Christmas 2012

From Burt Wolf Christmas Traditions

"... red and green are always the colors of  Christmas and Christmas foods. Red is for warmth and
brightness; green is the promise that the leaves of the trees will return in the spring."
more photos....


Resources for finding a new tree

We're on the hunt for a new front yard tree.   Got any recommendations?
Here's some terrific online resources found so far to help in our due diligence ...


Back to Longwood Gardens again

We went back to Longwood Gardens again to show a friend...

On the way stopped by two of our favorite antique / vintage shops - La Maison

and Springhouse Antiques - which was unfortunately closed early.
more photos...

Last of the Sandy Damage

Well, the last of the Hurricane Sandy Damage to our trees is finally cleaned up.  The township picked up the small piles at the beginning of the week and Rich Tree Service cut down and took the rest yesterday.  The stump will be ground after the soggy ground dries out.  The siding and roofing estimates continue... insurance is such a hassle.  So very thankful and glad this all it is; we cannot begin to empathize enough for others, my goodness.
There was some rot but decided to take down the whole ash to mitigate overall risk since the bark began to swell, leak, and the tree was listing to one side... towards the house!  We'll plant anew in the spring.

Does anyone have thoughts for a not-too-dense shade tree that is also not overly fruit or nut messy, can handle a western sun, but also not terribly exotic so it retains a woodland appearance and is also a road-salt friendly shade tree?  
Quite the list but maybe Santa or you have an idea on how to fill that list.  
Thanks in advance if you do! 

more pics....

So cute - Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!


Fall vacation day visits to the NJ Beach & Longwood Garden

We took off some days in October for day trips, under the jump are some photos.  We were so fortunate to spend two of the warmest days of autumn down at the NJ shore not knowing what was to come in a few days with Hurricane Sandy.

Oct 18th - Point Pleasant Beach and antique shops.
Oct 20th - found an awesome patchwork chair on casters for the family room by Ralph Lauren Home.
Oct 21st - Long Wood Gardens and antiquing
Oct 22nd - Island Beach State Park
More photos....

Laundry room make-over

Even though our house was built in 1965 we didn't expect what would be waiting for us...
... .. . in the laundry room!

Goldfinch in the thistle

We decided to let the thistle just grow to its thorny content outside the sunroom.
Oooh, who do you see Simon?



Weekend Journey through the Past - Somerset County

These are our photos from this past weekend visiting sites of the Weekend Journey through the Past in Somerset County NJ.  This was our 3rd year and finally have seen every site, including the 4 new additions this year.  We're really looking forward to starting over next year again!
Queen's Bridge going into South Bound Brook

Enjoy the pics!

New oil paintings and coffee table

Some days when you're not looking for something there comes a day you find exactly what you're not looking for... plus, the thing you were actually looking for; niiice!

A visit to the Rudolf W. Van Der Goot Rose Garden

On the last August Sunday afternoon we decided to go visit the last of the roses in bloom at the recently restored Rose Garden in Somerset, NJ and also view bits of the garden for inspiration in advance of fall planting since the surrounding park is that of a specimen garden in the English style of landscape architecture.
More photos....


Terrarium advice & terrarium birthday theme

It has been a busy last few weeks...

First off, a formal thank you and hats off to The Fern & Mossery for taking the time to give incredibly thoughtful and inspiring advice for our terrarium troubles.  If you're having terrarium troubles, finding conflicting advice either online or in books on how-to terrarium, do check these tips and how-tos:

Proper Moss Placement
Ferns in Terrariums
Proper Temps in Terrariums

Ideally over Labor Day weekend we can take this all in and get the Ranch resettled with new green moss and ferns before autumn arrives.

In the meantime, despite being a little nutty lately, we did celebrate a terrific
terrarium themed birthday .....................................


Terrariums... again!

New lessons learned - picking up where the terrariums left off from last time..

1.  Packed in too many ferns & moss in the larger containers.  So while less is a bore, more... is too much sometimes.  Slightly less is just right; but really no less or no more.  Everyone is happily replanted within their own spaces.

2.  Getting the moss & fern soil mix right was a bit tricky on the first time but since the second round it has been just right.  Adding in the spaghnum moss mixed with the soil really helps the soil and glass from getting overly wet, which the moss like for a drier habitat, but the terrarium itself needs watered maybe slightly more for the ferns to be truly happy.

3.  We like the house to be cold in summer, especially for sleeping, well, moss and ferns do not.  So there'll be some thermostat negotiations... by winter everyone should be quite pleased.

The latest how-to pics are inside here...


Ev'rything is satisfactual

The dogwood in the front yard has one naked branch
that needs to be pruned.
But a certain blue bird loves to perch on it year round.
So, the branch remains for our blue bird visitor. 

The blue bird hung around for thirty minutes so there's many more photos from various angles inside....

Cute wildlife in the yard

A baby hawk stretches it's wings on a telephone poll nearby, a baby deer eating clover, a wren over watching it's house, and a orangy yellow butterfly in the front garden...

The pictures are inside...

More fun bits!

Another great weekend of cool finds!

A cute basket, tea cup set, pottery, winter holiday cards and decorations, plus other various bits ... 
...$12.00 total.
Close ups inside...... 


New dresser & side table make waves

Picked up this great dresser at Tess Home, it's the entire reason to go to the beach off-season.  Ok, well, that it's easier to get in line for fries at the boardwalk and the beach isn't crowded is just an added bonus.

Summer and the crowds totally crush waves like this, gotta go off season.

more of each below the fold....


Spotted shell wreath update + Chalk Board mirror

Remember the spotted shells that started this adventure?   Well, here is the final + a great reveal on an old mirror turned into a chalk board.
Awww, so cute!
This old mirror is now a chalkboard.
The bonus to painting mirror vs wood
is the satisfying chalk tck, tck, tck, noise
as you write on it like slate.
A cute hook to hold a haversack of chalk.
Full view, chalk & board.

Portobello Burgers

A few weekends ago we just drooled watching Primal Grill on the Create Channel.  The episode called "Vegetarians on the Grill' was right up our alley... this is our variation on Steven Raichlen's Chipotle Portobello Burgers.
Marinating in the corningware.

Cooked bottom of the portabello

Layers top to bottom:  gloucester cheese, grilled poblano pepper,
jersey tomato, avacado, habenero & yellow squash marinade.

Our variation and more pics....