Fess up

So, we’ve all been hanging at home for the past seven months or so, and we’ve done lots of ‘stuff’ to keep busy.

Let’s share the ‘best’ and the ‘craziest’ thing we’ve done. I’ll go. πŸ™‚

We’ve actually done several inside and outside projects that have turned out well, but the #1 best on the list is purchasing and installing an electric fireplace in our family room. We have one with a mantle surround to hold a tv in the bedroom, and we’ve wanted one in the family room, but couldn’t really see a logical place for it.

I finally looked at our entertainment center one day and thought – how about taking the books out, moving the electronics, taking out the shelves and removing the doors. So, we did.

We measured and ordered a Dimplex model that would fit, slid it in, plugged it in, and we had heat and flames. (We bought a Dimplex unit because we have had that brand before, and it performs well.)

We tweaked it a little by adding a rectangular piece of embossed metal on the top that directs the heat away from the electronics and added two pieces of peg board that I painted black to match on the sides to fill out the empty space. Love it!

I’ve cleaned cupboards, closets, attic, garage, replaced drapes and a couple of area rugs, but this past weekend I decided to try and corral some cordsΒ  so I got rid of two gray surge protectors and got everything plugged into one black one to blend with the entertainment center.

At that point, I just had a laugh out loud moment and decided I had been home way too long if I was down to organizing my electronic cords. πŸ™‚ Although, if I’m being honest here, I will admit that a couple of months back I also purchased a new charging station and organized all those cords.

Now, fess up as to your best and funniest of your at home projects. Come on, let’s start the week with a chuckle. πŸ™‚

Stay well this week, the numbers are getting crazy out there.

By the way, the ‘+’ sign on my MG Instagram account just showed back up one day last week. I wish I had a logical explanation, but I don’t. πŸ™‚

 

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Screen time

I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in front of the computer screen this past week, and I need a break, but here I am posting because I hate to miss chatting with the blogging community. πŸ™‚

There was insurance research including a two-hour webinar on a new option. That was followed up with a Smithsonian Garden webinars on Top Twenty Perennials for a Healthy Habitat and Beautiful Winter Gardens, and then a Penn State Extension webinar on Spotted Lanternfly which is the latest invasive heading our way.

I was pretty much done after that, but our insurance carrier suggested if we wanted to get a discount when renewing, we might consider the six-hour AARP Driver Safety Course. After that was completed, I was definitely fried. Good course, decent discount, but it requires some stamina to get through all six sections.

Yesterday, a friend who isn’t on social media asked if I’d try selling her nine-piece dining room set on Facebook Marketplace. It is a huge, lovely set, but I’m not so sure the buyers of today are looking for anything that grand.Β  She texts me about every hour asking if I’ve heard from anyone. πŸ™‚

Before I quit whining about too much screen time, I have an Instagram question in case someone has run across it before. I have two accounts, NewEnglandGardenandThread and our Master Gardener one, nhscmga. Up until this week, both screens have looked alike with a ‘+’ sign in the middle of the icons to add a photo, but now all of a sudden they are different. I’ve tried googling, but can’t find an answer.

Any thoughts? Yes, I can work around it, but I’m just curious.

Are you finding yourself staring at the screen more during this time at home? Anything interesting you want to share?

Stay well and stay safe. πŸ™‚

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Behind the scenes

New England stone walls are especially handsome this time of year, and when I drove to the top of our downtown parking garage to catch some color I did chuckle that I also captured three white churches. One thing for sure when visiting New Hampshire is that you’ll get a healthy dose of beautiful small town white churches.

The colors are beautiful, mums are blooming, temperatures are cooling, and the to-do-list is long.

While gardeners don’t necessarily agree on fall cleanup, that is my choice because my perennial beds are in the direct line of fire from our John Deere snowblower. Whatever I leave in the beds is buried under feet of snow and is of no use to birds or other critters.

