Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Llama camp: part 2

Okay, today we're in the llama barn. But, before you get more pictures of them, let's tour.

First, the rabbits. I just wasn't able to truly photograph the rabbits in all their wonder.

They were the fluffiest, largest, hairiest rabbits I have ever seen! I tried taking their pictures with no real luck, but believe me, they were balls of glory.

The bunny treats: graham crackers. What fun!

From the bunnies we have a look of what's to come, the buildings, the flowers, the surprises.

Sitting in the hottub this morning, I was trying to figure out what made Cheryl and Bruce's place so wonderful for me. It's exactly what I'd like to have at my place, and sometimes it works, but a lot of times it doesn't.

I think it's about being real. They start with animals, flowers, and wonderful buildings. It's all real and done right. I think mine works when it's real and it doesn't when I'm trying to just fudge it.

Again, that goes back to writing. Good writing is about being real. Your content has to come from the heart, be real to you, or you're just fudging.

I can teach format, mechanics, how to add in detail, and sometimes even style, but if the writing doesn't start out real, none of that is going to make for good writing.

The reader needs to connect, and that's exactly what I did immediately at Cheryl and Bruce's.

The fun is also practical. This hutch painted so wonderfully is functional... (I bet. I must admit, I wasn't so bad as to open doors!) and fun!

Around the corner is the hen house. This is the door, but we'll go in and visit tomorrow.

E. B. White wrote Stewart Little, one of my husband's favorite kids' book, and Charlotte's Web, one of my all time favorite books.

I loved it so much, I wanted a pig. And, my parents went so far as to look into space in the neighbor's barn, until they decided against the idea. I'm thinking they realized that I wanted a pet and they wanted food. What a day that would have been when our two ideas came to a clash!!

To see White's words immortalized on the board in a barn just made to his imagination was, again, one of those wonders we look for in life.

Cheryl said they change the quote and hadn't for a while, but I was happy to see that one.
The flowers are photos from her calendars, again something I do. I think I've written of favorite mugs going to my garden when they've broken. Good things can go on and on. Endings are for people without imaginations!

Next we have a glossary of horse terms...

with the miniature horses next to it.

When I got there, the kids were climbing in and out, petting and dressing the horses. Cheryl was mellow through it all, giving a couple directions, but pretty much just letting the girls enjoy the horses. Wow!

How amazing that they are so tolerant; they truly are royalty!

Finally, in the far corner of the barn, there was the horse tack, just as useful and whimsical as the rest.

To end, another great board.

Tomorrow, the llamas?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Llama camp: part 1

Last week my daughter and two neighbors went to a camp. Up East Shore Drive, past Baker's acre, a left and a ways down the road, and we were at Llama Camp. It was for three days, 11-2.

As soon as I turned in the driveway, I wanted to take pictures of the place. It was beautiful, and just what I love: a place where care, love and fun have come together to make heaven on earth.

Cheryl loves animals and Bruce has made the outbuildings. It was incredible. The kids loved the camp, making a craft each day and then as they said, "doing whatever they wanted."

I came back on Thursday and proceeded to take 200 pictures. I downloaded them Sunday and had a great time cropping them (Something I'd love to do in retirement-anyone know of a job for me?).

Today I am going to do part one. I wish I knew how to do them all and put them on in order but I don't, and my blog guy, Mr. Devoe is off doing his thing--almost home!, so I am doing the next best, doing a post a day.

We drive up the way and on the left is the llama barn and to the right is the sheep barn and a garden. I think I'll take you through the sheep and garden today. Enjoy!

The long view gives you an idea of their whole place. There is whimsy and deligtht wherever you look, both near and far.
See the bird's nest behind the shovel? Even the birds know a great place to live!

I have an old and rusted, short-handled scythe to give to them. I found it in clearing out the basement, not knowing what to do with it. Now I do!

My sister and niece love flowers, and they would love this place. I think they have most of the flowers at their house, but they only have dogs and cats...with a stray coyote sometimes. I think Missy, my grandniece (Don't I sound so old?!?!) would absolutely love this place; she's an animal lover.

We'll end back here when they introduce me to the ram who lives just down from these flowers.

In front of the sheep barn is their garden.

What artwork in placement and composition!

In my teaching of writing, I try to have you guys see the joy of finding just the right and perfect word for each spot: that's the difference between good-enough writing and terrific writing.

The same goes here. There are people (sometimes me) who opt for whimsy and the joy of discovery, and there's either too much or it doesn't quite work. Everywhere I looked it was perfect at Cheryl and Bruce's.

Look at the guy below. Wouldn't you want to meet and talk with this old geezer? I would! "Who's going into my garden?" That's what I hear him saying.

