Waiting For Pick-Up Time, Ropes Mansion Style

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This afternoon while I was waiting to pick up my daughter at school I had just a few minutes to walk through the garden at the Ropes Mansion on Essex Street. This is always a fun stop… it’s not a period garden, but more a colorful collection of plants of all kinds that are arranged for fun and pleasure. It’s a  beautiful place to stop and rest in for a few minutes.
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Life is good here in Salem, Massachusetts!

I hope that you enjoyed a garden today~

Michele

Potting Bench Heaven

Do you have a potting bench or potting area? For many years I made due with whatever space I had. I remember keeping all of my potting equipment on the bulkhead steps of our old house and working on the sidewalk. Before that we lived above the West India Goods Store on Derby Street and my potting bench was a bucket with a few tools in it.  In this house I have a designated area. Unfortunately the winter has been rough and it now looks like this:

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Poor thing, I think it’s  time to clear away the wood and sleds.

I spent some time in potting bench heaven (also known as Pinterest and Houzze) to help inspire me to freshen it up.

You all know how much I love Houzze.

Check these out:

What a great sink and pretty shade of blue…

These watering cans look familiar and using the plate racks to store the saucers is really creative. The baskets and stool are functional and beautiful.

Pinterest has some great ideas as well:

Here’s a very cute and functional use of a garden gate

 

This one reminds me a little bit of my bench. I like the pegboard and the green stain on the doors. I think a little green stain would really dress mine up.

The chalkboards are an excellent idea! I’m a list person, so having a list of the day’s or week’s tasks and events would be wonderful.

I think the white wicker shelf might have been a headboard. Awesome!

Source: hometalk.com via Michele on Pinterest

Great use of a hoosier cabinet!  I have one of these tucked away in our basement. We use it for seasonal storage, winter hats and stuff, then summer toys when it’s warmer. It’s almost time to change it over.

Source: bhg.com via Michele on Pinterest

And finally, carved from stone? Wow…

Check out my pinterest garden ideas board for a few more great benches. I’m sure that I’ll continue to add there!

My work is never done 😉

Enjoy everything!

Michele

The Ducks Are Here!

I thought that I heard them early yesterday morning when I was finishing my post about the garden plan.  This morning I snuck bravely down there into snake territory to check for sure. The ground is still frozen so I knew that I wouldn’t be too likely to step on anything :). Mr and Mrs Mallard seemed happy to be home.  They were looking around and talking about finding the perfect spot for their nest. We’ll enjoy them and their new babies from now until July, at least. We love our beautiful mallard family.IMG_0226

As far as I’m concerned spring is here!  This seals the deal~

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

A Blizzard is Coming!

So, it sounds like we might be getting snow. Every time I hear about it, it’s a little more. The guy who’s fixing my ceilings today just said that it’s up to 33 inches!  I didn’t live here in 1978 when the biggest blizzard of all time hit New England. It’s the storm that every other storm is compared to, including the event that’s forecast for tomorrow and Saturday. I can’t help but think that it would be nice for my kids to have “blizzard memories” like my adult friends do of the Blizzard of ’78. We’ll see what happens!

Our preparations are well underway starting with the most important thing, what should I make to eat? I’m thinking chocolate chocolate chip cookies and a Pioneer Woman chocolate sheet cake should do it. I know that there are other flavors but we are chocolate people. I have a good stock of milk, juice, tomato sauce and pasta. There’s also some canned food and two pounds of bacon (thank you Michael). I bought bags of apples, oranges, veggies and even some blueberries the other day.  Michael and the kids have the firewood stacked up and I may do a sweep of the woods to collect extra kindling a little later, just to be sure. I think we’ll be just fine here in the Salem Garden.

I have some fantastic snow day projects lined up. Last night we picked up the new white roman shades that I ordered for the office. I think that installing them while the wind whips at the windows will be fun! I also have a collection of matching boxes just waiting for all of my paperwork to be organized into. Hopefully we’ll spend some family time relaxing and playing a board game. I may brave the trip to Target to find something new and fun to play. My plan is that just as the troops get restless, I’ll whip it out and wow them, then peace and happiness will prevail until we can get outside to shovel.

I’m off to fill water containers!  I’ll keep you posted as the snow falls.

