The Shanty now has steps and a dry stacked stone underpinning. We gathered the stones from around the place and worked at putting them together somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle. It was fun, but tiring work. Of course, I am no stranger to working with rocks!
The hummingbirds are here...quite frankly by the droves, it seems. And, they are hungry! The native honeysuckle is now starting to bloom, so these little beauties will spend a lot of time in the thickets for the next month. When the masses return, they will bring their young, and that's when the real work of feeding them begins. In preparation for this time, I have planted a hummingbird garden at the back of the Shanty just for them.
Building a backyard retreat has made me think of Marie Antoinette. (Not that my little retreat compares in any way to that of a queen.) She had everything, or so it seemed. Her father was an Emperor. Her husband was king (King Louis XVI of France). She was queen. But, according to stories, Versailles suffocated her. "She hated the acres of ormolu, miles of mirrors, and armies of flatterers." She yearned for an innocent and simple life. And, almost got it!
Off in the woods, far from Versailles, she built another world, a retreat, for herself. She "created a tiny hamlet of farms, cowsheds, private apartments with thatched roofs, dairies, vegetable gardens, a ballroom in the form of a barn; a little gleaming river, even a secluded meadow." I can only imagine what the aristocracy might have thought of milking a cow!
But, we'll not be milking a cow here at out little retreat. We'll watch the birds and smell the roses. And, the girls and their dolls will dress up and come for a tea party. (After school is out for summer vacation in a couple of weeks.)
Valley is especially excited to have been invited to the event, for she is now all dressed up in her new outfit, complete with fitted bodice, animal print trim, and skirts finished with ruffled hems.
I have spent a ridiculous amount of time making this doll over, but I thought she was worth saving. Originally her head was too large for her body, and she had a hard time of sitting up.
I remade her with larger bodice, legs and feet, and then, of course, larger clothing. And now, she does sit nicely which will be a good thing when she attends the party!