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Sometimes it's difficult to remember....

That this, the front bed...
(all "first" photos show how the yard looks now)

becomes this!

Or, that this, the terrace wall bed,...

becomes this... .

That the hydrangeas at the entrance, go from this...

to this... .

The courtyard...

turns into this!

And the living room bed...

transforms into this... .

Or, that the stone bed (which hides the large box for the underground utilities and the electric meter), just up the drive from our stone beehives at our entrance...

will look like this... .

And, that the single stone bed...

will be filled with hostas.

That our old, dug well head (which we use for irrigation)....

will morph into this!

And, that the cutting garden...

will be filled with herbs, vegetables and tomatoes!
(Photo was taken at the end of last summer when our painter was here for his annual three-week vi$it;)
One of the first big projects for the season will be to build a fence around the garden.  You can see the granite posts lying next to the raised beds which will serve as the corners posts and as the posts for the iron gate.  Between the posts will be a wooden picket fence, painted black, on which I will plant a purple clematis (that's the plan for now anyway;)!

 So, even though it's difficult to remember right now... .I have hope!

 Happy spring and happy gardening to you!


I was expecting the Easter bunny, not this....

a BEAR in our back meadow!

Around noon today as I was headed outside to do some yardwork, I looked out the master bedroom french doors and saw this...

At first I thought it was a large dog, but immediately realized it was way too big for a dog.

It was a black bear and he was having lunch in the meadow!

I've heard tell of a bear in our area, but have never laid eyes on him until today.  Dan saw him once, about a year ago, as the bear ran across the road in front of Dan's car as he was driving up the hill from our village.

And then, he must have gotten wind of me as he stood up and looked around!  It was one of the most majestic things I have ever seen.

Ella and I viewed him from the safety of the upstairs porch (Dan was away on a trip.)

As he turned around to leave, Ella barked at him (it was a rather quiet bark as I think she really wanted to play with him;) and he turned to look at her.

I did go out in the yard to do my yardwork, but my head was on a swivel looking out for Mr. Bear in case he wanted a meet and greet;)
Tonight this is what was in the meadow instead.... a porcupine!  This is much more the norm.

Hope the Easter bunny (and not a BEAR;)  finds his way to you!  

Post Script:
After reading several comments of concern and getting a phone call from my VERY UPSET "much older sister Susan", I realized I didn't make it clear that the bear stood up because it probably smelled me, but couldn't see me (the meadow slopes downhill quite dramatically where he was standing).  The second he saw me he quickly turned and scampered into the woods.   I would never have ventured out into the yard if he had stayed.  I was working up close to the house and he had been far down in the meadow.  We were avid bird feeders when we lived in Dallas; but here we have never fed the birds for this very reason.  I have many neighbors who do feed the birds and the feeders are close to their houses and the bears come up at night to eat the seed, which I find scary.   We do not store any garbage outside.  I think both these things attribute to why, in six years, this is the first time we've seen a bear on the property.
I have the utmost reverence towards bears.  A teddy bear is "cute", but a real bear is a strong, powerful and dangerous animal.  For those concerned about sweet Ella, she is never one to chase another animal (unless it's one of her puppy friends;) and she doesn't like to hang outside by herself during the day, and at night we always watch her when she goes outside. 
But I do thank you for your concern, and Susan... stop worrying! ;)

 For more wildlife stories around the farmhouse see HERE and HERE !


Craving green...

It was a very long and cold winter.  
Spring is just beginning to show her pretty face.  We had snow on the ground for a good five months in a row. So, I think you'll understand when I tell you that I am craving green... anything green!  We are currently in the period affectionately known as "mud season."  This is the period where the snow has melted, but the trees have yet to leaf out and the ground is still soft and mushy and there is mud everywhere.  While out driving this past weekend I saw many roads with a sign nailed at their entrance: 
"MUD.  Travel at your own risk!" 
Thankfully, we eliminated the mud around the house by putting in the gravel drive several years ago, but walking in the meadows is like walking on a sponge.  Let's just say this is not New England's prettiest time of year ;)

During this period, which lasts about a month, green becomes a color I literally crave!  I'm reading through garden notes from the last several years and planning the season's first projects all while planting containers in my mind!  The only flowers at the garden stores right now are pansies, which I know sounds odd to you southern peeps who plant them in the fall. So until the leaves have popped on the trees and new growth has shot up from the ground I surround myself with varying shades of green in the kitchen.

 You might remember last year at this same time I added a green chevron pattern skirt under the sink for spring.  Once green can be seen out the window I want my linen skirt back in place, but for now the skirt brightens the landscape and reminds me that spring is right around the corner, and just makes me happy! 

Yesterday was in the 70's, but today is chilly and raining, so we had a fire for lunch.  And tonight we're expecting a freeze- welcome to spring in New England!

Vintage and antique Chinese ginger jars in varying shades of green line the kitchen mantel. (Lets just say they are but a few of a larger collection!)

