Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Typical Conversation

Earlier this morning, as The Husband walked past me while I was here at my usual perch at the end of the kitchen counter, he and I had the following conversation.

Me:  "I want to show you something"  (pause, while I pull up the picture on Pinterest)

Me:  "Do you like it""  (showing him this picture of an Oriental rug)

Him:  "I like it.  It's interesting."

Me:  "Good, because it's ours."

Him:  "It is?"

Me:  "Yes, it is.  I saw it on the shop's site, and emailed them to ask if it was still available.  They sent a PayPal invoice, and now we own it."

Him:  "I was going to ask what you bought with the PayPal account.  (He pays the bills and keeps a close eye on the bank account.)

Me:  "Now you don't have to ask."

Him:  "Where are you going to put your new rug?"

Me:  "I'm not sure yet.  I'll figure that out when I pick it up."

Him:  (sighs, and walks back into his office, shaking his head.)

Covesville Store Antiques is one of my very favorite shops.  The place is full of the most wonderful items ... many of which you only hear about or see in photos in books.  They have a page on their web site that features new items, updated at least twice a week.  The good stuff sells quickly ... many times to online buyers like me.  Click HERE to see the latest items, and prepare to be amazed.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Old Rectory ... Garden Tour

On Thursday last week, The Husband and I planned to go on the Virginia Garden Week tour in Warrenton.  The computer gods had other things for him to do, however, and he had to stay home to deal with an emergency at work.  With his blessing, I went solo on this tour ... and I am so glad that I didn't miss it.

There were five beautiful properties on this year's tour:  an 1833 inn that was built as a Wells Fargo stagecoach stop, an 1828 home built by Chief Justice John Marshall, a perfectly restored and decorated brick Federal home from 1856, a 1996 beautifully designed English-style Arts and Crafts home decorated with William Morris fabrics and papers, and my favorite ... The Old Rectory, formerly the parsonage for Leeds Episcopal Church.

According to the tour brochure, the home was built in 1855.  The current owners spent a year restoring and renovating the house.  I wish I had interior photos to show you, because every room in this house was PERFECTION!  (Think Restoration Hardware meets Antiques Roadshow, with a little bit of Sarah Richardson, and you'll have the right idea.)  The front porch vignette was a perfect introduction to the wonders that were inside.
The home's garden is the work of the previous owner.  She was a skilled gardener and plant collector, and she worked her magic in the landscape with an imaginative blend of plants over a 25-year period.
The back of the property has a steep drop-off formed by a large rock ledge.  The garden design works WITH this feature, honoring it and enhancing it, with woodland plants and specimen trees and shrubs.
I saved my favorite part of this property for last ... when I walked out the back door, I almost squealed at the sight of  "The Schoolhouse".
Every detail of this little building appeals to me.  I took LOTS of photos to use as inspiration when we finally get around to renovating the little outbuilding on our property.
I already have a big picture window like this in my stash of salvaged windows.  Won't take much to use smaller windows on the sides to create a bay.
This bump-out with narrow windows was a bench in a dining alcove.
With one last look, I bid farewell to this perfect place.  It's rare for me to tour a house and react like I did with this one.

This place got to me, and it will provide motivation and inspiration to fuel some of the remaining projects that I still have looming ahead of me here at our house ... as we continue to put this 'Humpty Dumpty' of a renovation of ours TOGETHER AGAIN.
After I posted this, I did a little bit of Googling to see what else I could find about this place.  Hit paydirt after only a few minutes.  Click HERE to see the listing and photos from when the home was for sale in 2011.  Having seen the current interior, the difference between the Before and the After is amazing!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Snapshot ... More Wildlife

Moving my game camera to the path overlooking the Rose Field has proven to be less-than-fruitful, as far as capturing photos of four-legged wild creatures is concerned.  It was, however, a great way to document the comings and goings of The Husband and me on Saturday, as we worked to clear out the front left section of our barn (so we can stack the slabs of our oak tree in there, and finally get them out of the front yard).

Bright and early, I walk to the barn to check out the situation and get started ...

... followed shortly thereafter by The Husband, bringing things in our golf cart.
Here he is, walking back to the garage to get bolt cutters ...
... and walking back to the barn.
Back to the garage again ...
... to get a pitchfork.
One more trip to the garage as we are finishing up ...

... to get the leafblower and his mask.

There are no photos of me returning from the barn, because I walked up behind the camera to grab the memory card and take it back to the house.
The game camera has been sitting in this spot for a week.  Other than the fox and deer photos that I showed you last week, the camera has captured exactly ONE photo of real wildlife ...
... a cat.  I don't recognize this cat, but it looks like it's definitely a well-fed cat.  I would like to think that he/she is returning from the barn after a successful mousing expedition.  This may really be true, because we only found two mice while we were working, and there were a bunch of old abandoned mouse nests.
I plan to move the camera to another spot later this morning.
Have a great Sunday, Everyone!!
(some of you have asked about my game camera.  It is a Bushnell Trophy Cam ... click HERE see it on the Bushnell web site.)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sunshine, Blue Sky, and Green Leaves

As I sit here in my usual spot at the kitchen counter, the bright morning sunshine is beautiful.  Notice in the photo below how the trees are leafing out and everything is turning green.  My winter, bare-trees view of our barn in the distance will soon be gone.

