Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Garden Stroll...

Welcome to my "Florida Cottage Garden", at least that's the way I feel about it.  I'd love for you to grab a cup of coffee or tea and take a stroll with me.  Come and see all the glorious colorful flowers that God has so graciously blessed us with!

Just after waving to my husband the other morning, as he left for work, this is what I saw from my front door...

Cosmos, Lavendar, Blue Salvia and Pink Angelonia...

Potted on, and around, the front porch are purple Penta...

This Purple Heart vine weaves it's way up the tall railing on the front porch.  I love the way the little purple "hearts" open and out pops a bright red flower!

This plant is new to me, so I don't know the name off the top of my head, but it's full of bright purple blooms...

This is one of my newer roses, Belinda's Dream.  The scent is sweet and beautiful and the bush is absolutely covered in buds right now...

If you are able to click and ENLARGE this photo, do it!  I took several shots of this butterfly on this sherbert Lantana, and realized after looking at them closely that I could see the nectar on his "feeding tube"...very cool!

These Don Juan roses were a Valentines gift almost 10 years ago!  Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!!!!  They trail up the rail on the opposite side of the front porch...

Just yesterday, I had two visitors to my garden.  A pair of Sandhill Cranes wandered through and nibbled at bugs as they made their way down the street.  I took this shot through my front window...

Let's go out to the backyard...
Outside my back porch is my potting bench and kitchen herb garden.  The boxes contain lettuces as well as several herbs I use for cooking.  The frame of the overhang is completely draped in the heavenly fragrance of Confederate Jasmine.  It only blooms for a month, but SO worth it!

At the back of the yard is my little "Veggie Patch".  This is a small stand of Snow Peas...

Newly planted "wide row" of green beans...

Spaghetti Sauce in the making...Roma Tomatoes...

Purple Cabbage...I am getting 5 new little cabbages from the one I cut off a couple of weeks ago!

Looking past the climbing tomato trellises and through the bell pepper patch, there are sugar peas on the vine...

Looking from the back of the Veggie Patch to the other side of the yard, you can see the Gazebo and swing under the Pecan Tree...

That looks inviting on the hot spring day....let's go rest for a bit in the Hammock...

From here I can hear the birds chirping and the squirrells chasing eachother up the tree.  Bees are buzzing around doing their thing and butterflies are fluttering by...

From the hammock, this is what I see when I look back toward the garden and shed...

Above my feet I hear the sweet tinkling of my "Happy" windchimes...

...and the air is once again filled with the intoxicating scent of Confederate Jasmine...

Surrounding the back of the Gazebo are MANY ferns, pineapple plants and many pineapples do you see "blooming" in this photo?

Plumeria, or as northerners call them, Frangipani, are some of the most beautiful tropical flowers.  The ugly stems are nothing to look at in the winter, but come mid summer the leaves are up to 2 1/2 feet long and rich deep green.  The blooms just keep coming in well over 50 different shades...I only have 3-4 different colors in my collection though...

I love to hear the sound of this fountain trickling while I work in my garden, it's so relaxing and drowns out any nearby street noise.  In the background is a Bouganvilla (bow-gan-vee-yuh) that is about 15 feet high...

Beside the fountain is another smaller potted Bouganvilla in purple where my garden fairy is playing hide n seek... :)

At the edge of the shed, are a bundle of flowers designed to attract both butterflies and Plumeria, yellow Butterfly weed, Pink Vinca, Cosmos, Gladiola, Blue Plumbago and a pretty orange ground orchid...

Blue Plumbago...

Pink Vinca...these LOVE heat and sunshine!

What a wonderful place to take a nap...

I've had this croton for almost 16 years and it had grown to over 7 feet tall.  I thought after our 3 nights of deep freeze that it was completely gone, but I was soooo happy to see new growth!  A new life for my colorful croton!

Lantana grows like a weed here in Florida, I have actually never purchased one for my backyard gardens, yet  I have 4!

Why would this be included in my garden tour?  Someday this ugly thing will make a breathtaking Orchid flower...

Hmmm....not sure how Stormie got her toy in the gutter...?

I thought it would be fun to take a photo of the overhang that I have my potting bench under...

Yup...that's what I thought.  I saw the underbelly of this black snake...what a nice warm place for her to sun herself...

I love the way our large Pecan Tree casts cool shade across the lawn at just the right time of day...

There she stands in all her glory, wearing the latest in spring fashion,  soft green...

These little "fronds" will become pecans in the Fall...

Underneath that tree is a swing that is calling your name...are you sure you can't stop by today?

Oh well, that's fine...I'll head to the back porch where I'm busy collecting seeds to plant in the Fall...for another burst of color!

Cosmos stems and seeds...

Snapdragon's amazing to me how many tiny seeds come from one plant.
WOW! Our God is amaznig!!!

