Unusual bomb cyclone launches spring in the Rockies.

And all of a sudden, blowing snow, wind and panic set in!
The whole patio was covered in snow. Fearing complete isolation, I fashioned a long brush to clear the satellite dish so I felt less alone.
And as the snow melted, it caused an ice cornice to build up on the shed and the house.
The metal roof plus snow, makes for a waterfall over the gutters.
I had to add heat tape to melt the ice so it would simply drain into the gutters.
My vintage windmill was blown over in the storm, bending the blades.
A casualty of the Bomb Cyclone! I’ll try to bend the blades back in shape again.
But just look at what happens after we get all the needed moisture!
Hidden bulbs are finding their way through the weed barrier and Breeze material, searching for the spring sunshine! Although I wasn’t looking for these to pop up right here, I can’t find it in myself to pull them up!
I’ve added some Cobalt Blue planters near the front door and some of my pots already have established perennial Day Lillie’s coming in!
Yay! Spring is so very welcome after a long winter.
Small, I know! But I can’t help but be pleased to see some Green reappear after 6 months of drab winter!
This time of year, we’re ready to lose the sweaters and boots. But it takes a few days in the privacy of your yard to get enough sun to show any skin in public.
I moved the outdoor chairs to maximize the sunny part of each day in the back yard. Rocco is grateful to lay in the sun too!

This is what happens when we go to see the Queen and her kingdom!

Leaving Knock Ireland, heading toward Luton Airport near London.
We stayed at The Hilton Doubletree at the Docklands on Columbia Wharf in London. This building is an old mill and offers awesome views of The Thames from our room.
View from our room at night! The ferry on the right side of the pic travels back and forth all day from Canary Wharf to Columbia Wharf on the other side of the Thames where we caught the water ferry down the river and into the city.
Our room was basically a flat. Lots of space and a small balcony overlooking the river.
We slept with the door open all night so we could feel the breeze from the river and hear the tide coming and going. Loved it!
I loved the rustic feel of the old building! Sean is counting his pounds.
Our room is the top balcony. Below is an outdoor space with tables overlooking the river.
Parliment and Big Ben were under renovation while we were there.
It really IS Big!
I had to pay attention when crossing streets, as the traffic was coming from the opposite direction than I’m used to!
We rode the ferry to the Westminster stop and walked down St. James park to Buckingham Palace. It was lovely!
Buckingham palace is very grand, very busy and very impressive. It’s crazy to actually be in a spot I’ve seen in so many pictures. And no, we didn’t see any royals while we were there!
You can see the fountain driveway at the front of Buckingham Palace.
Guilded gates are everywhere. This place is huge. It’s quite a walk from point A to Point B.
Were practiving our “Royals” pose! Do we look royal?
The queen leaves Buckingham Palace and goes to Balmoral Scotland during the summer. While she’s away, tours of the palace allow viewing and walking through 19 state rooms! Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside. But I will say that the decadence and grandeur is so breathtaking. It’s amazing to me that these rooms have been lived in and used since the 1700’s. This pic is taken outside the back of the palace where the queen holds Garden parties.
This is 10 Downing St., through the gates. Home of Prime Minister Teresa May, at least for now. See the armed guards at the gate?
This is just on the other side of the fence from Teresa May’s house.
Standing on the London Bridge with a good view of the London Eye!
They still have these phone booths everywhere!
View from the ferry as we’re leaving London Bridge headed back toward our hotel.
This sign is funny to me! Not just the part of not being a nuisance, but that they’ll report you to your church. Now that’s a deterrent!
This old inn, circa 1520. We walked by it on our way to the Tower of London!
I imagine midieval people walking around in the cobblestone street with a mug in hand, looking for a place to lay their head for the night.
We took an obligatory break at Starbucks before going into the Tower. Fun to watch people from all over the world walk around these tourist attractions.
We’re heading toward the entrance of the Tower of London. I’m walking by what was once a moat surrounding the Tower.
The outside of the Tower. Entrance on the right.
This is inside the Tower grounds, the London Bridge behind us. You can see the moat behind us between the stone wall and the sidewalk below.
This is where the Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters live, inside the Tower grounds.
There’s one getting into the back seat of his car.
This whole fortress dates back over a 1000 years to 1070 AD. It’s been damaged, rebuilt and updated many times since then by a variety of Kings and Queens.
The slits in the stone wall are actually windows. See the gargoyles looking down at us?
Panoramic view. The Building straight ahead is the White Tower, or the Tower of London.
Again, no photos inside, but The Crown Jewels are pretty spectacular and heavily guarded!
Henry VIII’s armour. Hmmm.
Living in a castle seems romantic, but this would not be so cozy. Now I imagine walking through these hallways with a candle in hand.
Cold and dark, but the stone work is not only cool to see, it’s also super durable to have lasted this many centuries.
This is looking out a window. They are so small to protect the habitants from a seige. I think I’d feel claustrophobic living here.
This is a toilet. Basically a wooden box with a hole in it. I don’t know what’s below the box.
The king’s room. A bed, fireplace, a table, a throne and a chapel.
I guess this is where he makes plans for invasions.
It seems simple, but considering the stone rooms that are everywhere else, it IS more cozy.
The Kings throne.
Huge fireplaces are in the rooms to heat the cold space.
The White Tower. This is the tower that held the troops, weapons, armour, horses and of course, a chapel.
The chapel in The White tower.
The likeness of Queen Elizabeth I.
The walls are several feet deep to protect the people from attack.
This is amazing to me!
Torture tools. It’s eerie in this room, knowing how many people were held, tortured and died here.
A great view of London Bridge, standing next to the White tower.
We walked over London Bridge to see what was on the far embankment.
The London Bridge is a destination by itself. It’s a feat of engineering.
Looking back at the Tower over the Thames.
The Belfast warship is now a museum. It sits across the Thames from the Tower. We thought about taking a tour, but decided to find a cafe and have a glass of wine instead.
This walkway takes you from the cafe to the Belfast.
The little cafe overlooks the Thames and embankment.
The embankment runs along the river for miles. Tons of restaurants, parks and pedestrians. The architecture in London is remarkable. Very modern mixed with very old buildings.
Tired and feeling goofy after our stay in London, now we’re heading back to Colorado.
London to Denver is a long flight. I’m grateful to have seen parts of London and look forward to a return trip at some point!

