Vacation Time

This is the time of year that many people are planning for their vacations. I too am planning for my summer vacation.

My dream vacation would be renting a cottage in the French countryside for several months. I envision a slower pace of life. Plenty of time to do the things I love or nothing at all! Eating great food, fresh from the garden. Sipping sparkling water with fresh fruit floating in it to give it just a touch of refreshing flavor. Breathing in the sweet fragrance  from the abundance of colorful flowers. Walking in fields of green grass, while sheep lazily chew their cud, setting the pace for this stress free vacation.  Ahh. I can feel the troubles of my world just fading away at the thought of it!

Back to reality. That is a vacation that I cannot afford. On top of the money issue, I will be having surgery on my foot which means I will be confined to home for a while. So here is my for real vacation plan.

My Cottage.... more affordable

My Cottage…. more affordable

  1. I will stay at a cottage in country with lots of flowers and sheep in the fields. Instead of France it is here. My house fits the bill perfectly.
  2. I will do only what I love. I plan to do this by choosing to enjoy all that I do.
  3. I will cook with simple, fresh foods. Maybe I’ll try some new Mediterranean recipes.
  4. I will make even my water drinking experience enjoyable by experimenting with different fruits and drinking from beautiful glasses.
  5. I will stop feeling guilty for enjoying time for reading, knitting and spinning. This is my vacation, after all.
An enjoyable time

An enjoyable time

This vacation will not cost a lot of money, but it will cost a bit in the mind department.  I am so stuck in my “got to achieve” way of thinking that it may be a bit of a chore to let myself just enjoy this time.

I will let you know how it goes.


Winter Blooms



It’s February. We have had more unseasonably warm days. It is hard to believe that other parts of the country are covered in snow.  I have to keep reminding myself that  spring  is not here, that I am not really behind in all the spring chores. In fact, I am quite a bit ahead.  I have been spending time outside weeding, trying to ignore all the projects inside that I was planning on finishing this winter. It is so beautiful  outside. The winter blooming plants [Read more…]

January Dreaming


The bustling busyness of the holidays are over and here we are in January of a brand new year. To many, January is not a month to be enjoyed. The weather tends to be downright obnoxious . Days so cold that you don’t want to be outside to enjoy the sun, followed by days of low, dark, grey clouds spewing out cold drops of rain. It is a month that your financial state is front and center with taxes looming ahead and maybe a little too much shopping in December making things a little tight.  And, after two months filled with holidays off, this month seems like work just goes on and on and on. But to me and so many other gardeners all these things take a back seat to the excitement of GARDEN DREAMS, making this one of the most loved months of the year!


January is the month when garden catalogs start filling the mail boxes. I can just hear the mail carriers muttering [Read more…]

A project, fun times with sister Rhondi and a visit from sister Cher

It all started with wishing I had a fireplace mantle to decorate while looking at Christmas displays in an inspiring nursery/gift shop in Woodenville, WA. Sister Rhondi suggested that I use my piano to decorate on top of… kind of a “musical mantle” she said.  This started the wheels turning. The piano she was referring to was an older, part painted or stained (I’m not quite sure what the previous owner had in mind) that we found on Craigslist. I was better than free. The owners offered to pay $20 to someone to come get it and they only lived about 15 minutes from us. It was very ugly, but it sounds beautiful.

The piano

The piano

Orange/red paint?

Orange/red paint? Stain?

By the time I got home a plan was in place.  A “musical mantle” needed to be pretty, not ugly so it needed a paint job bad. I had a gallon of “swiss coffee” house paint and a container of plaster of paris so I got to work. [Read more…]

A New Season


fall3As if on cue at the set of a hollywood movie, the season’s rain started on the first day of fall. This was not the light misty rain that flitted by us this summer. This was a real, sit in your house, enjoy another cup of coffee, kind of rain. The kind that makes you forget about all the things that didn’t go as planned during the summer. The kind that makes you excited about clothes again, because (yay!) fall style is all about bulky layers! [Read more…]

Pairing Down at SideHill Farm

Yard sale at SideHill Farm

Yard sale at SideHill Farm

One of my goals for the summer was to pare down the clutter around the farm. I have way too much stuff because of my tendency to go to the niffty thrifty and buy things that are “just my style” or “would be co cool if I just fixed it or painted it”. It’s hard for me to pass up a great deal. There is a fear of not getting something and later realizing that it was the exact thing I needed after all. Silly, I know. Fortunately, it does not cost a whole lot of money. Unfortunately, it creates clutter, because at 58 I already have plenty of stuff. On to the paring down.

