Saturday, December 18, 2010

I kept my promise!

I never meant to take such a long break from blogging. Getting the house in order has consumed me and I am not finished yet. I did keep sorting my lifetime accumulation of goods (good stuff!). I had promised to have the garage ready to park cars in by winter. Today we drove a car into the garage!

This picture is of one side of the garage soon after we moved in. The whole garage looked like this!

We thought we could get two cars in but - not yet. If you follow my blog you remember that I first tired to get rid of my excess by having a yard sale. When there was a lot left over Mr. B and I took the small things to a flea market where we only earned enough to pay for our entry and table. Then I checked out an auction as a means of selling the furniture but prices were incredibly low. Then I checked out consignment shops and decided to list things on Craig's List. Most of my responses were scams and nothing sold. I ended up selling things to a consignment shop for half the used value even though the furniture was new! That loss really hurt! But it helped me clear out the garage. Now I still have many boxes of antique collectible items to sell.

Some of my children are home and we have baked tons of cookies. A neighbor sent a wonderful box of fruit. More children still to come and friends will be spending Christmas day with us.

Have a glass of wine and sit by the fire. Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 19, 2010

White Flower Farm

To start our garden at the new house, we took a trip to White Flower Farm in Litchfield, CT. It was a cold windy day so I didn't tour the 5 acres of gardens open to the public. I focused on the sale items and bulbs.

Here is the house at the farm.

There were lots of wagons waiting for shoppers. It would have been easy to fill several wagons with good stuff!

This bench looks like a nice place to sit and contemplate things.

There were several areas with shrubs, bulbs and pots for sale. It was hard to set limits, but I knew I couldn't buy more than I could plant before winter.

Here is a hydrangea that was still in bloom.

I bought two hydrangeas, two peonies, two astilbes, three hostas, and lots of bulbs. It has been a real push to get it all planted. I finished a few days ago. Many days I had to forego planting to rake leaves.

After shopping we drove slowly through Litchfield. It was full of lovely houses, nice fences and an interesting downtown.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Reflections and Gardening

While working in the yard I looked at the house and was amazed at the reflections in every window. Here is a picture of one of the windows.

Most of those beautiful leaves have fallen now and I think we have several tons of leaves! As much as I hate leaf blowers, when our neighbor offered the loan of his, we accepted. (I had already spent two days raking.) Even with the blower, the mower and the rake, my SIL and I only managed to clear the front yard in a day. There are several piles still to be picked up.

We made a huge pile of chopped leaves in the middle of the yard. This will be our lasagna garden next spring. We started the garden with the moving boxes that were too worn out to use again. They were collapsed and put on top of the grass and some dirt scattered on top to hold them in place. The leaves were next, then the kitchen waste gets dumped into the leaves. It is amazing how much we generate - coffee grounds with the filter, tea bags, egg shells, peelings, etc. By spring it should all be nice rich compost and we can plant in that bed on top of the ground.

I have planted bulbs - daffodils, crocus, autumn crocus, tulips, iris and grape hyacinths. Also planted peonies, hydrangeas and astilbes. There is a garden club in town and I have been invited to attend. I'm looking forward to meeting other gardeners. Now that it is winter, I'll tend my house plants and write up my order for some David Austin roses!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yellows in Fall

The rain storm and big wind did not take down all the leaves. There is lots of color still. The light has been golden, especially as it shines through the yellow leaves. Our house has many windows which provide views of the large trees.

These photos were taken today as I walked around the yard when I took a break from digging flower beds.

I'm joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Check out some of the mosaics.
Thanks for stopping by Porch days.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Great Photo Opp!

We were enjoying a perfect day of exploring and savoring the fall weather and colors. The road was following the Connecticut River. We saw a pond that drained into the river and we crossed the bridge with the pond on one side and the river on the other. And there they were - five swans. Three were the gray youngsters and these parents. Mr. B stopped on the bridge and I quickly took a few shots as the traffic pulled around us. Perfect!!!

I'm joining Claudia at Finding Beauty Fridays. I'm sorry she is discontinuing this. Unpacking and settling in has consumed me and I'm sorry for not participating more often.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Need to see the Ocean!

