Gardening


BeachBoy and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on September 30th!  What a blessed woman I am.  While I’m quickly outliving my “newlywed” status, I feel just as tickled and glowy as I did on day one.  He’s a keeper for sure!

We’re saving up BeachBoy’s vacation time for Christmas, so we decided to stick close to home instead of taking the “Big Trip” we’d originally been planning for this year.  I planned a last minute surprise getaway weekend instead.

Rather than throw a bunch of words at you, I’ll give you what you really want….PICTURES!!  You are going to drool all over the cottage we rented.  I sure did!  Go grab a towel before you scroll down, sugar.

We started our weekend with a zipline canopy tour and ropes course in South Carolina, which you can read more about here.    The rest of the weekend was spent roaming through the mountains, visiting farms, and exploring the vineyard where our cottage was located.

The Cottage

I decided they designed the garden especially for me.

The first thing BB did was throw open all of the doors. Can you blame him?

The dining room made my heart sing. I loved it that much.

The kitchen was small but mighty. It boasted a copper sink, subzero fridge/freezer drawers, a hidden microwave, a dishwasher drawer, and a viking range. Not bad for a tiny little space, huh!?

Take one more look before we move to the master suite.

That california king bed was quite a treat for us since we're used to a queen.

OK, brace yourself for the bathroom, girls.  No, really.

Why is he smiling? Because at home, we only have one sink. Here, he has his own. Haha!

We stepped this shower off to be at least 6x8. It was incredible, to say the least.

Having 2 sinks made getting ready such a breeze. It's the little things...

This was the crowning jewel. The view from the tub was amazing!

a few more, just for fun…

Breakfast outside...perfection

We didn't want to leave....ever.

The setting was perfect.

Here are a few of the relaxing adventures we shared.

I HIGHLY recommend The Farmhouse at Persimmon Creek. It was incredible.

Those are boiled peanuts….a delicacy I’d never heard of before moving to the south.

Now, I have to tell you something.  Our cottage was not the only one at the vineyard.  In fact, it was the smallest of three stunning cottages.  And, I just so happen to have pictures of the other two.  They are lighter and brighter than our woodsy cottage.  I promise to post them soon, so be sure to keep an eye out.  You DON’T want to miss seeing them.  For me, it was love at first sight.

A few nights ago, we had dinner straight from the garden.  What a treat that was!

When BeachBoy got home from work, I snagged my harvesting basket and we headed to the backyard to decide what to have for dinner.  It was like ordering take-out, only better!

(Of course, SOME people couldn’t wait and dug right in before we finished making our selections.)

We settled on squash and beans, and I picked some herbs for our meal plus some extras to make a bit of salsa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was something amazingly satisfying about creating a meal from the backyard.  It was comforting to know exactly how and where it was grown and that it was safe and chemical free.  It just felt good.

We cooked up the veggies, and I tossed in some leftover pasta and homemade pesto to help clear out the fridge.  Fast. Easy. Satisfying.

It’s amazing, really, how growing your own food transforms the entire cooking and eating experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found that the more I let go in life, the more I grow.  The more I grow, the more alive I feel.

Today was a big day for me.  It was my final day as a teacher.

My whole life, I longed to teach.  And, for 6 years, I loved my job.  But, I found that it was time for me to let go and grow.  It was time for me to reconcile my priorities.  And, right under “1. God” on my priority list is “2. Family.”  It’s a funny thing though, how being a devoted teacher can push things out of whack.

You see, I am the type of teacher who cares for every child like my own.  I’m the teacher who is in the classroom 12 months a year, often as many as 12 hours a day.  I am the teacher who can’t fall asleep at night because I’m thinking about a struggling student.  I’m the type of teacher who takes every grumpy parent’s comments to heart because I just want what’s best for “my” child.  I’m the type of teacher who can’t say, “Well, I’ve tried hard enough.  There’s nothing else I can do.” Imagine, then, how that emotional roller coaster adds up when you have not a house filled with kids but a whole classroom full!

Yes, it was certainly time for me to reconcile my priorities with my energy and emotional expenditures.  So, today, I held my chin up and said goodbye to a classroom of students for the last time.  In so doing, I closed the door on my life-long dream and prepared for a fresh start.

