Monday, July 17, 2017

home care

I know it's been over two weeks since I published a blog post. It's been a busy summer. Lots of get-togethers with friends and family, more time spent outside and not on my laptop, and I'm still in physical therapy two days per week. My knee is doing great, but now I'm having lower back and hip problems, all related to the knee. All will be well: Besides my regular scheduled physical therapy, I recently had an hour massage that focused on my problem areas, and I plan to have another massage in a couple of weeks. I'm also going to return to a regular yoga class next week.

Not much is new around here, but I thought I'd show you some things we got for the house recently, as well as the goings-on in the yard.

We got new windows last week! With the house being 27 years old, we were definitely due. Now to get rid of the ugly, faux wood trim around all the windows. We contacted our contractor about doing all the trim as well as a couple of other projects and he and his crew are book until November! So, looks like the ugly trim will be staying for awhile longer.

Tim had been trying to talk us into getting a toaster oven. Claimed it was so convenient not to turn on the oven, especially when cooking a small meal, or reheating something that wouldn't turn out as well in the microwave. With not wanting to heat up the kitchen in the summer by turning on the oven, we finally bit the bullet. We wanted a quality toaster oven, so we chose this Breville Smart Oven. I'm loving it! I've roasted veggies, baked chicken breasts, sweet potatoes and cookies, and we also use it to make toast instead of dragging out the toaster - which is now packed away in the basement.

Speaking of cooking, isn't this French enameled cast iron Dutch oven a beaut? It's made by Fontignac - a division of Staub, if you're familiar with them. Staub, Le Creuset, take your pick. Both excellent cookware. When I got a promotional email from Costco over the Fourth of July weekend about this Fontignac Dutch oven, I did my research on the quality and pricing and found both the reviews and Costco's pricing excellent. I have yet to actually use this pot'll be perfect in the fall and winter for soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, etc.

Now for something quirky and pillows!

They're from IKEA - and only $3.99 each! They were purrfect (sorry, I had to) for the casual, modern furniture - coincidentally enough, all from IKEA - in the basement family room.

Around the yard...

Hostas are beautiful as is, but even moreso at this time of year when they're showing off their purple spiky blossoms.

Gazanias are my new-to-me favorite flower this year. They're the ones poking out of the double green pail and the beige planter below the green pail.


The Joe Pye Weed by the patio has really spread, as it's known to do. I think this will be the year where we'll have to dig some up and plant it elsewhere. Did you know bees love Joe Pye Weed? Once it blooms - and you can see how the blooms are starting on mine - the bees will be all over them.

We've been enjoying a lot of patio-sitting, from morning coffee, to afternoon breaks, to evening relaxation. One of the best things we've done is to hire a mosquito-spraying service. The mosquitoes are rampant here due to all the trees and water (have a nearby lake with lots of creeks) and our little village doesn't spray for mosquitoes. We've never been able to enjoy our patio except in the early spring and late fall. Silly us - wish we had've thought of the mosquito spraying service years ago! This spray also repels ticks, so it's a win-win. Normally, we're against any kind of chemicals either inside our home or outside, but it also becomes a matter of mosquito and tick-borne illnesses, such as West Nile virus and Lyme Disease.

Purple coneflower and phlox are blooming in the butterfly garden now.

Lamb's Ear is blooming, too...

another plant the bees love.

My hydrangeas aren't big plants - I don't think they get enough sun - but they sure do produce huge, gorgeous blossoms.

I don't think we were too wise with using an old crib mattress as a trellis for KY pole beans. They look more like a tangled mess, and....

they're growing so tall, that they're over the fence. I've been pushing the stalks into the grooves between the fence boards to hold them up! 

The cherry tomato plants are about six feet tall and slowly starting to produce fruit. 

A patch of wild strawberries appeared around the tree stump in the side of the yard. I wonder if they taste good. I think I'll just leave them for Chippy (what I name all chipmunks) or any other wild creatures that might want a snack.

Back yard view. That's the compost bin in the middle of the lilies.

It's a gorgeous Monday here with clear blue skies and temps only in the 70's, so like I mentioned earlier, the laptop is now going off and I'm going outside to do some yard work and enjoy this beautiful day. The heat returns tomorrow and so does a physical therapy session, so there's no time like the present.


  1. Your yard is beautiful. In the 70's sounds good to me! I have IKEA couches because they have slip covers and I have a dog and cats. I got covers with a tight weave so the cats haven't done too much damage. I love the cat pillows. I haven't been to IKEA in a couple of years. It's on the other side of town.

