Wednesday, April 18, 2018

News About My Garden



I know that many of you are still covered in snow, and have cabin
fever.  I feel a bit guilty that I have moaned about our cold weather
when it is not at all as bad as what y'all have endured.  I suppose it's
just that when you make the commitment to live in South Texas,
you are expecting it to be warm in March and April.  

The weather here has been a bit warmer, but the winds have been
terrible.  It's been as though Hurricane Harvey had been hiding behind
a bush and decided to come out and lash at us once again!  Speaking of
Harvey, I have weeds in my yard that I never had before and I swear it
is all Harvey's fault ;-)  There is some hope though.  Our magnificent
and huge Magnolia tree out in the front yard was battered so hard by
Harvey that I was afraid we would loose it.  Recently, it's leaves were
turning yellow and falling to the ground.  This is not uncommon in the
spring, as magnolia's are not like deciduous trees that drop their leaves
in the fall.  Magnolias stay green and just replace some leaves.  Ours
was dropping yellow leaves like crazy.  My husband even started to
worry.  I assured him that this was a normal event for a Southern
Magnolia and that I had faith that our beloved tree would return to
it's former glory.

The other evening as Bentley and I were returning home from
our walk, I looked at the tree closely.  The bottom third of the tree was
covered with more magnolia buds than I have ever seen on it before.
Each branch was glorified in these buds, but the most encouraging 
sign was a few tiny buds way up at the top of the tree and some new
tiny green leaves.  The top third of the tree's branches had their leaves
stripped off by the hurricane, but miraculous new growth is appearing.
I ran inside to deliver the good news to David.  Nature in all it's glory
had once again returned with the hope of spring.  I'm so happy!



I purchased a hibiscus at my favorite local nursery.  I put it in a big
pot next to the chaise lounge.  Looking at this beautiful flower makes
me long to mix up a tropical drink of some sort!




I tend to put a lot of colorful vincas in pots around the patio.  They 
seem to be one of the few flowers that not only can stand the hot
and oppressive heat that will soon arrive, but also seem to thrive in it.

That's all for now.  For those of you who have not yet seen spring,
please feel free to enjoy the few photos I have so far.  It will happen
for you too.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

An English Cottage Kitchen in the Making


I am very excited about a new project I am working on right now.  I am
building a little cottage and tucked away inside will be an English style
cottage kitchen.  I have been collecting things for it for a while now, and
will soon be making my vision a reality.


Soon the walls, floor, doors and windows will be fitting all together and
once that is done, the fun will begin when the decorative pieces move
in to give the space character, and hopefully, lots of charm.




This little kitchen will be much more than just a miniature room.  It will
also become the setting for a book, a mystery novel.  This is a project
that I have been dreaming about for quite a while and if I seem a bit
distracted, you will understand why.




I wanted everything to come together in the perfect way, and I just
could not rest until I had the whole idea firmly developed in my 
mind.





Now that the ground work is being laid, the plots and story lines 
I have been storing away can become a reality too.  I hope you will
follow along to see what develops!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, April 16, 2018

Plans For A Busy Monday


I am out in the garden for as long as I can be today.  Late Friday night
and into the wee hours of Saturday morning, we had a big storm.  
Leaves and branches and all sort of pollen residue is everywhere.
The yard, patio and veranda were all cleaned up on Thursday, but
you would never know it.  The weather has been so crazy here.
It went down to 45 on Saturday night, which for South Texas in
mid April is cold.  The high winds and lightning took out the cable
for several hours, so there was no internet or cell service for the 
first time since Hurricane Harvey hit last August.  Today, however,
is lovely and I really need to take advantage of this window of
opportunity.  

I know that so many of you are still coping with snow.  I'm so
sorry and know that it is no longer welcome.  Stay snug and
cozy and try to keep a positive outlook.  Love y'all lots!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hey Y'All ~ What's for Dinner?


In a few hours, my hubby will walk through the kitchen door and ask ....

What's for dinner???

