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Sunday, January 15, 2012

the winter front porch


In Texas we could grow pansies throughout the entire winter; here pansies are spring and early summer flowers!  Since nothing grows outside in the winter months it becomes a fun challenge to find filling for the antique urn at the front door.  The last couple of years I have left the Christmas boughs in the urn, but this year I felt the need for an all-white arrangement, probably due to the fact that until this past week we haven't had any snow, to speak of, on the ground since that unusual Halloween snow storm.
 

 I filled the urn with white birch branches that we found on the forest floor!

(these photos were taken before the snow arrived)




A large basketball-size Japanese fishing float keeps the urn company, along with a collection
 of "white" conks
Please note the large conk attached to the branch.








The day after I made the above arrangement of all-white at the front door I found this....
a "white" conk at the base of the mailbox!



 A gift !
I assume it is from our handyman/painter, but perhaps it is a gift from the conk fairy?!

67 comments:

  1. The birch branches look so pretty, and who knew there was a conk fairy! ;-)

    Kat :)

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  2. Lovely, I found a floral supply house in Boston, Jacobson's they have all sorts of ideas like that.

    You have a pretty blog !

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  3. Your urn looks lovely. I must admit that I didn't know what a "conk" was until I googled it - now I know what you're talking about!!

    Love your mailbox, too :)

    Have a wonderful day!

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  4. How cool that you have a conk fairy. I have a dog poop fairy that keeps leaving gifts on my front yard. I like your fairy better than mine.

    You have snow? Nothing here since October.

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  5. The conk fairy strikes again. I really like the change up to all white (even if there is now snow). I kept my evergreen branches, but added some brown magnolia leaves and pinecones instead of the red that I used for Christmas. Right now it's covered in snow, so it doesn't matter what colour the urn arrangements are.
    Happy Sunday.

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  6. I have to tell you that I just love reading your blog. Your home is absolutely beautiful and I am in awe as i tour your rooms.

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  7. That is such a cute idea to fill your urn with a bouquet of sticks! It's quite fitting for winter, isn't it? That's too funny about the conk appearing at your mailbox. You've probably put the word out to everyone that you collect them. That was nice of someone to do that for you.

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  8. Beautiful...in any season. So elegant.... no snow over here, but crossing my fingers!

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  9. Love the birch branches. Too funny, we would have to pay big $$$ for birch branches around here. Now pine and magnolia branches - got them covered. I love posts that show the different freebies that Mother Nature has to offer in different parts of the country.

    As always, your porch is lovely. If you happen to find out if there is a conch fairy, could you ask if his first cousin the Money Fairy could swing by my house and do a few flyovers. :)

    Blessings, Barb

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  10. loving the birch branches! very clever!

    ashley over @
    {hookedonhickory}

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  11. How gorgeous, such a welcoming arrangement! x

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  12. Your outdoor vignette is gorgeous. I love the branches in the urn.

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  13. Your urn is beautiful! Love the white birch!

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  14. Love the logs in the urn. Great option for me too...nice to have any kind of a fairy leaving treats....

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  15. Beautiful! I miss birch trees so much. Who would have thought that a move of few hundred miles would make such a difference in what kind of trees surround me. The mid-Atlantic only has small scrawny ornamental birch trees. (I miss the red maples, too.)

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  16. great idea...I love your decoration...

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  17. if anyone was to ever have a conk fairy it def would be you joan. love the birch braches, they are just so beautiful in the urn. xo

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  18. Your winter porch is gorgeous...love the birch branches!!

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  19. Great idea! We got the snow! A conk fairy....cute!

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  20. The conchs with the wood tails remind me of the horse shoe crabs you'll find along the New England coast. (I've never seen them wander quite so far a field...)
    :-)

    Cheers,
    John

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  21. I wish the conk fairy would visit here. Love the sticks in the urn.

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  22. I'll bet they don't have conks in Texas either! At least I haven't seen them in CA. Are they a fungus, like a mushroom? Great idea for the birch branches...future kindling?
    Cheers!

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  23. *** That's one of my fave trees~~~with PINE trees being the other!!! How LOVELY & WELCOMING!!! How lucky you are to HAVE them!!! All WE have are CACTUS & YUCCAs!!!

    Blessings,
    Linda in AZ *
    bellesmom1234@comcast.net

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  24. How lovely to have a conk fairy. Lucky you...I'm envious. :) LOVE your urn with the birch branches and of course, the fishing float.

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  25. Love the fishing buoy - I have a few but none that large. I need a visit from the conk fairy - maybe if I leave something under my pillow ...?
    Kelly

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  26. Love this rustic arrangement and I do believe you have a white conk fairy!! Lucky YOU!! Happy weekend,
    Kathysue

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  27. Ohhhhhhh.... the birch branches are just gorgeous, I sure wish i could find some lying on the ground where i live, they are not as common in NC. What a cute little surprise next to the mailbox... glad conch fairies don't come at nite and put them under our pillows like the tooth fairy ... !

    Cindy

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  28. I have a pile of birch branches from when we trimmed our trees. I would n't let my hubby throw them out. I knew I could find something to do with them! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  29. Beautiful. I don't think we have birch trees here in southeast VA so I kept the leftover Christmas tree boughs and pinecones in a galvanized bucket by the front door.

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  30. Joan I LOVE all those white birch branches in your urn, simply beautiful! The white birch is my favorite tree. We had one in our front island and this past summer a bug called a birch borer killed it on us:( My husband is going to cut it down in the spring, but now I know what to do with all the branches:)

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  31. How grand! I'm thinking I should go for a walk in our woods and see what kind of treats are out there waiting for us to discover them! Thanks for sharing:) Blessings~~Shine

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  32. I want a conk fairy!
    Love, love, love the birch bouquet on the porch.
    Kisses to Ella!

