Monday, April 29, 2019

Southern Exposure -- Olive Bucket Project

Spring -- and time for another visit to Southern Exposure Herb Farm.

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.


Friday, April 26, 2019

Paris in Pink

Since it's Pink Saturday time at Beverly's blog, I thought I'd jump back to our Paris trip and show a little bit of pink -- perfect for Valentine's Day!

This was the window display of Le Bon Marche, considered Paris' first major department store. It didn't begin that way, though. The store was originally founded in 1838 as a novelty shop, its shelves carrying lace, buttons, ribbons and goods that included mattresses and sheets. There were only four departments and the store itself was small.

In 1852, Aristide Boucicaut stepped in. He had originally come to Paris from the north of France to be in the fabric industry but discovered he had an aptitude for retail and for marketing. He (with the support and input of his wife, Marguerite) and added things we now associate with retail, including refunds, exchanges, marketing, and expanded merchandise selections. By 1869 the store expanded into a larger building on the Left Bank at Rue de Sevres.

I found it interesting to learn that by 1880, half of the stores employees were women and those who were unmarried could live in dormitories on an upper floor of the store. He also offered medical assistance, paid holidays, classes in the evening, and a retirement fund, among other things.

After his death in 1877, his son began to manage the company, and following his son's early death, Aristide's widow Marguerite took over, turning the business into a joint stock company with several employees as founding members. Some of my favorite vintage collectibles (probably antique by now!) are these colorful chromos, (chromolithography). These were used by Le Bon Marche and other stores to advertise certain products. Some told historical stories, others are simply lovely and beautifully done cards. (I should do a post on those someday!)

The store itself is large and imposing and quite beautiful. I was disappointed we didn't have much time to spend here (the next-time list!). I wouldn't have minded exploring the neighborhood, either! It was quite beautiful.

It's food hall is remarkable. I shared a bit about this during my Shopping in Paris post HERE.  But this is a quick reminder of the candy hall...

...and the wine market.

The high-end shopping in London, as we saw HERE is not without its overpriced charms, too and I couldn't resist another peek at those winged wedges (tall wedges!) that so many of you commented on in the post.

If I had even thought of trying these on, I would be a dead (or at lease seriously injured) woman within about six feet!

Sharing with:   Pink Saturday    /     Let's Keep in Touch     

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Birds of the Berkshires

I know that if you live in the north, you never want to see snow again -- or at least not for rather awhile!

But indulge me with a look at some birds I saw while we were in the Berkshires back in March.

All of these were on the deck or yard of Rick's brother and his wife and all pretty standard ones.

I love the cardinals, male and female.

It appeared that this must be quite a hot spot for these beautiful birds. Once I looked out and counted eight bright red ones and knew the paler females weren't far behind. Alas. I could only get two in this photo!

 The scene stealers were the wild turkeys.

Many of them hung around under the deck where I'm sure they were devouring more than a little of the seed dropped down from the birds above.

But the more aggressive of the flock came right to the feeder!

At one point three turkeys were vying for the best seed!

When they were out in the field and in the distance, they looked liked rocks!

"The rocks are moving!"

These fellows seemed to hang around together, rather like they were having a good chat!

Of course there were chickadees.

And this fellow!

I'm glad he was pecking on the seeds and not wood on the house!

I'm not quite sure who this guy is! Any ideas? Is he the woodpecker above?

On a cold snowy day when you'd rather be inside than out, this is surely the place to be.

Thanks for indulging me in a little winter birdwatching. Now I'm waiting for the goldfinch to return to my feeder!

Sharing with:    Calypso in the Country's Best of the Weekend     /     Saturday's Critters    /     Let's Keep in Touch     

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