Friday, May 30, 2008

We're Back From Across The Pond!

It couldn't have been more perfect. Notice the car at the top of the path? That's our car and exactly where we pulled in to park in the tiny village of Lealholm in the North Yorkshire Moors. These old stepping stones across the river are the reason I picked this spot in the first place. I saw a photo on the 'net and just knew it would be a great little place to rest our weary bones after the trip over. I was unaware of where I was parking as I pulled in to walk up the road to the pub.

Let's just say that after an 8 and a half hour flight, a couple hours in the airport sorting out our rental car, plus driving from Manchester on the LEFT side of the road...well, it was a most welcome sight to see my old friend "The Stones".

A view up the street towards the pub. If I never do anything else right the rest of my life, let it be known that booking a room at The Board Inn (a room upstairs in the local village pub) was one of the smartest things I have ever done in my life. Seriously. How could we go wrong? A few pints, a good meal and all we had to do was crawl up the stairs to lay our heads on what seemed like the softest pillows on earth.
Ok, here's a funny story... I was upstairs, sitting in the window seat, looking out onto the river when I saw this cute old man driving a tractor over the bridge. I grabbed my camera and took a photo thinking it was too surreal. But then came the true reality when he backed into the space at the front of the pub door right underneath my window and delivered 3 huge bags of potatoes! Potatoes he grew himself, harvested, then delivered to the pub. Forget it! I couldn't nap, I had to go down to the pub for another 1/2 pint and share my story with my husband and a few of the locals. I'm not sure they knew why I found this so insanely idyllic but to me it just set the mood for a fantastic English countryside visit.

Just a few photos from Day 1. I've got lots of unpacking, laundry, mail sorting, bill paying, kitty loving and even some fresh vegetables to pick up from our CSA. It's good to be home but WOW what a trip. More to follow in the next few days as I sort through our photos.

P.S. I must have traveler's delirium! Marty booked the room at the pub for us after a kind old woman he first called suggested we try the pub. Her farm stay B&B was booked for the night and it couldn't have worked out better. 'Twasn't I at all. I give credit where credit is due.

Also, if you ever do find yourself in Lealholm or anywhere near, please do stop in and tell Karen and Alister hello for us. They were great hosts! Alister is quite the chef and whipped up some delicious meals for us. Food, that's a whole other post. Incredible food. I was on the "Eat Something Cute Diet". The first night it was pan fried wild rabbit. I tried not to think of what it looked like before it was smothered in a delicious gravy. :-\

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Or Did I?

Just as I knew, the climbing antique rose bush is now loaded with sweet smelling blooms. It's actually gone a bit crazy after all of the rain we've had. These photos just don't do it justice - a bit hard for me to capture how full it really is spilling all over the arbor.

There are also the beginnings of new blooms on the Oak Leaf Hydrangeas outside of the picket fence. They start out green and then turn to white not blue or pink like the other variety of hydrangeas. I love the conical shape of these when the bush is in full bloom.

The Hostas and Rose Campions that I planted last week seem to be pretty happy here. I also love how the sunlight shines through the leaves of the Bengal Tiger Canna Lilies. We took out a section of the picket fence to bring in the top soil and rocks but decided to make it into a gate instead of putting it back like it was.

Yes, the grass needs trimming, the beds needs mulching and the fence needs attention but I've got to pack for a trip! There's no telling what I'll want to do with the yard after seeing all of the English Country Gardens. I think I may just pop with excitement.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Manchester England England

We leave for the UK soon and I can NOT get this song out of my head. This will be my first trip to the north part of the United Kingdom. We fly into ~Manchester, England, England, across the Atlantic Sea...~ and then will rent a tiny car (gas is $10/gallon!) to make our way up to Edinburgh and loop around to The Lake District for a wedding with a bunch of friends. Then it's back to ATL. Short trip but I'm very excited about seeing the country side, the moors, the cliffs, the dells, the castles, the sheep, the gardens, the pubs and the friends.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

After the Storm

I wish I could share with you how wildly delicious this honeysuckle smells in the yard today. We had strong storms last night and this is what I woke up to just outside the bedroom window. I'm so glad I slept with the window open. I heard the rain come down really hard about 5am so I checked the doppler radar on my laptop. Tornado warnings but mostly south of us. No limbs down, just a light spring breeze to carry these wonderful scents all around me.

The antique climbing rose above the front gate is just starting to bloom. Before long it will be filled with wonderful light pink gifts from Mother Nature. I love how that happens!

I guess I can be called an "Accidental Gardener". I'm not one for formal gardens - they just don't fit with this old farm house or my sense of style. I usually like the natural look but this year I've decided to give it a little nudge. I love anything that pops up from plantings that were put in many years ago by chance or previous gardeners. Last year the electricity or phone or cable company cut a swath underneath the power lines from the road to the fence line by the driveway. Just a few days ago, I noticed a small stand of Rose Campions growing in that spot along with the weeds, poison ivy and underbrush.

This morning, out I went with my trusty rubber boots and a shovel to dig a few of them up and transplant closer to the house. Parts of our yard were starting to look quite bare after the long drought we've had. Then any rains we had washed away the soil around the trees so I had 8 yards of topsoil brought in to surround 4 of the large oak trees. I've mainly been planting shade loving plants but I've noticed certain naturalized plants growing in these areas so I'm adding those in with the hostas and canna lilies. It's been fun moving things around and digging in the dirt. It's still all looking a little bare in the new beds but I'm pretty confident that it will be glorious come next spring.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

In Celebration of Spring

I had planned to get up early (which I did) and work in the gardens today. I have about 20 hostas, 10 daffodils and a few hyacinths that are waiting for their new home in the freshly composted beds. Mother Nature had a different plan for me and decided the plants need water before I put them in their final resting place. So, while it's raining outside, I decided to post a photo from our woodland walk in Northern California a few months ago.

Also, I'd like to give thanks, in random order:

• Thanks to the all of the new friends I've met since starting this blog. It would take too long to list each one separately but you should know who you are. I hope I have thanked each of you personally.

• Thanks to all of my old friends who probably sometimes begin to think I'm full of myself but continue to be my friends.

• Thanks to all of the wonderful people I met on my ArtFest journey.

• Thanks to the people who take the time to see what I have to say here. Extra special thanks to those of you who take the time to post a comment. I am always excited when I see a new message.

• Thanks to Mother Nature and the Creator for showing me that every day is a new beginning.

• Thanks to my husband for allowing me to live the life of a 'Tiny Pharm Wife'.

• Thanks to good cheese and fresh baked bread. Compliments of said husband who got up hours earlier, made freshly ground french press coffee, left it in a thermos for me, then went for an early morning ride on his motorcycle to come back with a backpack full of yummy stuff. I'm not particularly thankful for the 'Stinking Bishop Cheese' because it was a bit too stinky for me. Plus, with a name like that, it's hard to enjoy! But thanks just the same.

• Thanks to Susanna Gordon for the kind gift of one of her photographs accompanied with a thoughtful hand written letter. I found her from the very first issue of "Artful Blogging" and she's been a great source of inspiration and encouragement ever since. Actually, it was Susanna that suggested I start my very own blog. She was right - it has enriched my life in so many ways.

• Thanks to my family who knew I was always a little different but allowed me to be so loving me along the way.

• Thanks to the other artists, writers, humans who share their world and continue to inspire me as I sometimes just wander down my own path of enlightenment.

• Thanks to YOU for reading this long list. I think I've had too much coffee. I need to get out in the yard. I guess I can dig with my fancy rubber boots on since it's still raining.