If your lucky enough to visit Ireland, locals know how to make you feel charmed!

Arriving at Shannon Airport, Ireland. Aug 27, 2018.
Westport, standing on a bridge overlooking the Mall river.
O’Hehirs Cafe on the Octogon. One of my favorite cafes in Westport overlooks The Octogon, a historic landmark in town. I could spend hours here, drinking tea
and watching people walk by .
Kylemore Abbey, Ireland
A short walk away is the Chapel at Kylemore Abbey. So gothic and ornate!
Many of the manor’s and castles have chapels on the property. Entering the chapel at Kylemore Abbey.
Inside the chapel at Kylemore Abbey, beautiful paned glass windows.
Tea at the Cafe at Kylemore Abbey. When in Ireland, drink tea!
You’d never know what bliss lies behind this wall…
The walled victorian garden at Kylemore abbey.
Looking back toward the entry gate on the top left. This place is so gorgeous and has been recently restored after many years of neglect.
Turf is a natural resource that the Irish burn for heat. It’s layers of mulch and organic material that has been sitting on the ground for millions of years and become very dense. Driving around Ireland you can see fields of turf where people have dug up small sections, let sit to dry and then sell as fuel. It’s a resource that people now understand needs to be protected. You can smell turf being burned as you drive around. It’s very strong smelling, kinda like tobacco.
We saw many rich and decadent houses, but this house inspired me because it is the head gardeners house at the garden at Kylemore Abbey. Very simple and overlooking the whole walled garden. And they were buring turf for heat inside.
It was a super soggy day. However, if your strategy is to wait until is clears up, you’ll be spending your time inside! The trick is to dress appropriately and go for it!
Keel Beach on Achill Island. One of my favorite places in Ireland, so far!
Old Head Beach, Westport Ireland. I never get tired of being by the ocean.
This trip we stayed closer to town. This is the house we rented. Walking distance from downtown Westport.
This special lady is Sean’s mother, Winnie. She is wonderfully positive kind, loving and enjoys a good laugh, or craic, as the Irish would say! She turned 86 this year and we went back to help her celebrate.
Some of Sean’s family came for tea at our rental house after Winnie’s birthday lunch. Everyone in town loves Winnie. She has lived her entire life in Westport and knows everyone she sees. I’m grateful to know her!

See This Stucco Cottage Gain Confidence As Blissful Retreat!

