Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!


"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Our Pitiful Neglected Yard Gets a Makeover- Part Two

Note:  This post was written Saturday, September 27th, and scheduled to post today.  If you missed the "before" post yesterday, it can be viewed here.

So, as planned, we worked in the yard today.

I was going to take up the side walkway to the front door, but changed my mind- it's just tooooo much work to redo that now.  Maybe next year...

It does look a little better now than what I shared in the last post, so I must be making progress!  

I added some fountain grass in two urns at the end of the main walkway...I'm liking the way they frame the sidewalk, and the colors are good for fall...


...and, I set out all of my little plants that I bought a couple of days ago.
  

I need to go get a real pumpkin to put where the fake one is currently hanging out...just pretend with me for a minute.


And, I was about to put the little rabbit away into storage, but then I thought, "Why?"...He could be so happy living among those little cabbages- 


So, here he is.  He doesn't have to hop far to find something to nibble...I just hope the real ones stay in the woods.


Doesn't he look happy?


Here are some close-up shots of the actual plants that I used...I've always wanted to use the ornamental cabbages, but just never have until now.  I must say, I'm pleased.



Dusty Miller is a good companion plant for the cabbages...It is a really nice soft gray that plays well with the colors of the cabbages.


And, here's a detail shot of the gorgeous flaming colors of the nandina that I transplanted. It just screams, "FALL"...


That's it for the front yard progress.  I did play a little in the back yard, too.

See my gorgeous beloved fountain?  It has been broken all summer long.  We usually keep it running all the time, but back in the spring we had a storm that caused the power to flicker. It did something to the fountain pump and hubby has not had time to work on it until today. I've missed the soothing sound, the trickle of the water streaming down from one level to the next- the silence was deafening when it stopped.  I'm very happy to have it working again! It's special to me, not only because it creates that pleasant atmosphere, but also because it was my Mother's Day gift years ago from hubby and my son.  Yes, I love my fountain.


I also added some mums to the back patio area, just off the porch.

This one is larger than it looks- it's in a huge clay pot and the mum is just about to burst open with pretty yellow flowers!


...and, I put this one in a vintage crock....Yes, I also have fake pumpkins hanging out in the backyard, too.  It's just a temporary thing though...I'm impatient and couldn't wait to share it with you!




This is the entrance to the patio from the yard.  When I built the terraced patio with salvaged brick (from our home in Virginia) and flagstone, I had a few pieces left over, which I decided to use for walkways.  This one was put down in a very random way, but I like it.  It serves as a transitions to the pea gravel driveway.


And, after working hard all morning, it was nap time for hubby and the cats... I just came inside to blog a little.





I've had a great Saturday, and I hope you have, too.  

Judy

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Pitiful Neglected Yard Gets a Makeover


Note:  This post was written on Friday, September 26th, and scheduled to post today, the 29th.  Part two will post tomorrow.

This cooler fall weather has beckoned me outside to work in the yard.  We have neglected our poor yard the last couple of years, and that tends to kill plants!! Hubby and I have both been so busy that the yard work just took a back seat.  Now that things have settled a bit, I've begun to pull out plantings that have no hope of coming back and I've moved other plants from one place to another in the yard.  One thing usually leads to another, and this project was no exception...I've now torn up the entire front yard, just outside the porch.  I didn't take a "before" picture, because this wasn't supposed to happen...I was just going to move a few things...Oh well.  



I pulled EVERYTHING up except for the three boxwood shrubs in front of the porch and the two gigantic tall podocarpuses at the sides of the big window (to the right).  I moved (my hurting shoulder is never going to get any better if I keep doing this kind of thing!) the bird bath from another side yard to this area, and added the salvaged plants (nandinas and rosemary) around it. Now it looks like this...


I like the pretty reds in the nandinas during this time of year.  They make a nice contrast to the boxwood.  It's coming together now- just needs some seasonal plants to complete the look.

So, I went shopping and purchased some dusty miller and two different varieties of ornamental cabbage.  I think this will do the trick!




I plan to pull up the side brick pathway and put down some flagstone, and I will enlarge it a bit while I'm at it.  That's on the agenda for this weekend....

Stay tuned!  I'll share the finished project next post.