Stay warm today!

Love, Michele

Financial Aid Forms vs Garden Blogging

I’m stuck again. Darn it! I have a nice long list of blog post ideas sitting here on my desktop and I cannot gather my thoughts, let alone photos, words or sentences to write about any of them. As I picked up from the weekend and thought about what to do I realized that the reason I’m stuck is because I have to, and I do mean have to finish the financial aid forms. I think that if I do just that one thing I will be free and able to get back to normal. You know that if I share this here in public I’ll do it. It’s amazing what I get done when I feel accountable to you.

Here’s my senior in high school.

IMG_0314You can read about him here and here.

I need to do right by this kid. He’s going places 😉

So wish me luck, I’m on my way!

Send me energy, send me math skills!

Thank you all in advance!

Michele

Who’s found Houzz?

I have and I think we’re in trouble here!

Houzz.com is kind of a gathering place for anyone and anything related to design, decorating and gardening. It probably extends beyond that but I’m completely overwhelmed and I’m too lost to explain further.

You can browse rooms;  both indoor and outdoor in any style or decorating interest area that you can think of.  You can also create your own idea board and look at thousands of others ideas, including designers everywhere. It looks like you can post photos of your project and ask for input from others. You can collect ideas and post them to your idea book, or to pinterest or to facebook or to your blog/website.

It’s madness!

I can easily share things that I find there, here.

Check out these photos of winter arrangements:

and fun garden markers

and beautiful rooms

You can then click on the photo and you’ll land right at the houzz page that I found it on.

Then you can create your own profile and idea board

and we can share, and discuss our projects and ideas

and I may never get another room vacuumed again.

Help!!!

This is so. much. fun!!!

Check it out and follow me and I’ll follow you!

and we’ll all eat take out tonight.

Our Retirement Home

I know, it’s a little crazy, but there’s something about this building that draws me in. I’ve watched it for years.  Michael and I actually lived at the other end of the court when we were first married.  It’s a garage, with space overhead, but for just two people, couldn’t it be adorable?

Here it is with an antique edit…

Michael likes it too, I think that’s because of the garage…

He’s a garage person  🙂

I’m a garden and kitchen person.  There’s some great garden potential here.

The kitchen might need a little work~

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

A Few Minutes at the Gables

I know, I’m supposed to be blogging about Halloween, but, I still have a Salem garden or two to get in before the frost hits. I thought I’d make it to lots of places this summer and then it just seemed to go so quickly! That’s okay, I like having a long list of places that I’d like to show you someday.  I had a few errands to run yesterday and found myself parked in front of the House of the Seven Gables.  I used to love to look around their garden and I hadn’t been by there in a very long time so I thought I’d stop in for a few minutes. Years ago the garden and grounds were open to the public but now the grounds can be enjoyed with a ticket. When I asked if I could take a few photos for my blog I was readily admitted and allowed to wander with my camera. It really is a unique and special place. The site includes a visitor center,  the very famous “House of Seven Gables” which is open by guided tour, a gift shop, a Kids Cove and the home that Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in.

The seaside garden is really beautiful. The raised beds are full of annuals and perennials.  It’s colorful and has a historic feel.

This shady pergola is such a nice place to sit and relax.

The lawn in front of the sea wall is often the site of functions and special events. And the view of the Derby Lighthouse from the lawn is quite unique.

When I zoomed in on the lighthouse, Forest River Park popped into the background. The park is quite a distance away from the wharf, I’d estimate at least a half mile? Doesn’t it look closer?  Here’s our favorite ship… remember the view of the gables from Derby wharf that I posted a few weeks ago?A fun play space for kids..and another one… this must be relatively new. If your worried about taking small children into the rather delicate, historic houses this is a great alternative!Lots of things to see and do…Here’s Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Birthplace which was moved to the site in 1958. I always find it touching that this was preserved and placed in such a fitting spot.

Another view of the garden, and a good number of people enjoying it on a quiet Tuesday morning.

Let’s not forget the House of the Seven Gables, itself! I haven’t been on a tour inside in many years but I remember it as just fascinating. There’s twist and turns, great furniture and architecture and plenty of history. If you read the famous novel you will really enjoy seeing this home. It was being painted yesterday. Maintaining homes that are located right on the water is a huge commitment. It must be painted often!