The work includes a lot of cleanup from my neighbors huge pine trees, pine cones and thatch, leaves have to be raked, the oak trees drop ridiculous amounts of acorns that have to be hauled in the lawn cart because they are so heavy, and then the deadheading of perennials begins.

There is also quite a bit of plastic fencing that goes up each year. I put one up between the neighbor with four oaks, around the blackberries, wild blueberries, and high bush blueberries.

Speaking of wild blueberries, we just bought them last week in the form of sod. A local landscape company had extra blueberry sod from a farm in Maine. So, we bought four pieces and put it in a bed to see how it will do. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Today I’m headed out to put in a morning of more clean up. This afternoon I have to read insurance booklets. Oh, how I hate medical insurance enrollment. It changes every year, there are too many choices to truly evaluate, and it hurts my head. πŸ™‚ I know I’m lucky to have insurance so I’ll grab a cup of coffee and some dessert because one always needs dessert in the face of adversity and read away.

When I’m done reading about insurance options, I can go back to my book which is a really good read, Robert Pobi’s Under Pressure. If you’re looking for a mystery, a really complex main character, and some snarky dialogue, this series could be of interest to you.

A friend sent this to me over the weekend. She knows me well.

How’s your week shaping up? Does it involve anything that doesn’t require a rake?

Stay well, stay safe, but have several laughs. It’s good for the soul.

I had a good laugh this morning when I looked out and saw the skunk ate my bait, the trap triggered, but he got away. Houdini the skunk is definitely getting the last laugh on me. πŸ™‚

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Maple Monday

The state tree for New Hampshire is the White Birch, and a beautiful tree it is. It shines during the winter when the deciduous trees have shed their leaves, and the beautiful white bark is left open to admire.

The fall show, however, belongs to our many Maple trees. They are the trees that draw oohs and aahs from both residents and visitors.

Our many Maple trees show off their colors in the fall and then in the spring they gift us with delicious maple syrup. Win – Win. 🍁

Hope this Monday finds you safe, well, and enjoying the last of September.

I’m off to a plant potting party this afternoon with a few MGs so we can overwinter plants for next year’s plant sale.

What are you thinking optimistically about? Got you thinking, don’t I. πŸ™‚

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Thursday Doors

How about a triple this Thursday courtesy of my friend, Sue, who found this beauty while visiting Franconia Village, NH.

Wealthy New England merchants were able to construct mills individually powered by water from the many local rivers. The Northeast was the hub of the Industrial Revolution with textile mills and other factories from the mid 1800’s until the 20th century when manufacturing moved south.

In the early 1900’s, thousands of triple deckers were constructed in New England to house workers who were employed by these mills and factories. Many of these workers were the daughters of local farmers and most worked six twelve-hour days each week.

This type of construction was seen as another option to row housing. In some cases, extended families lived on all three floors.

Boston history estimates there were 15,000 three-deckers built in Boston alone between the years 1880 – 1930.

Happy Thursday, and I hope you have a triple great day. πŸ™‚

Linked to The Leader of the Doors,
Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, September 23, 2020.

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What’s up?

So, how’ve you been? Staying well and safe, but busy? Busy is good.

Since this pandemic started, everything has changed, but repurpose, recycle, and reuse are still good things.

We wanted to change our kitchen eating area from a round table and round rug to a rectangular set up. The local Habitat store wouldn’t take a rug donation and would only approve taking the table if they could preview it. Picky, picky because I remember when they would take anything you had to donate as long as it was home related and reusable.

So, I took to Facebook Marketplace, and sold both within hours and for the asking price.

I also found my window wells last week on Facebook Marketplace.

Instead of paying $150 for six new ones to make three raised planters, I paid $50 for 7.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the odd one, but maybe I can come up with something.

