Friday, May 20, 2016

For the Birds!

I've been taking care of our local birds for many many many years.  I don't even want to think about how much $$ I've spent on bird food over the years.  It doesn't matter how much though because they bring me entertainment and joy so any amount is worth what they give back to me!

My husband, before he retired, never realized how many 50lb bags of sunflower seeds I would buy over the late fall and winter months.  Now that he's retired, he's figured it out!  :)  Thankfully, he's now enjoying the birds almost as much as I do.

I buy my sunflower seeds down at our local Diamond Milling company.
It's close...right in town and they bag the seed themselves so it's just the best quality for the money.  
I've always just fed them in the fall and winter and put the feeders away for the spring and summer.  But after my last post about feeding the birds, I received several emails from my customer/readers that suggest that I continue to feed them over the summer too!

So, I went back down to Diamond Milling 
and bought a 50lb bag of mixed bird seed.  This mixed stuffed has cracked corn as well as a few other types of seed, along with sunflower seeds.
Well, I have to say, so far, this stuff is bringing in different birds that normally visit.  I'm getting birds that I don't even know what they are!  I'm constantly asking Google to help with identifications.

The most delightful birds are the hummingbirds and the Baltimore Orioles.   
I have a special feeder for the Orioles that has clips on it to hold oranges.  As soon as I put the oranges out, the orioles are there.  It's like they're watching and waiting for me. 

Then I read that they love grape jelly.  Since it was getting expensive to feed them an orange everyday, I put out a spoonful of jelly just to see what would happen.
Whaddayaknow!  They love the grape jelly.  I put it out and by the time I was back in the house, the orioles were gobbling it up.  They're so pretty to watch.

My hummingbirds appeared last week.  I have 4 different feeders out for them as well as a pretty little hummingbird swing.  :) 
I haven't been able to get a picture of them sitting on the swing yet, but here's a pic of  the swing as well as a couple of the feeders.
I have another feeder at the back of the house and a feeder by our side porch.  I'm going to attempt to train them to be hand-fed too. 

So, I've put aside my stitching for now.  I've been incredibly busy outside.  I'm remodeling and re-landscaping all areas around the house. 
I've re-done the vegetable garden...hubby replace the rotted wood on the raised bed for me.  Now it's almost twice the size so I've lots more room for plantings.
My latest project that I'm finishing up is the flower bed by the driveway.
It's always looked nice but I wanted a different look.  I wish I had taken a "before" pic, but this is what it looked like when I started digging it up..

 My husband put down a brick border for me and I worked on digging up and sifting the big rocks out of the soil. 

So many rocks in this soil.  I have a good use for rocks though, which I will share in another post, at another time.

This took me a few days to get this far.  Exhausting work, but well worth the effort.

There's a new landscaping business that is just down the road from us now.  Saddle Your Donkey Landscape and Supply.  So convenient!
Hubby went down and got a load of gorgeous, smelly mushroom manure for me.

This is not quite finished yet.  I still need to get more perennial plantings.  Much thanks to my sister-in-law for the professional help with the landscaping.  Janet, told me what to plant, and how to plant it.  We went back down to Saddle Your Donkey and selected the boulder for the focal point of the area.  I'm so excited to finish this now, but have to wait for the perennials to be available at our local garden center. 

I've still lots more to do so stitching, designing and patterns are put on hold for a while.  I spend my evenings relaxing, reading and sketching.  The sketches will soon turn into new designs and as excited as I am to work on new designs, the landscaping work has to get done.

My daughter is getting married in October and we are in the beginning stages of planning a special garden bridal shower which will be here at the house.  I was hesitant at first, when the idea was suggested, but now with all the landscaping getting done, I'm getting more and more excited about it. 

Another gorgeous day is happening right now so I'm off to dig up more stones so that I can plant some old doors!  Pictures will follow in another post of my progress!

