While The Hubs Was Away

Hello World! I hope this finds you doing well. Hey, I’m posting a second post today. What’s up with that?

I suppose I’m in the mood to get caught up on things.

April 16th – 23rd

It’s that time of the year for new growth. And word is out that there are new baby egrets over at the nearby lake.

Which brings me to the reason our pond is still covered. This guy came for a visit last week, only to discover he was not able to reach the fish, thank you pond net for holding up.

It’s also a busy time in and around the pond.

The fish have spawned several times and I’m working double duty to keep the pond nice and clean. In the process, I think I’m getting a little extra vitamin D.

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Monday evening, the hubs called to see if I wanted to watch our show together. While we were worlds apart. Or so it seemed.

Note: If you are anyone that knows me well, you know I’m not a TV person. While I enjoy the shows we watch together, like survivor, Master Chef and Better Call Saul, I don’t bother turning on the TV when the hubs is away.

So on that particular night, he had to walk me thru instructions, just to get the TV on.

Once “we” (the me part of we) got to the right channel, we were all set to watch Better Call Saul.

The fun part was texting between commercials and even during the show. That was my favorite night, as he felt really close.

One day I picked roses from the garden. It makes me happy to bring the outdoors in.

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What makes my heart sing – Sometimes things grab our attention without trying to notice. Like this canister at the front of the store in the after Easter clearance sale. Several thoughts that ran thru my mind in like 1 second. 4 dollars and change? really? I love it! It’s cheerful and happy! For that price it’s ours. And so it was. Next year, I’ll have to make a cozy little spot for us to enjoy.

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One day the hubs sent a text…”How many pieces of fudge would you like?”

You see, he was in Ft Worth again, staying in the Stockyards next to the candy store where they sell my favorite fudge in the world. Of course not counting my mom’s fudge, her fudge is the best, but only made once a year. That’s another story for another time.

Back to the number of pieces I wanted. I responded “One piece baby, just one.” That was my fudge order.

Well fudge, I didn’t think another thing until he got home Friday afternoon with a couple of boxes of goodies. I wonder if he left enough fudge on the shelf for others. Obviously he was not concerned with sharing. That’s 8 huge pieces of fudge for me. Yeah, he’s not a fudge kinda guy, so it’s all mine.

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The best part about this fudge is, the decadence of peanut butter and chocolate in one smooth creamy bite. It is sure to satisfy the craziest of chocoholics.

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After the hubs busy week, we decided a laid back weekend was the ticket to rest up. We did enjoy a few dinners out, a quick stop at the ice cream store and a lot of relaxation.

And with that, my wish for you is a Happy New Week.

Blessings – Debbie

New Season New Projects

It’s such a pretty time of the year. A magical time when things begin to appear after a little nap. Like the gladiolas, day lilies and water lilies. The water-lily pads are leafing out and we look forward to the pink, white and yellow flowers to be on display any day now.

The backyard has been an ongoing project. A fun project. A labor of love. The arbors are fairly new but the one on the right is the latest edition.

See the bird houses up top? They’re not new, but I applied a new coat/color of paint to make them pop.  And each of them have been moved 3 times. I think I like the spots they’re in this time around.

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The yellow bird house, zoomed in a bit.

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And the green bird house with a new splash of paint. See the yellow dragonfly, flying thru the lavender? I painted him not too long ago as well.

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This arbor is the second (matching) arbor added to the upper terrace. I’m super excited about the little project that will complete the area. It’s probably weeks out, but still, exciting.

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After working several hours in the garden, I craved a nice tall glass of sweet tea, made with honey.

I took my nice cool beverage to the patio and sipped and thought about the next project I would like to tackle.

I “think” it involves paint.

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I’m happy to report that we had a glorious spring day. And I look forward to sharing as I go along the way.

Blessings – Debbie

Fort Worth Stock Yards

Hello peeps!  How are you? Yes, I’m here! Has it really been over a year since I had something to say on the blog? I find that hard to believe.

