From My Carolina Home

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A Quilt Garden, Dreaming of Flowers in Winter

I’ve been saving this post for a couple of months to give us some flowers to see in deep winter.  These pics are from my visit to the NC Arboretum last spring for the Lego Exhibit.  There is so much to do and see there, that you cannot do it all in one post.  One of my favorite things at the NC Arboretum is the Quilt Garden. The staff changes this every year, so it is different each spring. The Quilt Garden is a grid of planting squares surrounded by concrete strips. It gives the impression of quilt blocks surrounded by sashing. There are even cornerstones in the sashing made of stone. Last spring the quilt blocks were butterflies.

Quilt Garden at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

There is a viewing balcony you can walk up to see the garden from a higher view.

Quilt Garden at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

A close up view of one of the butterfly blocks.

Quilt Garden at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

And here is the other block.

Quilt Garden at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

The same small purple flower was used as the ‘background’ in both blocks.  I think it is a dianthus. These are Agearatums.

Quilt Garden at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

It is a lovely place to sit and just enjoy being outdoors. It is relatively quiet here too, depending on the number of visitors at the time.

Quilt Garden at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

All over the Arboretum are gorgeous flowers in the spring and summer.  Their pots of mixed flowers are such an inspiration for my veranda pots.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

This bromeliad garden was in full bloom.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

This rooftop garden was a surprise. The hydrangea bush next to it has a multitude of blooms.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

Springtime means lots of pollinators are out in abundance.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

This fascinating little guy is a Hummingbird Moth. This was the first one I have ever seen, and there were dozens of them on these purple flowers – perhaps a variety of impatiens.  Phlox!

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

Beautiful isn’t it?  I entered this photo in the State Fair photography contest, but it didn’t get a ribbon.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

Here’s another hummingbird moth on a different flower.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

There are wonderful hiking trails on the property, and we had a nice walk in the woods that day too.

Arboretum Hiking Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

Of course, I took about a hundred pictures!! There was just so much beauty everywhere. Something about walking in the woods, with green everywhere is just so relaxing.

Arboretum Hiking Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

Occasionally you’ll come across a real surprise too, like this giant mushroom. It was a bright bit of yellow color in an otherwise mostly green landscape.  I love the moss behind it on the tree trunk.

Wild Mushroom at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

Heading back to the car, we kept going by lovely masses of color.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

I love white flowers. I think these are a variety of stephanotis.  Phlox!

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

One last stop, the Mason bee garden.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

Mason bees are non-aggressive, solitary bees that make their homes in holes in trees or bark, or wood. You can actually attract them to your garden with a bee house made of wood tubes.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

Purple petunias were almost done.

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

Here and there you can see the mountains surrounding the arboretum through the hedges. The statue is of Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., who first thought of an arboretum as part of a plan for the Biltmore Estate gardens.

Quilt Garden at NC Arboretum ~ From My Carolina Home

These red beauties were in a huge pot near the visitor’s center.  I should have taken a picture of the identification card, I am not sure what these are.  But the red color was just vibrant! (Update – Salvia)

NC Arboretum Flower Trails ~ From My Carolina Home

The NC Arboretum is definitely a place to visit, in many different times of the year.  The early spring is really beautiful with all the bulbs in bloom, and I hope to get there this year at the right time.

My amaryllis is making good progress now! This picture was taken Saturday, and I should have a bloom soon. Looking at it this close kind of reminds me of the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, LOL!!

Amaryllis bulb year 4 a

Are you dreaming of flowers and springtime?  Is there an arboretum near you?

 

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Winter White

Now that the holidays are truly over, I like to create a cleaner space after the clutter of the autumn season followed by Christmas.  For me, going to to an all white decor is a rest for the eyes before getting to the rich Valentine reds  and Mardi Gras colors of February. The snow over the weekend helped set the mood too, and our pub table is now decked out in all white.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

I found these darling little mitten ornaments with snowflakes at the thrift store, and they had four! So, of course they become napkin ring ornaments.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

The placemats are my vintage Battenberg lace ones, with the white French Country dinnerware. I added a little white sauce dish at the top. It can hold some teriyaki or horseradish sauce for a pork roast dinner.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