Be kind and have a happy day and wonderful weekend!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

This is a new design in it's very beginning state.  I've a few adjustments to make to it before it's ready to sell as a pattern.  I thought it was a nice message for Mother's Day.

I was hoping to have it ready to sell a few weeks ago, but I've been so busy outside, I just haven't had a chance to work on it.

I'm re-doing all of my flower and vegetable gardens this year.  New landscapes, new stinky mushroom compost, and new borders.  Arrangements with old doors, wheelbarrows, birdhouses and lots of galvanized buckets and watering cans.  I'm so excited to finish but only because I'm anxious now to plant the flowers and vegetable so that I can watch them grow in their new spaces.
Love gardening but don't love how muscle sore I am at the end of the day!

The wrens are singing their nesting song right outside my window right now and it's as if they are calling me out to play.
Heading outside now to inspect my results from yesterday's work.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day!  ...and kid's?....CALL YOUR MOM!  Better yet...VISIT YOUR MOM!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Not So Sweet Bittersweet!

Oh how we all love this pretty orange/red bittersweet vine in the Fall.  It's so pretty for decorating!'s really nasty stuff!  The vines grow fast and furious and will twist and twine around everything.

I don't know where it came from, but we have it growing all over our property and it's viciously taking over.
Hubby and I spent 5 days this past week working on clearing it out.  
The main problem is down at the bottom of our property, close to the road.  This is a picture of it after I had already removed about 15 feet of it. 

It's so difficult to remove too.  Since they are all thin vines twisted together, each stem has to be individually cut.  Then I have to build up the strength of 10 men to pull on the vine in the attempt to unwind it from all of the rest of the mess.
Think of it as a giant oversized clump of DMC floss.  Imagine trying to unravel the strands of floss from a jungled mess and you can slightly understand how evil this bittersweet vine is to remove.

I had started working on it the first day.  After hubby saw my struggles, he joined me in the battle.  
We cleared out enough of it to expose some of the main roots....

Then he got his Bobcat out...
Now let me tell you.... He's had this Bobcat forever.  Years and years it's been around and finally, after all of these years, he taught me how to use it.  
Yes indeed, I climbed into that seat and powered it up and I operated that monster machine like a true master!    Haha...actually, I was very scared but once I got used to it, wow!  I felt so powerful.  
It might just be my new toy to play with this summer!

Anyway, that Bobcat really helped.
We cleared out most of it.  There's still quite a bit yet to do and I hope to get it done this week.
The entire jungled mess was probably a good 20 feet across and a good 10 feet wide so after 4 days working on it, we're both muscle sore.

We unloaded it all up by my husband's garage and he set it afire.  It was gone within a matter of an hour.
 (yes, we're permitted to burn here in Daugherty Twp) 

 Next, I have to work on the tree that's beside it.  It's actually a dead Ash tree but the vine is so twisted up and around it, the Bittersweet is virtually responsible for holding up the dead tree.

So with the benefits of the vine giving us pretty berries in the fall, the vines, if left alone to grow for years and years can become very interesting to look at too...
This is how the Bittersweet vine looks along the edge of our woods, close to our driveway.  
The vines look like giant twisted ropes.
 This actually looks like a huge snake wrapped around a tree...but's the evil Bittersweet vine doing it's thing.

I plan to get hubby to use his chainsaw to cut the twisted parts out.  I'll use them in my garden for decorations.  
So yes, Bittersweet is a good name for this awful vine.  It's more bitter than sweet because it's taken over a lot of our trees and making a jungled mess but the sweet part is the pretty berries on the vines in the fall and also the amazing art that those big twisted vines create.  

Today and tomorrow, we shall rest our sore muscles and then Monday, as long as the day is bright, we shall go back to our battle with the Bittersweet!

Have a wonderful weekend!  
God Bless and be kind!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Taxes Of Our LIves!

It's such a gorgeous day today and my plans for this morning were to go outside and clean up around my vegetable and flower gardens.

