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Friday, March 15, 2013

Posies for Ruby

Yesterday and today have been busy days at Muse Cottage. I am plum tuckered out and sore all over, but it is a grand tired and a I am not sore about being sore... not in the least.  Let me fill you in on all the goings ons. Grab that cuppa ?? and sit down and I shall share with you. Ready? Alrighty. Well let me back up a couple of weeks. Sadly my son in law took his own life and it really cast a dark shadow on the whole family. I was already fighting the blues, between being pretty sick as well as being stressed out by people walking across our yard and feeling as if I just could never have a garden, at least out in front if they would continue to tromp right through where I wish to put it. I of course complained to hubby and he said that if all went well it would not be long till we had our fence and that would include a small stretch of picket fencing as well... just in the front. I told him that I also wanted, if we could swing it, I would love to call on the landscaping company that put in our drive and have them put in the front plantings.... that I felt the need to turn the ugly into pretty to lift my mood and help bring a smile back to my face with all that had been going on. Being the wonderful hubby that he is, he agreed to at least get a quote and IF it fit into the budget he would consider it. So delighted, I had him call and set it up and started dreaming of what the patch of struggling plants,shrubs and blades of grass could become. 

The days it took till the landscaper arrived to give me the quote dragged. I was beyond eager. When it was finally upon me, I told him of the small budget we did have, and that I wanted an overflowing cottage garden filled with pinks, purples, yellows and pops of white. I wanted to keep the plants/shrubs there were there and  work around and add to them. I also hoped that perhaps a drip line could be brought over to the plants to help make it easier on me to get them the water they would need.  He took photos, and listened, shook my hand and said he would work up a plan and get back to me. Tick tock went the minutes, hours, and then days. I finally sent a text message and said  WHEN & How Much?? I was told Monday. It came and went. Tuesday my husband was told via phone, and when Wednesday rolled another text, an email would finally come later in the early evening. I eagerly opened the files in my email and my heart sank... it was 5.00 less than the tippy top my husband gave me to spend, I looked at the plants, and though many are indeed found in a cottage garden, none of the plants I had mentioned were included.. oh and the design was done not by the firm I was interested in, but by a sub contractor who had never met me and never talked to me and did not know my desires. I shot off a reply and told of my wants, needs and hopes for the space and plants and waited for hubby to come home. Once he did, and I showed him the quote, and that it was just an approximate, and could go up , he said it was just not going to happen, that we would have to wait and that he did not wish to push the budget. I felt the same way, truth be told... I am a budget minded gal and count my pennies ( too many years, only recently over, of being flat broke and living on other peoples kindness to keep us afloat ) so I shot off another email and said my apologies and thanked both the landscapers ( the original and the one that had designed the space) and so thought that was that. I planned to just weed the area, buy some mulch and wait till we could get to it ourselves. 

Thursday morning arrived, it was to be a busy day first thing. We had our fence supplies due to arrive, and then I supposed  hubby would mow the lawn, we might run some errands and possibly get a few little things done around the cottage.. and then our two youngest daughters were due over in the evening, one for a visit and supper and one for both of those as well as to get her laundry done.  As I sipped my morning tea, I asked hubby what was on the docket after the Lowes delivery of the fencing supplies? He was leaving it up to me. I mentioned how I had hoped it was the day the planter was to get started on, but since that was not happening, I was undecided. He said that we could work on it and go to a nursery and pick out some plants.... maybe not to the extent that the landscaper had planned to put in, but enough it would make it look a bit nicer and we could add to it later as money and time allowed.  Hubby was going to buy me posies! I was sooo excited!! So, below is how the day progressed.....

As we live on a corner, often people drive buy far too
fast once the light changes... The driver did the same
hubby had to chase him down two houses away!

Once the driver knew where we lived and where
we wanted the supplies, he started to unload.
Brave man as there was a lot of morning traffic.
Hubby checking the list twice...please
ignore the patch of weeds... I do plant to plant a rose there. 

Last bunch of posts, and list checked...
we loaded ( yes I helped some) the supplies
into the backyard for safe keeping and got on with
the day. 

Just over 6 miles away is the local nursery. A very busy,
and popular one! I love to go and just stroll around and
swoon over all the possibilities!

Besides there flowers, there is inspiration..... Asian is not my style,

...maybe an old rusted gazebo with roses growing over it and a
dry creek bed?? 

Trees of every size, shape and description....

plants everywhere you look....

...more inspiration, tho perhaps too formal for me...

I prefer Heather, Geraniums, Daisies, Chocolate Mint and
some roses thrown in.... wonder what I else I can find ?? 

