Friday, April 24, 2015

Weeds, NO MORE!

It's that time of year!
Getting the garden beds all pretty and 
cleaned up so all those beautiful
blooms stand out and look their best.
Instead of wood chips, we use pine straw.
 We're still in awe that pine tree "leaves" are used for mulch.
I don't think I have ever seen it used 
before we came to the South.

As seen above, 
Pine straw does decompose over time 
so even though I lay it thick,
it does thin out in places and needs refreshing.

 Last year, I laid weed cloth down before I 
mulched but we still got
weeds popping through, probably in the tiniest
 of holes made in that stuff.

I came across an article in Mother Earth News  about using
newspaper as a weed barrier. The comments from fellow
gardeners were great! One person said they used in one of their beds and were weed free for two years.
It's "green", decomposes and saves it from the landfill.
Since our local paper only comes out once a week, it would 
take forever to collect enough to use. 
My impatience wanted to do it NOW so
I made a phone call to the editor of our town paper.

I swung by and picked up two good sized boxes of old papers,

I got to work! I pulled up any nasty viney weeds and tore the 
clover and smaller weeds to the ground then
covered the entire area with the newspaper, overlapping it good.

I did it really thick in areas that did not have any plants growing around,
then water as I went to keep it from blowing in the breeze.

Once I got that done, I fluffed the pine straw over it.

We ended up doing it the entire length of our picket fence
and I think it looks beautiful. 

We don't have a mow strip, although, 
I'd love to put brick down {maybe one day}. 
 I've had years of practice with the weed whacker though, so I can get any grass that gets too close, pretty good.

Voila! A clean shaped garden island!

I will keep tabs on the progress of decomposition and let you know how it goes.

Have any of you used newspaper in your garden?

And, I have a surprise!
 One of our Barred Rocks 
laid her first egg today.
I knew it was coming and boy, did she 
let the world know!

Now for the rest of them... :)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Black Beauty

If you know me, you know I have a major soft spot
for the color black. I love using it as an accent in our home
and I love to wear it. I love refinishing furniture with it then giving it an aged look.

In small doses, black can be a show stopper and a focal point. The eye is
always drawn to a luxurious dark color and if the lines are right, it can seduce you.

I love that it's classy color but it can also be rebellious. 
Maybe that's why I like it so much.

Black. Black. Black.

 So I finally, finally designed business/calling cards.
You're probably thinking, "What does this have to do with black?!"

There's been a loooong back and forth debate on whether or not
I needed to change my {cell} number to a local area code.
This prompted the delay because opinions are like, well... you know,
so I had a meeting with myself and decided to keep it.
Besides, it's only a number.

My business cards are just like this except with my name and phone number on them.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Green Dreams

 As a young girl, I always dreamed of living someplace 
 where three-rail white fences popped against green pastures and horses grazed all day. There would be a few huge oak trees in those pastures, where I'd lay in the shade, and just
watch my horse for hours on end. 

I was probably dreaming about Kentucky since I was so 
infatuated with horses and I'm pretty sure every book I read that involved them, was set somewhere in the Blue Grass State.

Well, we aren't in Kentucky but we're close enough!
We surely landed in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. And it truly feels like my dreams came true.

We had rain off and on yesterday and when we got a break,
I had to get out and take some pictures of our front walkway.

This spring has been amazing. I have never seen so many shades of natural green in my life.

I love how the blooms just pop against that luscious green. 

We repainted our outdoor furniture in black and it all just looks so pretty.

Our California wine barrels just love it here. Moisture keeps them tight. Back home, I had to water them so they wouldn't dry out and fall apart.

I am so, so happy to see my Cecil Brunners sprout up!
I know they won't cover the pergola this year but 
I think they might climb up quite a bit. 
I swear they get taller by the day.

There is no greater satisfaction for a gardener than seeing your garden bloom. 
And to think, this is just the beginning of spring. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Quick Cheesecake Trifle Parfaits

I love cheesecake!
I could eat a Costco cheesecake, morning, 
noon and night because
with cheesecake, you can dress it up so many different ways.

I wanted to make something light and fruity so
I decided on Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle Parfaits.
These came together rather quick and 
easy and looked very pretty.

I made these for our Easter dessert and 
I had to share because if you are short on time, 
these are perfect. You can make them in advance 
(up to a day) 
and pull them out of the fridge, garnish and serve. 

My family loved them.

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle Parfaits

Serving size: 8 generous portions

2 boxes of instant cheesecake jello pudding (3.4 oz boxes)
4 cups milk
1 family size Sarah Lee pound cake (16 oz)
2 containers of strawberries
juice of one lemon
1 cup of sugar

Whipped cream
chocolate curls

1. Wash and trim strawberries. Dice into small, bite sized pieces. 
 Place in medium size bowl and sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. 
 Stir gently and set aside.

2. Cube pound cake into 1/2 inch squares and set aside.

3. In mixer, empty pudding boxes and add milk. Mix on low until incorporated and switch to    medium. Whip for 5 minutes.

4. In goblets, layer pound cake, pudding, strawberries, pound cake, pudding, strawberries. Refrigerate  at least one hour.

5. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

I know this isn't totally by scratch but it is a quick and easy dessert that is really pretty to look at and tastes very good without being too heavy. I think this would be a great summer dessert, as well.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Red Wall

Hmm... so about that red wall.
Remember the one? The dining room? 
Yeah, that one.

Yep, I decided after all this time, I do not like it.
I tried to like it but I just feel the color is just too heavy for 
our home and although I love red, it's just not working.
I hit the Mister with my thoughts and surprisingly, 
he agreed. 

Don't ask what color we're going with 
because I am absolutely clueless.

I'll keep you posted.