Thursday, May 31, 2018

A new house, kitchen, and garden

We moved in yesterday after closing in late morning. The house is wonderful, as is the garden, and the former owner left so much more than we thought he would. There are garden tools, pots and pans, a flock of chickens, etc. Perfect.

Our walk up the road this evening (without cell phones) was beautiful, but without internet access until Wednesday, posting photos is a bit “expensive” in terms of data, even though we’re using our US Verizon account’s data — at $5/day for access. So there will be photos to come.

This morning brought an reorganization of the kitchen and cleaning out all of the old spices, bits of this and that, etc. I think his former girlfriend was the cook, so there were lots of old herbs and spices to compost (she left 3 years ago, although they’re still friends).

But we’re feeling more settled in now, and Woody is thinking that this is a good spot. He loves being out in the garden with us or just with Tim. And he’s friendly with the chickens. At home in Asheville, there’s way too much outdoor cat poop (NOT a good thing), so he’s always under wraps.

It’s such an interesting experience to be here now, after over 4 1/2 months of looking at images — and now we’re reminded in real time of why we thought this area was so great in summer in the first place.

Just driving back from picking up a few more things in the city nearby, I was reminded again of that. The views of the St. Lawrence are wonderful, and as I passed by the park, on the way to our new house, really great.

Nothing not to like.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

The gardeners contemplate a new garden

Daniel, the current owner of our "new" house, gathered up his personal collectibles today and most of what was in his antique shed/shop and headed to Quebec City.  He'll be back tomorrow late, with closing scheduled for Wednesday morning.

So, we thought we could go over this evening and walk around the garden and contemplate what we can do.  Magical.

We've been making lists of native plants to add for months now.

And I've been thinking about a fast-growing veggie garden (and have brought seeds) for a short season crop of salad and stir-fry greens, plus radishes, etc.  And I'll be looking for veggie transplants, too, at the first local farmer's market on June 2.

I'll just have to round up some containers or decide what sunny space to allocate to veggies and dig it up.  Containers will be best, I think!

The garden shed is full of helpful tools and other things.

Garden shed with small animal shed (for chickens) beyond

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Friday, May 25, 2018

The adventure continues...

In our first visit to the house in Le Bic, we found that the house and furniture are more amazing than we could have imagined.  And the garden has been cleaned up and tidied — perfect for new gardeners to arrive to put their own imprint on the landscape. It’s lovely, too.

We had gone by yesterday late afternoon (in a bit of a drizzle) as we arrived,  just to look (of course, the owner and his helpers were out cleaning up the garden), so we waved.  We’re rather obvious with the kayaks on top and the bike in back, not to mention the NC plates.  There are no U.S. tourists here yet.

We thought the house looked so much smaller, and the garden, too (that was a good thing), but then we were thinking the traffic was louder than we thought it would be — and what’s that daytime train that just rumbled by?

Today, we visited, after 4 months of looking at the web photos and “talking” with Daniel via Google Translate. To our amazement this morning, Daniel, the owner, speaks quite decent English, so he took us through the house and garden (we arrived much earlier than we expected — in 2 and 1/2 days).

The house is remarkable and the antiques are exceptional. He’d collected them over 30 years and used his house in the last 12 years or so as a way to display some things that he then would swap out. The pieces he’s leaving for us (we added them as an addition to the house price) are beautiful, along with all of the decorative and household items that he's also leaving.

An unexpected addition is the rooster and 5 hens in the small animal shed and compound; they can go back to the neighbors at the end of summer.

Tomorrow will be site details.  But we’re buying this house; it will be finalized on Wednesday. For practical people, this is a serendipitous and happy circumstance, in a part of the world that’s wonderful.

We'll enjoy being here.  We're delighted to be stewards of such a wonderful house and garden.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

A traveling adventure

In an unprecedented traveling year, we're off again.

Our garden is lovely right now, but it's now been battened down, ready for summer tending and our frequent HomeExchanger folks, we hope.  The landscape, in general, is well-watered at the moment; we've had a deluge over the last week -- it'll be going into early summer well-hydrated with ~ 6+ inches of rain.