The blog’s been on my mind, it seems daily. And the weight of all the things left unsaid seemed to push me further away. Like a mountain of stuff piling up, and  not knowing where to begin. Things like 3 weddings in 3 different states, memories of my grandma, gardening projects, monthly book club fun dates, painting birdhouses, our trip to Hoover Dam, Meteor Crater and the Grand Canyon and little things like ducks adopting our pond and the hubs and I named them Mack and Daisy and we became Certified Kansas City BBQ judges! And other stuff that I would find blog worthy.

But at some point, it’s good to know that it’s ok to start blogging right where I am. And not fret trying to get things in chronological order.

So for now, I would like to post an update from two weeks ago.

On Monday, April 3rd, our alarm rang at 3:15am. The hubs had a business trip to Fort Worth and we decided that I should go too. Our bags were packed the night before and we were up and at it and out the door in record time.

Fort Worth was our destination. In fact, we stayed at the Hyatt, right smack in the middle of the heartbeat of Fort Wort, the Fort Worth Stock Yards.

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While the hubs worked, I found plenty to do, just steps away from our room.

One of the things I was excited about was the cattle drive.

The Old West comes to life during the Fort Worth Herd’s twice-daily cattle drive. Genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas Longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

On Tuesday afternoon, I arrived exceptionally early to experience the excitement on the street as people started to arrive.

I found a nice shaded bench on the sidewalk and found myself in my own little world enjoying the passing moments.

A little while later, I heard a sweet voice coming from a gal (Genevieve) who found a  place to sit on the bench next to me.

In no time, we became friends and exchanged stories about our passion for art, photography and travel. Turns out, she is traveling the entire lower 48. How awesome and impressive is that folks!?! We also exchanged blogs and emails.

She also encouraged me to get back to blogging. Many thanks to her, the blog is back sooner than expected.

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Every detail of the cattle drive—from the saddles and chaps to the boots and hats – is authentic and historically true.

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On Wednesday, the next day, I watched the cattle drive again.

“Here comes the parade!” Ha! I got such a chuckle out of the gal behind me when she uttered those words. I guess you could argue that it’s a parade of Longhorns.

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It was sweet to see the baby. His little horns are adorbs.

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And that’s a wrap on the cattle drive. Till next time…

At the Cow Wash – I love how the hubs came up with the name cow wash. This was located just behind our hotel.

They didn’t enjoy getting sprayed in the face.

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But didn’t seem to mind the rest of the wash.

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Who knew Longhorns got the full service?

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While in the Stockyards, it was nice to get out and stroll.

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While on my stroll, It was nice to take the time to enjoy the finer things. Like this furniture store (Rios) located in the heart of the Stock Yards.

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Southwest flare is pretty cool.

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The Texan swagger is on.

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A cool statue I shot one bright sunny day.

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The hubs and I enjoyed a nice BBQ brisket meal at one of our old favorite places.

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It was a must to take a picture where our daughter used to work. Just for old times sake.

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Another evening, we went to Rodeo Goat for burgers.

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Overall, the two of us got to enjoy some special things. Like our favorite fried chicken establishment, Babe’s Fried Chicken. We took a side tour of our old homestead, visited with our old neighbor in passing and enjoyed the time when we were able to do things together.

I was also blessed to visit with a good friend Jan over lunch one day. What a delight it was seeing her again, after 10 years. It’s a wonderful feeling when we are able to catch up with old friends. And able to pick right back up where we left off and not miss a beat. Does my heart good.

Our time in Fort Worth was a treasure, I gained a new friend Miss Genevieve, we were able to experience old favorite places and visit with old long lost friends. What a blessing after 10 years of separation to the place we once called home.

I have so much more to share, and look forward to posting again soon. I think it’s safe to say that I’m back and ever so happy to be here.

Blessings – Debbie

Mama said there’ll be days like this

There’ll be days like this my mama said. Such a smart lady my mama.

Some days beg for a little vent, a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen as we share little challenges, all in a day. That was yesterday and today we’re still without water.

First things first, we woke to no internet. Ok, no biggie, the hubs can get to it later.