In the center, a white rabbit planter holds the white poinsettia from the holidays. It is still growing, and I turned the silver side of the wrapper out.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

On either side are white pillar candles in the cut glass holders I’ve had for many years. I found the white iridescent beads at the thrift store too, and lay them around the center for a bit of sparkle.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

Another thrift store find, this little snowflake candle holder is a perfect addition to the other side of the centerpiece.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

Here’s a wider view of the whole table.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

White is the theme all through the house, with this display on the kitchen counter. The white colander holds a new white candle in a lovely scent called Winter Garden. The white salt and pepper are within easy grasp sitting on a lace placemat.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

In the den, I put the White Mini Quilt on the stand, adding white candles on the side. My white reindeer stays out all winter, and this year he sits regally near the quilt. The little pine cone next to him is a candle with glitter, too pretty to burn.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

In a corner, the antique table usually holds a quilt, but for January it displays another Battenburg runner.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

On the coffee table, I placed the Snowflake runner from last year, with a Fenton candy dish, my depression glass American potpourri dish, and a book of Andrew Wyeth art. The cover shot is one of my all time favorite paintings.

Winter White at From My Carolina Home

Outside, the snow filled up the feeder Saturday morning so the birds were having a hard time. It was dark and the snow was still falling when I got up Saturday.

January Snow 2017 2

You can see on the top of the feeder how many inches we got, which is on the driveway too.

January Snow 2017 4

The blue jay managed to unhook the suet feeder from the clip, not on purpose, and it plopped into the snow. When DH saw that, he put on earmuffs, gloves, heavy coat and Wellies and got out the ladder to fix it.

January Snow 2017 7

He brushed all the snow out of the feeder, and replaced the suet feeder. I scattered some seed on the ground for the ground feeder birds and we went back in to watch. Very shortly, the cardinal landed for a bite, while a woodpecker went for the suet.

January Snow 2017 9

A titmouse on the feeder,

January Snow 2017 12

and juncos on the ground.

January Snow 2017 10

Everybody that wanted a meal got some food.

January Snow 2017 14

Later in the day, the sun came out. It was a beautiful clear blue sky.

January Snow 2017 17

Just look at the icicles on the roof!

January Snow 2017 19

Then, on Sunday, the boys were back for another handout. One was really strutting his stuff, cluck-purring and fanning his tail.  He was really preening for a tidbit.

Turkeys in the Snow 4

DH thought I’d lost my mind as I made them a peanut butter sandwich and fed it to them in small bites thrown onto the snow. They need the extra protein and calories when it is only 27 degrees outside.

Turkeys in the Snow 6

I’m still not going anywhere soon. The driveway is still several inches deep in snow.  Hopefully the sun will melt it before Wednesday as I have two meetings that day!

Turkeys in the Snow 5

In the meantime, I’ll be sewing and crafting!

What’s going on where you live?  Do you enjoy Winter White?

 

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Winter Projects

We had our first snow of the season beginning Friday afternoon.  It started earlier than expected, and I was happy to get my appointments done, attend a memorial service, and get DH from the airport before the road froze.  After we were home for half an hour or so, I saw that the turkeys were back again!  I was delighted as I have missed seeing them. I counted at least nine, and maybe more in the woods. They were in the meadow, and weren’t moving around much. Of course, I couldn’t resist seeing if the two males would come when called.  The snow was falling in fat flakes drifting down.

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

I wish I had brought out the camera fully booted up and ready as I missed getting the two of them running toward me. They made a bee line for me as soon as they saw me and heard me call to them. I had the bread ready, but not the camera. It was funny to see them come straight at me at a dead run! The rest of the birds stayed in the meadow and watched, no one else was willing to take a chance, so these two got all the treats.

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

They made their purring and clucking sounds while I fed them several pieces of bread.  I think I should give them names, don’t you?  Maybe Bert and Ernie?  or Butch and Sundance?  Any suggestions?

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

It was blasted cold, around 27 degrees with snow still falling. And they just kept making circles and purring, so of course I had to give them another slice. Next time, I think I’ll put some peanut butter on the bread to give them some extra protein and calories against the cold.

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

The larger male does get very colorful as his head become more blue and the wattles get red as he struts around. I do think he is preening to get more goodies. It works too.

