencil tree i fixed my childhood train set and the pieces we have in Snow Village. We seem to have alot more accessory pieces than houses. I really need to focus on getting these as gifts more often.

I love to sit and watch the train go round and round. It is strange having a toy from your childhood. It makes me think of my Daddy and brother who both died the same year ... 2001. I think if I collect enough houses to create a great village what joy it could bring grandchildren someday. I'm planning WAY ahead i guess. My children are 14 and 11, I think I still have time to collect.

Have a great holiday season.
I wish you all the warmest, Christmas cheer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Ginko Tree

Coming home I saw "The Ginko Tree" was in it's full glory. I never seem to be quick enough to get a photo. This time I was determined. The tree is on North Main Street and only stays in color for about 2 days - then every leaf will drop off all at once. We always say "let's remember to get a picture", this year we got it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Only Thing Growing

It is mid-November, the temps are moderate - 30 at night rising to 65 or 70 each afternoon. Not much is growing now. The rye grass likes it. The only thing really growing in the garden right now are the Knock Out Roses.
This one is a shade of red. There are two soft pink Knock Outs that are still settling in this year. They are not wasting energy blooming. The flower beds have been cleaned out, pruned back, and put to bed for Winter.
Jack and I sat on the Porch all Sunday afternoon soaking in the warm sunshine. It feels so good. I think about it all week long - it me gets through. 
Here's the front door. My wife enjoys decorating it each season, and people always comment on the door. We find it funny. Under all those leaves there is a grapevine wreath that we made twenty years ago wrapping the vines around an old wash tub that her grandmother had hanging around on the back wall under the steps.
It is funny how long we have used that one afternoon's worth of work, and how many times that wreath has been reinvented. The screen door sags and has some cracks - i guess if i was 130 i would sag and been cracked too.
Here's the house today - i don't know why the camera thinks it's Halloween. The leaves are still on the trees and the light is still good, Winter has not come here  yet. The annual rye grass is waiting for rain.
On a personal note - we won Property of the Month. We live in a small town and they reward follks who take the time to try and improve their surroundings. We received a nice little certificate and letter from the mayor - I don't garden for this reason... but it is nice to have your efforts acknowledged.
Have a great week guys.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Garden Magic

Air Layering is ... garden magic.
Mid - Spring, wounded and bandaged...
By Late - Fall, fifteen Pink Perfection Camellias, three Japanese Maples, one red Camellia from a neighbors yard. I have lots of patience - I'll see who is still alive in the Spring.

Garden Magic

This is the garden's magic,

That through the sunny hours

The gardener who tends it,

Himself outgrows his flowers.

He grows by gift of patience,

Since he who sows must know

That only in the Lord's good time

Does any seedling grow.

He learns from buds unfolding,

From each tight leaf unfurled,

That his own heart, expanding,

Is one with all the world.

He bares his head to sunshine,

His bending back a sign

Of grace, and ev'ry shower becomes

His sacramental wine.

And when at last his labors

Bring forth the very stuff

And substance of all beauty

This is reward enough.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Update on the Rye Grass / Sons-Before-The-Fathers

This is where we were last weekend...
but after a week of daily watering and lots of late Summer SC Sunshine here's where we are now.
The trees suck all the moisture out of the ground and the soil is so acid that i cannot grow warm season grass but this annual rye seems to love it and helps the soil - so yeah!

The Sons-Before-The-Fathers
 I also wanted to show you the Fall blooms on the Sons-Before-The-Fathers plant that was the mystery plant earlier this year. Don't be fooled, the foliage you see is some sad old variagated lirope border grass. The flowers have no foliage.
This is the plant that has leaves in the Spring dies back,
 then in the Fall these crocus like flowers appear apparently with no leaves. It is an interesting plant. Not native to the South as I understand but it is common in Maine - where the lady who lived in the house from 1901 - 1946 was from -
so who knows we may have an heirloom pass along.
Have a great weekend!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Aerating the lawns

   The front yard here had ivy covering every inch of it for decades - ivy is evil. It sucks all the life and energy from the soil. One inch under the grass the soil has the consistency of dry cake mix - powdery and dead. I have spent years adding compost and topsoil trying to bring life back to the yard. In the back yard the riding mower, bicycles, scooters all compact and harden the ground.
   I decided it was time to aerate. I rented a pull behind aerator from the local rental center. I was happily surprised to find that it was only $29.00 for a one day rental. From Friday afternoon when school let out until 4 p.m. on Saturday it was mine!
   Round and round, figure eights, wandering wavy lines - i tilled the front yard for at least an hour. I then went to the back yard where i let my eleven year old son help me since the areas are not as tight as they are in the front yard. He was happy to drive around with a "new toy" - and i needed a break from that riding mower seat. Now we are just waiting on some Fall rain to come and renew our yards, and our spirits.

