Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Day in the Yard

What a mess! I'm afraid with all the Christmas things to do I have been very negligent on taking care of the yard. Leaves are everywhere!

The pond net is still up....
..and my potting area is a disaster. I put away Christmas and cleaned house yesterday, so today was the day to spend in the yard. And it turned out to be a perfect day to be outside--the temperature was in the low 70's!
I started by raking, and raking, and raking leaves to big piles around the back yard. Part of these go into the compost bin, part into recycled bags for pick up. I cleaned out flower beds and emptied pots full of dead plants. Hubby was in front taking care of the front yard. He raked, then mowed. The front yard really looked nice-still has some green color. We took down the pond net and I cleaned leaves around the beds surrounding the pond. I always leave a few leaves for protection in flower beds, in fact, I did not rake the wildflower bed. You can see it in the background. I think it helps protect the bluebonnets should we get some really cold weather.
I planted pansies in the old chair,
and added a few more pansies to the wheel-
barrow. (you can never have too many pansies-right?)
I put a birdhouse, watering can and cute bunny in the wheel-
barrow as well. Can ya tell I am wishing for spring?
It was a tiring day, but it felt so good to get back outside and get my hands dirty! I know there will be more leaves to rake, and more beds to clean, but for now, I have a clean potting bench ready and waiting, cleaned out flower beds, and a yards with now only a few leaves.
The pond net is down, and the patio is ready for us to enjoy any nice winter days that might come our way.

What did you do today?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; and he is Christ the Lord.."
Luke 2:10

Peaceful Moments,
warm comforts,
cheerful celebrations,
lasting memories.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Tea

It has been cold here in the Dallas area..and I mean Brrrrrr!! This morning the sun thought about appearing, but the clouds took over and it was a cold, cold day! However, this cold, cloudy day was one I have been looking forward to for some time. This was the day my daughter and I were going to the Dallas Arboretum for their Holiday Tea.
I intended for us to walk the grounds and check out all the decorations and look at the pansies and anything else that might be in bloom, but the temperature was only 28 degrees so we decided we would do that another time. The Holiday Tea was in the De Golyer Cafe Tea Room, which is part of the old DeGolyer Estate. This is a picture of the front door.
When we walked in we were given our choice of a table toward the front of the room, or a table by the fireplace. Bet you can guess what we chose!
The table was set with beautiful Christmas china. We stated off with Tomato Basil Broth with a Cheese Wafer. Delicious, and how perfect on such a cold day. The second course was various tea sandwiches: cinnamon apple bread with cream cheese, turkey with orange butter on cranberry bread (my favorite!), egg salad on onion bread, creamed cucumber on white bread, and chicken salad on croissant. The third course were the desserts: pecan tarts, almond short bread, chocolate espresso, sugar cookies and orange currant scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. YUM!!!! And of course, the tea. We started with peach cinnamon hibiscus, moved to apple spice , and finished with vanilla. The vanilla was to die for!!
We sat by the fire, looked out on a cold winter day in a beautiful garden, listened to Christmas music softly playing in the background, and had delicious goodies and teas. Life is good!

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Perfect timing for an award!

It has been a couple of busy weeks at work and at home. I have felt very overwhelmed..not enough time to do all those things I enjoy, like blogging! I have not even kept up with the blogs I read every day! So finding a message from Susie at Digging in the Dirt that I had an award waiting on her blog was a very special treat.
"This is the special 'Proximidade Award'. This award is a fine one because it focuses not on the glory and fanfare of blogging, but in the PROXIMITY to one another through this on-line world. Blogs that receive this award are 'exceedingly charming', says it authors. This blog invests & believes in the proximity-nearness in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. "
Susie, I can't thank you enough for the kind words on your blog and for bestowing me with such a thoughtful award. I have meet so many wonderful new friends through blogging. They have become such an important part of my life. I am suppose to pass this on to 8 people, but I am passing this on to each and everyone of you. I love your blogs, and I treasure your friendship.
Thank you Susie--your timing was perfect!
"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships"
Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blooms on a cloudy day

I walked out on the patio with my coffee this cloudy, gloomy Saturday morning and see most of my plants looking like this one--covered in sheets to protect them from the freezing weather we had last week.
Hiding under this sheet are red geraniums and an asparagus fern.
But blooming away along the flagstone path, I see my Lavender Pinata (lavandule stoechas Pinata). I bought several of these plants early last spring.
They were in a section at Lowe's advertised as "mounding perennials." Lavender's grow well in south Texas, but I heard they were hard to grow in my area. However, they were so pretty I decided to try.
And, I have not been dis-
appointed. They bloomed all spring, slowed down a bit in July and August, then blooms reappeared in September. They are drought tolerant, are fast growers, and according to the plant information sticker-this variety is cold hardy to 10 degrees!! (not sure if I believe that though). One thing I did discover--the plants I put in FULL sun did best. You do need to dead head, but that's not a problem. They also made great cut flowers. The blooms last quite a long time. And..oh the fragrance!! I would run my fingers through the foliage every time I walked by.
So if you are looking for a lavender to try in your garden--I give this one a "green thumbs up!"
Their pretty spikes really brightened this gloomy Saturday morning for me!

"...When I am an old lady I shall have a lavender bush and sprinkle the blooms upon my sheets and under my pillow;steep it into tea and press its spikes among the pages of my books. "
Sharon Tabor

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

I love Christmas Trees! I love the lights, and greenery, but the main reason I love them is for all the different ornaments I have collected over the years. My children and some of my friends have traveled to quite a few places, and in their travels they are so sweet to bring me an ornament.
I have never been to any of these places, but I have ornaments from...




New Zealand..


and Ireland.

I always buy an ornament when we travel. I have ornaments from:
Mt. Vernon..

Santa Fe..
San Francisco..



and of course several from Colorado where we go camping every summer.

Precious memories come from baby's first ornament,
an ornament made by your child years ago,
or maybe your favorite ornament from your childhood.
They can be your favorite college,

or maybe a reminder of your favorite thing to do.
Every year I hang these ornaments and remember the person who gave them to me, or where I was when I bought it, or the special memory of a Christmas past.
What are the some of the ornaments you treasure the most?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Falling Leaves and Snowmen

Brrrr, it's turned cold here! The wind has been very strong and we have leaves everywhere
The net does a pretty good job keeping the leaves out of the pond, but I think I need to do a little raking!

But this little snowman doesn't mind all the falling leaves..
..and neither does this one. They are "dreaming of a white Christmas! "

But since Texas hardly ever GETS snow (much less at Christmas!) I collect snowmen to put out during the holidays.
These snowmen sit in the kitchen window enjoying a tree covered with snow. Shhh, they don't know this is an artificial tree!

This snowman sits on the countertop in the kitchen waiting for Christmas cookies.
This little guy sits on a shelf wishing he was really on the slopes in Colorado.

This snow family stand on the mantle where they can enjoy seeing the Christmas tree.

This snowman is ready to guard any gingerbread men that might be hidden away in his jar.
This cute snowman is happy sitting on a shelf in the kitchen looking out the window and listening to Christmas music.
And this bundled up snowman is just waiting and wishing....
"Star Light, Star Bright
Please let it snow tonight!"