Next, I noticed our sprinklers were not turning off and water was pooling.  This is the second ordeal with the sprinklers in the last week. Turns out we have a bad valve and we look to replace them over the weekend. But in the meantime, we have the water turned off for the entire household. Luckily we can turn it on for showers and such and then right back off it goes. I told the hubs this morning as he was getting dressed for the outdoors that it was as though he had to make a run for the well before he could shower this morning. And then it took me back to the days before me, when folks really did have to pump their water. And then I thought of how thankful I am that all we need to do is turn a knob for running water. It’s not so bad after all.

Note: this issue it unrelated to the broken/repaired pipe I shared last week.

So last evening, the hubs insisted we go out for dinner. It was a nice treat with all that was going on at home.

But folks, the shoe dropped once again after dinner. As the hubs went to start the car, it would not start. We both grinned, looked at each other and agreed that we were ready for the nonsense and day to end.

We were also delighted to have AAA to the rescue. They were by our side in less than 30 min., they came equipped with new batteries and provided the best service on the spot. And our car was good as new and back on the road within 45 min of our first call.

While the internet was down, I painted in Photoshop (yesterday). It’s the image that so inspired me to shoot the other day. I can’t express the amount of joy that comes from painting. And I can say it was good for the body and soul. Amen.

The first image on the left is a underpainting. Image in the middle is the next layer, what I refer to as intermediate strokes and the last image is referred to as detail strokes.

While the layers are far from finished, it gives an idea of the steps taken while in the process of putting the layers together as one.

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And with that, I shall continue to move forward. And feel grateful that we have so much to be thankful for. Even if we have a mound of dirty clothes in need of washing.

Blessings – Debbie

Flowers and Friendship

Happy Day! Today feels like flowers and friendship, because it is.

It’s flowers, because I noticed the ice plant on the upper terrace beginning to bloom. It’s also known as delosperma cooperi or mesembryanthemum cooperi.

However you call it, I find what little we have to be so very pretty.

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And friendship, because a few of us got together for a little brunch and had the best time visiting over coffee before and after we finished eating. In fact, our special time together, prompted another brunch date in a couple of weeks.

And now to finish a little more work around home sweet home.

I’m sure the hubs and I will have another fun date (this evening) catching up on our new favorite show, Downton Abbey. I think we watched 3, if not more episodes last evening. It’s bound to be GOOD! No spoilers, we are still catching up.

Blessings – Debbie

Good Bad and Ugly

Lately we’ve bumped into some good, bad and downright ugly situations. But first, I’ll start with the good. Actually the good part of this should be more like GREAT!

Great in the sense –

  • Weekend dates are wonderful!
  • We’ve had a hankering to try this new restaurant in town and we finally got around to going.
  • They have ribs on the menu. (I love ribs, really good ribs)
  • They advertise fall off the bone ribs.
  • I’ve been searching for really good ribs since our move to So Cal a little over 6 years ago.
  • I need look no further for my rib fix. Finger licking good, let me tell you. We’ll be back!
  • The hubs had their filet and from what he said, it was really good too.

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The Good – Another wonderful thing this past week was the girls book club get together. It was our first meeting of 2016. We had such a wonderful time discussing the book – Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The bad – We had quite the storm over the weekend. Wind, rain, power outages in the area for up to 6 hours. Our friends, a mile or so up the road, brought some important frozen goods over that evening. Luckily our power, powered thru the storm.

The Good – During the storm, the hubs and I did a little more binge watching of the old but new to us show Downton Abbey. Love that show! Where have we been? We are caught up thru season 4 already.

During the stormy and ever so windy night, I thought the wind was going to literally carry us away. The hubs slept right thru it.

The Good – The morning after, we woke to pretty sunny skies with a little sprinkling of hail left over from our storm.

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The Good – A pretty red rose in the garden for the “love month”.

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The Ugly – Late yesterday afternoon I noticed a bit of a waterfall on the upper terrace. I quickly sent the hubs a message saying that it did not look like a sprinkler gusher, but close. I then made my way up the terrace and quickly took this shot with the cell phone and sent it to the hubs saying “we have a problem”. Then he gave direction for me to turn off the water main.

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The Good in the midst of Ugly – In true hero fashion, the hubs came home and saved the day! And we had running water once again last night.

