Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Checking things off of lists

There is nothing better than checking something off of a list.

We stumbled onto a cowboy oil painting at Rerun Consignment in our favorite vendor's booth.  The painting was perfect for the kitchen and I loved the colors.  It was a beautifully painted canvas wrapped around cardboard!

Even though life was busy, it seemed like framing the painting before it was damaged was a good idea.

I took it to our new favorite frame shop, Candlewood Frame Shop. Once again, the experience was really wonderful.  First, they had a sale on their frames which allowed me to bring in a few extra items to take advantage of the discount.  Second, it was a delightful experience in picking out the frames and mats.  It can be really stressful to think about picking the "right" combination - perfectionist on overload.  However, I have only had good experiences and love the suggestions, often combinations or finishes that I would never consider.

So, in the end, I was able to frame the oil painting and that inspired me to frame the two western themed fruit labels we picked up in Oregon this spring.  I also had an Andrew Wyeth print that we framed.  The Wyeth print was part of a collection we picked up at a vintage store this winter.

Actually framing our purchases - check
Getting (most of) the framed art on the wall - check

The Wyeth print is still propped against a chair and I have a prairie photo we purchased in April that is also propped against a chair, so the list continues.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Plant geek: garden update

 Our garden is looking beautiful!  The recent rainfall has helped everything stay green.  The moisture has also caused the weeds to grow like crazy and we have been putting in a little extra time to try to pull weeds when the temperatures are a little cooler. 

I guess we always have plenty of "therapy" to keep us on track.  The best therapy is pulling a bucket of weeds - at least that is what I tell myself.  If you agree, we have plenty of "therapy" to go around (and extra gardening gloves).
 Our cucumbers are really taking off and because of my husband's diligence, they are growing up the fence like we had planned.  I am always amazed at the tendrils on a cucumber plant - beautiful and amazing how something in the natural world works so well.
 While this is a dragon fly, I want to joke that it is the same size as the mosquitoes in the yard.  One of the downfalls of all of the rain is the chiggers and mosquitoes...not fun!  I am trying a new insect repellant from LuLu and Max.  I am a big fan so far.
 We try to grow new things in the garden each year. This year's grand experiment is the tomatillo!  I am super excited to try to can some salsa verde.  I am doing some reading to make sure that I know what I am doing, but I am pretty sure that we'll just take it one day at a time and see how it works out.  The plant has set on some small fruit - a good sign.

I planted these on a whim and sort of forgot what I had planted.  They almost got yanked out of the ground when we thought it was a weed.  Thankfully, I put two and two together and remembered they were part of the actual garden plan.
 The plant also has some blossoms, so we must not be messing up too bad.
We also pulled a bunch of onions tonight.  We have some giants in the harvest.  My husband thinks we should enter them in the fair and I keep threatening to put him in open class.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What is in bloom

 This afternoon was a great chance to see what was blooming in the yard and garden. 

I was surprised to discover the pink geraniums on the planters on the east side of the house. 

You see, we stumbled into a great deal with our local FFA chapter.  At the end of the school year, the students offered all of the leftover plants in their greenhouse for a free will donation.  We selected several flats to help round our the flowers gardens and containers and to replace some of the plants that were damaged with a late frost.

So, our purchases were a little bit of a leap of faith.  We didn't necessarily know the color of blooms.  This was such a pleasant surprise - the delicate pink with the darker pink edge of the petals.

Beautiful.
 I am also reminding myself of the simple beauty of the classic combination of spike, asparagus fern and red geraniums.  This grouping never disappoints.
The garden is starting to bloom, too.  These blossoms are on our cucumbers - the bright yellow is so wonderful!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Asheville in the spring - unleash the plant geek

 We are still sorting through pictures from our spring adventures and I came across some of my favorites from our trip to Asheville this spring.  We returned because we loved our trip in December and we had a free hotel night to use.

We did so much in the short weekend.  Some of my favorite stops had plants at the center.  In fact, I think that my husband actually said, "unleash the plant geek" when I started to go crazy about something.

We decided to make an afternoon of the Asheville Botanical Gardens because we could tour the gardens and do some hiking.

One of my favorite "rooms" was this quilt garden.  The pansies were planted so perfectly.  You couldn't really get the full effect until you went to the higher level to view it.
 See what I mean!?  Beautiful and precise. 
Wisteria.  Cool, right?
 And then you figure out it is in the bonsai garden!  A miniature....really lovely!
 We also hiked some of the trails.  I loved the tall trees.  The weather was great so we could take our time and just enjoy the day.
 This container was at Sunny Point Cafe - one of our favorite restaurants of both trips. I am a big fan of succulents and loved the plants and the contrast of the different colors of green against the white container.  Cool
One of the best things about Sunny Point is the garden in the back.  The restaurant has a farm-to-table approach and you can see that they grow some of their ingredients right next door!  We finished our late lunch and then went to just relax in the garden.  We selected a couple of chairs in the shade and took in the whole place. (I mean, they have bowling balls as garden accents.  Love it!)
Here was our view from our chairs.  Check out the garden boxes on the fence - what a great idea for maximizing a small space!
 We were also inspired by the various ways they created vertical gardens with hog and cattle panels.  Loved the sunshine arch. 

We were inspired in so many ways...maybe it was because we had just enjoyed such delicious food.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The sacred ordinary

 I was driving home from work and a radio show mentioned "the sacred ordinary."  This phrase stuck with me.  It was so fitting for where we are right now - feeling blessed and challenged in the most excellent kinds of ways.

Even though we are doing so much, we have been really intentional about spending quality time together doing things we love.  We are also loving the cooler temperatures and the rain which means any outside work has been so much more enjoyable.

We have enjoyed the blue skies and these awesome puffy clouds.  They seem really magical, especially since in a typical June we are seeing the temperatures climb.  Not this year - it has been beautiful!

These clouds, the weather, our green grass, rain, and our growing garden - some of the many ordinary, but sacred things I am celebrating.
 Don't tell my husband that I love this collection of old doors that he has temporarily placed against our chicken coop.  I think it makes a great backdrop - for what, I don't know. (But, if any photographers have a need for some old doors, I know a guy!)

These vintage, chippy, perfectly imperfect doors - one of many ordinary, but sacred things I am celebrating.
This might be my favorite plant that we have blooming right now.  These hollyhocks are south of our garage and continue to come back each year.  I ordered them from a catalog because I loved the deep purple, almost black color of the blooms.  I am also a big fan of this plant because it seems so old fashioned.

These hollyhocks  - one of many ordinary, but sacred things I am celebrating.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Feast of the Fields

 We enjoyed a fantastic evening at Feast of the Fields, a farm to fork event held near our home.  We had heard about the program for a few years, but always had a work conflict.  This year, the schedules worked out perfectly and we were able to enjoy the evening.

The menu featured Kansas products - foods and wine - deliciously selected and prepared by a local chef.

We enjoyed a cocktail hour with appetizers and wine.  We then were seated at long tables to experience a four course meal. People came from everywhere.  We were seated by people we knew, someone from Indiana and couples from Kansas City.
 The chicken coop, lean-to and barn were all limestone. This building was the old chicken coop.  We loved the metal work on the barn door and the violas in the window.
 The large limestone barn was the site of the dinner and we waited to be seated just outside.  Before dinner, we enjoyed the beautiful weather - cool and low humidity - with Kansas wine, appetizers and music from a trio.
 The little touches all around the barn ranged from rustic to...
elegant.
 The sunset shining through the barn door was magical.

Overall, we had a great night with wonderful conversation and out of this world food.  I would highly recommend attending this annual event.