19 October 2010

California, Who Do You Think You Are, Seattle?

What were you expecting, sunny California?  No siree, them there's raindrops in my bird bath.   

When I think of rain, I think of rainy cities, like Seattle for instance.  The average rainfall in Seattle is 142" per year.  They don't advertise Seattle as bright, sunny and mellow, like they do California.  Seattle once had the most rain in any place in Washington in one day.  14.26." I'm not kidding;  I looked it up!  The rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula are among the rainiest places in the world and the only rain forests in the continental US  You EXPECT rain in Seattle. 

But I live in California.  Here in California we're supposed to be the golden state.  One thinks of golden sunshine and golden poppy's.  People come here chasing beach time and sunshine! 

So what's up with this? This looks more like the birthplace of Starbucks!  I don't even like Starbucks.  However, I heard today that Starbucks is going to start serving beer and wine. Off track again but, Interesting.

One of my favorite blogs to read is Nana Diana Takes A Break.  Now there's a woman who loves her Starbucks.  She even says she loves Starbucks in her profile!  Give her a visit and I'll bet you come away wanting a good cuppa the joe.  Sorry about not liking Starbucks Diana, I still like people who like Starbucks!  Especially you.

But seriously,  back to Seattle.  Although the wealthiest man in the United States lives there,  (nothing to scoff at mind you) and my all time favorite rocker, Jimi Hendrix was born there, (that definitely says something about the fun factor),  I need me some sunshine.  Come on baby, come back to California! 

My new garden has had plenty of rain now.  Thank you very much.  It looks amazing, smells tropical and flowery, and is thriving in all this beautiful rain.  But now, now I think its time for some sunshine so it knows what to do next.  My plants are California thrivers.  They need sun.  Just like their momma.  

Here in San Diego our average rainfall is 9" per year.  Remember back in the day, when I first started this blog?  It seems like a million years since then but it's been more like 12 months, 5 days, 3 hours and  6 seconds ago?  Remember when the cottage looked like this, at the very beginning before we even started.  Click here and check it out.

It was a sweet little cottage and I loved every inch of it.  But we had some big dreams for our cottage by the sea, and this blog has been about sharing our dreams and watching them become reality through lots of pictures and the nightmare adventure of the remodeling process.  Blogs are kinda awesome because they give you a chance to reflect and look back on the many changes and events that occur in just a short time.  I can't believe in one year a year that seemed like a lifetime, kids grew up so much, we have lost friends and family, gained friends and family,  experienced all the holidays, the ups the downs the Ins and outs.  My mom had her 80th birthday, my 6th grandchild was born, my daughter graduated college.  I wonder as I look back, as you only can in a blog, what each new month will bring and how it will compare to last year.  

One thing I know for sure is that I'm loving my front yard more than I did last year at this time when it looked like this. 

However first it took a lot of work.  We had to clean this mess up.  If I could only tell you the Man/Women hours that have gone into this.  But I'll spare you.  We had to dig and dig and grade and lay sprinkler lines and install sprinklers and fertilizer.  Then we raked and raked and raked some more.

This was the state of my front yard for months and months.

Then we started to do the initial ground work.  We formed patios and poured them full of cement.

Walk -ways were born.

Plants were discussed, researched, chosen and purchased.

This plant is a Mandavilla called Stars and Stripes.  When it blooms the flowers will be a deep red with a small white stripe. They were planted along walkways to grow up fences where they will thrive and bloom in the sunshine. Come back home sunshine.

We lay cobble stone pathways and planted, umm...   Where's my Latin vocabulary when I need it?  Anyway, it's a little kind of mossy grass which thrives in sunshine and will fill in nicely between the stones.

We chose tropical ferns and scuparum, on which blossoms a rich pink flower called "ruby glow".  It blooms almost all year long.  Even when it isn't blooming it has a beautiful green foliage.  

We already had the palm trees and they are very appreciative of our attempt and success at saving them from the savage happenings which occur during a full remodel.  Some of our plants weren't so lucky.
When I wrote this post, RIP I'm Missing You I was mourning the loss of my favorite Bird of Paradise.  Note to all:  Construction workers do not listen when you ask them to make sure to save your favorite plants, even when you point out the obvious.  But I regress.

After all the plants were planted, we got to put in the finishing touch.  The lawn.  The, pies de resistance. It came on a truck already all grown.  Wouldn't it be cool if kids came that way?   Just saying'.   Kind of...  Well, at least maybe skip over the teenager part and go straight to where they love their parents and think you are very wise again.  You know, as opposed to the complete idiot you are when they're between 14 and 25 married with kids of their own.  Off track again, sorry.

