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Photo Friday: Peach Blossoms

First, I just wanted to announce the winner of the the Elmer’s Painters and $25 Walmart Gift Card! Congratulations to latanya who said “This would be great fun for the summer!” Also, a BIG thank you to everyone who participated with a comment on the Spring Painted Flowerpot Makeover. I was crossing my fingers for 40 entries, but ended up with over double that. Awesome!

Now, back to the photo above -  two pink blossoms from our young peach tree. While not as showy and profuse as the plum blossoms, they are still special. Each of these little flowers is capable of transforming into a delicious piece of summer fruit. This will be our third summer with this tree. We plan to move it out of its container and hopefully find it a permanent home in the back yard.

Proper pruning technique still eludes me, but one thing I learned last spring was to thin the amount of growing fruit. This is done by rubbing off over half once they are about the size of cherries. Thinning allows for better spacing and lets the remaining peaches grow to an edible size. Its silly, but I found thinning to be somewhat sad. Pruning is like cutting hair to me. I get that. But rubbing off all those little hopefuls… well that was different. However, the results were sweet, small-to-medium-sized peaches, so it was definitely worth it.

I guess that’s a lesson that applies to life in general, right? Some things are hard to do (like exercising, or practicing a skill, or raising children), but doing so is rewarding. Food for thought (ha!).

Have a great weekend everyone!


Plum Blossoms


Did you know it will officially be spring next week? I’m so glad! We’re seeing signs of it throughout our neighborhood, little splashes of brightness here and there – daffodils, crocus, candy tufts – and our daphne smells divine! But most of all, I love seeing the plum blossoms start to open. Every year about this time, I take a moment to bust out the good camera and document the opening of their tiny pink buds. So sweet and serene and lovely.

This plum tree is actually in our neighbor’s yard. A few years ago she allowed us to dig up a runner that we placed it in a pot. It hasn’t gotten much bigger, but just last week David planted it in the back corner of our yard. Someday we’ll have plums! I’m looking forward to it.

Taken with a Canon T4i, 50mm 1.4



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Stitched Fabric Heart Cards

The other day at Ikea I finally convinced my husband to let me purchase a batch of Ribba frames. I’ve been wanting to build a display wall of photographs in our hallway, but David isn’t really a family-photo-display-wall kind of guy. However, this time he was into it and I jumped at the chance. I’ve been spending time today looking through my Flickr account, trying to decide on the photos I’d like to use. That is when I came across these fabric heart cards I made from two years ago. Wow. You mean I actually had time back then (with only one child) to do fun projects like this?

Anyway, you can see they are very simple. I had a batch of blank white patterned cards, cut out a silhouette from the center, backed it with another piece of white card stock and sewed up the edges to secure it. The stitching also added a nice little frame on the heart and tree versions. On the flowered version I cut out some fabric flowers, pasted them on and stitched a line down the center. Not sure what happened to these, but I’m thinking I might have given them as part of a gift. It sure what fun to see them again!



Fear and sadness


Our last backyard tree fell this morning. It is the second tree to come crashing down in our yard alone this year. Totalling four tall, mature trees that have died or fallen in our yard, nine trees in all from three adjacent backyards. So depressing. And VERY scary. It was hard for me to initially comprehend, but maybe that was because it was scarcely 6am. We were lucky it landed sideways, missing our house and the neighbor’s, just shattering the fence and doing minor damage to our neighbor’s yard. We had three removal bids today and it is going to cost us almost a thousand dollars to deal with. Basically, a small fortune gone in one fell swoop.

One thing I learned today is that in Oregon, a tragedy like this is considered an “act of God, ” meaning that we are not responsible for the tree or damage in our neighbor’s yard. Technically, we could cut the bottom of the trunk off at the fenceline and leave everything else for our neighbor to deal with. Apparently, it is quite a common occurance. But who would do such a thing? The tree was ours, in our yard (although very close to the fenceline), and the way I see it, we are responsible for it’s removal. This neighbor is very old, and stays in his house most of the time. He didn’t even hear it fall (!), so luckily he’s in no rush to have it gone.

Photo from last spring. Sadly, no one can seem to identify this tree.
Every one of the trees shown has either died, fallen or been removed this year.

What I’ll miss most, the fragrant white petals that drifted down like snow in early spring.

The wind has been terrible this year, and the rains worse than usual. The ground here is mainly an underlayer of clay. As far as anyone can tell, the surplus of water has simply rotted the roots of the trees in this particular area, allowing the high winds to sweep them over, ripping the roots out of the ground and pulling up grass like thick carpeting. Even now I can hear it howling outside and feel afraid. Our backyard may now be barren, but there are two huge, mostly-dead remaining poplar trees in our back neighbor’s yard (his enormous oak fell a few months back). We’ve all been very lucky so far, but what about next time? What if one falls and crushes us as we’re sleeping tonight? Both bedrooms sit together at the other end of the house, offering little protection for us or the baby. It is a weird situation, and I feel helpless. Short of sleeping in a hotel during windy days there is not much I can do. So I hope for the best. Hope that his remaining trees will have deeper roots that are impervious to the excess water, or that they’ll fall as serendipitously as ours, or that he’ll soon be able to afford to have them removed as he did with the others in his yard. I don’t know, but I pray that we’ll all be safe. And that Barkley will stop nervously pacing and panting, as if he knows something else is going to happen.



The uprooted hawthorne tree. The first and smallest to go.

A few weeks ago, on a morning I least expected it, our hawthorne tree uprooted and fell. The lightening crack of sound and following crash was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced (and hope never to again). It happened so fast, just long enough for me to pray that the baby sleeping in the bedroom would be unharmed.

Luckily, the tree fell sideways across the backyard, taking down our power line, cable internet and phone line, but damaging only little of our shed, raspberry patch, and house. I guess I can’t say it was a complete and utter surprise, although it looked healthy and still had white blooms and tiny spring leaves forming all around it. David had noticed that a bulge was forming on the ground around the back, and knew it could spell trouble. We just had no idea how soon. Nor do we know exactly what might have caused it.

Right after the hawthorne fell, we noticed that our large maple wasn’t leafing out with the other trees. We hoped it was just getting a late start this year, but no, it hadn’t survived the winter. Today, we had it removed, along with the large pine just a few feet away. The too close proximity caused the trunk to bow out dangerously over the house. The pine had the potential to do major damage, and we’ve talked about having it taken out since we moved in four years ago. We never guessed our hand would be forced.

Now, with the removal complete, the backyard looks naked. Three trees gone in a matter of weeks. Felled in what feels like too quick a manner for the many years it took them to grow.

I’ll miss them.


Cute Fabric Art Cards

I made this set of little notecards today as part of a swap package. They were inspired by all the cool fabric art and cute graphics I’ve come across lately. I cut the shapes out of scraps of flannel and craft felt and glued them in place. The other part of the swap package will consist of a softie, which I’ve never made before. I’m not sure if my sewing skills are up to something like that, but I guess I will be finding out soon!

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