Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cottage Giveaway

If you love cottage style, you simply must see this great giveaway over at Cynthia's Cottage Design. Personally, I like something of a mixture between primitive items and cottage style, so this giveaway is perfect for me.

Don't the items look sweet and summery? I love the light and airy look of the fabric, and the little plates are precious. And this vintage apron - isn't it divine?

So many wonderful blogs, so little time!

My Fig Tree

Last year, I planted a fig tree (in a spurt of optimism). I deliberately planted the tree at the end of the house near the block wall that absorbs heat during the day and then releases it overnight.

The little tree grew happily all summer. It lost its leaves in the fall, but they are deciduous trees and this is normal. I mulched it in and let it settle down for the winter. Then came the 17 degree weather, and I mulched the tree a little more, but didn't really have time for much else.

This spring, I checked on the tree and the branches were brittle and dead. The fig tree, it seemed, was no more. I was very sad. But my husband said, "Leave it for a bit and see what happens."

Well, as it turns out, he was right! I checked again yesterday and there are tiny leaves poking up from under the mulch at the base of the dead branches. And they are the distinctive shape of fig leaves - the fig tree is growing! It hasn't died and I still have a fig tree!

I think I'm going to see how much growth we get through the summer, and then decide if I want to dig the tree up and put it in a container for the winter, or try to do something to protect the branches from the cold. Any suggestions?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Porches are dangerous places. If you have a porch, I recommend that you stay off of it, and if you must sit out there, I recommend a bullet-proof vest. I know, I know - it looks cozy and inviting out there, in the warm summer air, but this is deceptive.

How do I know that porches are dangerous? Trauma call - it's a very educational experience. Eighty percent of the gunshot victims we see in the operating room start their tale with, "I was sitting on my porch..." So, it is reasonable to conclude that since eighty percent of operable gunshot wounds occur on the porch, you should avoid yours at all costs. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garden shots

I thought I'd share a few shots of my little garden. This is a strawberry bed that I built out of salvaged bricks. The birds think of it as their personal buffet.

This is a mixed bed - there are cucumbers, a couple of types of melons and some bell peppers in this one. I'm going to see how the cucumbers do as climbers once they get little bigger.

Here's the tomato bed - they look unhappy here, but this was taken just after transplanting. They're much happier now!

And, finally, some happy girls on their evening walk - aren't they pretty? They look sweet and innocent, don't they? Not at all like the marauding pansy-killers that they actually are!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Porch Swap

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a Porch Swap hosted by Char at Pickled Pepper Patch. I was a little bit nervous about doing this, because even though I love making things I never think those things are good enough to pass on to other people. But, it gave me something else to focus on besides that awful test that has been hanging over my head all these weeks, and I really needed new porch ideas, so I gathered up my courage and signed up.

As it turns out, I got paired up with Valerie, who lives just a few miles away from me! How cool is that? Valerie is a UT alumni and she loves primitives and flowers as much as I do. So, today we met in person to conduct the swap, and I had such a great time!

Here we are at the restaurant:
Here are all our goodies on the table:

And here is what I got in the swap - I definitely got the better end of this one. Valerie is hugely talented, and she even has an Etsy shop! Look at this sweet little primitive gal. Doesn't she look darling with my plants? And, I can't tell you how many times I've seen planters just like this one at flea markets and boutiques and they've always been out of my price range. Isn't it darling? Look at the little boot!
This bird feeder is adorable, and Valerie shows you how to make them on her blog. I was so hoping for one of these! :)
And, finally, look at this windchime. You can't see it well because I'm a bad photographer, but it suits my porch perfectly.

Really, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect swap. Or a more perfect swap partner. Thank you so much, Valerie - I really enjoyed meeting you and I love my porch! :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bad Chickens!

Every evening, we let the chickens out of their coop for the hour or two before dusk. I'd let them have a longer outing, but we have a pair of nesting hawks on the property. Most of the neighbors, too, just let their dogs run (we're pretty far from the main road, so it's much safer than it sounds), so we try to have the chickens out only when we're out and about in the yard in the evenings.

Friday, I let the chickens out and then I went back inside to study. I was worried about that test, and so was absentminded about watching the chickens. After all, they've always been fine. Famous last words, eh?

Those evil girls got into my flowerbeds and ATE the pansies. They didn't mess with the rosebushes or the lillies or any of the perennials, but the pansies are just about done for. They also ate a lot of the weeds, to their credit - weeding has NOT been a priority since I've been in school! But I did want another month or two of blooms out of those pansies.