In my raised beds, I cut back all of the flowering chives this morning, along with pulling out a flowering kale that had overwintered.  The pocket meadow and the woodland landscape and the native areas around the house all look great.

Sedum bed and emerging pocket meadow
I'm doing a class tomorrow about Pocket Meadows at the NC Arboretum, just before we leave.  It's been fun to review its progression over the last 9 years.  (The lesson is keep replacing and editing!)

This time, we're off to Quebec, kayaks on top of my Volvo XC wagon, Woody, our Golden Retriever in back, along with bins of the few things that we think are necessary to bring, although we expect we'll have plenty for our purposes, in the house that we'll be in.

It's an adventure, to be sure.  It's a birthday week for me.  I turned 63 last Friday.  Why not embrace another journey?

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A wonderful solar lamp, courtesy of Fern Valley Art

I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this beautiful palm leaf solar lamp, courtesy of Fern Valley Art's generous donation to the Garden Blogger's Fling banquet raffle this year in Austin, Texas.

I was the lucky winner and am delighted to be able to add it to our front garden;  it is perfect for the front of the house, replacing an industrial-looking solar light.  Hooray, it came today!

This one is 28" high, so provides structural and artistic flare as well as light in the garden.  We're not sure exactly where it will go yet, either here or to the left of the front porch. It's beautiful in both places; perhaps we'll need a second smaller one...

Fern Valley Art is an artist-owned business in Keller, Texas. Wanda Stutzman creates wonderful metal garden art as well as a range of garden lamps in her studio; check out her work at the Fern Valley Art website.

Daffodil Fern and Vine

Fern Valley Art Palm Leaf solar lamp

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Friday, May 18, 2018

A new garden awaits

It seems nuts, but it looks like we have a new summer garden ahead. 

Our garden here in the Western North Carolina mountains is ready for HomeExchange folks for the next two months as is our house.

An acre in Le Bic, Quebec, at the gateway to the Gaspe Peninsula, is waiting, along with a historic schoolhouse turned into a home.

Our first in-person visit is a week from today, after four months of looking at images online, after coming to an agreement with the seller -- it's a personal seller-buyer site; we've talked back and forth via Google Translate for the last months, with one personal phone conversation via his bilingual friend (he'll be there for our official "final" visit) -- hmm, the last "contingency" on our purchase agreement.

An adventure, to be sure.  We'll be off on Tuesday, with Woody, bike and kayaks.

Regardless, we'll be enjoying summer, wherever we are!

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Monday, May 14, 2018

A Fraser magnolia that's looking good

To the left of our back deck, we've transformed a weedy mess into a small mountain vignette, but it's been challenging.  The down spout from the apartment next door doesn't function all that well, even after "repairs," so water pours off the roof in rainstorms.

We've tried sassafras there, and something else before that (that I forget)-- the rhododendrons and kalmia are recent and look fairly decent, hanging on after lots of soil amending, compost-adding, etc.

A recent addition of Gorge Rhodendron (Rhodendron minus) is growing well, but we're thrilled that the Fraser magnolia (which was an online order from a nursery in the midwest) and that we thought was dead as it arrived as a sapling, many months after ordering) is flourishing.

Fraser magnolia, hemlock, etc.
It's looking lovely and well-branched in its third full year.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Nice to be home

May is a time for growth, to be sure. And many of my fellow Garden Blogger Flingers have commented on it, as they arrived home after the last few days.

Our garden wasn’t any different. It welcomed me home with lovely spring growth: exuberant perennials, a flourishing woodland garden, and the herb/vegetable beds looking great.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

A wonderful Fling

I’ll share more photos when I get back to my desktop (a essential element for blogging), but just wanted to post a photo about our wonderful Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin, Texas. This was a wonderfully colorful garden!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A vegetable garden harvest

How nice to be home, at least temporarily, and harvest some fresh greens and a large leek from the garden for dinner last night.  Yum.  Add gathering some fresh tarragon and thyme for the fish, wonderful.

It's such a joy to harvest veggies from the garden.

leek, red mustard, and young beets

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