September 26, 2011

the immaculate misconception

A conversation came to my attention the other day.

A conversation between two of my new and somewhat casual friends.

They were talking about how immaculate my house and garden are.

That was the word they used.


(That noise you hear is the hysterical laughter of every single person who knows me in real life.)

They were wondering how I do it all.

In the end, one of the friends said, "I am such a failure!"

The person telling me about this conversation was very sweetly complimenting me and my house and my garden, and believe you me, I'll take compliments any day of the week.

But. The conversation made me sad. Sad that a friend could think they are even in the failure neighborhood because they can't live up to an illusion.

I am a lot of things, but immaculate is most definitely not one of them. My house never has been and never will be immaculate. Yes, I'll pick up the house when I know someone's stopping by, but drop in unexpectedly, and you're likely to see a different picture.

I am not ever going to win an award for housekeeper of the year. On any given day, you can write your name in the dust on my furniture, and my broom doesn't get used nearly as often as it should. We won't even talk about my bathrooms.

As far as the garden goes, it's full of weeds. Weeds that are ready to go to seed.

I am easily distracted. Right now? Right this very moment? I should be making cookies to send in a care package to my overseas soldier. Homeboy needs some cookies, but instead I'm writing a blog post and that means that I'll be in a huge rush later today to get the package to the post office in time.

I should be editing senior pictures that are due this evening. I should be packing for a trip I'm taking. But instead, I'm blogging.

I should also be doing laundry.

My hubby gets irritated with me on a fairly regular basis, (rightly so), because he has no socks or underwear in his drawers.

I am unorganized. I love to write lists, but more often than not, I lose the list.

I'm a procrastinator. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow.

Don't get me wrong. I've got plenty of strengths, too. I work very, very well under pressure. I can get so much done when I've got an important deadline on the horizon, it would make your head spin. I'm like a Tasmanian Devil on steroids when push comes to shove. When company is coming, I can get my A-game on with the best of them. A wedding in my back yard? Do. Not. Get. In. My. Way.

But in the day to day, more often than not, I am a hot mess of good intentions, craft project carnage, and empty underwear drawers.

Now, if you find yourself telling me in the comments not to be so hard on myself, you've totally missed the point of this post. I'm not dissing myself in any way, shape or form.

I just wanted to tell you that immaculate perfection isn't real.

But I'm pretty sure you already knew that anyway.

I don't do it all, and I sincerely hope I've never led you to believe that I do. Of course, I have creative control with my blog. I only show pretty pictures of pretty flowers and a neat house. I'm fairly sure you don't want to see pictures of my laundry pile, but rest assured, it exists and it's a big one.

No matter what anyone's life looks like from the outside, no matter how pretty, peaceful or dazzling the photos you see here or anywhere else, real life has always got at least a few bumps and blemishes.

The gauge of life's success or failure is in how you live it, not how it looks.

Happy Monday!

September 16, 2011


Well, what a great way to start the weekend.

Meadowbrook Farm won Country Living's Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards Reader's Choice in the gardening category!

A huge thank you to all of you who voted for me.


I heard from many of you throughout the voting process, and that in itself was such a treat.

You are truly the best readers a girl could ever hope for. Ever.

I know of readers who wrote whole blog posts encouraging their readers to vote for my blog.

I know of readers who facebooked.

I have readers who tweeted.

I even have readers who did all of the above! (Yes, I'm talking to you, Sally!)

You all are truly amazing, and I'm just tickled pink that you take the time out of your busy lives to pay my little corner of the internet a visit now and then.

You. Are. Awesome.

I hereby wish you all a weekend that is practically perfect in every way!

September 9, 2011



Pink popsicle, to be exact. It was 37 degrees when I snapped this picture early Sunday morning. Gotta love Montana girls. This darling thing had sweats, wool socks and fuzzy boots on under her dress, and that bought us enough time to get some gorgeous shots in the gorgeous morning light. What a trooper.