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The Ugly – The “root” of the problem. It’s pretty crazy the amount of trouble roots can cause. We plan to have more roots removed and new pipe put in the ground.

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Life is not always roses and sunshine. But it’s what we make of it thru the storm.

Blessings – Debbie

New Growth and Color in the Garden

Happy Weekend!

It’s an exciting weekend. We’re relaxing, enjoying each other and the fruits of our labor.

Early this morning, I snapped a few pictures to remember some of the things in bloom late January.

Last weekend we started our annual garden. We are thrilled to see our tomatoes already! Each day we take note of how much they are stretching towards the sunshine.

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Our little daisies made an appearance too!

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Out in the garden, the blossoms are many. The ice plant in full bloom.

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What a delight to watch the ground cover that we planted last year. It is filling in beautifully.

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Our birds are in full bloom too.

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Even the tiny flowers on this rather large bush are so delicate yet colorful.

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The honeysuccle adds such a punch of color on the upper terrace.

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The roses tend to bloom year round in So Cal. Another bud getting ready to share its beauty.

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While we enjoy the growth and beauty, it’s still a little on the chilly side to stay too long out doors in the early morning hours. We have mid to upper 60’s in the day and low to mid 40’s at night. Welcome to winter in southern CA. But we are not complaining.

While the seasons change, I’m thankful to find beauty along the way.

Blessings – Debbie

Oh Summer You Went So Fast

Dear summer of 2015, thank you for your bountiful blessings.

We were so excited about our grape-vine this year, that we picked up two more vines and planted them. Unfortunately, around picking time, there were no grapes left for us. Lesson learned, we will cover them with a net to keep the birds away next time.

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And our little pumpkin patch flourished with more pumpkins than we could use this autumn. Unfortunately, we just ended up tossing them as we planted a little too early this year. Lessons learned…

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Fresh summer California berries deserve a standing ovation. Amen…

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July 10th – An exciting day! Our solar panels were delivered. A big shout out for solar energy, oh happy day! We are so thrilled to have that done.

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Enjoyed our Sweet 16 Anniversary. Feeling blessed and so very happy to spend life with My Love. It truly has been a great adventure.

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Mid August – Taking pictures lately? That’s the question my photographer friend asked while we were out having some girl time. No was the reply. No was her reply too. We think it has to do with the overload from school that put us both over the edge. However, we both still love our camera and in no way are we putting it on the shelf. Just taking a little breather. Here’s an image of roses I brought in from the garden. Made me so very happy…

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August 31 – Spent hours by the waterfall = My favorite place to chill. The activity in and around the pond = priceless.

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I love a garden with flowers and fish. I’m thankful each day to have both. Love our Shubunkin pumpkins as I fondly call them. This guy was wondering when I would stop shooting and feed him.

Threw a paint filter on this in Photoshop, because I thought it needed a little something somethin.

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A little early September morning blessing from the garden.

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Loving my babies! It has to be one of my favorite spots to visit.

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Yes, we have watermelon! And I must say, it is some of the best melon ever. It continues to produce and we’ve enjoyed it daily for weeks.

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One of the great blessings of the week is – I have the hubs home taking a little vacation with me. Loving this time together around Home Sweet Home.

Back to celebrating his time off. Happy Day! And Happy Catching up on the Blog… Well as much catching up as I plan to do. I know there are things I missed like special dates and such, but I’m calling it quits and caught up. And feeling blessed.

Happy Day and Blessings – Debbie

Early March – In Like a Lion

Well good day! Finally, I’m back!

Yes, I’m back to bite off early March, bit by bit. I’m not so thrilled when I get this far behind, but I refuse to carry on as if nothing happened. There is so much to catch up on and there is no better time than now to start. Well, all of those yesterdays would have been a good time too, but they’re gone.

So here goes…

The date, March 2nd. – There was a crazy loud boom as March unfolded. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. We were blasted with hail.

Totally in like a lion.

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I don’t think the fish have ever experienced this much commotion. I know I haven’t.

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And I know the palms were probably in shock. This just doesn’t happen in So Cal. Or does it? It was a first for us in the 5 years we’ve lived here.

