December 17, 2012

It's snowing.

My shopping is not finished.

The house is decorated.

The last order for my senior photography business will be delivered today.


My oldest son and daughter-in-law are moving from New York to Montana.


They've been driving cross country for the last couple days and will be here in just a few hours.

I'm so excited I can't see straight.

That's the latest and greatest from here.

How about you?

Are you staying home this year or traveling over the river and through the woods?

Are you ahead of the rush or drowning in last minute preparations?

I'd love to hear how things are going at your house!

October 29, 2012

sharing the giveaway love

It's fall in Montana.

A very pretty fall, in fact.

But for the moment, forget about fall and start thinking Christmas because my vintage loving,  pretty pillow making friend Amy, is having a giveaway.

And it's not just an ordinary giveaway.

It is quite possibly the coolest giveaway ever.

I want it.

I want it a lot.

A couple years ago, Amy made a very cool Christmas tree out of vintage Christmas ornaments.

It was very creative and very pretty and I immediately made plans to find an old window screen and craft my very own vintage ornament Christmas tree.

I'll give you three guesses as to my progress on that front.

But, here's the fabulous news.  Amy has made another beautiful vintage ornament tree and is giving it away on her blog.




To one of us!

So, if you would like to have your very own, one of a kind work of vintage Christmas art, pop on over to Amy's blog to enter yourself in the giveaway.

Happy Monday!

October 19, 2012

Crisp, clear afternoons and beautiful, vibrant colors.

It will all be over soon, but for now, I'm loving these color-filled days.

How about you? Are you having a beautiful fall?

Chilly mornings?

Blue skies?

Or are you having drizzly, cozy, make a pot of soup days?

Indulge my inner weather geek and tell me what it's like at your house!

October 2, 2012

don't give up on us baby

Have you totally given up on me?

If you haven't, you probably should.

I have truly lost my blogging mojo, but once I'm through my busy senior photography season, I'm going to try my best to get my sorry self back on the blogging bandwagon.

But don't hold your breath.

These beauties are just a few of the darling girls I've had the privilege to photograph this year.

I've had an absolute blast with my girls this year.  Montana girls are the best.  They'll go anywhere and they're game for pretty much anything.

Sit in the river at sunrise?  Yes Ma'am!

(This one calls me Ma'am.)

(Not quite sure what I think about that.)

(This is her "I know the morning light is beautiful, but this water is cold and I can't feel my legs" look.)

If she seems a bit familiar, it's because you've seen her here.

And here.

And now here!

It's been impossible to pick favorite sessions this year.  They've all been fun and very, very different.

Thanks for hanging in there with me through my slump/break/slacker fest.

Truly, you haven't missed much as the deer ate pretty much my entire garden this year, and for the last two months, all the local scenery has been hidden by thick wildfire smoke.  The skies are just now starting to clear, so hopefully they stay that way and we'll be able to enjoy a beautiful fall.

Remember Ceili?  We've already done two extremely fun sessions and have plans for more in the beautiful fall color.

Until we meet again........


p.s. Bonus points to anyone who can name the artist who sang my post title song without looking it up on the internet!

August 23, 2012

hazy lazy days

Do you ever have days where you feel like this little guy?

Or girl?  It's kind of hard to tell, but he just kind of seems like a boy to me.

My sister claims this is how she looks before she has her morning coffee.


Watching this little nest was definitely a highlight of my summer.

The weather has been gorgeous.

I've got the most outrageous farmer's tan ever.

I've made a point of choosing my porch swing over my computer screen, and that's been a good thing.

But, I can already feel a change in the air.

The nights are crisper.

The flowers are fading.

There's a 36 degree morning in the forecast.

I want to make sure to catch every last second of my very favorite time of year while I can.

How about you?

Has it been a good summer at your house?

Are you ready for fall with its cool, crisp days?

Or are you like me,  hanging on to these last hazy days with all your might?

Chime in with your favorite season and then go have yourself a great Thursday!

July 4, 2012

God Bless America

Happy Fourth of July!

June 29, 2012

summer bucket list

In the last seven weeks, I've....

.....blatantly ignored all feelings of blogging obligation.

Until today, that is.

The month is almost over, and as this has been an especially gorgeous June, I don't want to let it pass without giving the garden a pictorial shout out.

Also? In the last seven weeks I've turned into a total flake and have neglected to respond to emails and comments from some of y'all wondering if I'm still alive and well.

