September 1, 2013


I realize that it has been over a year since I last posted on this blog. Where did the time go?  On several occasions,  I thought about posting what was going on in the garden, but when it came down to it, I was too busy and tired to stop and write it down. That is my excuse and I'm sticking to it! Seriously, the past 18 months have been a whirlwind of activity with new projects that have occupied most of my free time and at times left me both frustrated and overwhelmed in trying to complete projects and at the same time trying to stay caught up with routine maintenance and tasks (watering, fertilizing, mowing, pruning, and planting in the garden).  All this in addition to working a full time job and the business I do from my home has left little time for posting and maintaining a blog. Now that I have my excuses out of the way, I will endeavor to revisit and update events that have occurred since my last post.

Where I left off............... June 2012

Visit to Delois and Harold Dunn's Day Lily Farm.

July 2012: Some of the new beds I started in March and plants that I had moved from our previous house.

Aug. 2012: Too hot to do anything! Tried to stay cool in the pool,

Sept. 2012: Received our new chicken coop and chickens. Installed electrified netting fence to enclose the coop and allow chickens free range of the enclosure.  This is a chicken tractor that can be moved to a new area every few weeks to rejuvenate the area and provide new foraging for the chickens.

Oct. 2012 :  On the 9th of October we had our new garden shed delivered and set up.

Oct. 18th - Oct .30th: Mediterranean Cruise:  Flew into Barcelona Spain, sailed from Barcelona to Toulon (Provence) where we took a bus to Aix Provence where Paul Cezanne lived and painted. The next day we sailed to Nice/Villefranche and took a bus to Monaco and took a tour of the Palace. We also saw the Church where Grace Kelley and Prince Phillip are buried. The next day we toured  Florence and Pisa. We went to the Florence Cathedral where Michelangelo and Galileo are buried. We had some fantastic gelato at one of the local shops. The following day we traveled to Rome and took a tour of St. Peter's Archbasilica and the Vatican.  The trip to Rome took us through the Tuscan countryside which was very picturesque.  Our last port of call was Naples on the Amalfi  Coast. We traveled to the little town of Sorrento where we toured a working farm and watched some ladies make mozzarella by hand.  We then traveled to Pompeii at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. We sailed back to Barcelona which concluded our cruise.  Our flight out of Barcelona was cancelled due to mechanical problems and we were unable to get another flight to Miami due to Hurricane Sandy which had caused the cancellation of thousands of flights out of Europe.  We had to spend another night in Barcelona, and the next day was able to get a flight to London where we spent another night and finally back to the U.S. thru Minnesota and on to Birmingham.

Statue of Paul Cezanne in Provence.

 Harbor at Villefranche, France

On the road from Villefranche to Monoco.

Large agaves on the side of the road.

Garden roofs in Monaco.

View from back of the Jacques Cousteau Museum in Monaco.

Part of the colosseum in Rome.

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Amalfi Coast on the way to Sorrento

Gaudi Cathedral - Barcelona

Needless to say, this is just a small sampling of the places we went and the sights seen.  It was a fabulous cruise on a great ship (Liberty of the Seas). We would highly recommend it to anyone. We would like to return someday and stay several days in Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, and Barcelona.

November 2012:  Planted pansies, dusty miller and tulip bulbs around water feature in side yard.

Picture taken with my cell phone one afternoon of the pasture behind the house.

Dec. 2012:  Began construction on the new barn. I found a company in Addison, Al that could built the barn we wanted at a price that was reasonable. We first had to have the area cleared and dirt brought in to level the pad. Once started, it took less than a week to raise. It could have been completed sooner, but rain interrupted the construction.  We were very pleased with the final result!

Cynthia with our builder.

The New Barn!

Decorating for Christmas at Southern Oaks:  The chicken coop and barn showing off their Christmas wreaths.

The Christmas Tree by the fireplace.

Thus ends our first full year here at Southern Oaks. It has been a very busy but productive year. New flower beds have been established.  A new chicken tractor and fence for the chickens, a new barn and garden shed. Plans for next year include, finishing the side yard renovation with a flagstone path. Addition of a vegetable garden. Increasing our flock of chickens and a second chicken tractor. Add new flowers beds around the garden shed.  Addition of honey bees for pollinating garden and flowers, and of course the honey.  Addition of a small orchard to include: Fig bushes, Apple trees, and Asian Pear trees.  Looking forward to the coming year and the new challenges it will bring.   

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