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Monday, July 23, 2018

This and that.... and I'm a winner!

Hi my friends, It's such a nice day here in central Oregon for a change! It's "only" 90 degrees, no wind and a nice clear blue sky. We've had such heat the last couple of weeks, that this is a nice change.

My yard and flowers just aren't "up to snuff" this year. More on that later.............  First though, I won a really neat set of  "Love Grows Here" cards and a card folder from Kim at ArtJoyStuff!  She also sent me a pretty tag that she made.  Here they are:

Six darling cards inside!

Shaker cards.

Darling decorated envelopes that are lined!
 Here's the sweet tag she made:

And as an extra treat, she sent me THREE of her lovely vintage cards, with lined envelopes to match. I'm a happy girl..........

Thank you so much Kim!  You can find her Etsy shop: ArtJoyStuff here. Her items are so shabby, scrappy, lacy and whimsical!


As many of you know (from my comments on YOUR blogs)... my yard is not doing well. We had a big "reseeding" day in early May, dug and raked and raked some more... got out all the weeds (we thought) and seeded with some really expensive Pacific Northwest special grass seed. Well.. I'm so disappointed. A little bit of grass came up, and we've watered religiously, but we are still left with MANY brown/dirt patches. 

This is as good as it got... and has been downhill from there! (I'm embarrassed to show you what it looks like now).  I sprayed all the weeds again and in doing so, killed alot of the grass! It was supposed to be OK to spray the weeds in the grass and not supposed to kill the grass......... but it did......... and now is even worse. We reseeded once more but nothing much came up. Our soil is very shallow, very poor, with hardpan under it about 2-3 inches down, so we figure all it's good for is growing weeds.

When we started, the entire back yard was one big dandelion bed!

We need to just get rid of it all and start from scratch with new dirt. Just can't afford that, so we'll figure out other ways to deal with it by putting in raised beds graveling over the entire yard.

We did find one spot where we could dig down about a foot, to plant this Golden Chain tree. It seems to be doing well and I hope it survives the winter. They grow really fast and will provide us some shade in our "patio" gravel area.
See all the brown around the tree? I think we may do a raised bed there and just fill it with pretty rocks and put a few shrubs in.  That's what we may do with all the big brown patches! We'll leave what grass there is, and put gravel paths that meander through the yard and maybe one other raised (rock) bed.  When ya can't win, just go with the flow I guess.

This was our yard BEFORE we did the reseeding.... full of weeds, dirt, rocks piled up from our front yard raised rock bed removal, and the stump from the tree that fell over in our front yard. This is only one pile! We had two piles of big rocks, plus two piles of dirt from the front yard raised bed we took out.    

We had a corner that had steps up to an old gate (previous neighbors used it)... so decided to pile all the dirt over there and make a raised bed. This is the BEFORE:

Here's AFTER we piled up all the dirt over the steps, and laid out rocks for a two tier garden bed:

It is actually doing quite well, as it has nice deep dirt to grow in. I mixed in alot of peat moss, compost and steer manure. See that stump in the back? That was what we saved from the big tree in our front yard that blew over a year ago last April. When it was cut up and removed, we asked the guys to save the stump for us. It's really pretty, and the cats like it to use as "steps" to climb up over that fence!

The shrubs on the top are a lilac and Snowberry bush, that I got last year at our Bi Mart for $1.00 each. It was during a very hot spell and they were all wilted and on sale.. so I bought two of each. They wintered over in their original pots and survived.. so two are in the back and two more are in the front yard. All are doing very well.

The red flowers on the lower tier are $1.00 geraniums I got from a big box store. They were very wilted and almost dead, but revived once I put them in here and have watered them alot. We have to water every day here, sometimes twice, as it is so DRY and usually windy, which makes it worse. Everything dries out so fast.

A nice little buck was meandering down our street the other day. I think it's the same one that ate half of my new rose bush about a week ago. The neighbor came and showed me a video of him eating it! She had taken the video with her phone and had to come tell me. The rose has survived, though is much smaller now! New buds are just coming out.

