Rain on the Way – a new Week

Up early (6:55 am) gives us a lovely view as we roll into a new day. The best time of the day  Awesome beauty.

Minutes later  at 7:03 am.


We do have rain every day this week, which in fact will give lovely nourishment to the gardens at our current assignment. We will enjoy the process. Glory to our God for beauty, moisture, good work and the many blessings of another new day. Thank you my creator, my Father God. I will bring honor to your holy name today. Amen

 

Martha Custis -Rental Property, Re-Do (REVISED. 10/20, 2:45 pm

This Video is the right and left beds – prior to any work

Yesterday we began this new project located across from Park East Condominium on Martha Custis. A lovely well kept courtyard and it would appear mostly longer term residents. The townhouse we are working at has established garden beds, but the homeowner is located out-of-state with the Air Force. His tenants are secured through military transfers so they tend to be three to five year occupancies. The last tenant added a ton of plantings and so our homeowner would like to re-do. We started work on the small bed next to the door on the left. Only three items there. One extremely overgrown Azalea, one unhealthy Knock-Out Rose bush and one very weathered Yellow Mum. Now that the bed floor is cleaned up and all three bushes have been trimmed way back, we can consult with our homeowner. We have several recommendations. A txt went to our client last night and we are waiting to hear back. Four hours today on this project and our homeowner wants honest input on how we wish to proceed.

Next week we will be back on Monday and Tuesday. We’ll post our collaboration ideas with the homeowner here. Our initial conversations during our “site visit” suggested a complete overhaul. It will be interesting to hear their ideas and attempt to mesh them with ours. So far it’s good work and cleanup is very satisfying. Stay tuned!

“Contessa”

Attached is our video of yesterday’s clean-up work

Also included one snapshot of the bed in progress.


We visited the nursery on Wednesday. A dreary dampish day. The bushes we were looking for looked rather spent. So the plan is to finish clearing and cleaning up all the beds. Next spring we will do the planting since new bushes will be plentiful. So it’s going to be a two part project. The focus for this week is clean out the beds, trim everything back and lay fresh new rich garden soil. Yes it is pricey. But frankly one inch down was all thick mucky clay. Not desirable for planting new expensive bushes at about $50 a pop. It’s been a pleasure to advise this client. He totally gets it, The medicine we are prescribing is to offer a future for his garden beds. And since he rents it out and is stationed in Texas he needs “the fix” we suggest to last and to thrive.

This video is the entire right bed clean up and two photos iof a good start in laying the new rich soil. We will finish next Tuesday we are pretty sure. And then we post our Final Video.

FINAL VIDEO

The project ended up at 15 hours.  Our out-of-state owner is thrilled with the transformation. Best part is, he is looking forward already to new spring plantings.  We will be “at the ready” to assist  Let’s hope the new washer/dryer and refrigerator arrive soon, so he can get it rented.   It’s a very nice property.

We so enjoyed this  project.  Our homeowner was easy to work with long distance. On our end, it felt like a seamless transaction. We are preparing his invoice now. He provided an advance deposit and we will now txt his final balance.  Easy-peezy!!

We are very grateful for hard, but satisfying work. Blessings!!

”Contessa”

Tuesday Evening 10/12 Update

Our client has now asked us to lay hardwood bark mulch in the beds.  We hope to complete this on Saturday.  The “final” touch. It’s all good.

FINALE – Wednesday 10/20 – 2:45 pm 

Friday Morning Devotional

KNOW WHAT YOU ARE!

October 1

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
-Ephesians 2:10

LISTEN TO THE DEVOTIONAL
 rabbit came upon a rattlesnake in the woods. The rattlesnake hissed, “I know what you are! You have big ears, a fluffy tail, and a wiggly nose… You’re a rabbit! The rabbit replied, “I know what you are, too! You have beady eyes, a big mouth, a slick appearance, and diamonds all over you. You’re a televangelist!”