After a quick stop at Lowes for a few more plants, planting soil and mulch,
hubby got hard to work. I even got down on my knees and started
pulling the grass and weeds near the porch side, and in between
raked and cleared the over turned earth,  being careful to not hurt the earthworms
now wiggling about. 
 Several hours later, and I do mean several, and the sun hanging low in the sky, and people zooming past on their way home from work, hubby was still outside finishing up while I headed in and cooked a French themed , breakfast for dinner for us and the daughters visiting... sorry no photos of that... I completely forgot, so I promise the next time I make the same meal, I shall share.... but here is a link to show you what it was that I cooked. I made some tweaks, the original was to be made with ham, but our youngest dislikes ham, so we used Turkey lunch meat....if you follow the link above to the blog where I grabbed the recipe ( as the show that it is from the Little Paris Kitchen BBC/Cooking Chanel  , did not actually have the recipe on it's site) you can see that blogger used bacon. NOW if you want to watch the actual clip and see the actual recipe... here you go.... CLICK HERE> Little Paris Kitchen. Anyway, eventually hubby did finish, I sent him to the showers and while he was in I completed supper and we had a lovely meal and chat after with our daughters till nearly 11 p.m. It was as I said a very busy and long day. OH I bet you want to see the results, sorry.. rabbit trails, here you go.....

I know, it is not much to look at right now, and I do plan to "pad" it with annuals in the coming days,
but it is so much better than the sparse grass and wilting shrubs and plants that were already there.
I added pin cushions and a few bulbs to the plant list.. tho I caught hubby putting
Gladiolas near the front and they will be far too tall there, *sigh* that
is what I get for leaving him on his own to plant the last few items. 

Soon, well hopefully over time, this will all fill in with the colors I mentioned earlier.
A butterfly bush, and a climbing pink rose will fill in the back ,
and through the middle florabunda roses with blooms that combine
pink and yellow will take over the center and in between yarrow,
daisies, poppies and a variety of other perennials and soon annuals will
be what I see from our living room window and to greet guests upon arrival. 

Well I will tell you this, even though I am sore, and hubby is even more so, and the space was not filled in with 30 1 gallon plants like the landscapers were going to do, I do feel very pleased with the result.... now just to keep it alive and the weeds at bay! That will keep me busy I am sure.... but I shall love every moment of it. So what am I doing today?? Resting?? Oh no, not me.... pain and all, it is another day and I have been busy. Chores that got left undone are in process, a lovely beef stew is in the crock pot, I took a long walk, third this week ( see earlier post HERE of what I see on my walk), and stopped at the market in the middle of it and grabbed potatoes for the stew, and a loaf of crusty bread to go with dinner tonight, and even manged to snap a few photos to round out what I have already shared....

I started my day roasting mushrooms and golden grape
sized tomatoes for the stew... I used on box of the grapes,
and a bag of pre-sliced mushrooms

I tossed beef stew meat in flour, salt and pepper,
and browned it in olive oil; I used one pack
of stew meat, and with everything added,
hubby and I get two meals from the one crockpot full
of stew. 

Once all brown and crusty with wonderful flavor,
it was set aside while I grade some garlic, chopped
my fresh vegies and built the flavors up with
vegi broth and tomato paste. 

Isn't this cute? Hubby got it for me at a home show.
It can be used for many things, but mainly,
I use it for garlic..... this time it will be 3 cloves!

*darn shaky hands* , anyway see the yellow
"mush" that's the garlic when I am done
running it over the sharp edges in the
bottom of the plate, the brush sweeps it
into the pan.

A riot of color. I combine the roasted tomatoes and mushrooms,
then add in roughly chopped baby carrots, about half a bag of them, some celery to taste... I used
the whole bunch,  and one of each of a red and green bell pepper and some onions, one whole bag of frozen, no tears that way .....

Add in the 1 box of low sodium vegi broth, the can of
tomato paste, a bunch of Mrs. Dash Original and
the meat , and ... OH darn I forgot to replace the
extra potatoes we ate last night......need to take
my walk and stop in at the market.. and maybe the bakery.....
Nifty birds I saw on my walk today,  that I never remember the name of , but
always show up this time of year....

pretty cool looking and not too fearful ... I got pretty close for this shot. 

Lookie! A Rooster! Anyone that knows me KNOWS I want
chickens , having raised them as a girl and loving my dear
little chickies and the eggs too... I thought I could not have them
here in the city... now I have hope! Maybe one day!!
 Okay , back from my walk.....
.... add in Fingerling potatoes all cut into bight size pieces,
stir everything together and let cook for however long you
need to... today for me, it is 6 hours from when I put it on to cook.
Oh and serve the stew with crusty fresh bread.... I bought this at a
new little bakery that just opened.

Whew, hubby would not have liked a stew with no potatoes and it did give me a chance to pop into this new little bakery I had been wanting to try, plus get nearly two and half miles in to burn off the cookie I ate earlier with my cup of tea..... So now that you are all caught up with life here at Muse Cottage, I need to get back to my chores.... but come back and see me soon... there is always something going on here. 


  1. Wow..what a busy few days! Looks like you're getting started though! It's so frustrating to wait for little plants to grow up isn't it? But it will be so pretty once it fills in!

  2. They are! Those are yellow billed magpies. Cute.


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