Sometimes I will say we are ordering a pizza or picking up some
take-out, but most nights I cook.  I used to be one of those girls who
would plan a weekly menu and shop in advance for everything that I
needed for that menu.  Now I tend to just wing it.  I feel more confident
in my cooking skills than I once did, and can generally come up with
something fairly quickly.  Tonight is leftover pasta night.  I made
large macaroni and meat sauce the other night.  Tonight I will layer it
in a baking dish with a little extra sauce and grated cheese, then pop
it in the oven to heat up and melt the cheese.  So easy and David
loves it this way.  Actually, so does Bentley, and I will mix a little bit
in with his ground turkey.   I will serve a tossed salad too, but not
for Bentley.  He doesn't like salad :-)



Last Saturday I made these ham and cheese roll ups for our usual 
Appetizer Saturday Night.  I had left over ham that I wanted to use up,
and found this recipe on the internet that seemed perfect.  All you do is
open up a roll of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  Lay it out flat in one piece and
smooth out the perforations.  Place sliced ham on top and then the cheese.
Roll up jelly roll fashion and then slice one inch thick.  I think we came
out with eight slices.  Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 -17 minutes,
or until golden.  Drizzle honey on top of each slice.  Quite yummy!

The Pillsbury recipe is here.




I must tell you something about me that seems quite silly now.  Years
ago I was afraid to open one of those refrigerated biscuit dough cans.
I thought it just might explode in my face!  One day I gathered every
ounce of courage I had and opened one.  It didn't explode and I was
so very proud of myself that I had conquered my fear.  Pretty silly of
me to have such a foolish fear ;-)

Have a great evening and let me know what y'all are cooking tonight!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, April 9, 2018

English Cottage Mystery


It's dark, gray, and rainy out today, and the inside of my cottage looks
like it could be the scene of an English Cottage Mystery.  Actually,
nothing is happening around here but the laundry.  



Just imagine the only sound is that of the grandfather clock ticking in
the front hall, and wondering if any evidence will be found in the
lighted hallway to our right.

We may need to start collecting clues....



but I have an over active imagination.  You already know that
don't you?



In between folding clothes, I am reading my first mystery novel by
Simone St. James, titled The Other Side of Midnight.  

This mystery is so good!  I began reading it a couple of weeks ago and
put it down because too much was going on.  Now that I have returned to
it, I cannot put it down!



The one giveaway that we are not really in an English cottage, is that
western boot bottle opener on the cocktail tray.  Other than this, my
cottage looks like it's straight out of a British mystery novel today, 
cloaked in fog, dark clouds and rain.  Sherlock could be at the front 
door any minute now ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Calla Lily That Could


Last year I had a lovely Calla Lily in a pot on my patio.  It's flowers 
were stunning and it was so photogenic.  After it stopped blooming
and went into dormancy, it remained on the patio in it's pot.  

Then last August, Hurricane Harvey was predicted to take a close
hit to our city, so we quickly moved all of the patio furniture and
plants to the back porch where they were secured.  After months of
clean up, things started to return to normal, but the potted Calla Lily
was forgotten.  It was forgotten until just recently that is, when I 
found a pot stuck in a corner. I was about to empty the soil and
recycle the plastic pot, when I noticed sprigs of green poking up
through the soil.  It was the forgotten Calla Lily coming to life
once again! 


The dear Calla Lily braved the big bad hurricane and decided to come
back this spring with new growth.  I removed it from the confines of it's
nursery pot, and added some new soil, and gave it a new home befitting
it's stature.  

It is now resting in the center of the patio dining table where it will
receive adequate sunlight and some tender loving care.  I will be
happily sharing photos when it comes into it's full glory again.
Something tells me that it will be even lovelier this year because it 
is the Calla Lily That Could.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley



Monday, April 2, 2018

New Plants for the Patio


I realize that many of you are still receiving snow, and I am sorry
for that.  The weather here is quite lovely, and I have started working 
on bringing some life back to the patio.  I have been filling the pots
with annuals ....




and I am planting more Caladium bulbs in the planter that runs the
width of the patio.  This clump of Caladiums is all that returned.
I am not sure why, but this clump remains throughout the winter,
while the others die off.  I am enthusiastic about the new bulbs I
purchased and now that it is April, I can get them in the ground.



My hanging ferns are doing fine and already have sprouted lots of new
growth.  I just need to trim off some of the brown bits and keep giving
them lots of water.  What I have learned about these ferns is that they
are very hardy and all I need to do is trim them back when needed, and
make way for the new fronds.  

Happy April everyone.  I hope that spring will be arriving soon for
those of you who live in the snow belt!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter 2018



Wishing each of you a blessed Easter!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

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