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It was a month of fire too. Nice evenings spent around the fire pit. This was another early March weekend evening. (actually, this shot was taken the morning after) I still remember the day, it was one of the many days I had spent 99% of my time outdoors. And looking up into the clear night sky peppered with stars and planets, was glorious.

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During late February – early March, we had the old plantings ripped out of the immediate left side of the waterfall. I had been working on transplanting things from around the yard to the area. It will be fun to watch the ground cover spread and the plants blossom. I also planted 4 roses in various areas on the upper terrace. Meals were also enjoyed on the patio. This is pretty much where I spent a good deal of time…

An early foggy Monday morning. Note the purple wisteria in bloom.

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As mid March drew near, I was beginning to think of all the stuff that needed a little sprucing before company arrived on the 14th.

So I started Wednesday, the 11th at the car wash, then salon.

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The hubs wanted a smile. Much better he said.

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Then we waited for our guests to arrive.

Oh wait, one more lil thing!

On the 13th, we had the electricians over to add LED lights in the kitchen and dining room. “What were we thinking” were my thoughts, when company was due to arrive the next day. So much dust, oh the dust…But in the end, we were so happy to have the job done. And all the dust bunnies were put to rest before company arrived.

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To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

8/52 – Perspective

Hey peeps, I can’t believe another week has disappeared. I must say, this weekly project has me in tune with just how short the year really is. I mean, really, we’re into the 8th week already? Can’t be…

My project this week is perspective.

From my point of view, as I looked out the back window yesterday morning. It was 67° indoors with an expected high of 70°. But I was chilled as I watched the 5 tier waterfall.

The recent foam gathering at the base, made me feel a little more chilled. I stood watching with a shiver. But it’s all about perspective.

Then I proceeded outdoors to breathe in the cool fresh air, soak in the sunshine and rolled up my sleeves to do a bit of gardening.

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I’m in love with my year round Valentine. That’s the way I see him, my everyday valentine. While we don’t subscribe to buying gifts or cards on valentine’s day (it’s not our “thing”), we do believe in celebrating year round.

Over the weekend, while shopping at the local nursery for our star jasmine, I spied this succulent. I was smitten at first sight. And he picked up three of the most beautiful plants for me, just because.

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It was such a joy finding a new home for the plants. I believe this is the crusula capitella campfire, native to Africa.

I’ve already taken a few samples from the plants to see if I can start some new ones on my own. That right there is how smitten I am over these beauties.

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin – This was my read for book club this week. A story about our American hero, Charles Lindbergh. The kidnapping and brutal murder of their son Charles Lindbergh Jr. And the story of his loving wife Anne, written from her point of view.

While we finished our book club gathering today, I came home feeling exhausted, as if I had had a really good cry. Yes, it was that good, as our discussion was filled with passion or compelling emotion from each of our perspectives. Now I’m hungry for a good biography of Charles Lindberg.

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From my perspective, our roses are such cheerful, bright, happy flowers.

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The many colors have my undivided attention.

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Each one different and beautiful in its own way.

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From my perspective, this is a really good week.

P.S. I got a ride in my neighbors convertible “Benz” today. What a perfect day for a sweet ride.

Blessings – Debbie

7/52 – Pastel

Hey friends, I’m on a roll today! How about you? I hope things are well.

It’s time I get my weekly project finished early. I’m pretty excited about that.

So when pastel was given as our inspiration this week, all I could think about were the lovely roses in the garden.

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So today I took several images to show some of the pretty pastel colors in the backyard.

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This was such a fun assignment!

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This week is filled with all sorts of fun stuff:

  • I’ve been playing in the dirt.
  • Digging and planting new plants in one of our little cleared out areas in the backyard. Pictures to come when I finish that little project.
  • The roses were fertilized over the weekend. They are leafing out so nice this year and the buds are getting ready to pop!
  • I find it difficult to be indoors when all I want to do is enjoy the pretty outdoors.
  • The hubs and I enjoyed a fire in the fire-pit over the weekend.
  • Visited with our next door neighbors on the patio and then went over to their place and enjoyed a bit more afternoon patio sitting and visiting.
  • I’m excited about my lunch date with the hubs today.
  • And looking forward to my friend coming over tomorrow for coffee and a visit on the patio.