Today I just felt the need to see the ocean. Do any of you have days like that? It really isn't far from us so we drove Route 1 along the coast starting at Guilford Center. We found a lovely beach where I picked up gorgeous shells and made some photos. Then we drove through Madison (picturesque) and on to Old Saybrook. The weather was perfect, the sky and water a bright blue. The foliage was colorful and I loved seeing all the picket fences and the beautiful churches. Since it was my birthday, we did everything I wanted, even stopping at Blue Moon Artisans Shop where I could drool over the crafts. Snack was French fries and senior cokes at McDonalds. What a great day we had!

This photo I made a Hammonassett Beach. I loved the dunes and the shadow of the fence.

I'm joining A Southern Daydreamer for Out Door Wednesday. Drop by and check out all the photos.
I put Southern Daydreamer's logo here as a picture.
Is there a way to make it a link?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Orchard Visit

I took a day off from "the house" and Mr. B and I went on an orchard tour. My middle son (see the side bar) is in NY and is coming for a short visit. He wants to visit a farm stand so we took a day to check out what is in this area. And we found three winners! Flowers, pumpkins, apples blue skies and perfect weather - what wonderful parents we are to sacrifice a whole day to find the best farm stand for the son. We even had to drink cinder and eat some cider donuts (delicious!) in the name of research!

On my stop at the visitors center soon after we moved, I picked up a Connecticut Farms map. It really was a help as it listed all the farms, what they sell and it gives directions and places them on the map. We had no trouble at all. Mr. B drives and I navigate.

We thought Woodstock was one of the prettiest towns we have seen yet. There is a museum on the main street I want to go back to see.

Or course we bought a squash, a HUGE mum and two kinds of apples. We have discovered Honey Crisp apples and they are a wonderful sweet eating apple as well as good for cooking. I bought Galas and made applesauce.

I love Fall, and not just because it is my birthday and anniversary month. Since I love orange, red, gold and brown, is is only natural that I love Fall.

I'm joining Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Click on the link and check out the other participants.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Basket Collection

I'm sitting on the loveseat looking into the treetops. The tree trunks are dark from the rain and there is color in the leaves. We have been promised clearing skies today so I am hopeful after many gray days. I'm thinking I should ask for one of those special lights for SADD for my birthday. In Virginia there were many sunny days in the winter but that might not be the case here in Connecticut. I know I get depressed when deprived of sunshine whether the cause is rain or short days. I learned that when I lived in Maine for eighteen years. Plus I was always cold! Grumpy is what I was! Don't want to repeat that or the inhabitants here might expel me from the house! No, on second thought, they wouldn't kick out the cook, would they?

Those of you who have been following Porch Days know I have been trying to thin out my possessions. The word here being "trying." Finally I got to the boxes marked "Baskets." Here below are most of them. Nice collection don't you think? The large ones you can see further down. I was a good girl and culled between a third and a fourth of this bunch.

But I use my baskets, I really do! This basket full of books is waiting to head to the studio.

The next two large baskets are old ones bought at auction in Maine. The top one I placed temporarily and threw a pillow in it. Soon it was the cats' favorite place. The bottom one is an old laundry basket with a mouse hole in one corner. It has character. Now it is full of books but sometimes it holds yarn or cloth.

Today Sylvie chose the cloth bed instead of the basket. I do love to see a cat curled up in that basket!

We're switching from DSL to cable internet tonight. I'll have to change my Porch Days email address yet again. Hopefully there will be no interruption.

Have a sunny day, friends!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rainy Days

It has rained for Days! We had tropical storm Nichole, one day of sunshine and back to more rain. But the sky was pretty bright today and when I went out with my umbrella to the compost heap, I noticed things I just had to photograph. Here are photos shot under an umbrella.

Isn't this leaf a standout just lying there amongst the pine needles?

You can see that we have puddles, but look how bright the leaves are in the right of the picture.

I love the pattern the water made in the pine needles as it ran down the slope of the driveway.