This is the topper.  It fertilizes the grass and keeps it nice and green and protects it from, from, I don't know what it protects it from but it makes it look really grand.

Just a few more strips to lay out and just like "Total Home Makeover," (minus 12 months, 5 days, 3 hours and  6 seconds), it will be an instant, amazing, beautiful front garden and courtyard.

Ta Da!  Just like that. 

 From this- 
To this.
Our Lady has a special spot in our garden.  She is surrounded by roses, which will look much better in the spring and summer when the sun is shining on them.

Here's a peek at what I see when I walk out my front door now.  {Sigh of happiness and contentment}.

Just under a year ago, not long after we did the cruel and unusual gutting destruction of our little cottage and were starting to rebuild, the front porch looked like this.  Then after a lot of labor and interesting changes, there was the Birth Of The Arch.  That was pretty exciting and we were very pleased with ourselves for thinking of it as it wasn't in our original plans.  It was our ode to Solana Beach where many of our landmarks and monuments including the train station and more importantly, The Belly-Up Tavern, where my hubs and I had our first date have an arch as their entrance.

Now the front porch looks like this.

And like this.  Can't you just see you and me sitting on the rocker and glider having a tall glass of something cool to drink?  Or maybe due to the inclement weather; the Seattle like weather, a cuppa tea or a Starbuck's together?  You're welcome to come on down.  Whatever the weather, we can sit and listen to the tide come in and out, and let me tell you, there is not a better sound than that.

If you come speedy quick, maybe you can get me out of doing the laundry.

Cause at this point my pup is buried in it.  But as soon as the sun comes back-

Its return will have the state ready to surf and shimmy again in the warm rays and high waves of tomorrow.  For goodness sakes we face Westward people!

  • P.S.   Seattle, I hope I haven't offended you.  I love your Pikes Market, especially all the fresh produce and crafty crafts.  My niece Natalie goes to school there and loves it so much I think she's going to make it her permanent home.  Elliot's Bay is gorgeous and from the hotel I stayed at there once on the 4th of July, I could see the fireworks from my room.  Besides Seattle, anywhere that has people with the ability to invent Pictionary and Cranium (my fave board games) is okay with me.  
Blessings from the Golden State where the sun almost always shines.



Steadfast Ahoy! said...

I'm with you...I prefer the sunshine. A good thunderstorm is always fun, but days and days of rain just get to be depressing. S. A. D. anyone? Your before and after pictures are great. I will be posting some of my own sooner than later (I hope). Right now we are in the drywalling stage. Messy!!

NanaDiana said...

Good Evening Darling! You know I should be in bed don't you? The WHITCHING (yes-I know it is supposed to be witching-I like SweetCheek's version) hour is almost upon us. I feel a bit like wabiching after the day I had. One more day....one more day....one more day...and I am of for four. Why, oh, why did I ever decide I was bored when they asked me to work again? What WAS I thinking...oh...wait...this is YOUR blog...about YOU...

Okay..first off- I am bringing my own darned Starbucks then when I come to visit because I know I will get some weak and watered down version of real coffee...Oh...it will be just like visiting one of my daughters...they don't have Starbucks either...even my daughter that MANAGED a Starbucks did not drink coffee...What was WRONG with that kid? Anyway, coffee pot (and cup in hand) we will sit on your lovely front porch and make mockery of all the people walking by. After all, I will never see them again (cuz I know a second invitation WON'T be forthcoming)...so we can make fun of all your neighbo......okay...just kidding...

I can't believe you have had so much rain. What's up with that? My best old friend in the world lives in Snohomish and she loves all the rain they get. She grew up in Oregon so she is used to all that rain and gloom. I'm with you- rain rain go away...or I'm gonna go crazy penned up here inside with you-know-who. So, the big question of the day is....if you have had so much rain how come your birdbath is bone dry? Yeah..that's what I'm wondering.

And, you know I have followed your every movement..high days...low days...happy days...scary days...since I first found your blog. So, as your friend, I am so happy to see all the changes that have come about over this last Summer. It is looking like Home...a real honest to goodness Home! And I love it...almost as much as I love you!

Now...I am off to bed before the bad fairy swoops down and puts NoDoze in my eyelids. 4:45 AM is gonna roll around sharply. Hugs to you, sweet Tia- xxoo Diana

Amanda said...

