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Around the House....

Spring is here, even though there are light showers threatening.
We are being awakened in the morning by "Mr. Wren", a tiny little bird with huge vocal chords. We also call him our rooster! He's a funny little bird, I have yet to catch on camera as he is quite shy. He builds the nest and calls for a mate. So far he has built nests in two gourds and a bluebird box.
The bluebirds have been here for a while now, and soon she will be sitting on eggs.
My flowers are blooming! All those bulbs I planted in September and October are up and growing and many have already bloomed. Daffodils, tulips and others....

These are some of the tulips that came up, a gorgeous shade of purple and frilly too.
The daffodils are now done, the hyacinths are almost done...what a fragrance!
I have enjoyed cutting a few and bringing them in...
We here in Southern California enjoyed a week of migrating painted Lady butterflies. Thousands upon thousands everywhere you went. Many stopped at our flowers…
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Gonna be another change...

I was hating the look of the garden arch in white...in fact the whole picket fence needed paint. So, I went in the garage and grabbed the Revere Pewter that the house is painted in and painted more than half...and decided ugh, I hated it even.
So, all winter I have been thinking about it.
Then a trip to Cambria and inspiration struck....what about black?
I asked my dear friend who is a bit of an artist what do you think?
She at first said yes, then, looking at my new garden sign and all the black elements already in the garden, she said...no. It would be heavy and over the top black. How about gray?
So, on a shopping trip, we stopped at Ace and looked at grays. Found one that just hit both of us.
Clark and Kensigton Charcoal Cashmere. Now with a name like that what's not to love?
So, I bought a sampler and painted part of the arch...just to see....
Yup, should be wonderful!

Even Hubby agreed...looks great. If it were black, the trim on the new sign would disappear...now it sets it…

Mad For Copper

No, you haven't heard from me in a bit. My computer died the day we went on a trip up to Cambria for a long weekend. Then, no computer made me feel, well, out of touch! There are only a few things one can do on a phone......Well, now I am back and want to share what I have been doing...

I have been nuts...a little "mad" for copper for years, and have been collecting. It all started with the copper wash tub I picked up at a garage sale years ago for $20. It's a bit dented, but still has shine and some patina. It lives in the living room...you have seen it. But, recently I came across some blog somewhere that they painted a trough, like you water horses, with Modern Masters Metal effects...copper. Oh my! It was stunning...enough that I changed my plan to paint the boxes out front from black to patinaed copper! Yup...all 10 of them!
There is a trick or two and I learned as I went.
First follow directions...
Second...do small sections...in this case I did one side at a t…

A Change in Decor

After Valentine's Day, I got rid of all the red and white. I washed for days!
I washed a red and white quilt that I had never washed....I hadn't washed it after I made it for fear of the red running....
I found that you can put 1/2 cup white vinegar in the cold water wash and add a Shout color catcher to the washer, with nothing else in there! It came out just fine! Wheeew....
Then I washed my red chair covers that I had on since the day after Thanksgiving.
Then I washed the chair covers that I use all the rest of the year (I had washed them, but they didn't get as clean as I wished) and after they got out I put them on and Scotchguarded them, so they don't get as dirty.
I took down the red and white toile drapes that I had up and because they are clean enough, I just hung them up in the closet. I did however send the red and white toile duvet out to the cleaners, so that it will be fresh and hang until next time.
All the pillows that had red and white...got stripped …

Valentine's Dinner

So, we do "simple" for Valentine's dinner....
We don't go out. We enjoy our quiet and have a nice meal in....yup...
I got flowers the day before...sweet man...
And He went to Costco, bought ribeyes as well as other needed supplies...
I cleaned out my linen cupboard and went through all the tablecloths (I am addicted to linens..), just to find one that fit the table in its "shrunken" state. The table is old. Its extends when needed, which appears to be most of the time...hence all the chairs etc.
On FB we posted a picture of our duck, and got comments about how big the table was and that we weren't sitting next to each other. It didn't seem odd to us...we sit at the heads of the table...always have...And hey, we were sitting at the table people!! (Because we often sit in the chairs and watch tv...)
So. I shrank the table to its smallest...dressed it up with the flowers and some pillar candles and we had ribeyes, huge artichokes with melted butter, an…

Valentine's Week

I decided to make it a week affair, instead of a quick part of a day thing.
Make a special meal here and there through the week. Sunday, Feb. 10 I roasted a duck for Hubby.
If you have never roasted a duck there a few tricks to it. There is nothing like roasted duck. (Of course if you don't like dark meat, duck doesn't appeal as it is all dark meat.)
Duck is loaded with fat, even wild ones...though most of us only can get our duck from the store...
That fat is delicious and you do want to save as much as you can in roasting. So, first off, use a deep roasting pan (much like what you would use for Thanksgiving turkey).
Second, be sure if you get a frozen bird that is thoroughly thawed and rinsed and dried.
Then, take a sharp knife and slice through the skin only (don't cut meat) all around the breast, in a crisscross pattern....
This allows that fat to come out and helps create a crispy skin.
One duck will serve 4 people...it is not a ton of meat, but because it is rich, no…

Rainy Day...Again

We have been having record rain, here in Southern California. It's good, and the "naysayers" that talk of drought can be quiet. In fact, for all of California the rainfall and snow totals have been record breakers.
Meanwhile, here where we live...it's been wet...our sprinklers were turned off and the lawn is sloppy...
Birds that have migrated are back though, and I think I showed you my peach tree...it started blooming on Christmas day and continued. There are still blooms on it, but the peaches remarkably have started setting! I worried about the rain and record breaking cold for our area, but the bees had little else to feed on, so when the sun shone, they made a "beeline" for our tree....
Today, is again wet. I took Molly our lab

 for a walk this morning before the rain came...it was indeed short (too short for her liking) and as we got home the sky turned an ominous black...seconds after getting in, the rain came, filling the road outside to almost rive…