Unpacking boxes and sorting things has occupied me for weeks. I did take a break to create a flower bed and do some planting. I love the color of these mums and they blend with the brick of the house. I'm hoping they survive the winter and come back and bloom like this next fall.

Great strides have been made with the sorting and decision making. We gave to Goodwill what was left after our Tag Sale and the day at the flea market. But we kept the furniture. Now we have to sell that furniture plus a few other pieces. After talking with some consignment shops, we have decided to try Craig's List. I do hear stories about bad things that happen. We will deal only in cash and people can come and look only when everyone is home. Are there any other precautions I should take?

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Many of my craft supplies are kept in units of plastic drawers. When they were moved it seems they were turned over as they were handled. One unit of eight drawers was even sitting in my studio upside down! The result was utter chaos. My drawers of thread looked like this.

After sorting you can see the result. This is only a small bit of the organizing the studio needs. My first effort was to get things out of boxes so there was room to move around. I stuffed everything willy-nilly onto shelves and into cabinets. Now I have to make sense of it all.

In the midst of the chaos, this guy sat quietly, not realizing THE HAND loomed!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tag Sale to Flea Market to Goodwill

After the tag sale in which there were lots of left overs, we decided to try the flea market. The largest flea market in Connecticut is only a few miles from our house. We left home at 6:30 am to sit in line to get into the drive-in where the flea market is held. You pay for a space and you can pay to rent a table. Six hours after the opening hour we packed up - only $30 ahead after the fees.

Goodwill here we come! This is a super nice Goodwill store and they have two lanes for unloading under a canopy. And they help you unload. I decided to take a quick look in the store. Geez, it looked like a regular department store! There were clothes from LL Bean and Coldwater Creek!

In housewares I found this lamp and didn't hesitate an instant. When I learned it was part of the 1/2 price sale I counted my money and realized I had the amount and even a penny extra! Mr. B ambled in at that point and asked if I needed any money but I told him I had it covered. A large, heavy brass lamp for $5!!!

It looks good here . . . . . .

And here.

For now I have left it in the entry. I like having a lamp there so I don't have to keep the chandelier on. I'm in the market for a planter for the plant here perched on the too tiny pot. Saw some nice things at HomeGoods.

Maybe a smaller version of this planter would work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peaches Anyone?

Mr. B and I were driving down the road when I spotted a sign for a farm stand. "Turn there," I cried as we flew past it. So we turned around and went back and as we were going up a long lane we kept thinking, could the stand be this far off the road? The lane was bordered by a stone wall and tall trees made a tunnel. Suddenly things opened up and there was an orchard full of peach and apples trees. As you can see, the trees were loaded.

The rows were alternating, peach, then apple trees.

And in the barn were lots of vegetables, fruit and these lovely sunflowers. There was no one in sight. It was all on the honor system! You weighed your purchases and put the money in the box. How nice that things can still be done that way!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tag Sale

So I really did it! I made lots of decisions and that "Get Rid of Pile" I posted about (click here to see the photo) made it into my Tag Sale. Here is one of the signs we hung on the main road.

And here is what helped me get ready for the sale!

As you can see by the photo, I really did have a sale. The whole Pile was priced and put out in the driveway with the SIL's help. Mr. B was the cashier, I was the roving salesperson. Problem is, not much of it sold. I priced it low, even the furniture.

This is furniture left over from the store we closed. It is new, pine and is made in Pennsylvania. The corner cupboard was originally priced at $1,350 and in the tag sale at $225. But there was really no interest in the furniture. We did an ad in the paper explaining we had new furniture.

At the end of the day the whole pile moved back into the garage. Tag sales are not my favorite things. I don't mind the getting ready so much, but I hate people offering me 25 cents for my possessions no matter what price they are marked! As Janean of Old Sweetwater Cottage says, it is the bargaining that keeps her from doing sales. She would rather give items to a thrift shop! We really hoped to turn the items into cash to go into a special fund to buy Mr. B a larger TV, a desk and build shelves into the TV room closet to hold the TV.