Are you using Zoom? I’ve had to in order to attend meetings and view webinars. So, I attended an online class to learn about all the little bells and whistles. Okay, so now I know, but what I really wish is to get to a point where I’m not required to use it to interact with people. Matter of fact, I’d prefer to never hear the word, Zoom, ever again. πŸ™‚

I’ve also started the fall cleanup. It was 33Β°F this morning when I made coffee, brr. Between the brown grass and dirt that was once a lawn and now the cut back perennial beds, it’s pretty unattractive out there. There are a couple of Dahlias and Mexican Sunflowers still blooming along with the Autumn Joy Sedum so the bees are still happy.

I’ve even bought seeds for next year since they were in short supply this spring, and I don’t want to scramble to find them for next gardening season.

Hope you are all well, staying safe and sane. Some days I’m having to work hard on that last part, but some might say I had that challenge before the pandemic. πŸ™‚

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Thursday Doors

Today is Thursday and Norm is back from vacation, so here’s a door for you to hopefully bring a smile.

History? Nope.

Story about the door? Nope.

Significance? It’s a ‘friend’ door. In other words, my Maine friend sent it to me so it is very significant since she knew it would bring a smile because it was a repurposed garage door with a gardening attitude.

Happy Thursday. πŸšͺ

Stay well, stay safe, and share a smile with someone. πŸ™‚

 

If you like doors, check out Norm Frampton’s, Thursday Doors, September 10, 2020. I’d say I was ‘linked,’ but I’m not because I can’t seem to ‘comment’ on Norm’s great post. I guess I file that under the same category as all the times I try to ‘like’ a comment on a blog, but I can ‘comment’ but not ‘like.’ Hmm, only the technical gods know. πŸ™‚Β 

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Fall

Have you noticed it’s getting dark earlier? The seasons they are a changing that is for sure. Peak leaf color is going to be considerably earlier this year.

We are still under severe drought conditions, but we have gotten a couple of light rains. The grass is still brown or dead, but I’m grateful for each drop.

It’s been good weather for working outdoors so I’ve taken advantage of it to start fall projects including enlarging the area where our raised beds are located.

I’ve added on 8′ by about 35′ which meant putting down cardboard to suppress the grass, covering the area with landscape fabric, and finishing it off with a load of chips.Β  Ever wondered how many garden carts in a load of $12 wood chips there are? Thirteen, I counted just for you. πŸ™‚

Be sure to check out the dead grass and the wavy plastic edging. I reused the plastic edging I had there from last year because I’m a recycle, repurpose, reuse type of person. πŸ™‚ However, there is no comparison between plastic edging and metal edging which stays straight and true.

While digging near the edge of our 1840’s era barn, I found an interesting piece of green glass in the shape of a heart with three letters showing – “T TO. ” It made me smile, but I sure have been puzzling over what type of glass container that could have been.

Once the space was enlarged, the shoveling of soil and moving of beds started so there is more area to move around.

The added space will also allow me to try a raised bed or two using galvanized window wells attached together and providing a 20″x39″ planting area for about $42.

I picked up a new dwarf Weigela, Date Night Stunner, a couple of Shasta Daisies and a Cone Flower that can be planted in the next week.

There are some decent sales in the fall on plants if you’re looking to adjust your landscape.

I’ve made three table toppers, moved on to a Christmas project, read numerous books including Linda Castillo’s Outsider, and did a little baking of sugar cookies and apple shortbread bars.

I attached the sugar cookie recipe at the end in case someone is a sugar cookie fan or has someone in their family who loves good sugar cookies. The recipe came from the KC Star about 20 years ago, and I apologize for the staple, but it’s attached to a paper where I calculated out half a recipe because it makes a big batch. I don’t add the extra sugar on top or press it down because it is perfect without it. πŸ™‚ If you like to bake in big batches, I also use an ice cream scoop to portion the dough out, freeze them on a flat pan, and then put them in a freezer bag so I can just pull a few out at a time to bake.

We’ve gotten our flu shots, absentee ballots, and plan to stay far away from all the tourists this weekend – check, check, and check.

But, today, is Friday, and my Friday friend and I are going to share a lunch and talk sewing. Now, that’s the best way to start a long weekend.

Have plans for the weekend? Do tell and have fun and stay safe. πŸ™‚

 

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Is it Monday?