Can you take a guess at what I’m looking forward to? Well, the time change! That = a lot more outdoor activity during the evening hours. And that makes me so very happy!

Blessings – Debbie

6/52 – Happy

Again, I’m late posting my project for last week. I really need to get my act together. Don’t you know?

So a week ago Sunday, February 8th, the hubs and I planted our vegetable seeds. And I’m so “Happy” to report that by Friday we started to see  growth.

And by Sunday we had pumpkins at around 4″ tall. Image below was shot Sunday, February 15th.

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Happiness is, watching our little vegetable garden grow.

Blessings – Debbie

4/52 – A Part of Me

So this week, our photography project was assigned. We are to shoot “A Part of Me”. I  wasn’t prepared to shoot another part of me, since I just shot my new frames for the “light” assignment last week. So I thought about doing an expressions collage to post as my shot.

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But the more I thought about it. The more I realized the part of me that has been my obsession since childhood, is my hair. From being able to sit on it, to cut up and over my ears. I still remember those High School years and mom saying to me “I think you got a little scissor happy”. Currently I’m growing it out, but on any given day I have the urge to cut it off again.

Shot yesterday with my iPad and played with (edited) in Photoshop by adding a filter.

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I wasn’t so sure about the process on the above shot, so I applied another filter and submitted the image below as my shot of the week.

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In other news:

I was back to my first book club meeting since last July. What a joy to see the girls again and discuss our good book Delicious by Ruth Reichl. There truly is a special wonderful warm feeling in our great group of ladies.

This my friends, is the hubs jalapeño plant from last spring. This guy received no love from us this winter, but look at it! I just noticed blossoms on his plants this week. Our tomato seeds from Burpee are on the way. Oh how we love to make this place home.

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My little succulent garden is thriving and I have plans to plant a few more this spring/summer.

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A Pretty Day For a Project – So the hubs and I hand-picked a few slate pieces (extra pieces left on the property) for a little path. Tuesday, the gardener buried the slate at ground level. Then he planted ground cover (around the slate) the hubs and I picked out over the weekend. The two old lights were removed but the electric left for a future lighting project. The after picture should be coming soon.

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And here it is Thursday. I find that I’m trying to keep the washing machine and dryer busy, a little cleaning around the house is in order. And truly looking forward to the hubs getting home this evening. As I get him for the next three days, it’s his Friday off work week. It should be a fun weekend packed with work, play, relaxation and rest.

If you don’t hear from me in the next few days, just know I will be back…Soon…Promise…

Blessings – Debbie

Inspiration in the Backyard

Inspiration comes in many forms while visiting the garden. It was this rose-bush, in dire need of deadheading, that caught my attention.

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And this faucet, in the line of water as it gathered drops on the web. Surely I should capture this too.

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Life around the pond, is a constant inspiration. This image (below) was printed on 11 x 17 and matted for my upcoming critique this week.

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The more I learn, the more I learn that there is still so much to learn. Cheers to being stretched mentally this semester.

Blessings – Debbie

Mango Salsa

Vine ripe tomatoes from our garden, help to kick this recipe up a notch. I can’t get over how new tomatoes and blossoms continue on our plants. I wonder how much longer they’ll bear fruit?

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After washing our sun ripened tomatoes, I selected the larger beefsteak tomatoes for the salsa.

Then we seed the tomatoes. Totally worth this step, if you were to ask us.

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When all the components are tossed together, we celebrate another batch of salsa!

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Mango Salsa Recipe

  • 3-1/3 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2-1/2 cup diced mango
  • 3/4 cup diced onion – Give or take
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro – chopped “I just eyeball what looks like 3/4 cups then chop it up. Obviously, after it’s all chopped, it shrinks to about 1/4 cup?
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

Stir and enjoy!

We like to refrigerate ours overnight for the flavors to infuse. So it’s just chillin’. Should be just right in the next day or so.

Happy September 1st!

Blessings – Debbie