Our tradition on yard sale day is to treat the "workers" to pizza out of the profits. It keeps morale up! So off we went to Willington Pizza where my SIL and I celebrated the completion of the sale and moving it back into the garage with a beer. I tried some Gorgonzola bread on my daughter's recommendation and it was mighty tasty! The cheese with herbs is on French bread and warmed.

There is a separate pile in the garage of boxes full of small antiques. We have attended an auction and it doesn't seem to be a good time to sell anything. There is another auction coming up Monday that we should attend to judge prices. I just no longer want so many small antiques on display like a copper kettle, an old rolling pin, vegetable choppers, crocks. And baskets! I unpacked at least three boxes of baskets and many of them are quite old.

Believe it or not, I still haven't unpacked all the boxes. More sorting to be done. Thank you all for your words of encouragement!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rockin' with Roy and Neil

As you know, we have just moved in and I am in my third (?) week or is it fourth week, of unpacking and sorting. Things were going into the discard boxes at a rapid rate. Then I had to drag all those boxes back in from the garage (up four steps - oh, my aching back!) and price them for the tag sale. I took a second look and decided to play some of the tapes I was thoughtlessly discarding. Well, I'm telling you, there was good music in those old tapes and I was having fun. I turned the volume to "loud" and got my exercise for the day by dancing. Roy Orbison and Neil Diamond never sounded so good.

Actually Neil Diamond sounded great at the concert I attended. I'd go again in a heartbeat if someone bought me tickets!

Our chadelier had six bulbs burned out. Wouldn't you know I couldn't match the bulbs. They were the chandelier type elongated bulbs. Since none of us liked the chandelier very much, Mr. B had the idea to switch to round bulbs for a more contemporary look.

This is the result. Doesn't it look great? We can all live with the fixture now and spend our money other places.

Next time I'll tell you about the tag sale!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lebanon, Connecticut

Mr. B and I love to explore. He has an excellent sense of direction and I'm a whiz at reading a map, so we just get in the car and go. It is exciting to have new territory to discover.

Only a few miles from us is the lovely, small rural town of Lebanon . There are a number of farms in town. Lebanon is know for its role in the Revolution. Its governor, Jonathan Trumbull, was the only British colonial governor to side with the American patriots. The Council of Safety, which managed the affairs of the Continental Army, met over 1,100 times. Most of the meetings were in Gov. Trumbull's home on the town green.

Lebanon has one of the largest town greens in the nation and it is still used for agricultural purposes as were all town greens originally. The day we were there hay was being raked on the green. There are several museums surrounding the green, including Gov. Trumbull's house. The walking path around the green is well used.

Top left photo is the Congregational Church
Top right is the path around the green
Bottom left must be for joggers going to the path
Bottom right is a stable (yes, a stable!) facing the green

Governor Jonathan Trumbull's House

We plan to go back and visit some of the museums.

Lebanon is going green and recently installed a wind turbine on a tower between two of its schools. It is also buying 40 % of its electric power which is produced by renewable energy sources.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Rash Promise!

After years of my stuff being in the garage while I remodeled a 1,000 sq ft log cabin in Pennsylvania, then in storage units in Virginia while I expanded our 800 sq ft lake house, my "stuff" is now all under one roof here in Connecticut. Granted a lot of that roof is a two car oversized garage which I must empty before the snow flies so the garage can fulfill its purpose of housing cars.

Some of this stuff has been packed in boxes the fourteen years since we left Cooperstown, NY. That house was fantastic! Imagine 4,200 sq ft that I remodeled with great storage. I'm seeing a thread as I write this - Stuff, moving and remodeling. And I'm at it again. I swear this is the last move! Have I said that before?? I'm just too old to do it again!

It's put up or shut up time. After years of, "Where is your ----?" And the answer, "It is in the storage unit with all my other stuff!" Now the Stuff is together and I promised I would thin it out and make it all fit in this house and get rid of what does not fit. Did I really make such a rash promise? Can I hide some of it under the bed??

