Julio 2018
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Tips to Keep Your Flower Beds Beautiful

Often, the most beautiful part of your outdoor landscaping can be the colorful thriving bed of flowers surrounding your home. But keeping the plants blooming and the beds looking their best takes a lot of time and effort. Some people seem to have it mastered with very little effort, but their secrets involve more than a green thumb.

There are a few tips you can follow that will cut your efforts in half and keep your flower beds looking well-tended and beautiful. The trick is to work smarter and eliminate the things that disrupt the plants and the healthy soil around them. You must eliminate your flower garden saboteurs.

Flower beds

Stop the things that sabotage your flower gardens and watch them thrive.

The Endless Cycle of Weeds

Have you ever planted something and given it the best of soil and care, but it still struggled to grow? But, your weeds have shown no problem at all surviving and thriving? You are not alone. Weeds are durable and persistent in their return to your flower beds unless you stifle what they need to survive.

According to, weeds rob the soil of nutrients and choke out the roots of your flowers and plants. Quick elimination is your best defense, so stop them before they have a chance to get a deep hold in your garden. There are a few steps to take to help prevent them from being so comfortable in your flower beds.

Make certain no parts of old weeds or sod are left in your soil. These can grow back.

Bark mulch preserves moisture in the soil and keeps weeds from growing easily. Lay down some black weed barrier cloth first, then add the mulch for additional protection in weed-prone areas.

Remove any weeds as soon as they appear, so they do not have time to produce seeds.

Plants That Work With You

Some plants are just easier to grow than others. According to, it is important to research your plants' needs and limitations before you select them. This will save you a lot of time and effort trying to give your garden everything it needs and still falling short in meeting your plants' demands.

Where you live matters, so learn about plants that are native to your area and ones that do well there, then only choose plants that will thrive in your region. Some perennials do not do well through the Northeast winters, for example. Some require dry conditions, so if you live in Florida, that type might not be a good fit for your yard. Only plant what will easily thrive in your climate.

Learn about the type of soil conditions your plants need. The pH factor of soil reflects its acidity level, which is important to consider because all plants require different levels for proper growth.

Be mindful about the level of sun and shade your plants are getting versus what they each may require. It is not a one size fits all situation. In some instances, if the level of light is altered, plants may experience a disruption to their health. For example, if you cut back a shrub or tree that is providing shade for a plant, the added hours or intensity of light may damage the plant.

Overflowing Gutters

Your gutters are a vital part of your home and its overall drainage system. It can be easy to forget to check them for clogs, but overflowing gutters can be very detrimental to your flowerbeds.

According to, clogged gutters will send the excess water down directly onto your flower beds, small trees or shrubs that surround the base of a home. This washes away the soil, exposes the roots of the plants, and can damage or kill them.

Older gutter systems require that you clean out your gutters at least twice per year, and they can be hard to clean. But, there are other, easier, solutions that will stop your overflowing gutter problem.

Flower bedsWithout gutter guards, clogs and overflowing water can damage your flowerbeds.

Invest in gutter guards, which can stop virtually all clogging issues and help eliminate water damage to your flower beds (as well as damage to your home's foundation). The guards easily attach to your gutter system, covering the exposed areas, and preventing debris from collecting and clogging up the gutter. Without the risk of clogs, you eliminate the risk of water overflowing onto your flowerbeds. They also offer a lifetime of protection for your home and stop you from having to climb up to your roof to do the cleaning task yourself.

If your gutters are old and damaged, it may be time to replace the system. This will save you larger, more costly issues in the future, protecting more than just your flowerbeds, but also your foundation, siding, and roof from water damage.

To learn more about how your gutters can protect your flower beds and your home, call 1-800-975-6666.

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Farm Happenings: The Good News Edition

There's nothing like a week off of the day job to make a girl think life is pretty effing easy, and then a week (or two) back at work to remind her that... no. It's definitely not. Farm life is many things: awesome, rewarding, challenging, frustrating, dirty, beautiful. But it's never easy. Wouldn't trade it for the world-and definitely not for any version of an "easy" life- but holy shit.

Sometimes it takes me a minute (or several days) just to catch my breath.

So, here's what's going on...

First of all, the guinea hen. Last time you saw her, she looked like this:


And since then there have been no babies. So I finally decided to clear the nest and she acted every bit as pissed of as you might imagine with a face like that. Yikes.

But within 12 hours she was back to her normal self, and she may actually be the sweetest and most timid bird in my entire flock (when she's not on a nest.) However, if you've ever heard the amount of noise just two guinea hens can make, I'm not exactly sad there aren't 22 guinea babies running around the farm. As it is my two guineas have basically reduced the tick population around here to nothing (at least as far as the donkeys are concerned) so I'm happy with the two of them for now, and I'll deal with any future nests... in the future. This one probably worked out for the best all around.

