Archive for June, 2013

Mount Vernon Inspiration

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

In the spring I took a trip with my mother to visit cousins in Maryland. Having only been to Washington DC many years ago on a business trip with Kirk, I was able to see many places I had only learned about in history lessons. We packed a lot of sights into our stay, traveled through five or so states and ran through many attractions, but we were able to spend an afternoon at George Washington’s farm, Mount Vernon. As you might guess, my favorite part was the gardens just outside the beautifully, modest mansion perched on the Potomac River.


There were stunning walled gardens just outside the mansion which served to feed the residents of the farm.


Rows of various crops were grown.


I was inspired by the espaliered fruit trees growing against brick walls to soak up the ambient heat.


And the ancient specimens grown as living fences.


Still more in the more formal parterre garden.


Though I know myself well enough to know this much care isn’t what I am willing to maintain.


Naturally one would need a little green house, like this one.


And a finely clipped parterre.


To grow all the bulbs which were lovingly stored in the greenhouse.


The dirty little secret was that slaves cared for all of this splendor. Now the gardens are privately cared for so that we still may be inspired by the father of our country’s estate.


Happy Fathers Day George. I sure loved your gardens! Even writing this post makes me want to put on the gardening gloves.

Working Hiatus

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I spent the better part of six weeks back in Ojai teaching kindergarten. The time flew by and I had so much fun with my former colleagues. The blog did suffer although progress on The Shack limped along. I tried to rush back after work to make decisions and some projects I simply chose to postpone for later in the summer when I can be here to be bossy, as the boys like to say.


The hood is finally hooked up with working lights and all. The decision was finally made to box in above the range hood, matching the tongue and groove siding. Six more feet of crown molding is needed to finish it before staining the same color as the siding. Just need to find time to get to the lumber yard.


The rock curbing and driveway widening are complete. Now to choose a gravel color and have it delivered and spread. Right now the dust is unbearable and covering every inch of the house, cars and dogs.


The back patio, which was allowing water to drain under the house, was finally all removed.


Leaving another pile of concrete to add to the one from our first removal of too narrow side walks and some of the patio.


The grass and irrigation all were lost during the grading. Translation: EVEN MORE DUST.


Things were looking up as the patio was laid using the recycled concrete. Stain was chosen, dirt filled the cracks for plants to go in.


Stairs to the barn were going in using the last of the broken boulders. Cherokee flagstone was chosen to top the stairs and make a path to the hot tub (through more dust and dirt). Things were so close to the grass going back in and putting an end to the dust factory.

But then….cue dramatic music…


we had repeated plumbing issues and found the fifty year old, cast iron pipes were past their useful life. Up came the patio. Hold on the stairs. Dig up all the pipes, including going under two sides of the house, and update that dang plumbing. Not. One. Bit. Of. Fun. Can you feel the tension? I never knew Santa Barbara had this much dust.

My first day of summer vacation and this is our view.


Hoping some day soon to be looking at a green lawn and potted plant filled patio before summer has come and gone! With vacations scheduled we might as well just leave and hope little fairies appear to create a beautiful garden while we are away. Or I could stalk Lowe’s and hope Yard Crashers shows up. One can always dream.