Have a beautiful, colorful, flower-filled day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Heart Like David...

Such a beautiful prayer from the heart of David...crying out to God in trust, belief and humility.  May we all have a heart like David...Selah...

"Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me;
For I am afflicted and needy.

Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man;
O You my God, save Your servant
who trusts in you.

Be gracious to me, O Lord,
For to you I cry all day long.

Make glad the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my

For You, Lord, are good, and ready
to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to
all who call upon You.

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
And give heed to the voice of my supplications!

In the day of my trouble I shall call
upon you,
For You will answer me.

There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.

All nations whom You have made
shall come and worship
before You, O Lord,
And they shall glorify Your name.

For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God.

Teach me your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

I will give thanks to you, O Lord my
God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever."

Psalm 86:1-12

Friday, April 23, 2010

For Kim...

I really wanted to reply in a comment to all these bullets on my Best Girlfriend, Kim's, post about her camping trip....but then my comment would have been one long I just figured I'd put it on here for her and for all of you too...who knows....maybe you will learn a little sumpin' you never knew...

For those who don't know, she and her hubby have just taken their 1st camping trip in an was just a short 2 day trip, close to home...but these bullet statments are what she posted as "lessons" RED, I add my comments and "tips"... :)

•When you're 6 foot tall and have long hair, a camper shower can and is very difficult to get said hair "really" clean. Wet yes. Clean, not so much! LOL
"Well, this isn't a good start for helpful tips, because I have no idea what it feels like to be 6 foot, so all I can say is...baking soda my friend, brush it in! LOL"

•Always bring more garbage bags than you think you'll need.
"You will learn, as you become 'seasoned', have permanent stuff in the camper; box of garbage bags included, as well as box of saran wrap, foil and a collection of different size zippy bags...never remove them!" :)

•Bring a broom to sweep the constant flow of sand from the floor.
"I recommend a mini handheld vacuum that the kids can use, NOT a battery charged type though.  You can mount it to the wall, or put it in the closet and YOU don't have to do the cleaning up."

•An RV bed isn't very comfortable or long enough when you're 6 foot tall.
"An RV bed isn't very comfortable when you are 5'5" either.  My recommendation...stay up late so that you are VERY tired when you go to will sleep better, LOL"  :)

•Bring rain gear. Especially when it's raining when you leave to go to the site.
"Keep it stored in the camper...NEVER remove it!  Eventually you'll get the hang of realizing you need double of just about makes heading out so much easier, and forgetting things so much less likely"

•Don't forget your husbands coffee mug.
"When you go somewhere really special that has a camp store, buy mugs as memoirs and keep them in the camper.  As you collect things like pot holders, cups, plates, wall decor, they will be fun reminders of places you went everytime you go on another trip."

•Don't leave shrimp out in a bait bucket in the water over night because the raccoons will eat every last one.
"I've basically got nothing useful to say about this." :)

•Make sure you fill the propane tank up BEFORE your camping trip because the guy at the store may be by himself and have to constantly run back and forth to the store to help everyone coming to get gas and you may be sitting there for 45 mins. waiting to get it filled!
"Yes.  Most definitely something you don't want to be doing as you are heading out on your trip.  Just for your info though, the place near our house is always super quick"

•When the lights for the Gray water are all lit up, empty it immediately because the shower stall just might fill full of that water and you (me) might end up cleaning it afterwards.
"Been there, done that.  There's nothing quite like taking a shower when the water starts filling up around your feet...ewwww!  But you WILL learn the ways of the RV my friend, you will.  Wash all the dishes with a soapy sponge, then rinse them quickly.  Don't let the water run.  For showers, it always helps to turn the water off while you soap up, then rinse.  It's amazing how much water just runs into that tank!"

•Roll the awning up before you go to bed so you're (my husband) not rolling it up in a windy rain storm at 1:54 am in ankle deep water.
"Yes.  You will learn "Daniel Son" will learn."

•Bring more snacks, because for some reason you want to eat a lot more when you're not at home.
"And make sure they aren't all that healthy granola and stuff!  That's great to have for hikes and stuff...but you're camping!  Eat a marshmallow!  Make a smores with chocolate chip cookies!  Dip chocolate chip cookies into pudding cups!  Eat key lime pie!....not that I would KNOW, these are just suggestions."

•Don't let your kids "pack" their own things.
", hmmmm, yeah."  LOLOLOL

•Watching your husband empty the Black Water tank is funny. It just is. LOL!
"Ditto...why is that?  I always watch him through the window, are we just sicko's or something?"