Turkeys Visit in January ~ From My Carolina Home

Last night, it was really coming down hard with blustery wind.

January snow Friday night2

Now that it is white outside, I want to show you some white inside. While putting away the holiday decorations, DH found a wreath in the garage that I forgot I even had!  Well, the ribbon was crushed and certainly the red flowers were needing a lift.

Wreath Winter White 1

So, I decided to rework it completely for a winter wreath. I am in the mood this month for white, as I usually do in January. White decor and cleaning up the clutter is like a refreshing break from the frenzy of the holidays. I pulled off all the elements, and then cleaned up the excess glue on the wreath.

Wreath Winter White 2

I know I have shown you how to make a bow before. This time I centered it at the top, glueing the streamers under it, using a wonderful silver color wire edge ribbon from the estate sale box. White silk poinsettia flowers were added to each side. In keeping with the clean and simple theme, I stopped there.

Wreath Winter White 5

Hanging it up, it will remain through the winter.

January White 32

One other thing I did was paint some pine cones.  These aren’t as easy to paint as you’d think.  I began with a white primer paint spraying them from the top.

Pine Cone Project 1

Then I realized that most of the pine cone you see is the underside of the petals.  So, turning them on their sides, I sprayed the undersides of the petals.

Pine Cone Project 4

I’ll be using these in a tablescape coming soon.

Pine Cone Project 3

Back outside this morning, it is obvious that we won’t be going anywhere for a while. The forecast was for 3-5 inches, but this looks like more than that.

January Snow Saturday Dawn

This was near dawn this morning, I love the winter wonderland. Good thing I stocked the pantry last week!  We are expecting a bit more snow this morning too!  There are massive power outages in the area, we are not affected.  We have a whole house generator in case it does go out so I can still sew and do some cooking.  I am going to post this while we have the internet just in case.  It was 20 degrees when I took these pictures.

January Snow Saturday Dawn 2

Being snowed in means I can get some sewing done! I have Scrap Dance Waltz loaded and I’ll share that soon as it did present a challenge.  Wild Card Weekend means lots of football on the schedule for the next two days! Maybe I can get some hand work started too.

Do you have any projects going for January?

 

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December Mountain Living

We had a real cold snap last weekend, and as much as I’d love a white Christmas, it isn’t in the forecast for this year.  Somehow, the cold makes the skies crisp at night, lots of stars out to see.   Occasionally, I have a bout of insomnia, and this particular morning I was glad, as the sunrise over the mountains to the east of ours was spectacular.  Rain was on the way, and dawn brought brilliant color to the sky, seen through the architecture of the bare trees.

December Dawn 1

The wider view was difficult to get the brilliance of the dawn, but you can see the color was most of the horizon over the mountains.

December Dawn 3

Out in the valley, the color there was beautiful as well.  My camera just doesn’t do this justice, I’d need a wide angle lens to show you the true grandeur of this moment.

December Dawn 4

Our avian visitors have been eating us out of birdseed, emptying the feeder in just a few days rather than over a week.  I am thinking some of the other neighbors have stopped filling their feeders for the winter, so these guys are hungry.  We have such a wide variety right now too, titmice and nuthatches, cardinals and chickadees share the feeder, sometimes with 8 or 9 on the feeder at once. I managed to get one shot of seven at once – two chickadees, two nuthatches, and three goldfinches.

December Bird visitors 4

The goldfinches are regular visitors, wearing their duller brown coats for winter.

December Bird visitors 7

A blue jay comes around from time to time.

December Bird visitors 1

But the biggest surprise was seeing a pileated woodpecker gobbling up the suet.  He made short work of a lot of the seed in the feeder too.

December Pileated Woodpecker 1

I could not believe he could land on such a small spot!

December Pileated Woodpecker 2

The crows finished off the pumpkin and DH threw away the shells.  This week I put out the insides of a spaghetti squash and they brought their buddies to polish off the treat.  I think the squirrels got some of it as well.

December Crows 2

December Crows 4

Then these guys showed up.  Robins!!  In winter!

December Robins 4

There were more than a dozen of them, and I got pics of some of the individuals.  They were scattered over the lawn and the meadow, in the trees and down the driveway.