Jayme at Tales from the Coop Keeper blogged about this very problem of excess stuff which caused me to write this post. I have been struggling with this issue every minute since we moved in here over two weeks ago. I am enjoying seeing all my things. They are like long lost friends not seen for fourteen years. But after the reunion, where do all these things go?? If I managed to stuff them all under my bed, the bed would be up so high it would go through the roof!

This is the "Get Rid of Pile."

I could stock my own library or used furniture store. Certainly I have enough craft supplies to open a store! What is this "Less is More" crap? More is better as long as you have space for it! And there is the rub. My daughter and the son-in-law live in the lower level. I get a shared studio down there. I'm plotting to make that my "under the bed storage" but don't think I can get away with it. They are wise to my strategies and it is more difficult than ever to "hide" my excess stuff.

Will I have to admit defeat and (gasp!) thin out the possessions? A Tag Sale is being considered for next weekend. It will take me all week to price the items. And it is so HARD to let go!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


No, I haven't given up blogging. Just trying to get settled in after our move. Some of the boxes I am unpacking I haven't seen for fourteen years! How can I own so many books and dishes? And craft supplies??

When we dash out to to the store it is wonderful to have things so close at hand! Today I spent thirty dollars on cleaners for - wood, stainless steel, brass & copper, the stainless steel sink and an all purpose cleaner. Lots of scrubbing going on in the kitchen that involves a toothpick for the detail work.

We are having issues with our DSL. At times four of us are using our computers and I keep getting kicked off the internet. Patience is required. I heard Mr. B talking to his computer, "What do you mean you can't find" The son-in-law has nearly a full time job here at home with all our technical requirements. The DVD player is not hooked up yet. The sling box is not working to sling the New England sports to the son in Baltimore. And tonight he set up my new email address with AT&T for Porch Days and my Google Account.

The following pictures are just a teaser for what I will blog about in the coming days. Don't you love the big frog? He is one of several on the Frog Bridge. Yes, he is sitting on a spool of thread. Willimantic, CT is know as "Thread City."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Settling In

It is great to be in the new house! There is so much space I am getting lots of exercise just by walking from one end of the house to the other. My bedroom and the kitchen are on opposite ends so there is lots of back and forth. We rushed to unpack the latest load and get set up before son #1 (child 2) and wife arrived for a visit. The visit was scheduled far in advance but we just barely arrived before they did.

Thank goodness I had gotten the furniture placed and lots of boxes stowed in closets on my last visit in May. And of course the daughter (child 1) and hubby are living here and they have been mowing the lawn and seeing about things.

The house has worked beautifully for us. We seemed to have developed a tradition when anyone visits as we are all trying to get something from the kitchen that someone hollers, "Everyone in the kitchen!" and we all crowd in. The Virginia kitchen was full with two of us but today we tried it here and with six of us in the kitchen there was still space. We will try it at Christmas when there will be nine of us.

Today at one point the daughter was napping in our bed, the daughter-in-law was doing yoga in the living room, Mr. B and son (child 2) were watching TV downstairs, and the son-in-law was making me a Margarita as I sat at the bar downstairs. Absolutely great space!!

The cats are a little less jumpy but we have not let them outside yet.

Pictures to come later. I seem to be having trouble keeping track of where I set my camera down!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heaven is a TempurPedic

We have arrived and I am blogging from the TempurPedic. Feels pretty good on a tired "behind" that was in the car twelve hours! The cats howled for two hours then every time we hit a bump or stopped. I got over being so angry with them for the merry chase they gave us this morning. Now they are in the garage and everyone ate and drank. Maybe they will forgive us in a few days.

It seemed so difficult this morning. And it was so hot and humid that I was limp by the time the TV, DVD player and the computers were loaded. Oh, and the four cats. Plus so many odds and ends. I put the bread in the container of dry cat food. We were so short of space that there will be many surprises for days to come.

It wasn't until we were eating pizza at 11 PM that I realized it was Friday the 13th!

Here is a photo of the living room. Look at all that glass and the view of the trees. See why I was excited about the house? And our daughter and s.i.l. are happy to have us here. Can you believe the night is cool (and dry) and we have the attic fan on? No A/C!

Thank you all for your good wishes!