  2. Sunny skies and in the 70's . . . that's what I call perfect weather. Melanie your yard and patio area are so pretty. You certainly have a green thumb. I love the white Chinese lanterns, too . . . that area just looks so inviting. It's the perfect spot for morning coffee or a romantic dinner for two.
    Oh, your toaster oven looks like a very nice one . . . we should probably do something like that, too . . . when you're only cooking for two heating a big oven is overkill. Great post!
    Connie :)

  3. I really enjoyed that little tour of your garden. Everything looks so pretty and your patio looks especially inviting. Our temperatures will soar into the upper 90s this week so the patio is not the place to be. Your temps in the 70s sound ideal and the lack of mosquitoes and ticks makes it even more ideal :).
    You are smart to be out there enjoying it all.

  4. I haven't been blogging / visiting much lately and playing catch-up / your yard etc looks wonderful! The chinese lanterns reminded me of when I had them years ago in a different place : )
    I hope that the physical therapy continues to help!

  5. Melanie, it's always fun catching up with you. Sorry to hear about your back and hip, hopefully that will be better soon. Your garden is just lovely, I hope you have many more fabulous days and nights out there!

  6. It is a beautiful day...and what a lovely way to spend it on your quaint patio area. Even better now that the bugs are under control. Wishing you wellness on your knee and back/hip easies up with knee becoming stronger.

  7. Your garden is gorgeous, Mel! So many varieties of flowers and so lush. I know you've probably tried citronella candles, etc., but my memories of the bug spraying truck coming down our little rural streets makes me ill. The smell would come though the screened window. The real sadness was when my two little finches died as a result. I was just fourteen. :( I've had a lot of luck with citronella, the key is lighting the candles a good two hours before you plan to be outside. The don't like air movement either...we have a ceiling fan under our covered patio at the lake and I've never hesitated to bring out a standing fan here in the city. I just fixed up our outdoor balcony off our bedroom at the lake and I'm afraid to burn candles there so I found a mosquito plant. My neighbors swear they work! Sorry to go on and on.

    Fun changes in your home. We had a toaster oven for a while and I loved all the cool sandwiches I could come up with. I could also brown the tops of casseroles, etc., like a broiler. Have fun!

    Keep feeling better with that knee. I get how it affects other body parts. Not using back muscles has now created problems in my knees. Grrrrr...

    Jane x

  8. Your garden is beautiful isn't it! So many lovely flowers. Hope that you can get things sorted with your knee and associated problems soon.

  9. Hi Melanie, I always love looking at pictures of your yard. Your gardens are beautiful. What a difference the new windows make, right? I've never gone through the process of having them installed, but the former owners put new windows in the old house we're now living in, and I just love them. So easy to clean and they open and close so smoothly. I wish I had more counter space for a toaster oven. It sounds like a great idea.

  10. I really enjoy your garden. The red decorative trellis is so pretty. I had hoped to plant a butterfly garden this year but didn't. Next year? I have been thinking about a Breville oven. My oldest daughter has one and loves it and Hasn't used her stove in a couple of years now. I think it would be a good investment since if I move it goes with me.

    The cat pillows are so cute!! IKEA is in downtown Atlanta so I don't go much. I hope the PT continues to help you get back to normal. The massages should help with the hip and back! Enjoy all the outdoor time you can!

  11. What a nice newsy catch up post. It's looking good around your home. PT is good and so are massages. Healing takes time.

    Happy Summer dear Melanie ~ FlowerLady

  12. The name of your blog is so perfect because you really do have a comfy house, inside and out! I could move right in with you as we have similar taste. ;) I also love the cat pillows. The closest IKEA for me is over 200 miles so I rarely get there. I do like their stuff. I get a kick out of the fact that it is a Swedish company but everything they sell is made in China. :(

    Do try those wild strawberries! I had one plant grow in a very small crack between porch foundation and sidewalk. It had to come from a seed in bird droppings. I ate what strawberries that came on it and they were really good.(and I am still alive). I am positive the bird ate some strawberries from a garden.

    About your window trim, how about painting it white for now? Is your new toaster oven also convection? They are wonderful. I have a very small toaster over that I got from survey points so can't make big things, but enough for just me.

  13. Those gazanias look too perfect to be real. You're going to love your Breville Smart Oven. That's what I cook with!

  14. So sorry about your back and hip, not unusual with a knee or ankle injury. You compensate so much that it throws everything else out of whack. Love your gorgeous flowers.

  15. We've had a toaster oven for a few years and use it all the time. I'm glad you like yours. Sweet garden tour. Mine is a study in how tall the weeds can grow. Very tall. Next week. Next week they meet their demise.

  16. Melanie,
    What a savory post! I devoured each and every nibble of it. You write so well, that I feel as though we were visiting face to face.
    Our bodies are such tricky things and pain in once spot can actually come from another injury. I hope that you will get to feeling better very, very soon.
    Your gardens are charming, welcoming and beautiful. I can see why you unplug and embrace the beauty of Summer.
    You had asked me about my garden and If I have help with it. I do in the Spring. The hubby tills is all up for me!
    Have a wonderful rest of the week,

  17. You'll ove cooking with that Dutch oven. I have two Le Creuset that I use all the time.


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