I decided to have a yard sale so I gathered up things that I liked but did not necessarily love.  I also gathered things that I absolutely loved, but have not used enough to keep them around. Like a set of pretty bowls that make me smile. Ouch, even now thinking about them, I really want to keep them, but how many dishes do I really need? I encouraged the mister to gather things also, but he has more of a problem with hanging on to things then me, so he did not contribute much. With boxes of treasures gathered, I priced them with bright colored stickers and set them out on tables made of saw horses and old plywood. I went through the house and gathered more stuff. If I was going to have a sale, I was going to do it right!

When the morning of the sale arrived, I put up big signs on the side of the road and waited for the buyers to come. People like me, who can’t resist the thrill of finding that “just right” treasure. The one that they know they will need…someday. I must admit, I was not looking forward to the selling part. I am not shy or timid, but I like being with just me at home.  Now the mister is a different story. He is perfect for the selling part. He LOVES being around people and LOVES talking. Lots. Perfect. Except that he had to work. Darn. So it was all me. Surprisingly,  I had a great time. There were so many interesting people who came by.

One was a gal about my age who’s grandparents lived in this house way back when. It was fun talking about what the house was like when she visited them. There was couple heading to my favorite beach, who knew some distant cousins of mine. There was a young couple who wanted to see how my chicken coop was built and ended walking through the garden with me, tasting the sweet tomatoes and discussing the different brands of seeds planted. I don’t think they bought anything, but they went away with arms loaded with produce and an invitation to bring their kids down to get pumpkins. There were several people who wanted to know what the vines were covering our fence. I told them they were hops and showed them how to break the flowers open and smell the sweet sap. There was a neighbor lady I hadn’t met before. As she left, she told me if I ever needed anything I was welcome at her home.

When there were no people around, I sat in my lawn chair, shaded by a worn out umbrella, and read. Total bliss, because I was reading totally free from guilt and free from thoughts of other tasks needing to be done. After all, I HAD to be sitting there. It was my JOB. I could not go do projects, because I HAD to be ready when more people came. Ahhh. What a unexpected, glorious day!

The yard sale went great.  Though I didn’t get rid of everything, I did make a bit of money. Most of the leftover stuff will be boxed up and taken to the niffty thrifty.  But not the pretty dishes. Nobody bought them and the more I think about it, the more I think they belong with me. Surely I can figure out a menu that only needs serving bowls and soup bowls. OR I can start looking for plates and cups to match! Oh, that’s right. This is all about me paring down, darn.


#@*$&)*#$! Jowls



One of the downfalls of getting older is my skin and its down -fall. I’m talking about the lower portion where there used to be a nice jaw line.  Now it sags down making what cannot be called anything but jowls. I can handle laugh lines, I’ve always thought they give a bit of character, but the jowls caught me off guard.  I know! I will just get a shorter mirror, then when I look in it, I will just see my laugh lines and go on with my life knowing that I am a woman of character.


I Get Started On A Project….Again


Sandy’s House



Our house is a wonderful 1920’s bungalow. It has tons of character and tons
of projects.

The project at hand is our kitchen. It started with a new
French door refrigerator found at the scratch and dent for a great price and
a commercial range we got for a song on ebay. The new appliances did not
fit with the existing cabinets, so out they went. We replaced the old,
steep steps to the basement, so I decided to use the wood from the steps
(beautiful old growth douglas fir) to build the cabinets. “Oh she builds
cabinets” you are thinking. Well…. not really. I have done lots of finish
work and smaller projects, but never actual cabinets. The problem is I was
raised with the notion that I could do anything. Just read how and do it. [Read more…]

A Real Summer…

Today's pickings

Today’s pickings



This spring I had inkling. You know….a feeling, knowing that you know with no reasoning, a thought that just won’t go away. I had an inkling that this was going to be THE summer. A REAL summer. [Read more…]