Dorothy is beside me, hiding on the cluttered counter in my pile of stuff that needs to be put away.  Looks like a still life, doesn't it?  Tape dispenser, cordless phone, pile of notebooks and pads of paper, an antique clock, my scarf from yesterday ... and my sweet, odd-ball cat.

 My iPad was under the scarf ... until I picked it up to use it to take these photos.

I am planning to spend a few hours working in the garden  today... my scratch pad holds a list of ten roses that I hope to get planted.  For those of you who are curious about these things, the roses are:  'Garisenda', 'Thelma', 'Golden Glow', 'Coralie', 'Climbing American Beauty', 'Etain', 'Weetwood', 'Flora', 'Alchymist', and 'Queen of the Prairies'.  These are all once-blooming ramblers/climbers with large flowers, and I am planting them on the fence in my new rose border behind the greenhouse.  (I will dig out photos of them for a future post ... not taking the time to do it this morning.)

If you need me, I'll be in the garden.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

This Year vs. Last Year

It seems like everything in the garden is much later than it was last year.  For the past two years everything was really early, so who's to say what normal is anymore. 

Here is an example of how late we are (or how early last year was).  This is a photo that I published on 4/19/12 ... if I remember correctly, the photo was taken the day before.

This is the same toad house, in the exact same spot ... photo, from a slightly different angle, taken yesterday afternoon.
The rose is 'Reve d'Or'.  It has only been fully leafed out for a few weeks.  Its buds are small and fat, and I imagine we are two weeks from seeing its first flower.  The roses in the rest of the garden are in a similar state ... full of buds, and I am looking forward to what should be a pretty great rose season. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Historic Garden Week: Fredericksburg Home and Garden Tour

The last full week of April is Historic Garden Week in Virginia.  This year marks the 80th anniversary of Garden Week, the oldest and largest event of its kind in the US, billed as "America's Largest Open House."  Garden clubs in localities throughout the state host tours of historic homes and gardens ... proceeds from the tour are used to restore gardens at state historic landmarks.

The Fredericksburg tour featured properties that were on the original Garden Week tour.  My mother and I always take this tour together (she is just as crazy about gardens and historic houses as I am, so it's a good match.) 

Our first stop was Fall Hill, a Georgian-style house built in 1770.

As we waited our turn to tour the house, I was studying and photographing the porch.  I got a couple of ideas that I hope I can use when I finally get around to finishing our porch.
There are flower arrangements everywhere on the tour properties, all done by garden club members.  Since there is no photography allowed inside the houses, I can only show you some of the ones outside.
Fall Hill had a number of outbuildings ... the ones I liked most were the Summer Kitchen and this green machine shed.
Our next stop was Snowden, built in on some of the highest ground overlooking the city of Fredericksburg.  The original house was built in 1815, but was destroyed by fire in 1925.  The current house was built a year later, replicating the original design as closely as possible.  (I totally forgot to take a photo of the front of the house.  Here is a photo that I am borrowing from the Free Lance Star.)
The stone cottage behind the house is believed to date to 1720.
The garden was designed in the 1940s by Charles Gillette, and it was restored in the 1990s using photos taken in the 1950s.  When work began on the restoration of the garden, it was quite overgrown.  Our guide told us that the workers found this original fish pond when one of them fell into it.
Each corner of the fish pond garden is anchored by a wisteria standard.  The trunk on each wisteria is huge, and they were all in glorious full bloom!
Another feature of Snowden's garden is this allee of Crape Myrtles.  I imagine that this is even more beautiful in summer.
Brompton is the home of the president of the University of Mary Washington.  It occupies a hill on Marye's Heights, and it was a witness to the heavy fighting in both of the battles of Fredericksburg during the Civil War.  The original four-room portion of the house is believed to date to the 1740s.
The Brompton Oak, a 300+ year old White Oak, still graces the front lawn.
It was in this very spot that Matthew Brady photographed Union soldiers sheltering under its branches.
The garden in the rear of the residence has a stone patio, which opens to a garden in the shade of three large magnolia trees.
This two-story out-building (I assume that it's a guest house or office) sat beautifully in the landscape.
As we left, it was wonderful how the brick walkway led us beneath the branches of another huge tree.
Our final stop was Belmont, a home built in the 1790s, most famous as the country home of American Impressionist artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne.
Belmont has a Georgian-style landscape around the house, which gradually gives way to more natural gardens and trails.
Mr. and Mrs. Melchers built a stone summerhouse in a prime spot, overlooking the Rappahannock River.
Trails lead from the summerhouse, winding through a very natural-looking garden.
'Solomon's Seal', one of my favorite shade plants
It was a long day for us, and Mom and I were both pretty tired by the time we finished at Belmont.  There had been so much to see, and we walked almost every inch of the gardens at each of the homes we visited.
I've been getting caught up on things here at home today ... and I hope to set out again tomorrow, to see what the Warrenton tour has to offer.
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