December Robins 3

I couldn’t get a clear picture of the group, and they were gone in an hour.  DH thinks they are migrating south, but I thought they would have done that by now, unless we are near the end of the journey.  It has been too warm through fall so maybe they stayed longer than usual.

December Robins 2

We had doves and towhees stop by in the last few days too, but no pictures, they flew off when they sensed movement.  DH saw a purple finch on the feeder last weekend. The cardinal finally showed up again, I have missed him and his lady.

December Bird visitors 6

The turkeys haven’t been by in more than two weeks, so I think they have moved on for the winter.  I was saving some bread for them, but I think I’ll spread my mixture of bacon fat and peanut butter on the slices and press birdseed into them for the suet feeder.

Are you feeding birds now?  Who is visiting at your place?

 

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The Last Bit of Autumn on the Mountain

Autumn is breathing it’s last now, the leaves are almost gone. The smoke was thick on Thanksgiving morning, and the pictures were just so interesting, I had to find a time to share them with you.  Usually the only time I can get a good picture of all the layers is when there is fog, but the smoke was settling in the valley so the hills were more apparent.

Thanksgiving 2016 Wildfire smoke 2

Beautiful and frightening at the same time, isn’t it?  Thankfully, the rain this past week helped to get the North Carolina wildfires contained, and the air a bit clearer. The fires aren’t threatening homes or businesses at this point, and will burn themselves out over the next couple of weeks. Although I lament the loss of the gorgeous forest land, we have been lucky. The wildfires in Tennessee have been much worse, and our thoughts are with the families of Gatlinburg.

Thanksgiving 2016 Wildfire smoke 1

It has been pretty cold in the mornings, and this little dove is twice his normal size with his feathers all fluffed up.  DH put up a cage feeder to keep them out because they are pigs and will drive off all the little birds.  It is OK with me if they want to feed off the ground.

Dove

I decided to put out a suet cake using my Suet Recipe to help the little birds stay warm.

Bird feeder November 1

There are so many different birds visiting the feeder, they are emptying it completely in just a few days. DH filled it up while they all waited in queue in the trees. They descended on it in full as soon as he put the ladder away.

Bird feeder November 3

The last bit of color on the driveway on Thanksgiving was lovely with the morning sun.

Autumn 2016 November 3

One last look at lovely leaves in the sunlight, before the trees are bare for winter.

Autumn 2016 November 5

Sunrise over the neighboring mountain to the east last Sunday.

Autumn 2016 November sunrise

I’ve been decorating, baking and crafting in anticipation of my MIL being here this weekend.  We are having a nice visit, and I’ll share some of the fun next week.

What’s going on around your place?  Do you still have fall color (those in the northern hemisphere)?

 


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Dealing With Those Pumpkins, and a bit of Mountain Living

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is done and we are well into Christmas decorating, the orange pumpkins need to go.  Baking the little pie pumpkin is easy, and will provide wonderful fresh pumpkin for use in recipes.  All you need to do is cut the pumpkin into halves and scoop out the seeds.

Pumpkins 1

Place cut side down in a baking dish.

Pumpkins 2

Place in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

Pumpkins 3

Scoop out the pumpkin, it will be the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Pumpkins 4

I store it in a container, for a day or two until I can get to baking. I measured the output of this little pumpkin, it came to 2-1/2 cups of fresh pumpkin. The aroma is wonderful, fresh and no preservatives!

Pumpkins 5

So, what to do with the other jack-o-lantern pumpkin? I didn’t want to just throw it away. We don’t have a zoo nearby to give it to, did you know that hippos love pumpkins? On the advice of a few readers, I decided to split it open and put it out for the turkeys. I sprinkled it with birdseed, also a reader suggestion, thank you Linda, Susan and Valerie.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 1

Then the stupid turkeys didn’t show up that day. So the little birds got all the seed. The next morning, I saw the turkeys in the meadow, and walked out to the veranda with a piece of whole wheat bread, and called to them. They came directly up to get their handout.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 2

Then they spent half an hour pecking at the ground, and walking around the pumpkins.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 3

Circling around and ignoring the orange treat, they were making that cluck-purring sound.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 4

Pumpkins for Turkeys 5

After a while, I got bored, and went down to the sewing room. A bit later, DH called me up to see them actually eating the pumpkin.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 7