Also, in other good news,  the farrier was back a couple of weeks ago (wheneverthehell I was off work, which feels like 6 months ago at this point, but was actually two weeks ago? three? soemthing like that), the important thing is when he trimmed Doc's hooves he found no sign of bruising or founder...



That's a major relief. I have no idea if the restricted eating and minerals played a part in that (or, you know, my mom's essential-oil massages) but I'm happy that they seem to be doing great.

And by "great" I mean, both the sweetest and most ornery dudes I've ever known in my life (and if you guys knew some of the guys I've dated... that's saying something.)


That's Park, who, if I had the shoulder strength, would just sit there resting his head on my arm forever...

What a sweetheart.

But I also learned that no matter how curious and friendly they seem to a fun little farm visitor when there's a fence between them...


These donkeys do not fuck around. Petey (the dog) belongs to one of my fantastically bearded exes (swear to god, that's a band name waiting to happen: Kit's Fantastically Bearded Exes... now playing at a theater near you) anyway, the donkeys seemed pretty cool with Petey, so I took him on a short leash inside the pasture... inside of 15 seconds, sweet Parker went on high alert, came running around out of nowhere, PUNCHED PETEY IN THE FACE, and then kept running. Seriously. Front hoof right to the head. (There's a "donkey punch" joke just waiting to be made there, but I'm not going to be the one to make it.)

Petey was fine... little dude is unflappable, and after he and I quickly exited the pasture he ran right back up to the fence to try to make friends with the donkeys again. I was both mortified and flabbergasted. Can you even picture a donkey running up out of nowhere and whacking a dog on the head with its front hoof?  Holy shit. My donkeys are like ninjas. No wonder the coyotes never mess with my chickens.

Which is actually awesome, but no dogs are ever going in the pasture again.

And speaking of other inhabitants of the farm that don't fuck around...


Look at my girls, heads in the comb, hard at work.

You can see here there are worker bees drawing out comb at the bottom, filling it in the middle, and capping it at the top...


By all accounts they're doing just fine as well.


And if that wasn't enough of birds and bees and asses... there's also this...


It's not a day ending in "y" around here, if I haven't rescued some kind of baby bird from somewhere on this property. These little barn swallows were on the floor of the barn one day (and my Nugs are notorious for eating anything on the floor of the barn, including baby birds. Chickens are awesome... and sometimes a little scary.) So, anyway, I put them back in the nest, found them on the floor again 12 hours later, and then brought them in for the night and held them under a heat light for a couple of hours because they were freezing and sometimes in life you just need someone to be the hand that holds you under a warm light for a while, right?


As soon as they felt the heat from the light and they bowed their heads and spread their wings to bask in it... The little nugs went back in their nest in the morning and-for better or for worse-I haven't seen them since. I'm glad in the scheme of things (even if they didn't make it) that I could provide one warm night for them.

Like I said, farm life is many things...


It's so good, so beautiful, and so rewarding... but it's never easy.

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Bathroom Ideas: How to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger and Brighter (10 photos)

Clear the floor

When floor space is at a premium, a wall-hung basin makes an unobtrusive addition to a bijou bathroom. As well as being a dream to clean and stylish, too, keeping the floor clear will create the illusion of a larger room. You'll also leave space for additional storage, bathroom steps or a bin underneath.

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Decorating With Black: 13 Ways To Use Dark Colors In Your Home

#1: Black Painted Trim

When it comes to baseboards and crown molding, many people love pure white, some love a different neutral, and some get more colorful -- but black has the effect of being different but yet still classic. Just look at these beautiful rooms!

Black crown molding... swoon (via Huffington Post)

black crown molding in a black and white bathroom (Houzz via HP)

(via Apartment Therapy)

black baseboard and door trim (via Apartment Therapy)

The black trim and accents anchor and make this bright white space pop (Bliss at Home).

black and white bathroom makeover with black crown molding (Bliss At Home)

Can you get much more glamorous than this gold and chandelier room, with that gorgeous black doorway arch? (Joy Tribout)

black doorway arch  (Joy Tribout)

No architecturally stunning doorway to accent with black? Any old doorway will do -- just paint! (via Desire to Inspire)

dark navy door frame colorblocked (via Desire to Inspire)

Don't worry -- not all your trim has to be black! Even just one piece of black doorway trim can look lovely. And of course, anything with built-ins gets our stamp of approval ? (via Remodelista)black door and trim surrounded by built in shelving (via Remodelista)

#2: Black Window Trim and Mullions

As you're painting trim, don't miss the windows! And black mullions are just so classy! (You can DIY your own mullions for your grid-less windows here.) As the folks over at Apartment Therapy said -- contrasting trim is like eyeliner for your home :)

In this gray and white kitchen, the black window frames and mullions stand out, in a good way :) (Martha O'Hare via DecorPad)

Farrow & Ball Offblack window frame and mullions, with BM white dove cabinets (Martha OHara via DecorPad)

