Monday, April 16, 2018

Around and about

Hello from our place, where we're doing everything and nothing at all. It's the time of year when life starts getting a little hectic, with only six weeks of school left before summer break. We have class plays and music and dance performances coming up. Everyone is beavering away at their parts. But at the same time, it's calm and collected, which is nice. The weather has mostly been very cooperative, apart from several very windy days and an abrupt cool-down that lasted for precisely two days, and brought weird little ice showers, before the weather warmed right back up again. When it isn't windy, with all the dust and grit that implies, it has been very pleasant.

We're spending a lot of time in the yard, getting things ready for summer. I think I'll buy my annuals this coming weekend, along with our vegetables, to let them have plenty of time to settle in before it gets really hot. I plan to buy geraniums for my barrel on the back patio; after several summers of geraniums in the barrel, I feel like I have a handle on it, and I don't want to play around anymore. Geraniums do just fine there. My main concern is getting to the plant nursery before all the nice colors are gone. I would really like an assortment of reds and pinks, as well as white. I can usually only get coral or red. It's always a balance between getting them early enough to have a nice selection, and planting them late enough to avoid a late freeze. I know this seems like something silly to feel stressed about, but I kind of do; I'm such a low-skill gardener that I need the stars to align as perfectly as possible.

Over the past few weeks, we've been having fun with a rock tumbler given to us by a beloved neighbor who is about to retire and move away after a long career as an elementary school teacher and principal. The small Bears love her - we all do - and we're sad to see her go. She gave the small Bears the rock tumbler a few weeks ago; she's trying to clear out for her move. They walked by her house at the right moment and she offered it to them. It's really fun! (And grumble, grumble educational). We put all kinds of rocks into it, just random ones we collected from our own yard (most areas are xeriscaped, with various types of gravel and rocks covering the ground). We also put in some pieces of obsidian collected in the wild, on hikes and visits to various outdoor locales. Everything came out so interesting, shiny and colorful. We tried different things too, like adding a sprinkle of Comet into the tumbler and putting the rocks into our ultrasonic jewelry cleaner after all the tumbling for a good cleaning. I don't know if any of that really had an effect, but it was fun to experiment. Meanwhile, we're learning a lot about rocks and I'm looking at them with new eyes - anything could turn out to be a beautiful specimen with enough tumbling and polishing!

I've spent a lot of time lately straightening up my bedroom and closet. It's amazing how much clothing I had been hanging onto that I just didn't want or need anymore. Kind of ridiculous, really. I'm happy to keep things like college sweatshirts and my old, comfy robe, but I was pretty ruthless otherwise: if I hadn't worn it in two years, it was a goner. This was actually a really effective metric. I filled two kitchen trash bags with things to donate to my favorite charity-based thrift store. I also have some winter things the small Bears won't be able to wear next year, and the Bear plans to add some shorts that are now too big after recent weight loss. I'm happy to see it all go. The rest of the bedroom got a deep clean and better organization in the closet aside from just the clothes. I want to get some bins for my side, which I plan to look for at the Container Store (now there's a fun place to shop). I love the feeling of de-cluttering! What a rush.

I'm getting close to finishing my hexagon blanket - just a couple more rows left. I've been working on it almost exclusively when I have crafting time. I'd like to get back to cross-stitch soon, though. I miss working on my little teapot, which I started over the winter. I've been happy to watch some of my PBS shows back for new seasons, like Call the Midwife and The Doctor Blake Mysteries. We started watching Unforgotten, which is really good and suspenseful. I also started watching, by myself because the Bear would hate it, the show Doctor Foster on Netflix. Yikes...that's all I can say. We're still plugging away with Midsomer Murders at the rate of one episode per week; the Bear likes it too but doesn't have as much time for TV-watching as I do, so I try to wait for him. I think this is very nice of me, don't you? We just finally got to the point where Tom Barnaby decides to retire and his cousin John takes over. It feels like a watershed moment. I loved Tom and I like John so far too. I enjoy his dog as well. I hope the show stays good; I have a lot invested in it at this point, what with these piecemeal viewing habits.

I hope April is being good to you so far and that you have a good week ahead! Take care and enjoy, my friends.


  1. Ah Midsomer - the village with a murder rate of about 400% of its population. We love it too. I'm very impressed by your de-cluttering discipline Jennifer!

  2. We love Midsomer Murders and like Etta marvel at how many murders happen there. We also watch one episode a week and so far Barnaby is still solving everything. We did hear that he leaves and have been dreading that, so I'm glad his replacement is good.
    LB is looking a lot older all of a sudden! Kids grow up too fast!