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  33. What does a Texan transplant need to do to get a CONK FAIRY??? :-)
    Love your use of natural finds, Joan; they are the perfect touch always.
    xo Heidi
    PS- can you put a good word in to the conk fairy? ;-)

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  34. Oh...this is so pretty...it definitely makes up for a lack of pansies!

    XO,
    Jane

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  35. Perfect! Love the way you can see your Western, Southern and beautiful local influences. Also love my birch trees in all seasons and especially using them as inspiration in winter. Not nearly enough snow here in MT either...hope we're blessed soon! Hug to sweet Ella!
    PS saw a great WY plate and thought of y'all. :)

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  36. Aww, just beautiful! I love your creativity:). I'm in Massachusetts and, though the snow is quite beautiful, I have to say.... I'm quite happy we haven't seen much of it:). xox, Blair

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  37. You definitely have a conk fairy! How sweet. Love your arrangement of the birch branches. I have not put anything in my urns since Christmas. Hope Ella is having fun in the snow!

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  38. Your birch arrangement is marvelous!

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  39. I love the white birches by the door! Love the granite post & copper mailbox too! Everything is very organic - I love it! A friend of mine keeps a small stack next to her fireplace. Every time I see birches I'm reminded of Robert Frost's poem - especially when they are bending over! Have a lovely week!

    Mary

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  40. Love the porch (and the rest of your home)! I was admiring how the panes of glass in your door reflect the tree limbs, echoing forms of the sticks in the urn. Then I said, "Whoa!! What is that in the right pane?" Do you happen to have a little blond-headed ghost? Well, if it is, I am sure he (or she) is eternally grateful to be residing at your house!

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  41. Now that is a great idea, it looks terrific! Who knew you could find white birch branches on the forest floor! We don't have any of them in our woods, unfortunately:( Love this!!! XO, Pinky

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  42. conk fairy? had never heard of a conk...love your urn and the patina on it gorgeous! we have been having incredibly warm days in california.

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  43. What a sweet gift! And what beautiful branches!! :)

    Hugs,
    Gail

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  44. I love your home and I am always excited when it pops up in my inbox!!! Love the porch! Quick question....where did you get your mailbox and iron detail underneath...I have been looking forever.
    Thank you so much!
    Shelly

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  45. Joan, Dan, and Ella: Birch trees are my favorite! With the October storm, we were able to scoop up a large trunk which I cut up and placed near the fireplace. I love your idea, though! Cindy

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  46. If I see the "conk fairy" I will certainly put in a good word for all of you!!

    Shelly- if you click the photo of our mailbox on the sidebar it will take you to the post that will tell you all you want to know!

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  47. How pretty. We grow pansies here in Va too all winter BUT you'd never find white birch! Count yourself lucky! You can have pansies in the spring too!
    Lorraine

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  48. So beautiful! I have a few conks growing in our backyard...I go out every few days to check on them ;)

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  49. i LOVE birch branches.........I brought some in before christmas and stood them in the corner of our fireplace wood basket. so pretty.

    how wonderful the conk just magically appeared!

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  50. What a great idea! My property is loaded with birch branches (I live in NH too) and I am always trying to think of new ways to incorporate them into home decorating.

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  51. Beautiful & lovely. Thanks for stopping by RHS always!

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  52. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!

    HeatherVonSJ[at]gmail[dot]com

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  53. What a bright idea to use the birch logs as an arrangement. We had just a dusting of snow last night, then rain all day. Strangest Northeast winter!

    And, I'm embarrassed to admit, my greens are drying out and still above my door and in my urns. I just haven't had the energy to come up with an alternative. But, now.....I've got some ideas.

    Hope the Conk fairy stops by again soon!
    xo Elizabeth

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  54. So beautiful Joan! Love the birch bouquet and your collection of conks! And I love that crisp winter sunshine - so lovely.
    xoTrina

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  55. Joan,
    Your white birch branches look absolutely perfect for January and the entire winter...I always loved planting my winter pots when we lived in CT...and now next year I'll get to again...but for now it's black and white pansies...southern California winter. Oh, and your little gift by your mailbox...how thoughtful of someone!
    annie

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  56. Great idea for the urn! I'm always stumped when it comes to cute, outdoor, (non-Christmasy) winter decor.

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  57. What a great idea! I think folks outside of the birch growing regions could paint or use some flocking spray on any branches. Could be interesting ...

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  58. I would never have thought to put the birch branches/logs in the urn! It looks gorgeous!

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  59. Attractive! I'm enjoying our front porch so much more since we painted the front door a bold blue -- it really is appealing to me this winter especially.

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  60. I just read your June post about your Featherwieght sewing machine. I have one that my mother-in-law made me buy. I paid $35 for it 30 years ago at an estate sale. I'm so glad I did what she told me to do. It is such a great little machine!

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  61. Hi Joan- Love the birch, it's peaceful but dramatic at the same time.

    Conk question for you- how do you know when to "harvest" the conk? Do they fall off the tree by themselves? The one growing on our tree seems to have rotted- rats.

    Hope you're all well-

    hugs-
    Carolyn

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  62. hi Carolyn! no, they don't fall off the tree themselves, unless perhaps they have rotted;) I don't know if there is a right/wrong time to harvest. I guess when they are the size you want!! They can sometimes be pulled off, but it is better to use a ax or drive a wedge between the conk and the tree so that you don't damage the conk in removing it (we learned that the hard way;)

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  63. I am enjoying your blog. We will be relocating from Texas to Pennsylvania. Your house is beautiful.

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  64. I had no idea they were called "conks"...I thought they were just fungae or "big tree mushrooms"!!
    I get those all the time at my cottage, as we have a dozen maples that are over 100 years old...
    very nice post...

    Cheers...linda :o)

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