Judy

If you like what you see here, I would love to have you follow along.  To make sure that you don't miss anything, you can follow by e-mail.  Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and put it in the space  provided, or you can enter it at the top of the sidebar.  I never share your  addresses  with anyone, so  you  can  feel at ease by sharing it with me.  Also, your first mail from me will most likely end up in  your spam folder, so you will need to go look for that one, then click on my e-mail address and save it to your address book.  That will assure that all future e-mails will go  to your e-mail folder so that you can   actually  see them.  I would be honored to have you follow along as I play!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Welcoming The Sugar Kettle Cafe to Town

We recently welcomed a new cafe to Bay Minette.  The opening was much anticipated, as we watched through the windows the revitalization of the space that has been home to many businesses over the years.  It had been plagued with roof problems in recent years, and these folks went to work repairing and decorating the property with a recycled, industrial, and chic vibe.  It's just my style- I love what they've done with the space, so I wanted to share it with you here.  

Oh, the food isn't bad either!  If really good home-style cooking (with some special touches thrown in) sounds good to you, you will want to pay them a visit.  I have had the pleasure to dine at the cafe ten or twelve times during the last month, enough times that I've developed favorites.  Tuesday is my favorite lunch day, with the special being Chicken & Dressing, and oh my goodness, it's good! Sunday Brunch seems to be becoming a tradition for us...Hubby and I have really enjoyed sampling the many specials offered during brunch.  My favorite is the Caramel Soaked French Toast...Yes, it's as good as it sounds.  Paired with a cup of seasonal fruit and some salty and smoky bacon, it can't be beat.  I'm already looking forward to Sunday!  (Oh, and Tuesday, too!)


The Sugar Kettle Cafe is located on North Hoyle Avenue in Old Town Bay Minette, near courthouse square.  They serve breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday and Sunday. They are closed on Saturdays.

Breakfast is served!


Please wait here to be seated...where you will soon be greeted by a friendly face and shown to your table.  

Meet Cheryl, one of the owners, and my new friend.  Michelle, the other owner, wasn't working this location on Friday when I visited.  If I had to guess, I would say that she was most probably cooking lunch at the Daphne location.  You can read more about the Sugar Kettle ladies here.


This tempting dessert display sits on the table right at the front entrance...It sort of gets stuck in your mind on your way in when you innocently glance over at it- in such a way that you just can't say "no" when they ask if you would like dessert.  Since we're on the subject of desserts, I should take this opportunity to recommend either the triple berry cobbler or the peach cobbler.  Both come with a scoop of ice cream, but it's also great without it.




Shown below is the back dining room, with the painted vintage bead board ceiling and stained concrete floors.  Coastal inspired artwork painted by a local artist lines the walls, alongside the menu board with the special and features of the day.


This cozy table is tucked into the back corner of the dining room against the exposed vintage brick wall.  


And, this round table is encircled with high bar stools, so that you can get a good view over the lunch crowd, because you know how small towns are...you just need to know who's coming and going.  Look at those exposed beams up there and those cool reflections on the wall from the light.
  

Sitting at the table, waiting for my lunch date...


...and, looking over the menu.


My sweet hubby shows up and contemplates the special of the day on the board.


This visit was for lunch last Friday.  John had the Country Fried Steak and I had Fried Fish.  The coleslaw is very unusual- you know the kind of dish where you taste it and ask yourself, "What is that?" and try to figure out what's in it?...It was a little sweet, a little tart...some of the best I've ever tasted...definitely a Sugar Kettle original.

If you wish, you can call in and order a plate to go, or place your order to go at the counter. They even keep a reserved parking space in front for that purpose, so that you can quickly run in and grab your lunch.  Originally, they had charged a .25 cent up-charge for orders to go.  That practice has been recently dismissed, so you can now get your lunch for the menu price, just as if you were eating in.


The front dining room filling up with the lunch crowd...


They also cater.  Why cook when you can feed a crowd with their yummy food?  I think I'll let them cook my Thanksgiving meal for me.  That way, I can spend more time with the family.  They have special menus available that can be picked up in the cafe or viewed online at The Sugar Kettle Cafe website.


And, I have some exciting news to report!!!  Cheryl shared with me a new program that will kick off next week- a frequent diner's card!  Buy ten meals and the next one is free. How great is that?  So, whenever you find yourself at The Sugar Kettle Cafe, be sure to ask for yours so that you can get started working toward your free meal. 