  3. Your weather sounds beautiful. Ours is...well, rather disgusting right now. I just wrote about it on my blog.
    Hard to believe there's only 6 more weeks of school left!
    Your talk of the rock tumbler brought back good memories. I had one as a kid, but I remember my parents didn't give me a lot of help with it, so I tried it a couple of times and then gave up. But I always had a fascination with rocks. Still do.
    Doesn't it feel great to get rid of stuff? I haven't done a big purge of any one area lately, but I purge as I go along. I don't have many clothes to begin with, but that can be a good thing sometimes. I actually need to go shopping for a few more new tops though.

  4. Hello!
    So nice to visit with you this evening!
    Your photos are all beautiful...
    And as we just moved, I totally understand about purging!
    Hard work, but totally worth it.
    Have a cozy evening. : )

  5. Our wardrobes need a good sort out it is amazing how much clutter there is. I was waiting to change the winter/summer clothes about but the weather has been so changeable it has delayed things.

  6. Sorting out my wardrobe is on my list of things waiting to be done, it's a while since I've had a good sort through it so I'm sure there'll be lots of things to donate to the charity shop. It always feels so good afterwards when the things to be kept are put back in. The rock tumbler sounds fascinating, I've seen them before but never had a go with one myself. The stones look so tactile now they're all smooth and shiny.

  7. Ha, I am totally with you about getting in quickly when the new season plants arrive; in fact am planning a raid on our local nursery to get the best pansies as they come in this month. Those cute bears are growing up a treat, so tall already. What super fun to have the rock tumbler, and I love the collection you show. Well done with the wardrobe sorting - sometimes I can't decide whether I need to have a clothing purge, or just make a big effort to lose a bit of weight so more things fit....

  8. I always fancied a rock tumbler but was worried about the noise... I cleared out the boys wardrobe and sorted through several bags of donated clothes for them. We may not need to buy anything new this year! It is quite satisfying. Could you order your geraniums online? I usually order my plants online because our local garden centre is more of gift shop than a garden shop. The quality of the plants has been excellent, surprisingly. All in all it sounds like life is good! Lovely. xx

    1. The rock tumbler was way too noisy to keep in the house so we put it in the garage! We couldn't hear from inside the house at all but you could hear it if you were on the driveway or walking by on the street. I wonder what people thought we had going on in there!

  9. Glad to hear the kids are busy with school work! Thanks for sharing about shows in Netflix. We are always looking for new ones. We are also watching Midsomer Murders. I decided to watch Cedar Cove (Hallmark) but my husband doesn't really enjoy it so much. I think it's more a show for women. It will be nice to see the hexagon all done. Take care!

  10. I know exactly what you mean about decluttering. I've got rid of lots of my clothes and children's clothes that don't fit any more recently and it felt great. About 14 weeks left until the summer hols here, and we're still waiting for some spring weather. Sunshine forecast for the rest of the week though, hurray. How big your little people are getting these days. Love the polished rocks, I bet it's fun seeing how they all turn out. I interviewed a wood turner a while back, and it was amazing how each piece of wood looked so beautiful after it had been turned and polished. I loved seeing all the different types of wood, some of it was exquisite, especially the spalted pieces, ie. ones where the wood was stained in places by fungi. Amazing. I hope all is well with you. CJ xx

  11. Hi Jennifer. I did lots of declittering last summer and fall and I agree, it’s an amazing feeling to get everything cleaned out and thinned out. Good for you. I tend to get sentimental and also think I’ll lose the weight I want to be rid of and therefore wear those clothes.
    I love geraniums and plant them most years. We’re nowhere near being able to plant here. Probably at least another month is needed as we still dip below freezing a lot at night.
    Have a lovely week!

  12. Wardrobe swoon! Well done Jennifer, I have done the same this week too, it is so satisfying. Your children look all grown up and handsome, I love see them and their activities here. A rock tumbler you say??? my little girl would love one of those, she collects rocks and would love one - off to investigate.... Jo x

  13. Hey Jennifer,
    Everything and nothing is my kind of perfect. I always forget that you break up much earlier than we do here. I absolutely loved Unforgotten. I've just finished watching the second series, and I think a third is on it's way soon. I was truck by how much your little boy bear has grown. He's looking like a young man now.
    Leanne xx

  14. Oh yes, I love a good wardrobe clear out! Or any cupboard, to be honest. I take great pleasure in re-folding everything nicely so it is tidy for about five minutes. Your everything and nothing sounds just great. Gorgeous photos of your kids too by the way. xx


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