I am indeed alive and well and have been thoroughly enjoying a blogging vacay.

It's been fabulous.

Also, also? Until I noticed how the peonies were accosting my beloved aqua motel chair, my camera hasn't seen a whole lot of action lately.

Thankfully, I finally got my photography act together the very day before a freak windstorm turned my pretty peony flowers into pretty peony confetti.

This year, I made a summer bucket list and the more checks I can make on that list, the better.

My list includes.....

* Read the entire Harry Potter series whilst comfortably settled in my porch swing.

I'm a big Harry fan and I'm looking forward to summer afternoons with Neville, Luna and Snape.

* Go on a weekly hike with my hubby.

* Make a quilt for the guest room.

(Note to self... Don't let the fact that you've started several other quilts and massive quantities of other sewing projects that have never made it to completion stop you from spending lots and lots AND LOTS of money on fabric and totally deluding yourself into thinking that this time might actually be different and you might actually make the aforementioned guest room quilt.)

After all, summer is for dreaming, right?

* Go to as many outdoor vintage/antique shows as humanly possible.

I've got four on the schedule so far.

* Master a new photography skill. Backlighting is number one on my list.

* Visit Glacier National Park. I've lived in Montana for twelve years and it's about time I see what all the fuss is about.

* Face Pinterest addiction head on. Check into local support groups.

* Sit on the dock barefoot for five minutes each day in an attempt to mellow out my flip flop tan lines.

* Literally and figuratively stop and smell the roses.

So, that's my plan for the next couple months.

What's on your bucket list this summer?

May 11, 2012

forget me not

Aren't these little blue blossoms adorable?

Forget Me Nots are one of my favorite springtime flowers, as they make the garden look like it's floating in a pale blue mist.

Most years, we don't really seem to have much of a spring here in our part of Montana, but this year it's been downright glorious.

Big stretches of gorgeous, sunny days, and so far, no freak snowstorms.

But there's still plenty of time for that kind of nonsense.

My onions are planted, I'm desperately trying to get ahead of the flower beds, and the greenhouse is bursting at the seams.

I have great plans to be reasonable with the number of flowers I plant this year, so I only planted five hundred zinnias. I've also determined that I can do without one of my oak barrels, (it rotted and fell apart) and two medium sized clay pots, the contents of which did not survive the winter in the greenhouse.

Impressive, yes?

It feels so good to be cutting back.

I'm hitting the road today with my two younger boys. We're making a quick trip to see my parents. It will be so nice to be with my Mama for Mother's Day.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend!

April 12, 2012

i set fire to the rain

Howdy friends!

It's been a while!

Since we last chatted, my soldier came home.


He actually lives three hours away from us, but came home to sleep off his travel hangover, eat lots of home cooked meals, and leave his ginormous duffel bag full of dirty laundry in the hallway for me to trip over in the dark three times until I finally got smart and moved it.

(Yes, I could have moved it after the first time, but I'm a slow learner.)

Over the last year, Junior had developed a pretty major aversion to sand, so it only seemed right to whisk him away to Hawaii in an attempt to create some new, happy sand related memories.

* Hawaii is wonderful.

*Kona Coffee Milkshakes are wonderful.

*Warm air on your skin after a Montana winter is wonderful.

*Visiting a place called Slaughterhouse Beach four different times and leaving Slaughterhouse Beach four different times with all of your friends and family still alive and relatively unharmed is wonderful.

*POG - passion, orange, guava juice is wonderful. Why don't they sell it in Montana?

*Sailing trips on very windy days are wonderful.

And wet.

*Not taking your laptop to Hawaii is wonderful.

*Hearing Adele sing "Set Fire to the Rain" one time on the radio whilst driving along the Maui coast five days ago and subsequently having the song playing constantly in your head every moment since is not wonderful.

Time is flying, folks. My youngest leaves for Army boot camp in two months and I'm feeling the need to grab and hold on to every minute that I can between now and then.

My nest will be empty for the first time in twenty four years.

Oh boy.

If I'm a bit scarce around the blog, just know that I'm spending my time soaking in the last little bit of my life as a full time mama.

If I'm still scarce after the next two months pass, just know I'm probably crumpled in a heap in a corner, humming "Sunrise, Sunset".

Have a wonderful Thursday!

March 17, 2012

because I love a good stereotype

When you know a darling redhead.

And you have a green dress.