The area by my front "stoop" is doing fairly well, though I don't have as many pots out this year. My bench that I painted last year needs paint again as I left it out all winter! The two pots sitting on the bench (in the top picture) have flowers that came up all by themselves from last year. The one on the left is a chrysanthemum and the right one, I'm not sure. It sat quite awhile along our house and I paid it no mind... didn't water it or anything.. but the vines just kept growing.. so I decided a few weeks ago to bring it out and start watering it. Now the vines are growing all over behind the back of the bench! It's really pretty.... some sort of ground cover I think.
You can just barely see the trunk of our new front yard tree (to the left)... a Quaking Aspen. It is doing very well and we can already hear the leaves quaking and chattering against each other when the wind blows. The orange marigolds in that blue bucket came up again on their own too. They are not usually "perennials" but it started with one tiny plant which I starting nursing along, and now is really pretty! There are some more stray ones growing in the bark mulch below the bench!

My birthday came and went in late June.... roses from hubby. Love the boot!

My sister gave me the most darling pink featherweight sewing machine replica! It's about 3 inches tall.

I got to have a "sewing bee" day with my sister in Bend, Oregon a week or so ago. She has inspired me to make a quilt for my son for his 40th birthday. I've been wanting to make one for him for years...  using all of my scraps and strips that I've saved from the last 42 years of sewing! A few months ago, I finally started taking out my scraps and washing and ironing them. More on that process later! What a mess!

I'll have rows of strip blocks, in different color sets, probably browns, burgundy, blue, green, maybe yellow/orange and maybe purples. These are most of the colors I have scraps for. The pink scraps will be saved for a later quilt for me!

Here are my six brown squares. I have four done in the burgundy also. Need 36 blocks, six each of six colors. Do you think I'll get it done??? His birthday is September 13th!! My sister has so graciously and sweetly offered to quilt it for me, with her long arm sewing machine.  He may only get the quilt top on his birthday, but at least it's a start.

In fact, I'd better get sewing today! I'm trying to finish at least two blocks a day!

Have a happy Sunday all...........



  1. I think you’ll get the quilt done Marilyn! You’ve got a good excuse to do so. What a lovely gift that will be.

    You know, I was reading this and thinking ‘Marilyn should just go with the flow in her yard and cut back on how much grass she would like’ and what do you know, that’s what you’re doing ;). Great minds...

    I think it will look lovely and you’ll be so much hapoier. It kind of reminds me of a friend who has the curliest hair you’ve ever seen but was forever trying to make it straight. Very frustrating and time consuming! Just go with what Mother Nature intended and life will be so much simpler.

    Hope the good weather sticks around a while for you.


    1. Hi Doreen,
      Yes, go with the flow and all that.. usually works better! I was thinking about the gravel, and realized that it will also be hard to keep up, as there is a huge China Elm tree in the neighbor's yard that drops these tiny leaves ALL THE TIME.. and they get wet and mat down into the dirt and grass, etc. so I imagine they will also mat down into the gravel and be a real pain. Just not sure what route to take... maybe cement???? :-) then I can just sweep it! don't know yet. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods too. Hugs .... Marilyn

  2. Hi...saw your comment on Connie's blog and thought I would stop by. Like the cards you have made and also the cards your blogger friend sent creativity of others. Can always learn something new. Oh back yards....can be frustrating. We had a nice lawn in the back and front....wanted to get rid of the weeds and creeping charlie. Called the weed man.....he got rid of the creeping Charlie but now we have sparse grass with actual green moss growing in areas...course we have a big shade tree, they said that is the problem, but the tree did not hurt the grass before (we've been here 27 years now), guess they were looking for an excuse. I like those pictures of the gardens where they can't grow grass...that's a good idea to make rock gardens. I have a little pond with flagstone around it and red mulch....then a fire pit with red mulch and flowers growing around it. My firepit used to be my old garden, so much shade in the back yard, nothing grew. I still have much to accomplish in my much to do, so little time....right?