Oh, well - a few pansies are a small price to pay, I guess, for happy chickens and fresh eggs. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another Grosgrain Giveaway

Kathleen is having another giveaway over at Grosgrain. Just look at that dress! I'm completely in awe of this woman and her skills - this dress is too precious. Check out the complete post here: Blueberry Pie Refashioned Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

She's got some exciting things in the works, according to her blog, so keep your eyes peeled. :)

A Study Break

I finished my test this morning. I don't have a very good feel for how well I did because so many of the questions were from out of left field. Still, it's done and I'm taking the rest of the day off. My head hurts! :)

The strawberries are ripening but the birds are feasting on them faster than we can get them, so I guess I need to find some netting to protect the berries. But there aren't that many berries this year, anyway, and I enjoy watching the birds. Maybe I'll find some netting next year.

Have a great weekend, and take a minute to remember those who made it possible!

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm Enabling...

Because all of you need another project about as badly as I do. But, if you've ever wanted to learn to quilt, or go back to quilting, or if you just like doing community-style projects, you really have to check out Old Red barn Co - Quilt Along.

This is a 6 week quilt-along. It's free, it's part tutorial/part group project and the best part is that you'll end up with a quilt of your own. Oh, and the quilt-along culminates in the giveaway of a brand new Janome sewing machine. Imagine what you could do with that baby! Hey, and if you don't want it, I know someone who would LOVE to take it off your hands! :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ninety Days

As of today I'm ninety days out from finishing school. Sorry for these periodic updates, but I need to remind myself that there is an end in sight! It's necessary for my sanity!

Of course, I'm busier than ever. I take the official Self-Evaluation Exam next week - it's supposed to give me a rough idea of what my weak points are with regard to preparing for the certification exam, so I'm studying for that. I've already started studying for the board certification exam. And we're getting ready for graduation - paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.

Oh, and the hospital is really busy as well - summer is "trauma season" and we are a trauma center. If we thought the economic downturn would slow the operating room down, we were wrong! My clinical weeks are actually longer right now than they were a month ago, and that's likely to last all summer. Still, when you're busy, the time seems to pass more quickly, doesn't it? So, I'll look on the bright side of that one and just keep doing what I'm doing!

We lost a tree in the front yard to the storms yesterday. The tree was not a healthy tree, though, so I wasn't really surprised when it took the fall. I think this has been one of the rainiest springs I can remember. I can't really say I'm complaining - after last year's drought it's really tough to complain, isn't it? And my flowers are loving it, and the grass is growing like crazy, so hay should be easier to find this year than last year. That's a definite plus!

I hope all of you are enjoying your weekend. As for me, it's time to break out the books!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A New (to me) Toy

We have a zero turn mower here on the farm. I call it Mondo-mower, because it is a monstrosity. We bought it a few years ago, when there was money available because I was still working. It was intended to make the task of cutting the grass easier on everybody here, and to allow my husband (an amputee) to take a larger role in the mowing. We also thought that if mowing were more fun, it would be easier to get the boys to do it without all the hassle of badgering them.

And, to be fair, it has done all of those things. The boys helped with the mowing without too much complaint. We could finish the entire farm in an afternoon. And I've always left the mowing to the guys, because they seemed to enjoy Mondo-mower and, to be frank, I've had other things to do. Also, I was more than a little bit scared of it. I'd use the push mower, but you wouldn't catch me anywhere near Mondo-mower. But, now the boys are leaving soon and so I felt like I should try to figure Mondo-mower out. And I did just that, yesterday.

Holy cow - no wonder they didn't mind mowing. That thing is fun to drive. My husband was out there with me and he just had to stand back. I was racing all over the place. I turned donuts in the yard - in the interest of thorough mowing, of course. :) The only thing that made me a tad nervous was navigating hills, so the guys might still have to do the steep areas. But, who knows - I might get really brave on Mondo-mower. At any rate, I'm confident that I can pick up some of the slack once the boys leave. In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be outside - cutting the grass!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quilt Giveaway

This precious and adorable baby quilt is being offered up by Elizabeth at Pigtails & Snails. Wouldn't you love to win it? Wouldn't it be just perfect for a baby in your life? Or as a baby shower gift?

I love the precious frayed roses - I want an enlarged version of this quilt to snuggle under myself! :) And, if you don't win the quilt, Elizabeth is giving away free patterns to six different entrants. That's right, there are seven chances to win something fabulous! She has patterns for bags and aprons and even (so she says!) a quilt pattern. How cool would that be? The giveaway is open until May 18, so stop by and enter to win!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Boldly Going... Back to Bed!

I have a confession to make. I am a Trekkie. I have been since I was at least six years old, watching the original Star Trek series (in syndication, naturally!) with my dad. My husband and the boys like Star Trek, as well. So, the new Star Trek movie has been discussed (once or twice!) at our house. Yesterday, I came home from my call shift and the boys were all set to go out - they wanted to celebrate Mother's Day!