It’s a great stop if your in town for a visit, or if your a resident. There’s something for everyone here.

Of course, my eyes are always on the flowers, but the history, charm and wonderful salt air will draw any visitor in!

Have a wonderful day! Enjoy everything!

Michele

Whats Happening in the Garden-September 1st

Today is September 1st. How is that possible? I can’t believe this summer has flown by so quickly! My kids start school on Wednesday so we’re very busy running around, buying the last minute supplies and shoes. We’re going kind of light on the clothing shopping this year but everyone needs a few new things. I am about to head out to the mall with my teenage girls so I may be recalling that last statement in a few hours!  🙂 It’s fun to get ready and anticipate new teachers, new friends and the return to predictable routine. In our case the routine will be intense this fall with soccer, dance and golf, something for each of my kids, along with church, scouts and lots of other community commitments.

Since I just posted an update a week or so ago things have not changed too too much out in the garden. Here are a few quick photos from the past few days:

The cabbage looks beautiful! I’m excited about this because usually I’m at war with the slugs. Maybe we won the battle last year and the victory is still fresh.

The carrots are also coming along beautifully! This type of carrot (scarlet nantes) does well without being thinned too much so I did it a few times early on and then let them go. There’s also a few rows of a rainbow blend variety. Their white, yellow, red and purple. I’ll post a few photos of them soon. 

The pumpkins are turning color.. 

Here’s a sad and rather stressful part of our week. We had to cover every herb and vegetable because the Mosquito Control people sprayed throughout our part of the city. I put us on the “no spray”  list but, really, we live in a dense neighborhood and I know that that was an exercise in futility. I still had to make my point and feel that we were doing our best to keep the pesticide away as much as we could. If I decide to venture into more opinionated, political topics I’ll be writing more about this. I would like to focus on the benefits of  organic gardening sometime soon. It’s hard to write those types of focused posts during school vacation with my kids bouncing around.

And finally, a step out of the garden to a pretty shot of the moon over the harbor. Michael took this last night with his new little camera. It seems to take great photos and he’s having lots of fun playing with it. I’d share what model of camera it is but he went out and took it with him. He really likes it! That makes me happy!

so, Happy September and Happy Labor Day weekend! Hope you all enjoy these last few days of summer and find some time to get outside. It’s a gorgeous New England day here…as soon as I can get those girls out of the mall, I’ll be in the garden!

Love to you all,

Michele

What’s Happening In the Garden– July 20th

It’s time for the Rose of Sharon to bloom!

These are  everywhere right now.

Mine are extra special to me because my sister sent them in an envelope a few years ago when they were about nine inches tall.

We had two Rose of Sharon trees growing in this little spot. We moved one last fall (more on that in a minute)..

This one needs to be moved out away from the Hemlock tree, centered to the left, and the area cleaned up.  Our neighbors took a very large arborvitae tree out of that corner recently.

Sounds like a good fall project!

Just below is a photo of the Rose of Sharon that we moved. It’s kind of hidden behind the swing set and fell off of my radar screen in the hot, dry weather.

Now it’s a bit yellowed and worn. This is a good reminder to water often for at least a year or two after transplanting a tree or shrub!

These are quite hardy so I’m sure it can be saved but I need to get on it and stay the course.

Over in the garden, the carrots are coming right along.

See the little cleome plants in there that are still re-seeding from a few years ago?

Michael put one pumpkin seed in the ground “just because” and here it is!

I saw bees pollinating it recently. I’m hoping that it’s not too late for pumpkins to grow on that vine. I’ll keep you posted…

The snapdragon that I planted in front of the chicken coop poofed up!

The asparagus is now a beautiful fern. We just couldn’t eat any more asparagus and there are  other veggies to enjoy.

The red day lily is blooming. I love this color!

The plant in the center is a pretty chrysanthemum. We’ll see it blooming in a few weeks.

And the butterfly garden is thriving. It’s always a little wild and in need of some thinning but the butterflies seem to love it!

What’s blooming in your garden this week?

Share in the comments section… I love to hear about how things are going for all of you!

Enjoy Everything!

Love,  Michele