This young lady is the first of quite a few senior girls I'll be photographing this fall. How fun will that be?!


Remember when I said we had been enjoying a lovely, wildfire and smoke free summer?

It would seem I spoke too soon.

Just days after writing those words, the fires started and the smoke arrived. We now have a 2800 acre fire just ten miles away, and many other fires scattered around our little valley.

It reminds me of the time I said, "I haven't had the stomach flu in I can't even remember how long", and within days I was on the couch for two weeks straight, or the time I said, "I haven't had a speeding ticket in ten years" and the next thing I knew, I was pulled over twice in 48 hours.

For the record, I don't even remotely believe in things like jinx.

Except maybe a little bit.


According to Pinterest, quite a few people were interested in my petunia filled washing machine, so I thought I'd snap a few more shots.

Trust me, there's a washtub in there.

Fertilizer is the key to getting your petunias to do their best. There was about a three week period around the wedding when I did not fertilize anything and my petunias almost totally quit blooming. Once I started feeding them again, they graciously forgave me and started showing off once again.


Something in my refrigerator, and I can't figure out what it is. I have personally smelled every single item that resides in there, but so far there is no obvious culprit.

Between the fridge and the smoke, this place stinks.


The number of my kids....including my brand spanking new daughter-in-law....who are currently under contract with various branches of the United States Armed Forces. Junior number three just signed on the dotted line last week, and leaves for basic right after he graduates from high school next June. My oldest is almost done with his four years in the Coast Guard, my aforementioned daughter-in-law is also a Coastie, and my middle son is currently off sunbathing in the desert with the National Guard.

It's just for a short little window of time that things are this way, but for me, it's kind of a big deal, kind of nerve wracking, and kind of hard to wrap my brain around. My daughter-in-law was out in the middle of Hurricane Irene doing her Coastie thing just weeks after she joined our family. She's one more to love, and one more to worry about, too. My youngest is five and seven years younger than his big brothers, and while they were out blazing their trails, it just kind of felt like he was our back-up kid. The one who would always be around. And now, lickity split, he's almost ready to leave the nest and head into the big unknown. What will the world be like during his years of service?

Now is probably a good time to pull a Scarlett and just plan to think about that tomorrow.

Or the next day.


Ten years ago. A Tuesday morning. My kids had just hopped on the bus and I came in the house and turned on the news. We had contractors working on our house and invited them in to watch the horror unfold on the tv screen.

I'll watch the specials. I always watch the specials. I'll cry a little. I'll listen to the stories, and feel yet another surge of pride in my fellow countrymen. Normal, average Americans just going about their mornings. Some not knowing it would be their last morning ever, and some not knowing they would be unimaginable heroes before the day was over.


September 3, 2011

garden love

I have a picket fence garden.

I love my picket fence garden. It's quaint. It's cute. It screams cottage, and I love pretty much anything that screams cottage.

It also happens to be home to my Princess Diana clematis entwined birdhouse, and I love my Princess Diana clematis entwined birdhouse more than a person should love anything that's made out of a chunk of wood.

I also have a greenhouse garden.

I love my greenhouse garden. It's my newest garden, and this year it really came into its own.

Right next to my greenhouse garden you can see part of my vegetable garden. I actually don't love my vegetable garden at the moment because a good portion of the plants are smack in the middle of a strike. Apparently they are protesting a hostile work environment, ( a massive grass invasion and fertilizer neglect), and while we've attempted several sit down negotiations, so far neither of us is willing to budge and do what is required of us to get our relationship back on the road to productivity.

And by neither of us, I mean me.

But enough about my sad squash and pumpkins. I really want to talk to you about my very favorite garden of all.

The raised bed herb garden.

I love my raised bed herb garden beyond all reason.

Raised bed gardens are easy to take care of. They are easy to irrigate. They are also extremely easy to weed, not that I have any recent, first hand experience on that front. Things have gone a bit downhill since the wedding a month ago.