I thought I would be sad today, but instead I found myself excited. It was a pleasant surprise.

You see, these past months, I’ve been studying and preparing to begin a new career.  I will be working from my favorite place (home!) as a holistic health counselor.  I am so excited about my new adventure and the prospect of devoting my energy toward my loving husband that I didn’t even think to be sad today.  And, I think that’s a good sign.  It reminds me that I’m on the right path. So, I’ll continue praying and walking.

I cherish my years of teaching and the ways in which they have prepared me for this new journey.  Now, I look forward to beginning my work with growing families and to helping them discover their own best health and happiness.

In just a few more days, my business website will be up and running, and I can’t wait to share it with you!  I’ve been so busy growing that I haven’t had much time to write lately, and now I will be helping others grow, too!

One of my life goals is to feed my family from a backyard garden.  I spent the winter months dreaming and scheming, ordering books and flipping through magazines.  I am thrilled to announce that this is the year I’m taking my first (baby) step in that direction by starting Phase 1 of my potager.

I haven’t finished the project yet, but we’re off to a running start. In an effort to get everything into the ground on schedule, we did some of this project out of order.

First, I built myself a set of raised boxes using 2×12 pine boards cut to length.  (Lowes and HomeDepot will cut them for you, which is great if you don’t have a truck.) Then, I predrilled holes into each board for easy assembly.  A screw in each predrilled hole quickly transformed them into boxes.  For added support, I put a brace in each inner corner.

For a step-by-step look at building raised beds, check out All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. It has great photos.  The boxes were then filled with Mel’s Mix.

Then, I filled my boxes with seeds and seedlings based on what we like to eat.  Fast forward a month or so, and we have a backyard that looks like this:

phase 1 of the potager

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My work is not complete, but we’ve been enjoying a steady harvest of goodies.  The next step is replacing the grass between the boxes with rock walkways.  Now THAT is going to be a hot job!

Last weekend, Beachboy and I enjoyed an impromptu trip to California.  It was a refreshing getaway from work and a wonderful chance to give each other our undivided attention.

Now, I know most people go to the coast to see the ocean.  But this girl goes to the beach to see the COTTAGES! I simply adore beach cottages, no matter the size or style.  I’d inhabit one if I could, but the “tear down” cottage we saw while there was listed at $7.8 million. So, there won’t be a waterfront cottage in my future anytime soon!

What really struck me about the California coast was the lack of salty air.  You couldn’t smell the ocean.  Instead, you smelled the roses.  Everyone there had roses, and the scent drifted all around you.  It was absolutely divine. 

This is a street of dreams!

One thing is for sure, these cottages are begging me to return when I have time to explore with more leisure.

Our first Spring in our cottage brought us a lovely surprise.  Our shady back yard had plagued us with weeds and dead patches all year long.  And, then, one day we woke up to this:

Spring at Squirrel Cottage

Every year since we’ve looked forward to these most welcomed Sprinbg guests.

This  year, I cut some to carry inside.  I simply couldn’t resist.

Today was a gorgeous day, so I enjoyed a walk through our neighborhood.  Here are a few details I captured along the way. 

This cottage warms my small-home-loving heart.

The home above/below has been completely transformed since we moved to town four years ago.  I remember when it looked as if it would soon be condemned.  THe roof had fallen in in places, and the home was in a state of total disprepair.  I’m so glad a loving owner have taken it into her heart.

Since moving to town, I”ve dreamed of restoring this little white cottage.

This darling home was for sale when we bought our cottage, and everytime I walk past it, my heart still hurts a little bit.

The owners of this blue cedar cottagae invited us to tour their yard one night when we were out walking.  The back is a lovely, enchanted garden.

This stately white cottage is BeachBoy’s favorite.

It’s hard to look good when you live next door to a house this cute!

My nextdoor neighbor has a stunning hard.  Here’s a little peek through the fence.

Living just off the square is both charming and convenient.  There were more houses to photograph than I had the battery power for today.  I’m sure I’ll be making another round in a few weeks when the gardens begin to bloom.

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