Why would you even consider thinking outside the box when you've got a hankering for some St. Paddy's day pictures?

Our corned beef and cabbage dinner will have to wait though, because corned beef and cabbage is the first meal on a very long list of meals requested by this fella, and word has it he just might be boots on the ground right here on the farm by the end of this week.

Between his homecoming meals, and the meals my youngest has on his list before he goes to boot camp in June, I think I'll be in the kitchen for the next three months.

But for now, I'm off to search for a Blarney Stone to kiss.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

March 14, 2012

faq - the garden and greenhouse

Before we talk gardening, I want to thank you all for your well wishes after my last post!

I am doing fabulous, (fabulously?) thank you very much, and it won't be long before I can no longer use my recovery as an excuse to get me out of various and assorted unsavory tasks.

Like getting dressed.

Basically, I've been doing a whole lotta nothing the last couple weeks, which results in a whole lotta nothing to blog about. Since a bunch of us seem to have spring fever, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to answer some of the gardening questions that I get on a fairly consistent basis.

BTW, it's snowing here. I'm trying really hard to be happy for all of you in the Midwest and East, but it's hard.

Weather jealousy is not pretty.

I am green with weather envy.

First up, the greenhouse.

Y'all love the greenhouse and many of you have asked about plans, etc.

There are no plans.

I know that's not the answer you were looking for and I am very sorry about that. We have a contractor who is able to build pretty much anything from nothing. I don't think we even gave him a sketch. We just kind of tell him what we want and he builds it.

As far as winter and the greenhouse, we have a propane heater and we keep the thermostat set a little above freezing. This is the first year our impatiens have made it through the winter, and it's so fun to have them blooming right now. It usually takes the strawberry pots a couple months to really fill in, so I love the fact that they'll be full and pretty right away in June when I set them out.

We also overwinter our geraniums and petunias and many herbs. I even managed to keep a parsley plant alive this year. Now that the days are getting longer, things are really starting to grow. I'll give almost everything one more good cutting back, and then let them go crazy between now and the first of June, which is when it's usually safe to set things outside.

We do struggle with a major aphid problem in the greenhouse, but we order ladybugs to keep it under control and they really do a great job. Plus, they're cute, and who doesn't like cute!

We also have an issue with slugs, but I'm working hard to rid the greenhouse of the slimy dudes that are straight from the pit of hell.

Slugs are the Spawn of Satan.

Moving out to the gardens. Some of you have asked for gardening advice, tips and tricks, what to plant, etc.

I don't think I can really help you out with what to plant, as that depends so much on where you live and your garden zone, your weather conditions, your soil and a million other factors, such as whether you live in the country and have the other garden Spawn of Satan known as deer that come into your garden and eat every single gorgeous rose and snarf every single delphinium bud right before they bloom.

I used to like deer. I used to think they were pretty and wonderful.

I'd better move on before I say anything more to encourage the onslaught of deer loving hate mail I feel coming my way.

Don't hate the hater.


There are, however, two things that are major factors in how my gardens look.

First, I over plant.

I usually ignore spacing guidelines and never, ever thin things out. Our growing season is so short that I try to pack as much punch in as possible.

We use a drip irrigation system and the water emitters are spaced every six inches, and I plant an annual by almost every emitter.

I do have a small amount of reason when it comes to perennials though, and give them plenty of space to grow and fill in over the years.

Fertilizer is the second weapon in my gardening arsenal.

For the perennial beds, I usually sprinkle a slow release, granular fertilzer around the plants one time early in the growing season, and then we also use a compost rich mulch to dress the beds and keep the weeds under control.

I take care of my annuals in a different way.

I fertilize my annuals (herb garden, greenhouse garden, vegetable garden, pots and hanging baskets) weekly with a water soluble fertilizer. At least until about the end of August, when I start to run out of fertilizer steam.

I use Miracle Grow, which I get at Costco, and I alternate that with a bloom booster. Years ago, Costco sold its own Kirkland brand of fertilizer which had a 20-20-20 formula. I would mix that into the rotation as well. I think K-mart sells a 20-20-20, and sometimes I'll buy that and rotate it in.

Some years, I just use Miracle Grow. It all depends on just how obsessed I am with having my garden look its best.

Last year, leading up to my son's wedding, I was fertilizing things about every five days.

This year, we are taking it easy and have no big events here at the farm, so it's going to be a much more low key gardening year.