This small stucco cottage lacks interest and novelty.
I added flagstone to the dirt yard to clean it up and make it more usable.
An original coal shed is now in the center of the yard and not so pretty to look at.
The front door of the coal shed, positioned in the center of the yard.
Back door of the cottage looked out into an evergreen covered space.
These 2 pine trees, surrounded by piles of rocks, were old and eventually died.
The flat roof was the culprit to a water leak in the ceiling of the living room.
I also tore out the carpet in the house and replaced it with tile throughout.
This is the bathroom where a washer and dryer were located.
I added tile to the floor and shower, but the space is still boring!
Small kitchen with apartment sized appliances.
When I bought this house, there were no lower cabinets here, only uppers. I found some reclaimed cabinets to create a better kitchen workspace in 2007.
The back door was very old, but I like having a back door overlooking the garden.
At some point, this part of the house was added onto the original house. The slope of the ceiling is interesting and mostly affects the bathroom, and the laundry room. Window A/C units are used throughout. Nice extension cord!
After I had the huge evergreen trees removed, I needed to do something with this space in the yard.
So, I decided to have a deck with arbor built instead. It was alot of work to dig out roots and clear the space for a new deck. Huge pile of rocks in the distance will have to be moved out of here.
The little wood boxes are for footers which will hold up the arbor over the deck. And of course, the huge pile of rocks that I had to remove along the back fence.
Coming along.
This is now a usable space outside the kitchen door.
Providing some shade and a sitting area.
I added garden boxes with perennials around the borders of the flagstone courtyard.
And a sitting area in the courtyard.
This shed is cool, but needed some TLC to make it blend better with the rest of the yard.
And I made this cute little garden near the front door and under the kitchen window.
Now when you walk into the yard, you see this welcoming space.
A grill and sitting area make this space fun and private.
I also added an arbor inside the gate to the alley. It can be seen from the alley and designates the gate from the rest of the fence.
Colorado offers year round sun, allowing us to spend time outside even during the winter.
Lilac shrubs are in the distance and soften the yard with fragrant flowers in the spring.
The interior is brighter and fresh after updating the kitchen, tiled floors, paint and adding solid wood doors inside the house.
New cabinets and tile change the kitchen into a cheery space.
Still a small stove, but I had a guest actually cook Thanksgiving dinner in this kitchen!
Spa like bathroom with bamboo shelving units, tiled floor and shower. I moved the washer and dryer into the laundry closet.
Cute little vintage dining table near the front door, in the main living area.
A sectional sofa adds comfort and plenty of seating to this small cottage.
Bedroom with adjoining room.
The adjoining room is really small, but I have a twin daybed and TV in here for extra room and privacy. Rocco taking a quick nap on the sheepskin.
I installed central A/C and got rid of the window units. Fresh paint, new furniture and fun furnishings make this place an urban retreat. This refurbished cottage is now avaible to rent on VRBO, listing #793349.

Thoughtful renovation makes this private cottage charming!

I bought this place in 2007. The carriage house is made of cinderblock. At some point, a half fence was put in, I guess to hide the trash cans.
Oh, and there is some siding also. Old windows are a little bit sad in this pic.
There was one big yard for both houses. It felt like being in a fish bowl, anyone driving through the alley could, and did, look right at the backyard of the big house and into the yard of the carriage house. Nice to have a parking space off the alley for the carriage house.
It had good bones, but needed some style and updating.
Original coutertops complete with chrome legs holding the cabinets up and mirrored light switch covers! And don’t miss the vinyl parquet flooring.
The cabiets are solid wood and built in.
It seems like all the houses had a mircowave cubbie above the oven. It must be vintage!
The galley kitchen is big enough for a full sized refrigerator and stove/oven.
Small bathroom with formica “butcher block” vanity top.
A transition seam where the vinyl parquet meets the carpeting. It runs through the room, creating a strange dining area which straddles the seam.
This house has no venting and relys on window A/C and baseboard heat.
One of the first things I did when I bought this property was add a fence between both houses. The Orange paint shows where the new flagstone courtyard will be.
This poor little house had no privacy, but I’m getting ready to change that!
I took down the half fence, laid flagstone and you can see the fence posts going in.
The area around the house is not big, but with this fun courtyard and a small grassy area to sit in, I think it’ll be charming.
I like that the entry has a covered porch, with a iron pole holding it up! However, I’ll make it better than this is now.
Oh my goodness! The new fence really adds to this house. Now there is a fun yard that someone can actually enjoy with privacy!
I added a couple garden boxes with perennial plants to soften the sitting area.
What a difference the fence makes. It’s rustic and private.
Next is the new siding and Cedar scallopped accents. No more cinderblock visible!
With the new siding, cedar and roof, some perennial gardens will make this space inviting.
This is an entry I want to see when I arrive at this house!
My gardens mature and the house slowly feels vintage again with some upgrades.
I kept the original cabinets, but lost the Chrome legs holding the upper cabinets up. The coutertops and bathroom got new tile, new vinyl flooring, new appliances and fresh paint.
I used this house for a guest house for a couple years for my visiting family, but eventually decided to try short term rental. It’s the first house I converted to STR and it’s been a favorite for my guests since 2015.
Now, the dining area is welcoming and sits on top of new flooring running throughout the whole house.
I painted all the trim White and changed the interior doors to be more modern.
The house is only about 500 square feet, but is well laid out to feel open.
I made this headboard from cedar fence pickets and some stain. I love rustic and it works well in Colorado for visiting guests.
The yard is now inviting and fresh with sod, cedar and perennial gardens.
This house is for rent on VRBO, listing #749810.