It’s important to know what you are. Our verse tells us we’re God’s workmanship, from a Greek word meaning “masterpiece.” Did you get that? You are – I am – God’s masterpiece created for good works. We are not saved by these works; we are saved by grace through faith. But God has saved us for a purpose – to serve Him and make Him known by good works done in His name. So jump off God’s easel, masterpiece, and get to work today

Homemade Applesauce

Apples are plentiful now. Fall apples are crisp, plump and kissed in color by our wonderful sun and coolish evenings. Our favorite are the Honey Crisp variety. One of the reasons we love them is that they create that wonderful and juicy crunch sound when you bite into them. And they maintain their freshness a good amount of time. An added benefit is  they do not turn brownish when cut, so if you find that you cannot make your way through one, like me,  you can put it in a container in the fridge and they are almost just as fresh when you go back to finish up.

Today we are making homemade applesauce. We actually like the sauce slightly chunky. So we do not cook the apples too much. We add Lemon juice, cinnamon and honey. Maybe a little light brown sugar. Can’t wait to taste. And we have enough apples that we will make an apple crisp with granola over the weekend.

We love the recipes of our wonderful fall season. Bounty in real wonderful fibrous fruit. YUM!


Faithfulness

 

1 John 5: 14-15


God is always by your side and listening to your prayers

And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.

Prayer

Jesus I give you thanks this morning for your faithfulness. You are always upholding my life. I wish to be faithful to you. I want to honor you by giving you an offering of my gardening work today. I have a lovely assignment for a last years client. She is a kind and sweet soul. May I do good work for her, and while I am there, may I share your wonderful promise…….faithfulness. She has a very hard and stressful employment situation. Relocating and helping to settle the people of Afghanistan. I ask for her safety and that good health is with her while she is entrenched in this humanitarian relocation effort. Please be with her in faithfulness.

I thank you for your every present faithfulness in my life. Thank you for good health, stamina to complete my work, and for bringing me the work I enjoy. You are so faithful to me. I find my gardening missions a great blessing. I wish to always honor you, as you are faithful to always provide this work for me. I know you are always by my side. Hear my humble and faithful prayer this morning. Amen

We’re Back – on Preston Road (Revised 9/30)

This is a last years video.

We completed work for our client, but as you can see, the bed is sparsely populated and definitely needs our touch. So our client called last week and this morning we visited the garden center to select new plants. We will do our regular clean up and also plant new selections. Our client gave us a generous budget and we purchased plants we think will do well in a very shaded garden bed. We purchased a new blue Hydrangea called Endless Summer and two evergreens and some ferns and a nice selection of  Coral Bells. And we are adding a ground cover for fill in between plants. It’s called Ajuga. 

Before we left this morning to head to the nursery we stopped and took a video of how it currently looks. Definitely, they need our fall spruce up.

Tomorrow we will begin the work and will post a final video once we finish.

It’s our pleasure as this is a lovely client and she needs our help. Looking forward to it. We think we will be working a full day. Weather suggest some rain, but it’s all good.

”Contessa”

REVISED today 9/29

We have completed our work for our client today. We finished up with a total ofvfive hours today. It’s looking very good. Our lovely client will come home this evening to our final contribution. We are pretty confidant she is going to be pleased. As a courtesy for such great work, we are going to water daily through October 4th, gratis!  New plantings require a boost. We are pleased to provide this little extra. And we have convinced her to have us come once a week in Oct and Nov to keep things tidy

This was a fun project in that we were able to make all the plant selections and execute as we wished. A dream job honestly. Little supervision and a “carte blanche”  to do our thing. Our pleasure.

”Contessa”

FINAL VIDEO

Outdoor Yoga Class – Update


Our Yoga Class on Saturdays outdoors got off to a very slow start. We had only one follower. We think it’s because we did not give folks enough of an advance “heads up.”  Only one announcement was sent out. Now that the Newsletter is being distributed electronically it may have been overlooked. You know – our fast paced lives. We glance at print but do we really take the time to read.

