Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Abandoned but Beautiful....

I thought I would share with you today some farm scenes I shot while in Martin County, North Carolina. I'm sure you all know how much of a sucker I am for old farmhouses and outbuildings :)

a frame barn or pack house sits along the path to other farm outbuildings at the Bowen Farm

The Bowen Farm, whose main house is a frame "Triple-A" I-house with exterior end chimneys and a rear ell

an unidentified set of outbuildings sits at the back of a dilapidated farm complex

an unidentified farm house overgrown and in need of some repair

I dream about the day we might have our own cluster of farm buildings to restore and land to revive either for crops, pasture, or forest. Oh how fun that will be!

For now though, we will enjoy our modest little garden and flock of chickens while waiting on God's timing and his direction for where we will go and what we will do.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Spring Garden

I love this time of year in North Carolina. I've been meaning to post a spring garden update for quite some time and now that it's almost summer I'm finally getting around to it! Such is the life with toddler twins...


Even though most of our free time is occupied busily raising seedlings and transplanting them into the garden, planting new seeds and prepping garden beds, and trying to stay on schedule with our garden plans despite the weather, I feel that the season offers hope of new life, rebirth, and the excitement of a new growing season (and hopefully a better harvest!).

sugar snap peas

beautiful sage

This year was our first year of actually testing the soil in each of our raised beds and sending the samples into the state lab for results. The testing showed that our beds has an abundance of phosphorus--far too much. And the ph was off. To remedy this, we added various amendments to help balance out the soil in order to make it healthier. As you can see, it has definitely helped and we have greens coming out of our ears!! We simply cannot eat all the kale, collards, lettuce, and arugula fast enough --we have SO much.


this raised bed holds kale, collards, some onion, and sugar snap peas along the back

We also cut down a few trees around the raised beds that were shading the plants too much and preventing much needed sunlight. Our yard doesn't get a whole lot sunlight anyway from being so wooded, but hopefully this will help a little bit.

some of our raised beds

We started seedlings in February and again in March for broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Using our DIY grow light, we cared for the seedlings until the first batch was ready to be hardened off for a couple of weeks prior to transplanting.

this raised bed holds tomatoes, carrots, and spinach

Don't have enough space in your raised beds? Try planting tomatoes or peppers in post, like we have with this cherry tomato below.

cherry tomato plant in a pot

tiny cherry tomatoes- I can't wait until they are ripe for the picking!

We also sowed seeds directly into the garden starting in March and each week have planted a little more now that temperatures have really warmed up and we are past the threat of frost. I'm not sure if it's because we don't get a whole lot of sun, but for some reason when we try to plant cold-weather crops during the early spring when it's still fairly chilly, they don't do well despite claims that certain cold-weather veggies thrive in colder weather.

a bed against the side of our screened porch holds turnips and beets

Right now we are growing  kale, collards, peas, onions, beets, turnips, arugula, spinach, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, okra, radishes, pole beans and a variety of herbs. Also planted are squash, cucumbers, potatoes, and bush beans. We recently harvested garlic in May and planted in its place radishes and more peppers.

this bed in our side yard contains potatoes, squash, cucumber starts and October beans

a recently transplanted pepper plant

lettuce mix

New additions to the garden include strawberries and a blueberry bush. The strawberries are showing signs of growth but I doubt the blueberry bush will be fruitful until next year. Overall, the garden has definitely improved from last year and I'm so excited to see how the rest of the plants do (and I'm patiently waiting that harvest of the first ripe tomato!). Then comes the hard work of preserving all the veggies so that none go to waste!

chives and pretty chive blossoms :)

Happy Gardening,

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Learning from Mom: Spring Decorating

In honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to talk about how my mom has influenced my design aesthetic. Growing up, she always had a very good sense of style in terms of fashion and in dressing me. Even today my friends comment how she always looks cute!

my screened in porch

In the last 15 years or so I believe my mom has done a fantastic job in decorating and making design choices for her home. What she picked out for her rooms was fresh, classic yet casual and comfortable. I would classify it as sophisticated cottage meets traditional.

Here are a few snapshots of what her old house looked like:

She and my Dad recently moved into a new house--resulting in lots of new fun opportunities for decorating and designing! She is ultra-organized and could easily be a professional in this arena. I hope to devote a whole post soon to the design choices for their new house.

My mom routinely helps me make design decisions when decorating my spaces. I'm not quite as organized as she is and in my design choices I'm definitely more whimsical and a bigger antique connoisseur, but, we share a lot of the same tastes.

Today I've decided to share with you some of my spring decorating. This post is being published in collaboration with Balsam Hill, who has generously supplied me with some of their products. They challenged me to decorate my home for Spring even though their company sells mostly Christmas and Holiday-related décor. Here is what I came up with:

dining room mantel

I used Balsam Hill's Blue Dupioni Ribbon to dress up some pillar candles I had on hand for the dining room mantel. A cheese dome doubles as a little cloche filled with moss and eggs for a sweet spring look. Silver julep cups filled with green moss complete the spring look for the mantel.

My spring dining table is simply adorned with candlesticks, an antique cheese box, and a brown transferware coffee pot filled with cuttings from our yard. To see more of my brown transferware, visit this post. 

dining room table

Since my mom loved using a medium green color in her old house, I was inspired to go all green on our porch for spring. I used my great-grandmothers table linens that match our vintage-inspired metal table and chair set. Looks like a relaxing spot for sipping tea and enjoying some fresh flowers from our yard!

Continuing with the green theme, I gathered lots of fresh moss from our yard and put it in a wire tray with an antique scale and potted oregano plant.

For the finishing touch, we strung these Balsam Hill Globe Café Lights from the porch ceiling to give it a warm, romantic glow at night time. Perfect for a party!

In the living room, I decorated the mantel with everyday things I already had, like old books and a gold framed Paul Sawyier print. I used more of the Blue Dupioni Ribbon to tie up the books like little pretty packages.

In the entryway we have a black iron gate that can be closed. We usually keep it open and it turned out to be the perfect place to showcase Balsam Hill's Mountain Meadow Kissing Balls. I stuck some fresh  flowers in them to make them look less wintry and more springy.

I'm so fortunate to have a mom who is not only a fabulous stylist and decorator but also a wonderful mom who is always there for me when I need her :)  A big thank you to Balsam Hill for providing products and the motivation I needed to decorate this roost for spring!