I really like the black crown and window trim plus the black valances and other accents (via Apartment Therapy).

black painted trim in a black and white bedroom (via Apartment Therapy)

Black window trim here accents the tall windows to give this room character (Blair Harris).

black painted window frames (Blair Harris)

Black moldings are right at home in a colorful eclectic room, too! (via BHG)

painted black windowsills and frames (BHG)

Not sure how to change your trim color? Read how Sarah's Big Idea painted her windows and grids.

how-to paint black windows (Sarah's Big Idea)

Even if you don't have a window, a mirror makes the room seem larger, and the black frame makes it stand out (via Style At Home).

black painted mirror to resemble window in the living room (Style at Home)

#3: Black Interior Doors (plus colors)

Especially when you're using neutrals on the walls and in your decor, using a dramatic black or dark gray on the doors dressed them up so nicely. I swooned over black doors for awhile before I took the plunge and painted mine the first time in a true black -- and then in our next house, in a dark charcoal gray, Iron Ore from Sherwin-Williams (plus see how I made our real-wood Dutch barn door match the color by using it to stain the wood, here). You'll find each of the door's paint colors above the photo. 

interior door in Iron Ore, with a real wood dutch barn door colorwashed and stained to match, along a tall white board and batten wall (Remodelaholic)

It's as beautiful on a front door as inside, too! In Tricorn Black. (Modern Vintage Interiors via Remodelaholic)

black entry door in Tricorn Black

Painting just one door black, with some added crown molding, is a great way to make a pantry door stand out (House of Noise). Color is Graphite by Annie Sloan.

black pantry door with added trim, in Graphite Annie Sloan

Just look at the difference Tasha made over at Designer Trapped using bright white molding with Kettle Black Valspar on the door.

black painted doors, Valspar Kettle Black (Designer Trapped)

Honey We're Home used a lovely shade, Black Fox by Sherwin-Williams. 

painted black door, SW Black Fox (Honey We're Home)

This is Behr's Black Suede, used by 7th House on the Left.

Behr Black Suede painted door (7th House on the Left)

If you're looking for a great dark charcoal color, The Inspired Room used Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore. dark gray painted front door, BM Kendall Charcoal (The Inspired Room)

Graphite by Benjamin Moore is another great option, used here by House of Hepworths. painted black door, BM Graphite (House of Hepworths)

Timeless Paper used another Benjamin Moore: Wrought Iron. 

dark painted front door, BM Wrought Iron (Timeless Paper)

And rounding out the top 10: Urbane Bronze by Sherwin-Williams, pictured here from This Is Happiness -- black French doors look amazing!

black painted french doors, SW Urbane Bronze (This Is Happiness Blog)

See more ways to use black on the next page ->

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Barnaby's bathroom needs a makeover

My highly impractical outhouse chic bathroom has finally found its calling!  Though it does function well as a powder room, it's not pretty yet and powder rooms should be pretty.    But, the tiny vintage clawfoot tub it houses is perfectly Barnaby-sized and the sides are high enough that he can't escape from our sudsy clutches.  Plus the hand-held shower head is very handy for dog baths.  Poor Barnaby.

A reader emailed me this yesterday: "I don't mean to be rude, but what exactly is Barnaby?!"  Hah hah, thank you for asking Samantha.  A Flat Coated Retriever +  a Boykin Spaniel = a Barnaby.  He is the lovechild of two South Carolina hunting dogs and Dad adopted him after he was kicked off a South Carolina farm for chasing horses.   Bath time aside, Barnaby's adjusting quite well to city life.

Enough about that squeaky clean dog, let's get back to decor.  Even though I made a shower curtain for this room a while back out of grey and white Ikea fabric, I'm on the hunt for a more colorful fabric that will inform some paint colors for the walls and the tub exterior.  I saw this bathroom recently on HGTV's Sarah's House and it reminded me that I had initially intended for my powder room to have a similar graphite, yellow and white color scheme.

But, I had a minor nervous breakdown a few months back when the pale yellow I picked out from a chip was practically vibrating on the walls of our small room.  So, I immediately hoofed it to Lowe's and repainted the walls a calming putty grey.  The putty did soothe my electric yellow nerves, but it was a boring overreaction to an irrationally exuberant paint choice.  Then, I doubled down on the boring with a neutral shower curtain.

So, alas, my outhouse bathroom needs another do-over.  This room was definitely the "problem child" of our renovation and six months later it still looks like a before picture- argh!  I'm on the hunt for some pretty fabric for the shower curtain and then I'll paint the walls for the third time this year.  Stay tuned for Scott's nervous breakdown.  The poor man just wants a bathroom he can actually use.  Barnaby, on the other hand, is hoping that his bathroom will be out of commission for a long while....

p.s.  Thank you all for your incredibly kind and supportive responses to my last post.  Revisiting each and every one of your delightful blogs has inspired me to keep going with my own silly projects.  xxxxxADD

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