The Cinder Block Sofa

Honey, go sleep on the couch! Ouch!

On Saturday Charles drove me to the grand opening of Mill City Antiques in Manchester, New Hampshire. The shop is located in a renovated mill building on the Merrimack River. The building is magnificent and the shop is wonderful. For some nice pics of their shop peruse their Facebook page.

We live in Massachusetts, an hour south of Manchester, yet the first booth I walked into I was greeted with a hug by a lady I know from another Manchester shop on Elm Street. I was in my element. Old friends and old treasures surrounded me.

When we entered the shop, this Cinder Block Sofa was by the door. Charles was quite fascinated with it. He imagined how cool it would be in the garden, with every hole stuffed with soil and plants. He is pondering the viability of building one at our cottage. The challenge – our narrow lot. We live on a long and narrow lot with no room for even a lawn tractor on either side of the cottage.

If Charles is nice maybe one of the neighbors would permit him to back his truck down to the backyard on their lawn. Otherwise every block has to be carried 150 feet to the back. After lugging all this material that far, perhaps Charles will be tired enough that he could take a nap – even on a cement couch.

Mountain Laurel

May is the time for Mountain Laurel at Suzanne's Cottage

When we moved to the cottage 8 years ago, it was covered with magnificent blooms of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. The problem was that none of them had been cut back or trained. So they had grown wild and leggy and pruning was not going to retrain 20-years of unbridled growth.

So we removed most of them, except the ones that could be salvaged and cut back. That left some big holes to fill.

Over the past years we have filled in a great deal and the house is much more open to the street. It is less like a jungle fortress and the curb appeal is much more welcoming to the neighborhood.

Two weeks ago, Charles and I were walking around surveying the blooming Rhodos and I commented to him that I wanted some Mountain Laurels to fill in a few areas where we needed bushes for privacy, color and texture. So last week I went to Lowe’s to get a couple cans of spray paint for another project and I walked through the garden section. There were pallets of Mountain Laurel. They had lost their flowers and they had been marked down from $28 to $4. So I filled up my car with ten bushes.

When I arrived home, Charles was in the garage working on another project. I told him I needed help unloading my car. “How much work can it be unloading two cans of spray paint?” he said. He can be so naive sometimes.

You’ve heard of a Hamster Wheel

Chippy's Big Wheel

Yes, we’ve all seen hamster wheels of some sort, whether it be the old-fashioned wire wheel, or the new-fangled plastic balls. This little critter couldn’t be bothered with such nonsense. When he wants a real workout he takes a spin on the old tool sharpener in the garden. He must be on steroids to turn that thing.

Typically our yard is a speedway for scurrying chipmunks. But this year the Chippy population is down. Someone told me that the snowless winter may have killed off a lot of the little rodents, since they had no insulation to protect their burrows. Fact or fiction? Your guess is as good as mine, but I know we have substantially fewer chippies and squirrels this spring.

Regardless of the toll this past winter may have had on our mini-rodents, this scene captivated Charles as he left for work one morning. He whipped out his “life-line”, my nickname for his inseparable iPhone, and he captured this little guy on his sunny garden perch.