If you read my blog and are local, you have probably already dined at The Sugar Kettle Cafe, but if you are not from Bay Minette, let me encourage you to plan a visit.  We have some exciting things going on here in North Baldwin County.  To see what's on the calendar, visit our North Baldwin Chamber's website (link here) and when you plan your trip, be sure to include this great little cafe.  You will be glad you did, and don't forget to tell them Judy sent you!  

Judy

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Color Driving Tour in Alabama


Fall is definitely in the air...

Here in Baldwin County, we do have changes in foliage color, but with the flat terrain and pine forests, we don't get the pretty views and variations that can be seen north of here where the hardwoods are plentiful and the hills have a slight roll.  For a really pretty driving tour, visit Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County near where I grew up. Back then, I didn't fully appreciate the beauty there in my own backyard, especially during this time of year.  It's true what they say..."You don't know what you've got till it's gone." I miss that place now.



From home, the park was just a  short drive- or hike through the woods...I remember exploring the park before it was the nice state park that it is today...the steep roads winding up the mountain were just dirt, rocks and gravel, and sometimes the tires on the truck would just spin and you had to get out and walk...They have nice roads up the mountain now, but you still have to get out and hike a bit to get to Peavine Falls.

According to a piece on al.com (published in 2012), the changing foliage colors can be viewed in Alabama starting the end of September and lasting through mid-November.  I'm sure the dates will vary a bit from year to year, but this should be close.

For suggested destinations (in Alabama) with colorful views, follow this link:  Alabama Fall Driving Tour

If you want to venture out beyond Alabama, then go check out this site for the best times to visit anywhere in the country...It includes a map that shows estimated color changes as you scroll over the weeks and months of 2014.  Fall Foliage Map

I think I feel a day trip coming on next month.

For now, I'll get a pumpkin to put by the mum at the front door, and I'll burn the luscious smelling candle that I just bought- "Super Sweet Pumpkin" by Yankee Candle.  It smells like a combination of pumpkin pie and cappuccino with sweet cream.  

Yes, I love this time of year.


Judy

If you like what you see here, I would love to have you follow along.  To make sure that you don't miss anything, you can follow by e-mail.  Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and put it in the space  provided, or you can enter it at the top of the sidebar.  I never share your  addresses  with anyone, so  you  can  feel at ease by sharing it with me.  Also, your first mail from me will most likely end up in  your spam folder, so you will need to go look for that one, then click on my e-mail address and save it to your address book.  That will assure that all future e-mails will go  to your e-mail folder so that you can   actually  see them.  I would be honored to have you follow along as I play!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Front Entry Dressed for Fall

Just thought I would share another fall post.  Just finished it last night, hanging the wreath as a little green tree frog hung out with me...



Do you see the little scarecrow? Last year, he was on a stick in a plant; this year, he's been attached with hot glue to my wreath...I recycle elements from year to year as long as they look good.


Everything on the wreath this year was recycled from years before, including the wreath itself.  It was a long length of grapevine that I wound around to make a loose wreath...I just wired it all together at the top, making a loop to attach to the doorknocker.




...and another element- the chalkboard.  Hubby made this for me years ago to use on the sidewalk of our art gallery in town.  You can still see "shadows" of previous notices...



I attached the black bird to the top with hot glue, so that he doesn't try to fly away!



On the floor, in front of the chalkboard, I've added a seasonal mum in a vintage crock, and a green plant that's still hanging around from summer.  I stuck another little scarecrow into the green plant to bring it into fall.



The red mum is just about to be in full bloom.


Some looks at the big picture...




Happy Fall Y'all!

Judy

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If you like what you see here, I would love to have you follow along.  To make sure that you don't miss anything, you can follow by e-mail.  Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and put it in the space  provided, or you can enter it at the top of the sidebar.  I never share your  addresses  with anyone, so  you  can  feel at ease by sharing it with me.  Also, your first mail from me will most likely end up in  your spam folder, so you will need to go look for that one, then click on my e-mail address and save it to your address book.  That will assure that all future e-mails will go  to your e-mail folder so that you can   actually  see them.  I would be honored to have you follow along as I play!