Going with one or two friends we tend to connect with other like-minded (mostly) women at this idyllic farm that includes beautiful gardens, lovely out-buildings, fabulous meals and fun creative projects.
My friend Jan and I hit our first Southern Exposure visit of the season and while rain was predicted, the day remained nice enough for a walk through the gardens before heading into lunch.
We immediately went to one of our favorite buildings, the small greenhouse, used more as a storage area for plants than to grow them.
They do such nice touches there -- the old chest with its drawers filled with seasonal blooms...
...massive strawberry pots filled with pansies...
...interesting pieces that may well be a demo for a project to come (there was water in the little vial and I suspect some flowers will go there)...
...and overall colorful beauty.
One of my other favorite spots is the chicken coop.
Although we didn't have the rescue chickens wandering around our workshop as we sometimes do, the hens in the hen house were looking pretty chipper and rather friendly, coming straight to the edge of their pen in greeting.
(We were having chicken for lunch but were confident that no birds were harmed in the making of our feast, though perhaps an egg or two or ten were used in the beautiful lemon cream cake we enjoyed for dessert!)
Onward, enjoying the lovely bird baths with colorful flowers...
...cheerful daffodils, bright on the cloudy day...
...and yellow tulips.
As we ambled in for lunch and were greeted with an olive martini, I couldn't help but notice that probably a good deal of the yellow tulips had been picked for this fountain display.
The photos don't do it justice.
After a splendid lunch that included broccoli stuffed chicken with alfredo sauce, a caprese salad, a potato dish, bread, lemon cream cake and wine, we headed into the craft tent!
Our project was crating a Tuscan olive bucket planter. All our supplies were in front of us -- olive buckets, packed with rich oil (tucked in landscape cloth so that the dirt would pop from the ventilation holes on the bucket) and a collection of plants. They included creeping rosemary, English thyme, Genovese basil, red lettuce and a rose kale, along with an edible flower, dianthus.
When packed into the olive bucket together, it looked like this.
They recommended that when it's warmer we transplant some of the contents into larger pots or the garden and then refill the bucket with new blooms for the season.
I have to say that there was probably time I had never more needed a visit this haven, one of my "happy places." Things have been a little stressful. As you know, Rick had been struggling with his breathing to the degree that we thought a doc visit was in order. We were all concerned that the clots in his legs may have moved into his lungs, so tests were done.
I have good news to report. The scans were negative and showed no issues. The gut feeling is that because he has had to be "down" so much and for so long (the past month), this may well be the culprit. Everyone is keeping an eye on it but we are much relieved to know that it is not a key medical issue, just a very discomforting one and to be sure, until we knew, a little scary.
He also had his stitches removed and is healing well. There's still no weight bearing for the next four weeks, but he can drive (it's his left foot so no problem, so long as he's not driving my manual transmission!) and can take walks and best of all, be upright as much as he needs.
To say we are grateful for all the support from friends, both local and cyber (including so many of you who have asked about Rick and sent good wishes, prayers, cards and more) is to underplay the gratitude. It was a huge boost during some challenging times -- physically for Rick, emotionally for us both.