•The wind will surely blow out your pilot light for your water heater and someone (me) will end up taking a cold shower.
"Gonna have to say that one's new to us.  We've been through some pretty massive storms, winds and rains and haven't had that happen...might need lookin' into by the Hubbers."
Here is one of the best tips I have for camping, in an RV or in a tent, or even leaving the house for any type of vacation. 
Make a list...ON YOUR COMPUTER.  Print it out each time you are preparing for a trip and cross off each thing as they are done.  This has helped us SO much.  They are categorized into groups like:  Kathy/Mike/Kitchen/Clothing/Toiletries/Stormie (dog)/Games and Entertainment/House/Car
This has helped us many times not to forget packing sunscreen or grabbing our snorkels, or making sure we have our bike lock, or undies (believe it or not)...lists are my friend!
Happy Camping Friends!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Vist From Granny Murphy...

While our best friends were off on their "Maiden Voyage" camping trip in their newly acquired RV, we had the honor of taking care of Granny Murphy. 

Yup, they pretty much just dropped Granny off with a bag of food and went on their merry way.  Sounds like a harsh way to treat someone in their 90's, doesn't it?  Once she realized that this was a Resort Vacation, she settled in just fine...she is, after all, a DOG! :)

Murphy has never been the Chez Charest Resort before, so the first thing that needed to be done was a "Tour of the Grounds"...Stormie acted as her tour guide...

NOTE:   Voices are as follows:
Stormie: sweet, precious, little girl, with just a tiny hint of attitude
Murphy: gruffy old woman voice, just drop 2 octives, go ahead and throw in a southern twang...

WHAT?  You don't 'speak' for your pets?????

Stormie:  "Let's begin our tour at the back of the yard...there's a REALLY cute Pit named Tank who lives back there, he has big muscles and...oh....I guess you're too OLD to care.  Ok, so this is the garden....and um, that's a bag of dirt,...and..."

Stormie:  "Ummm, Murphy,...I smell something kinda weird...did you????  Ewwww...wait, actually, that's kinda a neat smell..."

Stormie:  "This is where you can hang out in the hammock after breakfast, or after morning nap, or after the mail comes, or after mom makes lunch, or ...well, just whenever."

Murphy:  Woah!  How am I supposed to get down from here...oh my!  I got up here?  Is there a button to push for assistance???"

Stormie:  "Hey Mom!  Look at what a good Tour Guide I I get chicken for all this hard work???"

Stormie:  "Man, I'm worn out!  Hey Murphy, wanna drink?  Oh, I guess you're too OLD to do'll have to use a bowl."

Stormie:  "So, Murphy, you're not sad that you have to stay down there, right?  YOUR Mom told MY Mom that you have "Oil" problems on your skin...I don't know what that means, I just know that I don't have any problems like that...MY Mom says I smell good ALL the Baby Powder, and sometimes like Fritos!  Yum! :) ...Sorrryyyyy"

Murphy:  "Oh dear.  She is a bit chatty isn't she?  I'm really tired of hearing her talk.  Can I just rest for a while?"

Stormie:  "Ok, good, just stick your head through there,...then pick up your front leg and put it through there too...don't you get it?"

Murphy:  "That's easy for YOU to say,'re only 38!"

Stormie:  "Look Murphy, it's really not THAT difficult.  Just come through, come on!  You can do it Old Lady!"

Murphy:  "Alright, kiddo, who you callin' Old Lady?  It's time for you to back off, let me do it MY way!"

Murphy: "Wow!  I did it!  I did it!  I feel like a kid again!  That was fun!"

Breakfast and Dinner were served on the Lanai...

Stormies Dad had been working all day, then came home and worked all evening on the RV, he was tired, but not TOO tired to lay down and "love" on our honored guest.

Murphy:  "Uncle Mike, you're so kind, and you're so funny too!  I like you.  Um, what's wrong with Stormie though?"
Stormie: "Hey, Dad!  Look at me!  Aren't I cute?  Why are you touching HER?  She's OLD.  I'm FUN.  She's DUMB.  I'm SMART.  Look how cute I am!  Hey, Dad, look here, watch this...look at me..."

Dad:  *sigh*

Once the evening came to an end, Granny Murphy retired to the guest quarters and snuggled up for a good nights sleep...this had been a tough first day learning all the ropes of Chez Charest.  She made every effort to breathe loudly enough so that the household would know she was sleeping well.

The following day, Granny snuck away quietly felt comfortable enough to head out on a nature hike  in peace without her guide.

After her nature hike she rested by the Fountain of Youth, posing for the Resort Photographer.

Stormie kept a close eye, ever watchful that Murphy shouldn't trip or fall...she really is a caring...or is she just pouting because she didn't get chicken?

On the last day at Chez Charest Resort, Murphy was practicing one of her moves from her "Stretching For The Elderly" class, when she heard a familiar voice at the door!

She was so happy, she actually did a sweet little hop up and down several times, Daddy was here to take her home to her family.

Resort vacations are certainly nice, but it's always good to see the ones you love...

Murphy: "Come on Dad!  We're outta here!"