The simple pleasures of home shine brighter
when the spirit of God intertwines our hearts
with His gentle Joy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fine Feathered Dining!

Welcome to Fine Feathered Dining . . .
                                                  On Crooked Creek!

This Spring ~ I went, totally, out of my comfort zone ~ and stagged this fine feathered tablescape for our dining pleasure On Crooked Creek. A tribute to our fine feathered friends.

Instead of my usual reds, golds and greens;
                                    I used this years aquas, browns and creams!

I purchased this cream hued tablecloth right after Christmas. I knew it would be the perfect background for my salad/dessert plates featuring a single bluebird perched on a raised tree  branch.

The brown, quilted, scalloped placemats and aqua napkins were a great find while out thrift shopping at my favorite discount outlet store.

My Homer Laughlin Epicure Collection in Turquoise Blue continues to thrill me! Here I've used the dinner plates along with cup and saucer.

The bee stemware adds to the whimisical Nature theme. A new addition is the cream hued bowl with raised bird nest.

The crystal etched vase holds faux blooming branches. I adore how it reflecks the outdoor sunshine! A trio of ivory birds on pedestal perches give movement and interest.

Dotsie @ Podso gifted me with this saucer that matches my accent Gold Crown Lifetime China Co. Aqua China. I appreciate her thinking of me! Dotsie. . .I just had to incorporate this saucer into the tablescape!!!


I added some efferescent faux grass and faux eggs.
                                             Then I palced a soft Spring wreath on top.

I nestled this at the base of the birds to add softness to the table.

I stacked my scalloped green dinner plates onto my two ~ tier plate stand with two of my favorite cream colored serving bowls. Totaly smitten with the leaf pattern, my heart was all a flutter when I found them at a local half~priced store!

This wicker basket, much like other stationary pieces On Crooked Creek, changes with the seasons. Faux tree branches, just beginning to bud, gently holds this faux birds nest. I adore its tin can rustic features. Another connection to our fine feathered friends.

Dining for two. . .

 with our fine feathered friends. . .

                                                                                        On Crooked Creek!

Until next time. . .

Fine Feathered Dining. . .  
is joining our hostesses Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for
Table Top Tuesday 

Susan @ Between Naps On the Porch for
Tablescape Thursday !

. . .please visit both blog spots today
     and be inspired to create new and inviting decor ideas as you feather your own nest!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spiritual Garden ~ Revisted. . .

Most all of the plantings in the back yard gardens On Crooked Creek are in soothing shades of greens, creamy whites ~ buttery yellows and suttle purple hues. Calming and serene.

The reasoning behind the color palette is due, in part, to my previous employment as a middle school para educator. I needed rest ~ and ~ relaxation after dealing with challenging students throughout the day. Also, due to the huge volumes of traffic that goes with living off a State Highway access road. . . and oh, yes. . .then there's the railroad track and the municipal airport flight pattern. Needless to say, soothing hues were definitely in order!

Since my retirement from 33 years as an educator, we've begun to add a few additional hints of pink. Our 1970's Ranch~Style home was overgrown with mature plantings when we arrived On Crooked Creek. "Mr. Ed" , our son and daughter~in~law, and I spent one entire Spring ridding the property of dying trees and bushes. We were desperately trying to enhance the surviving landscape.

Earlier in the Spring, I posted The Spiritual Garden by Rosamond, Lady Langham. I have, truly, found solace and peace On Crooked Creek. And this Spring. . .so did someone else!

While directing the orchestration of this years Herb Garden and a newly developing Fairy Garden, I came upon this discovery. My eyes turned upward to the massive Cottonwood Tree ~ and then ~the Sweet Gum Tree. Since the fullness of the lush leaves on our trees, it was impossible to find the nest. Or so I thought. . .

The very next day, while looking out my window, I noticed something orange in my delicate pink, flowering Crab Tree. I went out onto the deck for a closer look and there at the fork in the branches of that delicate tree sat a robin on her nest.

This time when I came outdoors, I was armed with the two~step ladder and camera. Beware. . . I was dangerously close to wildlife to capture these shots. The second shot is blurred because as I was photo shooting ~ MaMa Robin to the rescue. She frightened me!!!

