Sunday, October 3, 2021

taking a break

Hi everyone ~ not in a blogging mood as of late. Taking a break for an indefinite amount of time. Will still be around to visit your blogs though. In the meantime, if you'd like to keep in touch with me, feel free to email me anytime and/or follow me on Instagram.

With much love and gratitude,
Melanie


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

holding on to summer

I'm a summer lover. Give me long, light-filled days, blue skies, lush trees and flowers, garden-fresh tomatoes, the scent of neighbor's grilling wafting through the air, and bare feet any day. Of course, I don't like the intense heat that we sometimes get and the humidity gets ridiculous, but like Brian says, "You don't have to shovel sunshine."


Summer, for us, is also filled with birthdays. Our firstborn son, Philip (may he RIP) was born July 21st.


Me, my mom, and Brian have summer birthdays, too.


Last year, my birthday brought a derecho. We spent the afternoon in the basement due to tornado warnings. This year, intense thunderstorms knocked down trees and power lines all over our neighborhood. We were without power for 22 hours! Next year, I'm skipping town. 



We've managed to sneak in some summer day trips; our last one being to Milwaukee, Wisconsin....






This summer has flown by. It always does. The season is too short here in Illinois. I still have a summer bucket list of places I wanted to visit. 


I've been seeing fall decor on blogs and on Instagram already and I'm just not ready. I don't like rushing seasons (except winter 😜) or holidays. Technically, we still have three weeks of summer left. I suppose that still gives me some time to fit in some of those places on my summer bucket list.


But here we are, September 1st already. The perennials are fading and drying up, it gets dark at 7:30 now, the neighborhood is quiet during the day with children being back in school, dried leaves are littering the ground; even the air smells different. This time of year always makes me a little melancholy.


"How softly summer shuts, without the creaking of a door."
(Emily Dickinson, 1880)




Friday, July 9, 2021

the swing of summer

Hello, friends! This is the longest I've gone without blogging. Two months. It's been a busy summer and I've chosen to take a step back and just live in the moments. The past couple of weeks I've felt a post calling me again, but it was hard to know where to start.


Of course, all my gardens and pots of flowers are now in full swing. One of my simple pleasures is to walk around the yard most every day, checking on all the plants and flowers, seeing if anything new has bloomed, perhaps taking a few cuttings to bring in the house.






Last year, I had a pot of black and blue salvia on my front porch, which was not only striking in its color, but attracted hummingbirds. I couldn't find any of that salvia this year, but found this red variety. I've only seen one hummingbird, so far.


Another garden center had this unusual variety of salvia. Can't remember the name of it, but the plant stalk is sturdy and thick and the plant grows several feet tall. You can see it's just now blooming, so time will tell if this salvia will attract the hummingbirds.


Cosmos are one of my favorite flowers. Not only are they beautiful and daisy-like; they're so easy to take care of because they basically survive on neglect. Sow the seeds or plant the established annuals in full sun. They only need watering during drought conditions. They make for beautiful cut flowers in arrangements, too.


They're even beautiful on their own in a little bottle.


Any of you long-time readers of my blog will know about our ongoing annual saga of our neighbor's overhanging mulberry tree. This year was no different. We knew this was the year we'd have to hire tree trimmers again because the mulberry tree was not only dropping berries and destroying our patio and surrounding plants, but it was hanging over the roof, dropping berries there and into the gutter.


We were also dealing with the neighbor's invasive buckthorn overhanging our property and patio. It provided needed shade, but it was out of control and ugly.


Here's some mulberry photos for you, so you can see how bad it got!


We obviously had to move all our patio furniture into the backyard so it wouldn't get ruined.



I'd sweep up these dang mulberries every day (they fermented, stunk, and attracted flies!) into a dust pan and then dump the berries over the fence into the neighbor's yard. They're hers - she can have them back! 

You can see how the berries stained our patio.



After we had the trees trimmed. Much better!


Brian got to work power-washing the patio. You can see the clean difference around the perimeter of the patio. He also had to get up on a ladder and clean all the mulberries out of the gutter. 


Our patio furniture is now back in place where it belongs! I love being able to sit out here again. We now have no shade in this area, so we're looking for one of those free-standing umbrellas with the heavy base. 


Other than the home and garden update, my days and evenings have been filled with vet appointments (Clementine is still doing well with her kidney disease and subcutaneous fluid treatment), PT appointments for myself (my back again), and summer fun: get-togethers with friends and family, BBQs, day trips, an outdoor vintage pop-up sale, walks to the lake, and attending my friend's son's baseball games. 




Hope you're having an enjoyable, fun, and safe summer!













