Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall in All Its Glory

The view out of our loft bedroom windows this morning.
We had a surprise day off today because we managed to finish an expected two-day landscape job in one long day for a super nice couple who have a beautiful yard out in Cleveland, Tenn. Despite our aching muscles and fierce leg cramps, we celebrated with our usual morning walk with Nick the Dog through the falling leaves of the season. The shot above was the view this morning out of our windows from the loft. (Sorry if the focus is lame; I shot through the filthy window.)

As you might imagine, there's no chance of trick-or-treaters out here tonight, but we do plan to carve a pumpkin. And also toast my mother, who celebrated a landmark birthday today. (Note: Everyone in my family was born on a holiday except for me. Yes, I am bitter.)

And we leave you with the colors of fall from today's walk:

Mostly maples, but also a sourwood, a hickory.
Hello? Beautiful!
A back corner of our property
My boys, up by the "lake."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Busy Season

Some landscape designing, with the help of Mom's gifts of colored pencils and fancy pens.
Fall's the best time to plant here in Tennessee, and that means I've been blazin' busy. For the past month, I've added an extra day every week at the nursery job. Lots of folks have been coming in wanting major landscape designs, and of course then they want someone to come plant it for them. So Mason and I have picked up a little side work. (Lucky Mason: "These are supposed to be my golden years," he keeps saying. "You're killing me!") Then there's all the planting to be done around OUR house. ...

This was taken a week ago. It looks better now. And yes, the leaf  raking has begun.
So we got the last little patch of lawn seeded, and most of it is coming in great. And I'm dragging home plants from work (to Mason's dismay) to keep filling in the acre of dirt sourrounding our Home Sweet Hovel. Most of the plants have been perennials that are looking a bit haggard from a summer of sitting in little pots. I really need to invest in some major shrubs ... but all in due time.

What's Mason been up to, you ask? Fixing cars, generators and refrigerators. And brewing beer. And building out-of-control bonfires. And digging holes for me, poor man.

So I leave you with a gorgeous aster blooming at the corner of our well house. It was yet another gift from Craig, whose own garden is to die for.

My lovely aster.  Love the purple against the brown fence.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Home Sweet Hovel

The new lawn will start in the upper right corner of this photo.
After a three-week break from Flat Top, it sure is good to be home again. And I'm pretty sure not 24 hours had gone by before I launched into my fall lawn-seeding project. This will be the last patch of lawn we'll be putting in. (I kinda doubt that, sez Mason.) It will circle the so-called "tiki bar" area (which has no tiki theme, nor a bar yet, so we might should consider a new name). 

The new patch of lawn will lead out past the well house to the forthcoming veggie garden area, which is slated for spring 2014, but we'll need to build a deer fence around it, so it may not happen until the following year. It also will lead out to the guest cabin that I SWEAR is still on the project list.

As for fall, only the sumacs have turned red so far, but it's definitely in the air. The days are still warm, but the nights are cooling off. Last night we had a lovely bonfire, compliments of Mason and the massive pine tree he took down this summer.
That's the fire raging in the background, with Mason tending it.
In the foreground is a cool yellow sunflower given to me by my cool co-worker Craig.

Mesmerizing, isn't it? For scale, that firepit is about 8 feet wide.
As for those weeks away from Flat Top, they were a blast. Texas was all about eating all of Mason's favorite foods -- and a few of mine -- and seeing family. Then we trekked to Minnesota for the first time in three years and were feted with a fabulous bonfire party by former coworkers, helped spring a surprise 50th birthday party for a close friend and played tennis for the first time in eight years (a note to fellow players: the butt bruise is still six inches around and a lovely, through now fading, magenta.)

Me, Courtnay and gracious hostess Catherine
around the bonfire, sometime well after midnight.

Courtnay, Michiela and me, after much-needed girl time at the mall.
(And yes, I need to teach Mason how to focus the damn camera.)

Your friends from Flat Top.

We miss all those close friends and thank them all for their wonderful hospitality, and are amazed how many have already made the trip here to Flat Top, our home sweet home, aka our hovel sweet hovel ...