I didn’t want to disturb them, so I took a couple of pictures from inside the house.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 10

First one, then the other one got a beak full.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 11

Oh, and I have to tell you a funny thing!  Our mailbox is down the mountain from the house so it is rare for the postal delivery guy to actually come up here.  But yesterday, the box from Back Side Fabrics wouldn’t fit in the box so he brought it up.  I heard this noise out in the front, and came up from the basement and out to the veranda to see what the commotion was.  The two male turkeys were trying really hard to run him off, and I had to laugh as they chased him around his jeep pecking at him and gobbling really loud.  Then he turned around and began to chase them off, yelling and waving his arms around.  When he came up to the house, winded, with my box, he said they had followed him from the house down the hill, running behind his jeep the whole way up the mountain!  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I encourage them to stay, LOL, or that the pumpkin halves in the yard were for them!  Nor did I tell him that they chased my car down the hill as I went out earlier in the week, feathers fluffed, tails up and gobbling the whole way.  They are getting really bold.

Anyway, now that I have the pumpkin all baked and ready to use in a recipe, I need to decide what to do with it.  The links below are to my original pumpkin recipes.  Which would you choose?

Spiced Pumpkin Cake Donuts

Spiced Pumpkin Cake Donuts at From My Carolina Home

Pumpkin Orange Bread

Pumpkin Orange Bread ~ From My Carolina Home

Do you have a leftover pumpkin?


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Late November Garden

Cold outside means the garden moves inside.  After leaving my violets out on the veranda all summer, they finally decided to bloom again! I had forgotten the color of the lovely purple and white variegated blooms.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

I am thrilled, finally I think I have figured out what they really need to bloom. The other one is a velvety purple.

Flowers in Late November

My Thanksgiving Cactus bloomed for the holiday this year beautifully too. I love these unusual flowers.  This was a gift from a dear friend, and I am amazed that I have kept it alive and blooming every year for over 10 years now!

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

I learned that although I originally believed this to be a Christmas Cactus, it has the spiky leaves which makes it a Thanksgiving Cactus, blooming usually in November.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

It has several flower colors all in the same pot, purple, pink, red, yellow and white.

Flowers in Late November

Flowers in Late November

On the veranda, in spite of the sub-freezing temperatures of the past few nights, the white begonias are still blooming like mad. All the pots are still going. I stopped watering them for about a week after DH turned off the water outside to prevent the pipes from freezing. Still, the little guys continued. Yesterday, I watered the ones still going with a pitcher.

Late November veranda 2

The red dianthus are still blooming too, they should have finished up a month ago.

Late November veranda 5

The chrysanthemums got a drink too.  Their colors are fading, and I should dry some of the flowers for use later.

Late November veranda 1

Late November veranda 4

Time for the pumpkin to go, I think. But, before we leave the Autumn season, here’s one more last look at sunlit autumn color.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

These leaves are still hanging on, but coming down fast.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

Lovely autumn color, finally here, and gone too soon.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

I have been seeing the turkeys several times a day now. The two males have again separated from the flock, and forage on their own. I have been getting them used to seeing me, and just this past week began talking to them. They make the most wonderful little cluck-purring noise, like they are talking back, and they no longer run away when they see me. So, on Thanksgiving, I stepped slowly onto the veranda while they were visiting and gave them a piece of whole wheat bread, broken up into a few pieces. They were wary but they did eat it. One gave a nice display of his tail feathers, and puffed up, probably to signal that he was ready to do battle if necessary.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

After a couple of mornings giving them a bite, not only are they not afraid of me anymore, but they come running when they see me! It is fun. I don’t plan to continue this long, as I don’t want to make them into pets. I certainly respect the fact that they are wild and should continue to be so.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

But, for a day or two, I’ll feed the turkeys as well as the little birds.  I wonder if they might eat that pumpkin?  Today, and this week I’ll be packing up Thanksgiving and getting out Christmas.  I’ll be simmering a pot of turkey soup while watching football and piddling around collecting up the autumn decor. My MIL is coming in five days, and I want to get to Christmas decorating and setting a pretty table for her visit.  Plus, I have some blocks to do for Waltz!  So, I better get busy.

What’s going on around your home today?