And by that I mean that I'll probably only plant 800 zinnias, instead of 1110.

Oh, one more fertilizer fact. I use a watering can, not a hose sprayer. I have never found a sprayer that evenly distributes the fertilizer, and as I'm a control freak, I like to mix my own. It's a lot more work, (last year, it took more than three hours to fertilize everything) but that's how I like to do it.

Also, petunias L.O.V.E fertilizer, so sometimes I'll add an extra between feedings feeding just for them.

I've lived in Montana for eleven years now, and it's taken years of trial and error to discover what works best for me here.

There are many, many basic plants that I just cannot get to grow well.

Cilantro and basil are two of my most wanted herbs, but I can't grow either to save my life.

Many different annuals that are gorgeous in the nursery, look like death warmed over after just a couple weeks at my house, and I have no clue why.

If you're just starting out, it might be fun to buy a wide variety of whatever catches your eye at the nursery, and see what does well in your garden.

I highly recommend a good potting soil, and make sure you take note of the sun/shade requirements for the plants you choose.

Most of my gardening know how has come from simply flying by the seat of my pants.

I am not an expert.

I am not a master gardener.

I don't know the latin name for anything.

I am not an Organic Olivia.

I have no doubt there are many other ways to get the job done, but this is what works for me.

So, there you have it! If you have any other gardening questions, feel free to ask and I'll go ahead and answer them right here in the comments.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and if it's gorgeous and sunny where you are, please wear some flip flops just for me.

March 7, 2012

d is for drama

Generally speaking, I am not much in the drama department.

I'm pretty even keel.

I'm rational. Not prone to hysteria. Not really a "the sky is falling" kind of girl.

Generally speaking.


In one particular area, I am pretty much a basket case.

That area is the medical world. I'm cool with most any doctor visit, but in all things hospital related, I am a worst case scenario freak show.

Case in point.

I had all three of my boys without any form of pain killer, and it's not because I'm a free spirited, embrace the pain, natural granola kind of girl.

It's because they make you sign a piece of paper saying that you understand that you could possibly die from your epidural.

I didn't want to die from my epidural. The very small rational part of my brain totally knew that statistically speaking, I was not going to die from an epidural, but the larger, irrational when it comes to all things hospital part of my brain didn't want to actually become one of the statistics that led the lawyers to draft the paperwork you're required to sign if you decide you are indeed going to have an epidural.

And yes, I know those statistics are somewhere in the one in a hundred kazillion range.

I would much rather just suck up the pain than take my chances, and three bouncing baby boys later, I'm still alive.

Ha! Take that, Grim Reaper.

Fast forwarding a bit, and making a long and very boring story a little bit shorter, I've had a surgery hovering over my head for the last couple years. I came close to taking the plunge several times, but when push came to shove, I always chickened out. Obviously, it wasn't life threatening, but it was quality of life threatening and last week, quality of life finally won out.

As you can see, I have cheated death once again. And this time, it was full anesthesia death that I cheated. Full anesthesia makes an epidural look like a walk in the park.

Let me know if you'd like me to buy you a lottery ticket, because I'm obviously on a roll here.

I cried before my surgery, but only for a minute. Once I got it out of my system, I was okay. I was extra, extra okay once they put the "little something to relax you" in my IV.

I got to wear the dreaded open back hospital gown during my stay, but the quality of my painkillers was such that I didn't even really care if my backside was exposed while I strolled down the hospital halls. I'm a pretty modest person, but I truly did not care even one little bit. Fortunately, my hubby cared enough for both of us and was my rear guard, as well as my IV holder and general all around fabulous care taker both in the hospital and since I've been home.

As far as the painkillers go, I now totally understand the term "take a chill pill". My pharmaceuticals left me in a warm and fuzzy state of half awareness and total not careness. I'm not gonna lie...I kind of enjoyed it. I was only on them for two and a half days, but I think it took a whole week for the fog in my brain to clear out.

Now that my head is clear, I've got a raging case of cabin fever, so I think I must be well on the road to recovery.

Unless, of course, the doctor left a scalpel inside me.

It's happened before.

I saw it on Dateline.

I had great plans to catch up on all my blog visiting and emails while I was recuperating, but the aforementioned fuzzy brain did not allow for such things. If you've sent me an email, look for a response shortly!

Just don't expect it to make much sense.

Have yourselves a wonderfully drama free Wednesday!