My sister has chairs throughout her garden too. I'm not sure she ever sits because she's always working, and I'm betting Cheryl and Bruce are the same, but the chair beckons. Maybe they all actually heed the call once in a while.

I asked what the pots were for and was told that they are there for color till the flowers come. That was good to see because I use broken pots around my house, especially where the sun doesn't shine much, just for that reason. Terracotta is a wonderful color of the earth.

On to the llama barn....with lots of other animals and fun thrown in also.
We are now just barely at Cheryl and Bruce's place--

tomorrow we'll move into the barn, but as a teaser, take a look at the llama:

I think everyone knows that I'm a dog person, but I sure could become a llama fan. Their eyes were amazing. They looked right at you and were so open and inviting that I fell immediately.

If you liked today's post, look for part two. It will only get better!

Monday, July 13, 2009



I've been working on my projects and thought today would be the day to get them on for my sister's perusal. I made myself stop working in the basement to get all plants planted on the sunny day we had a few days ago, not knowing if we'd have any more days like that.
So, if you're not a plant person or yard-saler, you'll probably want to stop now.

First, my finished dresser:

We all liked it so much that I decided to do another for the kitchen and get rid of little metal cabinet that we've had forever. I still have to clean the sides and then I can stain it and seal it.

I also bought a table to do in the same finish as the first dresser to have out on the porch. I have to clean the legs and one leaf yet and then I can do the fun part, the staining.
Next, I've been buying at yard sales. I got the old watering can at the same place as the milk chest. We'll use it to keep our drinks cold in the winter rather than in our frig.

The picture of leaves is my compost pile.

My sister and family give me grass so I can use it as heat to 'cook' my leaves and have it turn to dirt.

I also use the grass in my new composter, which I bought at a sale -- wouldn't Mr. Devoe be proud of me?

Finally, I bought my sister a beautiful pitcher for a vase.

I was lucky enough to go to a sale where I met a woman who likes to read as much as my daughter and I. She gave my daughter a few of her favorites. Life is good when things like that happen, wouldn't you say?

I also took a picture of my work in the basement. I've gotten up two more panels and two more sheets for the ceiling.

I have lots more to do, but all my husband's stuff has been moved over, so it's all work space now.

On to the plants. I got these metal baskets at the Salvation Army and have filled them with flowers that do well in the shade.

I have two and they're under trees coming down to the house.

I mulched a spot where I had already planted Lady's Mantle and Lamb's Ears from my sister. She also bought me a bunch of other plants that do well in shade.
Below is a trumpet vine--maybe yes, Peggy?

There are astilbes
and some others that I don't know the name to.

They seem to be living...which is always incredible at my house with me as caregiver!

I also added in two succulents that my friend Sheila gave me.

These are Pussy willow bushes that Shel and Peggy gave me.

I planted a bunch to give our neighbors some privacy, but they didn't take. These, that sat in a vase for weeks, have and are behind our tree house. I'm excited to see these grow...and maybe next year I could get more for the privacy fence... (hint, hint)

On the other side are Hostas and Juntas (?) that I bought at a yardsale.

The stepping stones were last year's work (still haven't even started on this year's yet!!) and myrtle from where I pulled it out to put in other flowers. I won't mulch this until it looks like the plants took.

I am also trying to plant the hillside under that that slopes to the house.

I have ferns and hostas my sister got me , more mysterious plants

and some sort of bulbs I bought at Wally's World--

which I love and will now buy more and plant closer together next year--that is, if I actually pull them out in the fall and get them to my nephew's basement ( surprise, John! Okay?).

These pictures are of my plants from Sheila, Peggy and Shel.

I pulled the myrtle out and planted these.

This is probably the sunniest spot I have. Hopefully they'll take.

I put years old compost around them (what smell!!) so I'm thinking they will be happy...I hope.

I also have my garden that I made last year and my sister has helped to add to this year.

Do you see the tree behind it?
That came from my daughter when she had Ms. Rae and they did the plant sale. It's growing great!

The rocks under the garage are waiting for me to make rock walls.

My nephew, John, is giving them to me. Now, I just have to motivate myself to get moving on them. I will, I will. I just need hot days and sun....and a finished basement.

Below are Bee Balm Peggy gave me with the rest, but these I planted as soon as she gave them to me and they are growing and so are getting ready to bloom-yes!

Last year with her I also bought a bunch of butterfly bushes and the ones at the road are flowering-so cool!

Finally I have picture of my flowers from around the deck.

Living on the lake is wonderful, but shade, hillside and all do make for funky gardening!

So, there's what I've been doing. Pretty boring for high schoolers, but exciting for me.

I'm reading a Bill Bryson book about traveling through Europe, the closest I will get to travel till August.

Here's hoping your summer is going great. Let me know if you've read any new great books.