Tuesday, March 31, 2015


The first (and last) time I was approached by a professional landscaper, he lost the job before he ever began it.  Why?  We met, he said he'd come up with a plan, and within a few days he gave us a very elaborate and professional video presentation....and then gave us his bid....$85,000.00.  Yes...you counted right...5 zeros and an 8 and a 5.  This was for the backyard and 1/2 of it was already a pool.

He was so young and stylish and ambitious, that to this day I feel guilty for not telling him a very important #1 lesson from a cranky old poor lady....ask the simple question right up front....
No matter how big or small....we all have one don't we?

His assumption offended us.  We ended up doing our own landscaping, with our own ideas, 
for 1/10th of his price.  

Divide your budget into short and long term....landscape is a forever love and task.

The most important thing in a landscape project is to evaluate and select your style...usually this is based on your home.  Do you live in a rock house with French persuasion?  A Cozy Cottage?  A Rambling Ranch?  A Southwest Adobe? A Texas Hill Country Farmhouse?

Spend time driving around neighborhoods, browsing Pinterest or blogs....choose what appeals to you and save to a folder, whether virtual or real.  If your home is on the plain side, your little garden out front can define your style.

This could be a specimen tree, a fountain, a large pot, a statement rock, a garden statue or something zen. Your focal point alone can be the one wow factor on which all other elements build.

remember...think wow!

This is also the time you might incorporate other hard-scape into your home style...like window shutters or boxes, garage door hinges, porch lanterns and other embellishments that will make the world of difference to the entire feel of your nest.

After you have chosen your style and your focal point, begin to build around that.  If you have chosen a large Mediterranean pot, you might also consider a hedge of lavender.  Then you might find that grasses or more pots, or rocks might add just what you need!  Consider zero-scape and perennials, but don't be afraid to plant some annuals.  Annuals can be changed each season for a new and different look and can be quite rewarding if you enjoy gardening.

Things to consider if you are very busy or travel...make your plot easy to care for.  Also, if you live in a drought area...purchase plants that won't die if you can only water on a time grid.

Another tip....just because your local box store sells $12.99 Italian Cypress does not mean you will successfully grow Italian Cypress....in our landscape we have lost 13 Italian Cypress.  The first 5 taught us not to pay $100 a tree...the next 8 taught us that we don't live in Italy...this year we will replace them with something else, which will still be an experiment because all 13 we purchased were in our zone range.  BOO!

SPRING INTO ACTION MATTIE AND COACH BEEN...but be patient.  These things can take time and while it is wonderful to be able to landscape your front yard in a weekend...there's always a great deal of pleasure in having a worthy project...ongoing...that make your muscles tired and sore...that after being weekend warriors...you can sit back, together in your adirondack chairs with a nice glass of Merlot and an ice cold Miller's in an frosty OSU mug....and admire the results of your
landscape plan

***All photos are my own or via pinterest...if they belong to you, please contact me and I will be most happy to give full credit to you

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Betty to Ashley:  did you know that a basement is under your house and a cellar is in your yard with its own door?
Ashley:  well your Poppy and B are working on a wine cellar in their house
Betty: and they are just wrong

 so...I guess we will now refer to this as 
and we made lots of progress over the weekend

I must admit for such a tiny space it will have great impact

scary scary scary

the first thing one needs to begin is...
a focal point

the right product for the job

good bones are imperative 

plan ahead for behind the scenes...use your imagination to take advantage of 
the talent before you!

the round ceiling made use of old pallets 
(don't you love to re-purpose?!)

Think man think!

Cheer on man...cheer on!

measure twice cut once!

plan on a few cattywompers in an old home

test the light before you remove the ladder

yes...cute carpenter man can even sew and weld
I asked him

and he has a bit of a feel for decorating

just a few little details left after
Cute Carpenter Man and his Trusty Helper
get done with their day time jobs

my part?  to win the contest!!!

and dust the wine bottles

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Just when I thought I was about to get bored with life
I decided I would do 

I just sent in my first two lessons in a 
correspondence course to become a Master Herbalist

it's really not that new to me-- 
since me and the mister have been doing herbs for a very long time now
but it will be nice to actually have a cute little certificate to hang on my garden wall

How do you feel about missionaries?

Let me share with you what I believe...
I believe that you don't have to travel to foreign countries and vow poverty to do good work

no...I believe that it's very possible that 
can be a missionary 
right where you are
with the people that God has placed in your life right here and now

and what about this?
what if it's not the masses you are intended to serve?

what if....
what if your whole life you were just a little girl on a horse
who would someday marry 
and have three children and 4 grandchildren (so far)
who you could minister to by feeding them sundry herbs?

and then what if...
what if one day, a very bizarre chain of events,
 placed one person in your life
whose life you could make better?

well....that is the second new thing I'm doing
and dear friends, I would be so very grateful if you were to support me in this new thing
to see where I have been led to go
(there are 3 posts so far)

**it will be sad, graphic, happy, interesting and very real...follow along would you?**

Monday, March 16, 2015


I don't know about you
but I am ready for a little
and a little

the muscari has finally bloomed
it's just barely beating the muscari planted outside as they are about to pop up anytime

have you been feeling like warmer weather has been at a snail's pace?

at Christmas we put Padron pepper seeds in everyone's stockings
we're having a contest for best peppers
Mr. PV is winning so far

yummmmmmy....no one loses this contest!

I love to bring out the spring things
a few years ago my art kids had a little rabbit village and we made little rabbits and veggies
(I miss my kiln)

March is a tough month for the Texas Panhandle
usually lots of cold wind but ever so often the tease of a warm sunny day

indoor gardens can really boost the spirits 

I had 3 acorns that I have had for a very long time
they signify my 3 kids
this year, for some reason

I planted them

I am amazed

the roots are growing

do you like green herbs?

even green herbs can be so pretty

one day I noticed that Mr. PV glued this face on my garlic man
it's Mark Twain...his head was broken from an old whiskey decanter
and he glued his face to cover garlic man face
sometimes I think Mr. PV is around 8

I have his outfit all ready to go
well...except for his shirt and socks...any 8 year old can pick those out

my friends...you are such a blessing to me
you make me feel so lucky
I am