Very far down a very big hill.

It all still looks pretty good from a distance....but up close it would definitely not pass the garden club smell test.

The herb garden has a few herbs....rosemary, parsley, several mints, thyme, dill and sage, as well as some onions and jalapenos, but the vast majority of the plants are annuals, and the vast majority of the annuals are zinnias.

Did I ever tell you the final zinnia count? Out of the eleven hundred and ten zinnia seeds I planted, eight hundred and sixty eight made it into the garden.

Yes, I counted.

Several times.

Not all of them germinated in the greenhouse, and then quite a few more just shriveled up and died for no apparent reason before they made it in the ground, which actually didn't hurt my feelings even a little bit because it was all I could do to find eight hundred and sixty eight spots to plant my zinnias let alone eleven hundred and ten.

Oh, and then there are a few of these poor little fellas out there, too.

I still count them among the living, but I'm beginning to think a mercy killing just might be in order.

Our low tonight is supposed to be thirty five, so I'm all of a sudden feeling a bit sentimental about my zinnias and all their garden friends. It won't be long before I wake up one morning to find they've gone to the great zinnia farm in the sky and that will just be sad.

Most of the perennials I've planted in the raised beds have not been able to survive our harsh winters above ground, but a few have not only survived...they've gone completely over the edge of sanity.

The Monarda. Is. Out. Of. Control.

I originally planted four different colors, but the only survivors were the fuchsia/magenta-ish fellas you see here. Over the years, they've gone from a four inch pot to reach out and grab you size, and every year they expand by leaps and bounds. They truly need to be dealt with sometime soon, as they have blocked off all the paths that surround them, but I have a hard time messing with a plant that has that much vim and vigor.

You can see them off to the right in the photo below. They now take up almost all of their 4x8 foot beds.

All this to say, raised gardens are the cat's meow, and if you have ever tossed around the idea of a raised garden bed or two, or ten, I say take the plunge. You won't be sorry.

So, speaking of gardens, Country Living just announced the finalists in its Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards, and it just so happens that a blog y'all might be familiar with is a finalist in the garden category. Rumor has it that the author of this particular blog is pretty darn excited and honored and humbled at this turn of events, and has been seen walking around in a bit of a daze since this information came into her possession. Country Living just happens to be the one and only magazine she subscribes to, and she currently has the most recent three issues sitting on her coffee table. There's also a slight possibility that during the short period of time that she let her subscription lapse several years ago, she may or may not have stolen borrowed two issues from the waiting area of her local Department of Motor Vehicles.

A panel of judges will be picking the winner in each category, but in the meantime, Country Living is holding a Reader's Choice contest on their website. The Reader's Choice voting is already underway, and will continue until September 15th. Readers can vote once a day.

The problem is, the author of the aforementioned blog is a bit uncomfortable asking her readers to pay a visit to the Country Living page to vote for her blog. She's not totally sure just exactly what her problem is, but for whatever reason, it is just a bit awkward for her. After talking it over with her BFF, who very sweetly (or not) said, "Oh, get over yourself. This is cool!", she decided to post the link to the voting page in case any of her readers feel like popping on over and placing a vote.

She has also decided to refer to herself in the third person for this portion of her blog post, because she feels that it somehow eases the awkwardness she is feeling just a teensy little bit, but she hopes that by doing so, she does not cause any form of confusion for her readers. She herself is very easily confused, so she is always a bit sensitive to others who occasionally find themselves in that same boat.

In addition, she has visited the voting page several times during the writing of this post, just to make sure that her blog is indeed one of the finalists. She is a bit worried that she might discover that she dreamed the finalist part and that would take the awkward thing to a whole new level once she hit the publish button on her blogger dashboard.

She would also like to thank the readers who nominated her blog for the Blue Ribbon Awards. She knows of two readers who did so, and thinks that it's just about the nicest thing ever.

Have a truly delightful Labor Day weekend!