Update on the lawn....
I decided to go ahead and seed the front yard with annual rye seed. i watered it every afternoon - but i could see nothing changing. Yesterday was cloudy all day, then last night we had a really good thunder shower, lots of good soaking rain. This morning I got up and saw the flush of green starting! i can't grow grass under those trees during the Summer but we can have a lush green lawn for the cooler Fall and Winter months. If it's cool I can get it last until May. Can you see the lush green of the grass coming?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Rain

Jack and I went out on to the porch after lunch as we often do on Sunday afternoons. He sits and watches the cars drive by or keeps the cats in their place. I often listen to music and fall asleep, bad head bobbing propbably provides passers-by some entertainment.

Not long after we got outside it began to start a nice slow soaking in rain. The kind of rain that Garrison Keeler would memorialize on Prairie Home Companion. It was a great 30 minutes of calm and quiet.

The rain on the metal roof of the porch was so relaxing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bathroom Ceiling is finished!

i got the green paint and everything is finished - i love how clean everything feels. With that dark border and the pink that room always felt dark. Then when the ceiling was slowly falling down, the room was dark and dirty feeling. Now it's light airy and CLEAN! i'm happy to be done.

Now i'm moving out onto the porch ceiling outside the bathroom to see how clean i can get that. it shouldn't be as bad as the bathroom. thanks for checking by.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Ceiling Goes In

Now that I am out of school for the Summer I have time to take on a project that i have been putting off for SEVERAL years. We had a bad leak in the front bathroom when the proch roof leaked. I have been dreading this job and putting it off with any excuse. This month I decided it was time to "just do it!"

I ripped out the old ceiling which was some kind of pressed fiber board - that was THE nastiest job i have done in restoring this old house. NASTY!

Once the old ceiling was ripped out and cleaned up I put up a nice thick layer of insulation. The electrician came, rewired the room, and put in four lights!

I decided that real bead board was the best choice for me to put the ceiling back in place because the room is small and i don't think i could have fit sheets of anything above my head in that tight space. The bead board took a while but really wasn't that hard. Fitting the boards around the round light openings was very hard.

I think the ceiling turned out good and strong - i don't think i'll have to worry about that ceiling falling down again!

I then had to remove the wall paper border that was apparently super glued to uppermost edge of the wall. Several large pieces came off - but most were the size of postage stamps - again  - a nasty job.

I put up two types of crown molding around the edge - all i can say is thank God for caulking! that was the hardest thing i have ever done - i have done base molding - but crown molding is much harder for some reason.

Next comes the painting - which i love -
the ceiling and trim will all be bright white and i'm thinking powdery green or yellow for the walls -
i'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ready for the 4th of July

We love to decorate for the seasons. I got the bunting hung yesterday. Symmetry - it's good thing!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back from the beach

My family has been going to the same condo at Garden City, SC since the 1980's. It is neat to now be taking my children to the same place where i went when i was younger. The Condos look better than they ever did. They survived hurricane Hugo and the whole area has really recovered nicely. The condos face Murrel's Inlet on the back side. This is a pristine ecosystem, where much of the seafood eaten locally comes from. My son spent most of his time fishing with buddies his age. I tried to empress on him how special this area of the state is and how terrible it would be if toxic oil were put into the oyster beds. Crabs and the fish are plentiful - it really is a beautiful alive area.
Since many of you are into architecture like i am i thought you might like to see the "spaceship" house that is next door to the condos. I've never seen anyone there - the local marina owner said that once the owner came and took him into the house. Said he made him take off his shoes - it was a time capsule back into the 70's - shag carpet avacado appliances, a real trip!
These birds are everywhere around the area. The bright tip of orange on their wing is the only nice thing about them - you can see that he is not the least bit worried about me.
A sego palm in bloom.
The camera really didn't do justice to the beautiful dark purple hydrangea plantings.
This close up looks blue - but was rich purple.
The landscaping is full of these oliander plants these are approximately 8 to 10 feet high.
This little flower is everywhere and grows and thrives wild. The camera really did capture the brightness of these flowers - they were just that bright.
I think i might have to get a hibiscus and give it a try - so beautiful!
We had a great relaxing time - I hope the area isn't transformed by oil the next time i get to go there. Forecasters have said that if the oil in the gulf gets around Florida it would head straight up the east coast to Ga, and SC. I really hope not.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Newspaper under the pinestraw

I save the Sunday paper each week. Colored coupons don't last - they turn to powdery dust, but the plain old newprint can last up to two or three years if covered and not exposed to sunlight. It's cheap and really does a great job of retaining moisture in this hot dry bed, as well as good weed control.

I clean the area of all weeds place the dry newprint in layers about 8 sheets of paper thick and spray lightly with the hose pipe (garden hose). Then I cover the wet newsprint with a thick layer of pinestraw. The final product makes me happy. Schools out - I get two months to destress and work in the yard.