I needed a ‘bummed out’ blogging break last week, but I’ll save you the explanation and just say it was life as we now know it.

Outside I kept busy doing my usual –Β  weeding, watering, transplanting, still trying to evict the skunks, and working on expanding our veggie area. The cucumbers croaked from the heat, but the tomatoes are filling up every shelf in the kitchen.

We’re having another heat wave and are under drought restrictions so everywhere you look it’s brown grass and a lot of perennials closing up shop for the season.

Inside, I worked on a couple of small sewing projects, cleaned more closets, and painted a Welcome sign. I had to chuckle that I was painting a ‘welcome’ sign when we’re in a time of no visitors. Maybe I was feeling rebellious or was very bored – probably both. πŸ™‚

I kept busy, but have to admit that I can’t tell which day it is because each one drifts into the next.

A medical office receptionist asked me a brand new Covid-19 question last week – had I traveled out of the three state area (NH, VT, ME) in the past three weeks? If so, I needed to postpone the appointment, or if I was planning to, I needed to cancel the appointment and reschedule for three weeks after I returned.

It would be easier if the new rules of life were the same, but it appears I can’t travel to any of the other 47 states without quarantining, but I could go overseas and return without isolating. Hmm.

Yesterday, we picked up some take out and sat in the shade at a local park where the Piscataqua River and the Great Bay meet.

Enjoying nature at water’s edge is a really good thing.

I sincerely wish you a wonderful last week of August full of nothing but good health, sunshine, and a safe opportunity to stay in touch with family and friends.

I’ll be around, but probably not on a regular basis. There comes a point in 2020 where there is nothing remotely new to say, and I’ve definitely passed that point. πŸ™‚

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August

Isaias came plowing through New England last week. We were without power for 9 hours but many others were out much longer. It took me several hours to pick up all the downed branches, but I didn’t have to worry about dealing with too much water because we only received about 1/16″ so I’ve been doing more watering than I’d like.

We’ve been enjoying lots of cherry tomatoes, but the big ones are ripening, and they are delicious. I have one regular sized plant that has one tomato on it. It’s kind of funny but also pretty darn strange.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a tomato hornworm that I’d given to the chickens, but this week I found this poor guy. I almost feel sorry for him, but I left him right where he was so nature could take care of him.

Braconid wasps live in and on hornworms if you’re lucky and eventually kill their hosts. If you want more detailed information, check them out here, but I’ll save you non-gardeners from the gory details.

Peaches are in too so I bought some at a local orchard, made some crisp and prepared the rest for the freezer. There is nothing like fresh peaches to make up for the heat and humidity.

My beautiful winter squash had to be pitched because the chipmunks decided to taste test them. Life isn’t simple and neither is gardening.

Before we leave the topic of gardening, if you’re looking to make any design changes, Smithsonian Gardens did a great webinar that is definitely worth checking out – Designing Gardens, Foliage First.

Last Friday, when we had a break in the hot and humid weather, a friend and I went to Prescott Park in Portsmouth which is just one town over. Lovely morning, good conversation, gorgeous landscape, and that early in the day we were pretty much by ourselves. All good things topped off with an exceptional iced coffee at our hometown coffee house. 😎

Besides beautiful plants, trees, and water features Prescott Park has wonderful water views including the World War I Memorial Bridge which has a vertical lift. So, it was pretty interesting to watch the bridge go up for a tiny sail boat and then a huge ship out of Nassau.

Seeing a good friend, fresh veggies and fruits, lovely landscaping, and water views made it a pretty nice week.

How’s your week starting out?

Stay well, stay safe, and stay away from Sturgis. 😷

————

“That’s where we are, trying to balance threat of spreading the plague with our deteriorating mental health. We’re still living, on a smaller, modified scale. The list of things we don’t do is long. As is the list of things we long to do. “

Best words I’ve read lately to put things in perspective from our blogging friend, Joey at Joeyfullystated.

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