Awwww, Seattle's not *that* rainy. Actually, we only get about 38 inches a year -- the 142" of rain falls just to the west of us on the Olympic Peninsula. Most of the time, our rain isn't even measurable! It's more like a mist in the air. But, it's mostly been sunny here since spring -- our misty season should settle in pretty soon, though. Actually, the beach house we are renovating is on the Olympic Peninsula, and my contractor tells me it's been gorgeous there! If you don't mind, I'd like to hang on to your sunshine just a tad longer? So my contractors can work without their slickers?

kerrie said...

I can see myself sitting in that glider next to you sipping tea. Your cottage gardens are drop dead gorgeous. I still can hardly believe how much your home changed in a year. YOu are one lucky girl!!!!! Living in my dream home. ox~ kerrie

deborah said...

Oh how lovely is your courtyard? I'm so glad everything is coming together and is finally done! The rain is just what your plants need to settle in and feel at home, dear! I would love to listen to the tide, that is the best sound in the world , in my opinion. Love reading your post!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

I just love your vision and the beautiful cottage you have created!
The yard turned out to be a lovely oasis! And the front of your cottage is as charming as can be!
I love seeing the progress and I look forward to more posts!
I've been to Seattle once and it is an amazing city! And I have traveled to Ca. once and I loved it but there are so many people in such little space. That would be the only thing hard for me to get used to. We are used to lot's of space around us.
Thanks for sharing your fabulous vision!

GoldenValley50 said...

Our average rainfall is 1992mm (or 78")and I thought that was wet! Seattle beats us hands down..... The transformation of your little cottage and garden is amazing and to think that ALL this has been achieved in just 12 months. Once the rain stops and the sun comes out - your garden will become a "jungle". I have to resort to pruning mine with a chainsaw! Would love to see more photos (when the sun comes out!) ;)Sharyne

Anonymous said...

Your yard looks fantastic! What a beautiful home. I love all your pumpkins.


Marie @ Sally Lee by the Sea said...

I'm a California transplant who moved to Seattle in 1988 and now live right on the coast. When it isn't misty (as Amanda described above) - it is the most beautiful place on earth!

Yes, the 142" is in the rain forests on the Olympic Peninsula - not where many people actually live - there are numerous U.S. cities which get more rain than Seattle such as New York, Philly, Boston, Atlanta, Memphis, Hilo Hawaii & Jacksonville, for example ;o)

No, you haven't offended us! We love Cali still too but Western Washington is home sweet home and we love it.

Karen said...

Your house looks terrificly awesome!!!!!!!! WOW what a transformation.. LOVE what you did to the exterior. Great job, am I clear on this?..lol...

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

Oh Tia, you make me smile so much :-) We had so much rain yesterday and an electrical shower that lasted on and off for hours. It was wonderful for these "always have the sunshine" desert dwellers :-)
Your yard looks wonderful!

Jess said...

I love your home, I wish I lived there!. You've done a wonderful job.

bichonpawz said...

I would just LOVE to come and visit and sit on that porch and chat with you!!! Listen to the tide come in and go out..nothin' like it! WOW! What an amazing transformation...your yard is absolutely awesome!!! LOVE it! I'm so happy for YOU....now that your dream cottage has come true!!

Kellie Collis said...

What a lovely porch! I'm pretty sure it's as lovely when you go inside. Have a beautiful day, Kellie xx

Helene said...

It poured horribly here in Northern CA yesterday, which is kind of unusual for this time of year in October. It seriously felt like it was January.

I love, love, love your front yard and garden area...and the porch is beautiful!!!! I'm seething with jealousy!!!!

Amy said...

Lord bless you! I don't know how you survived all that construction and remodeling, but it is gorgeous!!!

I think because I am so impatient, I tend to shy away from projects such as these. But good for you for putting in the work and long hours because it has certainly paid off!! Stunning, really!

Hope your warm California sunshine returns soon;)

Maricris Zen Mama said...

Love the transformation of your house from drab to fabulous! Isn't it delightful to see how beautiful your home is? I bet it helps in easing up your stresses.

Sandy said...

Wow - that redo should be on TV!

Thanks for sharing, and thanks so much for your kind comments on my blog! ♥


Sandy @ My Shabby Streamside Studio

Eve said...

Being originally from Seattle, I came over from SITS to say hi when your post title caught my eye.

Obviously you're not from Washington - as a love for Starbucks tends to be in our blood from birth, but that's ok, I can still like people who don't like Starbucks. ;)

Your little cottage is gorgeous! - I LOVE what you've done with it and the before and after photos are so much fun!

Connie said...

You have a beautiful yard and home..... and no winter . That's a good deal.
I love the before's and after's, too.

Anonymous said...

Well okay- sitting in gray in Seattle...