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Our dear friends Daughter got married in Italy last winter and we agreed to host the reception at our house on the 11th of August. I was skeptical about the weather(hot) at this time of year, but we got a very rare cool, dry front just in time. 

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The bride wanted all vintage tablecloth's (good thing I have tons).

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We had (2) tents with a space between for about 120 guests.

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Very cute toilets.

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They hired a food truck for all the food. Everyone placed there order and your number was called when it was cooked. After everyone was served, the truck just packed up and left.

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A great time was had by all.

 
 
Our pole beans are producing like crazy. This year we are growing purple pole beans. They are string less and turn green when you cook them. I have been cutting them into about 2" pieces and cooking them in boiling salted water for approx. 5 min. I then immerse the beans into ice water to stop the cooking. I now make a balsamic vinegar dressing consisting of approx. 2 tbles balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbles Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Chop up some red onion and toss everything together. Serve cold or room temp. Yummy!!!! 
 
 
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I made the bouquet using all flowers from the garden. Annabelle hydrangeas, fever few, lambs ear, white yarrow, lavender and the leaves of Solomon seal and a touch of ivy. The groom surprised the bride with a beautiful ring that we pinned to the ribbon till she got it sized. What a happy day.

 
 
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Our dear friends renewed there vows for their 20th anniversary last week. The weather was perfect. This was especially meaningful because the groom has cancer. The bride and grooms immediate families attended as well as a few close friends.

 
 
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I'm happy to report that all (6) puppies were adopted out to wonderful famlies. The little guy went to our cousins family just down the road so we get to see him whenever we want. Oh they named him "Guiness" cause he has all the Guiness colors, black with a bit of tan and white foam. The little girl went to our next door neighbors house so we get to see "Allison Rose " aka Allie. It was soo much fun and a ton of extra work, and we cant wait to do it again. Now back to full blown Spring.

 
 
I cant believe how long its been since I blogged. It's been so wild around here since the puppies. This weekend we lose (3) of the little guys to very good homes. I cant wait!!!!  Now back to the garden. Which has hit so early this year. Everything is blooming at once. I wont have any azaelas or tulips left by Easter.
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This is our little guy after some intense playing. Can you believe he still needs a home?
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The Piedmont azalea outside ouw bedroom window. Soooo fragrant.

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Every year I am amazed by this Lady Banks rose on the side porch. I love the contrast of the pale yellow against the "Oakton" green. If only it were fragrant, it would be perfect.

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I'll end this post with a pix of Lillie playing with her pups. We take them out to the side yard to play 3 or 4 times a day. We let them run and play (free range) till they all fall down. Oh Springtime, green grass , puppies, flowers and chores. I wouldnt change a thing. Well maybe if I win the 500 and something million, tonight. I need to go by my (2) tickets.

 
 
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Feb. is a busy month. We have had such a warm Winter so far, that everything is at least (2) weeks early. It's time to prune the roses. I took a rose pruning class several years ago and learned the proper way to prune my little beauties. These are my tools. I sharpened my Felco #2's, gathered my leather gauntlet gloves and rubbing alchol to clean my shears between bushes. (Not in the pix, a bottle of waterproof wood glue)

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In our Italian garden, we plant an antique shrub rose in between (2) treeform roses. I have planted peonies around the tree roses. I start by pruning out all the dead branches, and than cut back by 1/3rd. I cut out all the oldest canes to let the young and viggerous canes to take over.

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I put a dab of wood glue on all the cuts on canes that are bigger than a pencil. All this work will pay off come May. I cant wait.

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New babies at Oakton.
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Lillie's puppies came (6) days ahead of schedule. I think they came early cause we took her up to the Mtns. with us the weekend before. We drove on a lot of gravel roads. Anyway, she had (4) boys and (3) girls. There were (2) runts. We lost one of the runts on the second night. She died in our hands. Lillie had rejected the (2) little ones. After a trip to the Vet., we had to tube feed every (2) hours and stimulate the bathroom tasks. As those who know me know, I'm very squimish. The remaining little guy started at 160 grams and is now at 208. Lillie is now taking care of the little guy and he has been accepted back into the fold. He has such a will to live. We found him cold and stiff twice in those first couple of days. It was very remeniscent of having a new born.

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We raise Border Collies. I always grew up with dogs. All male, no females. When we moved to Oakton(10 years ago this Feb. 13th) we told the kids that we could either go to the beach for Spring break or adopt a puppy. They unamously voted for a puppy. We named her "Spring break Baby of Oakton" She was a black and white ,female, Border Collie. Right after we adopted her, all (3) children got invited to the beach with other families. Will and I were stuck with the new puppy. We had a blast. Baby had (3) litters and was hit and killed in our front yard after her 3rd litter. We were devistated. After a mourning period, we were ready to adopt another female. We found Lillie Belle on puppy finder.com. She will be (6) in Feb. and is pregnant with her 2nd litter. She is due on Feb 14th, Valentines day and our 25th anniversary. I'll keep you posted.

 
 
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I dont think I've said enough about our "girls". We've had them for over a year now and can't imagine life without them. We are down to (5) now(we started out with (10)) We will get (5) more in the Spring. They are so funny to watch. They all have names, Henny, Shiela, Lucy, Gertrude and Carmelina. We are getting (3-4) eggs every day.

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Most of the eggs are brown. Carmelina used to lay blue eggs but stopped. She is very stuborn.