However, that was not to be!  I had completely forgotten about paying my business quarterly taxes.
I actually panicked slightly this morning when I realized what the date was because normally they're due right on the 15th so I would have been a day late with payment.  Fortunately, for some reason, the due date is Monday.

So, yes, I spent this morning writing checks. Federal, State and Local quarterly taxes are now paid and will soon be mailed and on the way.

Anyone that has a business knows about the quarterly estimated taxes.  For many years, I did the bookkeeping and payroll for our church so I have a set routine for my business bookkeeping.  Even so, it's such a nuisance.

I'm really OCD when it comes to bookkeeping too.  I have to have everything balanced right up to the very penny.  If it's off, the OCD in me forces me to go over it and over it and over it until I find the error.
So I'm OCD about bookkeeping but I lack the ability to actually remember when the quarterly taxes are due.  I mean, it's obvious that the quarterly taxes are due on the 15th in April, June, September and January (my PA sales tax payment is due twice a year), but I never remember until either I'm late or on the day it's due.
So to remedy that issue....
I wrote reminders to myself on every single stinkin' one of our calendars in our house this morning. This hopefully will remind me to get these quarterly taxes done at least a day ahead of time.  :)

Time will tell if it works.  Most likely it will because those reminders on the calendars will remind my husband who will then remind me.
He's pretty OCD himself about some things....won't go into that but it's just another reason why we have been married for 40 years.  His OCD blends nicely with my OCD.

Ok!  The sunshine and birdies are calling me.  I need to go outside to get some much needed work done in my gardens.
Happy Sunshine-filled Day!
"Be a Little Kinder Than Necessary"

Monday, April 11, 2016

Stitching and Weather ...The Good and The Bad !

If you live here in Western Pa, you'll understand my complaint about the weather.  This is the current weather, right now. 
Actually, 52 degrees isn't as bad as what it has been.  At least we didn't wake up to snow on the ground like the last few days.

Normally,  I don't mind a rainy cold day in the spring.  I'm usually so busy working outside with gardening, that I welcome some bad days to give me a little break.
We've not had enough good days to do anything with the gardens.
But the good thing from all of that is that I have more time for stitching and new designs!

So, I can find the good and the bad with the weather.  I'll deal with it and I can always find something that needs done INSIDE the house while waiting for decent weather to get things done OUTSIDE the house.
My husband, on the other hand, is having some difficulties. 
We were very fortunate that he was able to take an early retirement.  So he's been retired since he was 58 years old.  He's 62 now and at 62, he's pretty well set in his ways.  His "ways" is that he can't stand to sit and watch tv/do nothing all day.  He wants to be able to work outside or putter around in his garage and normally, the cold weather doesn't matter to him.  But, he's had a rather bad cold so he can't go out until he's feeling better.
To make a long story short, the guy is making me crazy with his boredom! almost perfect laid back, easy-going husband is actually getting grumpy!
 We both knew that we better do something about this boredom.  We needed to get out of this house!
So yesterday afternoon, we went to the movies!  I can't even remember the last time we've gone to a movie theater.  We have Netflix and Amazon Prime, along with all of the premium channels on tv so there is rarely a lack of something to watch for us.  But in this case, just getting him out of the house was a necessity.
We went to the movie with Sally Field  "Hello, My Name is Doris".
Loved it!

 I really loved her clothes.  My husband never noticed a thing about her clothes, so it's must be one of those weird male/female differences thing.  I wouldn't mind having some of those clothes she wore...especially the woolen coats...if you know me, you know how I love woolen coats.

After the movies, we went out for dinner.  So I didn't have to cook either!
Taking one day to get away from the business and the house is what we both needed to keep us sane.  
Good day indeed!  

My husband is back to being an almost perfect, laid-back, easy-going man. He going to venture down to his garage and putter a bit too!

I'm going to click the "publish" button and then turn on my audio-book and get back to stitching!
  I hope all of you can find some good in the bad!
Be Kind and Happy Day!