We went out for burgers first - there's a new Red Robin near us, so we decided to try it. The burgers were really good, the onion ring tower was heavenly and the service was amazing. We had a really good time. We have a new favorite burger joint (sorry, Five Guys!) and we'll definitely be stopping there again.

After dinner, we went to see the new Star Trek movie at the IMAX theater. All I can say is wow - the IMAX screen really does make a difference. And the movie? I was an original Star Trek fan, so I really loved revisiting all of those characters that I grew up watching. I enjoyed the movie tremendously - I'd watch it again, and I don't often say that about a movie. All in all, a very good Mother's Day, but after all of that I am worn out. I have today off and I think I'm going to go take a nap!

Before I hit the hay again, though, let me tell you about another apron giveaway over at The Apron Goddesses: Time and Again Aprons Giveaway bundle. You can win FOUR aprons this time - three children's aprons and one adult one. So hurry on over and enter, and win a bundle of aprons! Oh, and live long, and prosper!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day, everyone. Since it's a minor holiday, I am (as usual) on trauma call at the hospital. Not too bad so far - just three cases today for me. I'm here 'til 7 p.m. our time, though, so there's still time for something to develop! I'm going to lay low and hope things continue in this vein - I hope you've all had a great weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Launching children is hard work, let me tell you. The boys are all excited about their career choices, and even though I am worried (terrified!) about the prospect of all three of them serving in the military, it's hard not to be affected by their excitement.

So, an update - the youngest had his physical, qualified and signed up for the US Army Infantry. That's right - the Infantry. Queen of Battle, Hooah, and all that. Sigh. The Infantry is a mother's worst nightmare, I think, but he is determined to challenge himself and he is an adult, so I am standing down and supporting him as best I can. He is slated to leave August 4th but is trying to get an earlier slot.

The middle child takes his ASVAB test today and could be at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) this week. He has chosen the Marine Corps. If the Infantry isn't a mother's worst nightmare, the Marines might be, but again, I am giving them the freedom to choose their own path. This one thinks he will choose something in Aviation, so we'll see.

I have told both of them that I would rather see them go to college first and then join the military (if the military is truly their choice), but both boys have made it clear that this is what they want. So be it - we're a military family and I guess I have to say that the boys come by it honestly. And, supporting your adult children in choices you wouldn't select for them is difficult, but this is their life and their time, and my job now is to stand back and let them be.

And I am busy in my own right - 99 days until I graduate and I have paperwork coming out of my ears and studying to do and the clinical load is heavier than ever because we are essentially working independently now - the staff doctors are available if we need them, of course, but they are definitely letting us spread our wings a lot. This is what I've been working up to for the last ten years, so it feels really good. But time is at a premium, and it feels like everything else in my life is being neglected.

This too, shall pass. Six months from now when my house is empty and there's no more studying to be done and my workweek is cut nearly in half, I'll probably wonder what to do with myself. And I'll be sad, and I'll be whining to all of you about it - just wait and see!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Apron Giveaway

Julia over at The Apron Goddesses is having another wonderful apron giveaway. The featured seller creates beautiful aprons and bags using vintage-style fabrics and every item is a work of art. I might need one of those lovely floral market bags - they are too cute!

Julia is looking for photos of adult men or women wearing their aprons and is offering lots of extra entries for those photos, so get those cameras out and start snapping! Win yourself an apron, and if you're a guy and the floral theme isn't appealing to you, remember that Mother's Day is coming up!

Friday, May 1, 2009


I suppose it's somewhat odd to speak of a favorite insect, but my favorite is probably the firefly. In my mind, fireflies mean summer, no matter what time of year it is. And I love warm summer evenings, when I can be outside in shorts and a t-shirt in perfect comfort.

Here in East Tennessee we have a species of firefly called "photinus carolinus" that has the unique ability to synchronize flashes with others of the species. The only other species known to do this lives in Asia. It's evidently quite the spectacle, as you can read here: Fireflies in Unison. Hundreds of people gather each June in the meadows and clearings of the Smokies to watch the fireflies put on a show.

We've never gone to see the synchronized fireflies, but we have quite a few non-synchronized fireflies here on the farm. I love to walk through the gardens at night and watch them flash their lights. Last night we had rain approaching, so I watched the clouds roll in against the darkening sky as the first fireflies of the season began to glow among the trees. It was magical. I wish I could recreate it for you.

The lovely photo in this post comes from Firefly Crossings - a charity that provides vacation resort stays to familes with terminally ill children to allow them to relax together and create lasting memories. I think this is a wonderful idea and I hope this charity grows and expands, and then I further hope that one day there will be no more need for such things. I imagine the folks at Firefly Crossings would agree with me on that last bit!