    1. Hi Louise! What a nice comment! I went and visited your blog and read about your life in Wisconsin and sounds so similar to my life the past 30 years or so! I'm 71 too.. have lived in the country most of my life, on acreage, with animals and gardens (while also working as a secretary most of the time). I've had horses, cows, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs of course, and my hubby and I raised alpacas for 6 years when it was a real booming business. I've always been crafty too, since I was 5 or 6, and still love it all! And yes..... yards are a pain. When I lived in the country, we always just mowed whatever weeds made up the "yard" and it was fine. It always grew fine and came back in the spring and summer without a smidge of any sort of fertilizer, etc. Just kept on mowing it. Our yard here in the dry country just has such poor dirt I guess and is very shallow. We also have a big huge Chinese Elm tree in the neighbors' yard that sheds leaves and twigs continually, and then when I water, the little leaves get all matted down so that if we don't rake them, it kills the grass. What I could see of your yard looked very pretty.. and your gardens look good too! I used to have two or three huge gardens about 10 years ago, but have kind of dwindled down to just a few things. For some reason, our area in town seems to have a real bug infestation so most things can chewed up! This is the first time I've lived in town for at least 25 years! Is a real change and I still miss the countryside and privacy, etc. I do like some of the conveniences of living close to things, but think I'd rather have the country and acreage and fir trees of where we used to live in SW Washington. As you can tell, I'm a real gabber!!! Marilyn

  3. Yep less grass is a good thing sometimes. Less work and worry for sure. I love your gift of the cards how nice are those. So sweet and special. Happy New Week.

    1. Kris, yes..... less grass may be good, at least for us anyway. Now your lawn looks really pretty.. of course I think you laid sod down? If we did that, and had some good fertilizer put down, I think it might be better... but..... when we were digging out all the weeds, I did see signs of some sort of netting, so am wondering if they did at one time, put sod down here too! Will just try to go with the flow of things as Doreen said! xoxoxo Marilyn

  4. I understand the frustration with the lack of grass! And I think you're on the right track, making little gravel paths and raised beds where the grass has not grown, that will look wonderful! And I love what you did in the back corner with the rocks and the stump and your revived flowers... I do that all the time, my favorite is to buy perennials on sale, because usually they will survive, and the clearance prices are pretty nice! I hope your weather stays nice and pretty, although 90s is hot for us! The heat is bad here too in the summer, and our soil is very poor too, it is a constant struggle. I find that I have to mulch with cedar bark or straw all my flower/garden areas in order to keep the plants alive. What a beautiful set of cards you received, they are gorgeous, such incredible work went into making them so special! I know you will treasure them greatly!!! Always so fun to win such pretties!!! Blessings and hugs to you today :)

    1. Hi Marilyn, it's no fun having poor soil is it? I think mulch would help mine very much, as well as compost, etc. If I could just get rid of the bugs, moths, worms and ear wigs it would also help! Trouble with gravel is,,, after I thought about it... that our neighbors have a huge Chinese Elm tree that sheds twigs and branches and little leaves all the time.. and those little leaves would get down into the gravel and rocks just as bad as they do our grass! Not sure what to do now! I'll figure something out... or else I'll need a vacuum cleaner for our yard! Hugs.. Marilyn

  5. Hi Marilyn, Your quilt is going to be lovely and he will love it. If you could find a local farmer and get a load or two of old manure to spread over your back yard this winter, it just might be the kick your yard needs to fill in and grow more grass. Manure, lots of rain, watering and snow banded on it and you just might be surprised next spring. Just a thought. Most farmers are glad to had someone come in and take away their old manure and most have loaders to load your truck.
    In regard to the comment you left on my blog: This last week has been a lot of fun, he follows me around and helps with the outside chores. It's nice having more time together and seeing so much of the stress that was tying him in knots fade a way :)

    1. Hi Connie, that's a good idea about getting the manure. Will look into that. Also. we have an alpaca farm not too far from us, and alpaca "poop" is very rich and can be used straight from the animal to the garden! No need to wait for it to mature and age. A nice layer of that would be nice for the lawn I bet. I'll figure something out one of these days.. and will try to go with the flow of what is most natural. Maybe it's just meant to be all dirt! xoxoo Marilyn

  6. Grass can be the band if homeowners.. Our parkway looks like your backyard and we need to rested. What makes me mad is that I done mind taking care of the parkway but Dont feel I should have to pay for buying the grass. I'm surprise though I have only 4” of dirt over my driveway and the grass goes well? But do like your idea of beds and live what you did in the corner. Best time to put seed down is Fall.

    1. Cathy, I know.... weeds and sometimes a really hardy grass will grow well in anything. I used to have a gravel driveway that had big heavy rock underneath, and then a layer of smaller gravel on top, and within a couple of years, the grass was growing right down the middle, just as pretty as you please. It looked way nicer than our yard does! Maybe if I put gravel down first, then the grass will grow up through it!! Anyway.. the weeds love our yard now. I've never had so many problems with grass! Marilyn