So we have decided to advertise it every month from now until spring as an upcoming SPRING CLASS offering. We still plan to teach it at the triangle open grassy area on Preston/Valley Drive. These days most folks prefer an outdoor setting and the plot at this location is ideal. As we better formulate a way to get the word out, we will keep you posted “here” on our blog with updates. Please do stay tuned!

Thanks so much,

“Contessa/Penny”

703-548-1882

9/24 Site Visit/Free Consult, and Back Yard Clean Up at 1400 Block of Martha Custis (REVISED 9/25)

Visiting and FREE first time consult on Mt Eagle to check out a shady front yard bed. Customer is requesting recommendation, selection and planting of two larger bushes for the area near her stairway near the front. She  is removing low lying plants, combining all her Lenten Roses (4)  and we will add the new bushes. We will select appropriate bushes at Merrifield during our Sunday visit. Hopefully we can find flowering perennial good sized  bushes. Our job is to recommend and then she will decide. Our seniors in PFF still want to maintain their areas but they need help, so it’s our pleasure to recommend and do the planting.

A single shot and Video of her area. 

Our homeowners garden beds are tidy but rather spread out and smallish. Her goal is to “fill in.”  We will take care of her. It’s all good.

*******

At 9:30 am we were back at our Martha Custis location from last week. This time the back yard. We became so absorbed in proceeding with this project we neglected to take our “before” video. So in the morning we will go by and video what we’ve done so far. As it turns out, we may be on this project slightly longer –  as our resident realizes that getting the beds and patio in order is just one phase. We need to level the beds, select suitable plants, abate the soil and finish tidying. She is garden savvy so will help with plant selection. The project is to bring it to a place for robust spring planting. It is a very shaded patio so we will be challenged to find suitable “shade loving bushy perennials that are tidy and low maintenance. Merrifield has such a vast selection of plants to choose from we are certain we can find great plants. And we will be treating the slate pavers with a weed treatment to get it to a place where repeat weeding is minimal.  A great project and very cordial client and yet again very good work. We love it, and our fabulous weather is such a wonderful contributor to this project.

Posting current video with progress so far, tomorrow……stay tuned!

“Contessa”

Friday Morning Devotional

United Methodists believe in making a reality of their faith in community — actions speak louder than words. The three simple rules are: “Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.” Some beliefs we share with other Christians are: the Trinity (God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and Jesus’ birth, His death and Resurrection into Heaven

I am a Methodist. I am a believer. I am a lover of my God and Savior Jesus Christ, and all His creation. If you need help, I am here to help you. If you want prayer I will pray for you and with you. I wish to do you no harm. I wish to do good for all, and I wish to stay in love with my God and share His divine love with YOU. .

In the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit,

Amen.

French Lentil Soup – prepared today

We have prepared and posted this soup recipe prior  it’s so delicious we are posting it again today. It’s hearty, pretty and so delicious.  Our slightly cooler temps warrant a big pot of soup  Grab some crusty bread and ENJOY!

“French Lentils Soup”

Meat – 4 oz Bacon (you can substitute with sautéed portobello mushrooms for a meat free version)

Produce
2 Bay leaves
2 Carrots, medium
1/2 Celeriac, medium
1 cup French le puy lentils
2 cloves Garlic
1 Leek, large
1/4 cup Parsley, fresh
2 tsp Thyme, fresh
1 Yellow onion, medium

Canned Goods
6 cups Chicken broth, quality – we prefer home prepared broth

Baking & Spices
1/4 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp Salt

Oils & Vinegars
1 tbsp Red wine vinegar

In a stock pot cook the bacon (or mushrooms) over medium-high heat until done. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent and golden, 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the celeriac, leek and carrots and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the lentils and cook for another minute or two. Add all remaining ingredients except for the parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Finally stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

NUTRITION

Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 1448mg | Potassium: 825mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3900IU | Vitamin C: 31.3mg | Calcium: 83mg | to taste.
.NOTE:   Le Puy lentils are small,  with a slate-green color and blue marbling. They have a very slight flavor and are preferred among many cooks because, unlike their brown lentil cousins that turn mushy after a while, Le Puy lentils  hold their shape during cooking.