Thursday, May 6, 2021

Trying to catch up

Hi there! Sorry I was gone for so long again. Blogging seems different to me lately. I'm finding more and more bloggers are "doing their thing" on Instagram instead of keeping up with their blogs and it's easy to understand why. Posting one photo and a blurb takes a few minutes versus a blog post that can take at least an hour by the time you're done uploading and editing photos and writing a post. I sometimes simply lose my writing mojo, too.

Yard work continues around Comfy House. Brian recently finished cutting down a bunch of dead tree branches that were overhanging the fence. Not our trees, nor our fence. This is the neighbor with the dreaded mulberry tree. We desperately need some professional help with landscaping this year. We have a huge bare spot in back of our house where we had a lilac bush dug out last year. It runs most of the back of our house where there's barely any sun. We can't even get grass to grow there. We also need some landscaping done on both sides of the sidewalk (we tried ourselves - and failed) and we'd like to have bushes planted in front of our house. We need a load of fresh dirt spread under the arborvitae trees that line our back yard. We've had a couple of landscapers out here for estimates but they didn't work out. Another is coming tomorrow afternoon. They have excellent online reviews so we're crossing our fingers.


May is one of my favorite months. The landscape is finally lush and green and beautiful and all the plants are coming to life. The weather is still fickle...daytime temps can be anywhere from the high 40's - low 80's and you never know if it's going to be sunny or rainy. We've grilled twice and patio season has started - hooray!

Some plants around my yard right now ~

Bleeding Heart...


Ferns...



Bishops Cap...


Peonies about to burst open...


Celandine Poppy...


Hostas lining the walkway to the patio...


I made my first trip of the year to a favorite garden center last week.


It's still a bit early for there to be much to choose from, as far as annuals go. You can see that they start all their annuals from seed and that a lot of plants are just now growing.


So all I came home with were some lettuces (which have doubled in size since last week) and a couple of herbs. 


I normally don't buy a lot of plants at the big box stores, but the other day I was grabbing a few groceries and there was a Home Depot in the same shopping center. I stopped in to look around and found daisies ~ one of my favorites. I only grabbed two plants, thinking I'd plant them in a smaller planter, but the plants were too big. My neighbor-friend just passed along this lovely planter to me, so it was perfect for the daisies. I need just one more to fill in the area in the back of the planter.


Now for the not-so-fun stuff. I mentioned in my last post that we were busy with some projects, one of which was some updates in the kitchen. We are still looking for a general contractor. A good one is hard to find! The one we thought we were going to use turned out where they hardly do any of the work themselves; they simply suggested other businesses that could do each job. We do not want to hire five different contractors just for some kitchen updates! Another contractor that was supposed to stop by a couple of days ago to give us an estimate simply didn't show up. I didn't receive a phone call, email or text - nothing. 

We decided to start with something easy - a new ceiling fan in the kitchen. I know some people don't like ceiling fans in kitchens, but we happen to love having one in there. I do a lot of cooking, plus this is where family and friends tend to congregate, as the kitchen truly is the "heart of the home". In the warm months, the extra breeze from the fan is a big plus. We've never had a problem with grease on the fan. We hired an electrician because we needed some other electrical work done in the house, as well. We went out and bought a ceiling fan we thought would work, but dummy us didn't measure how far down the fan would hang. Turns out this fan is 1) way too low, 2) way too dark for our kitchen and 3) way too bright since the light is LED and we don't have a dimmer switch. And...we still have dead zones around the kitchen with one big LED light, so we need recessed lighting in the ceiling, too. So now we are stuck with a fan we hate until we find another one. The electrician said we should get one that comes with a remote where we can control the brightness of the light or else he can install a dimmer switch on another type of fan. We also obviously need a flush mount fan. And I think a white one would be best. Of course, the big box stores don't have anything like this in stock. It would have to be special ordered. Who would've thunk that something as simple as a ceiling fan could get so complicated?




The excitement doesn't stop there. When the electrician was up in the attic, he found torn screening hanging down from the center of the attic ceiling and a big pile of dead leaves. He said it looked like we had a nest of squirrels in there over the winter! We couldn't believe it. We haven't heard a thing overhead...no scratching or scurrying. And Brian was understandably upset because a neighbor-friend who's a roofer just did some minor repairs on our roof last fall. So these naughty rodents must've chewed through something to get into the attic. Brian got on the phone to an exterminator right away and they're coming out tomorrow morning. We also recently discovered - via our cat Monkey - that we have mice in the basement. Oh, the joys of home ownership! Now that we're *ahem*, getting older, I am starting to see why people move into townhouses or condos when they retire. Sometimes all this upkeep is just too much.

(sunset on our neighborhood lake)

Thanks for hanging in there with me and my sporadic blogging as of late. Hope you all are doing well and staying healthy and safe.
💓