Directly above my head ~ she is r e a l l y upset with me!
Good thing I couldn't understand a chirp she said. . . but notice her beak. . .and l o u d !!!  From that day on, I never revisited the nest. I honored her motherhood and kept my distance.

Returning from a weekend trip, I couldn't see any movement in the nest. Closer observation affirmed my suspicions. The baby Robins had left the nest.

I miss seeing those little Robins with their beaks perched upward awaiting MaMa Robin's a~la~carte menu.

I miss their soft high pitched chirping.
I miss MaMa Robin's stern look darting its warnings towards me.

I'm thankful for the Robin's nest.
Thankful that the nest was revealed to me.
Thankful for its discretely hidden existence in our garden.

Thankful for the empty nest~
evidence of their visit On Crooked Creek.

Until next time. . .

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thyme For Herbs. . .

If you would be happy
        all of your life ~
       plant a garden.
              ~ Anonymous

Now that the outdoor temperatures have turned more seasonable~
the herbs are beginning to fill in their spaces On Crooked Creek.

Nearly 15 years ago, I received a Chive as a gift from the classroom Teacher where I was a Teacher~aide. For the better part of the first year, the home for my Chive was a terra~cotta clay pot. Then for Christmas, I received a gift subscription to The Herb Companion. Deep within each issue, I became more knowledgeable and intrigued about these "helpful" plants.

A Spring Tour of a nearby greenhouse found the back of my Ford Explorer filled with all the ingredients of a Kitchen Herb Garden ~ leading "Mr. Ed" to believe my outdoor table on the patio wasn't large enough to contain the variety of herbs I'd purchased!

Armed with treated cedar, electric drill and saw, galvanized deck screws and lengths of rebar combined with the photocopied blueprints of Alison Witt, a gardener and building whiz at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, "Mr. Ed" began creating the designed compact three ~ tier herb planter. The finished planter measures 3 feet ~ by ~ 3 feet and is approximately 2 feet high.

The planter consist of 3 square boxes. The 3 squares sit atop each other. Set the largest 3 X 3 square on the prepared soil and fill the frame to the top with 3 parts top soil blended with  1 part compost.  Place the middle frame diagonally on the lower frame and fill with the same mixture.Then place the top frame diagonally on the middle frame and fill once again. Pot each pocket ~ 9 in all~ with the herbs of your choice.

Basil ~
Hm~m~m. . .sweet Basil,
how I adore basil freshly picked and chopped in green Spring salads!

Chive ~
Oh~h~h. . .creamy Chive,
how I crave chopped chive and butter on a croissant!
(Maurice enjoys a chomp of chive, ch~ew!)

Dill ~
Divinely. . . delicious dill on my baked and grilled chicken, in decant chicken salad and dreamy, creamy potato soup!
(Newly planted this patient, please!)

Parsley ~
Pristine. . .peppery parsley taste for salads, roasted vegetables, Italian lasagna and spaghetti sauce!

Oregano ~
Only I have nO clue why I bOught this herb Or hOw tO use it!
Any suggestions???

Rosemary ~
Robust. . . rosemary flavor, especially on oven roasted red skinned potatoes!

Sage ~
Simply. . . sage for show!
Serenity abounds from its scent and silvery leaves.

Thyme ~
Tiny. . .thyme robust leaves with teeny white aromatic blossoms.
Tasty in chicken tenders!

Pat's Herb Butter:
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped basil
1 Teaspoon freshly chopped chive
1Teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
1Teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea Salt to taste

*Finely chop herbs.
*Cream the butter and gently blend in herbs,
 lemon juice and sea salt.
*Shape as desired and chill ~or freeze up to 6 months!

*Serve on french bread, croissants, roasted vegetables. . .
 The possibilities are endless!

If you would be happy
         all of your life~
plant an herb garden.


Until next time. . .

On Crooked Creek is joining Tam @ The  Gypsys Corner for Three Or More Tuesday!
Be sure to visit all the participants for a variety of threes to see!