Watermelon and green apples on an antique French white ironstone fish platter (you might remember, this is the platter I hand-carried all over France;)

This is the very first sign of spring in the yard- the white lilacs at the corner of the reading room in
I almost caused myself  a whiplash injury yesterday when I first saw the tiny green leaves out the corner of my eye!  They've doubled in size in just one day.
Today it seemed like the grass was literally greening up by the minute with all the rain we are having.  I'm so ready to see leaves on the trees again.  I adore living with four distinct seasons, and I know it will be gorgeous when it gets here, but this year it has felt like spring might never arrive!  
This photo is my visual of " hope!"

Wishing you a happy spring (or fall for my Aussie friends;)


Custom Log Home design ideas

Custom Log Home design ideas

Custom log design ideas can be used to help create the home of record of dream you've always wanted. Perhaps you have some design ideas for the home of custom log on paper as you've been collecting design ideas. It is a great way to plan and organize your ideas, making an album of cuts of things which is recommended in your home of record design. Here are some tips for the custom design of your log home:

1 explore and select the type of log House - Select the style record that you like and House as a style that excites you. Do you prefer the style manufactured or handcrafted log House? Manufactured log homes are made from logs that are milled into the desired shape, producing uniform records with no taper. The records generally range usadoen in length of 10 to 18 feet. A home design custom log using manufactured logs can vary considerably in form and appearance because records have different shapes and corner there are different styles. You can get kits ranging from trunks and fasteners to more complete systems that include materials for ceilings, doors, windows and even more.

A handcrafted design custom log means craftsmen strip the bark of whole logs. Using tools and special skills, the elaborate relief will fit each record in place. Handcrafted custom log home design and construction is labor intensive, and the construction process takes longer and generally more expensive already that much work is done manually. This method attempts to preserve the natural shape of the tree, and each record is carefully trimmed and shaped for a specific location in the log shell. Records can be mounted in the yard of the company, the parts are numbered, dismantled and shipped to the homesite reassembled.

2 display the traffic flow of home - a good way to create a custom log home design is to make designs that you like and pretend you're going to come home, enter, and move in the home. Pass the door - where we will place the wrap? What you see in front of you as you enter? Where is the kitchen and the pantry if you bring food? Visualize sitting in the living room or family room. Be entertain guests? Are you having a high chimney in your list of priorities? Try to point out where the bathroom or baths. When finished your shower, where towels are hanging?


What is a Home Designer and how to choose one

What is a Home Designer and how to choose one

A page designer specific design, materials, elegance, as well as data from the residential construction projects. In many States of the United States home designers are not imposed for having a diploma of architecture or architecture license. Many people can evaluate this type of home designers do not have these requirements to be an undesirable factor. Basically that definitely is not even close to the truth. A professional in the field of design business "House Designer" is not the most convenient option that will take you through the design and construction of enterprise.

A great Home Designer usually has years of experience not only design and develop build docs also often there will be put in many years in actual construction sites doing the work themselves. Now this is not always the situation however, these people with this type of knowledge are generally better to design your home. Not only because of his experience and knowledge in the profession, but their rates tend to be more affordable when compared to a registered architect charges will be.

The rates for a page designer, as well as a command architect has been shown to be completely different. Architects reach four years or more of university education and study the details of the design architect, as well as almost everything else all architectural design varies from small houses to large buildings. Architects are registered to approve numerous facets of the building not used for individual houses. Due to these two details architects require very high service charges to create an architectural design as well as a set of full construction for houses. Most of the architect charges varies from 7% to 15% (sometimes more) for his services in a project of housing. Rates casa almost all the designers for this same exact service varies from 3% to 8%. This particular great variation in rates combined with the undeniable fact that each commonly has the identical or the same level of expertise in residential design is actually the reason why most will probably select a Home Designer on top of an architect for your project.


Professional Home design software

Professional Home design software

With computers becoming more powerful and more accessible to more markets than ever before, publishers of software began to put the power of desktop software solutions professionals once the exclusive domain of industrial users in confined and commercialized applications accordingly.

In the area of 3D rendering and drawing designs-centric, you have software professional home design that are powerful and easy enough to be used by the owners. About the only distinctive quality is the capacity price and networks to share common files that corporate users demand. Then there is after sales technical support that is more receptive to professional enterprise software editions. Otherwise, there is very little to distinguish between the two, except AutoCAD.

AutoCAD: The standard for professional home design Software

It can be a battle uphill overcome a standard that has long dominated industries during the past 25 years. AutoCAD 2D 3D drawing ripping tool and has promoted it in industries that range from toy manufacturers to the builders of the space shuttle and remains Supreme as the tool of choice among professionals design.

Almost all commercial products have been designed from it. It is not especially optimized for the design of housing, but it has all the features and functions that house design of application software products, from simple 2D drawings to sophisticated 3D models with interaction simulated light and shadow, as well as travel animation.

There are plenty of commercial simulators for Autodesk's AutoCAD software, everyone wants a piece of the industrial and professional market with some prices lowered and successfully to a market share. Without a doubt, AutoCad not for everyone, as it is quite expensive, cost $3,500 for a single user license. But it is comforting to note that professional and amateur design solutions CAD based, borrowed many features from 3D and 2D AutoCAD drawing.

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