Several Generations of Gardeners

This years garden in July 2019

I have sat down three different times to write this post and each time I was almost done and it got erased! It’s frustrating because I was satisfied with it yet now I begin again once more. Hopefully the last time. Has that ever happened to you?

 

 

As a young child I didn’t give a hoot about gardens. I remember being around the age of 10 and my dad proudly tried to show me his garden at our Haverhill, NH house. The plot sat in the back of our yard bordering blackberry bushes. Dad tried to put on a tour of all his vegetables and coldly and uninterested I ran away to play. Oh how I regret that with my every being! If I could turn back time I’d listen to soak in the moments as he went through his garden. But I can’t and that’s that.

Now as a mature adult, I’m a gardener like my dad. I guess it all came full circle! It took me half a lifetime to appreciate a gardens peaceful presence and it’s magical qualities. It all started with my paternal grandfather ( actually my maternal grandparents gardened too), progressed to my father and now I continue the tradition. My sister has a vegetable garden too.

Years ago Tom tilled and tended a huge garden for his employer, Mrs. Geneen. He didn’t enjoy it though, for it was his job. I didn’t have anything to do with it until one day I was strolling through the rows of growing green plants. Suddenly an interest sparked within me and from that day on I have tended our gardens. We maintained a garden at the farm for about twenty years and about five here, on our land.

The enormous garden at the farm

It’s more than a hobby, but as a profound passion  of connecting with the earth and growing and nursing vegetables for our family. Digging in the soil of the plot makes me feel alive! It’s calming as I stoop and pull weeds, check the leaves for growth or hoe the narrow rows of dirt. It’s my therapy in life, a special sanctuary to be still or to move among the plants. Sometimes I twist and turn, other times I rest and weed. Whatever I do in the garden, it’s sacred.

Tom and I at our own garden one of the first years

 As I wrap up this post, I wish to thank my dad for all his gardening advice and for our phone conversations that are focused on gardening. It’s these moments that mean very much to me, times of connections that have strengthened our relationship. Maybe he’ll see this and maybe he won’t and that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that this hobby has brought us a little closer. I’m grateful for that.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Purple Beauties

Good Morning friends!

I posted a few weeks back that I was waiting for my flowers to bloom!

Yay!

Here they are in all their glory!

Every year they show their stuff for such a short time.

You must soak in all of its beauty for within a couple of weeks they go by.

This year I plan to share some of these with my sister- in- law Bev. She loved them the last time she visited so when I can I’ll dig up some of it for her.

Spiderwort is also showing its colors! A rich purple!

Blessings to you all as you go about your day! What flowers do you have in bloom now?

Around the Yard

My window color scheme

A foggy mist hovered over our yard this morning. As I waited for the early sun to peek behind the puffy clouds, my I-Pad photos reminded me of how blessed I am with our beautiful yard. I feel every corner speaks to us in an enchanting whisper. There’s no place that I’d rather be in the summer!

I’m waiting anxiously for my Stargazer Lily to bloom!

With summer warming up and days becoming longer, I take afternoon and early strolls around the yard to see my flowers and plants progress. I think my mother- in- law told me that she used to do that.

This spring has been pretty cold and rainy until now. My purple Coneflowers are not doing well. All I see are green leaves and they’re much shorter and skimpier than last year. The flowers are nowhere in sight! I’m hoping Miracle Gro will energize them but maybe the damage has been done. There were probably too many frigid nights and wet days for them. Any suggestions?

I don’t know the name of this perennial patch but I love them! One is blossomed which means the patch will be purple soon enough. It’s a lovely addition to our yard and the humming birds love them!

I’m waiting for my Coreopsis to bloom teeny yellow flowers that brighten up my front yard. Shown here is my latest of my dad’s wood projects, the deer planter. Inside it is Johnny Jump ups that I got free from a Landaff resident. One day Tom and I were riding around and found all these pots of flowers labeled free. I passed on the tip to my daughter- in- law leading her to stop by and take a few plants gratefully.

So there it is…our little yard with annuals thriving and perennials on their way. Soon they’ll bloom and I’ll post their progress.

I hope you all are having a great week!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

School’s Out for the Summer!🌞🌼

Hello blogging friends, it’s been a hectic few weeks with me finishing up school, attending a few events and squeezing in outside garden time. Every day I thought of a potential blog post but never quite got there. I apologize for such a hiatus but I guess I needed it for my sanity. Now I should have ample time for writing and snapping photos as our school is out for the summer!

The garden in its beginning stage

My primary summer focus is maintaining and harvesting our garden. Every morning I walk a few feet in the rich green grass damp with morning dew to our little plot. Dressed in old t-shirts and sweat or yoga pants, I carry a garden hoe and metal can for weeds. It’s my morning peaceful ritual, joining the variety of birds, an owl that lives in our woods, croaking frogs ( in our pond), deer and turkeys that all love this land as much as I do. Getting down in the dirt is my daily therapy where problems disintegrate and a strength and resolve grows within me.

To the left are my rows of sweet corn followed by Zucchini and Summer Squash

It’s been a tough start to our growing season as nights have been quite cool for weeks, plummeting to the 40’s and sometimes 30’s. In the last month it’s rained a lot but it is waning, transitioning into warm pleasant days now. I worry for my tomatoes I started by seed, as the leaves are purple and they look like frost may have harmed them. I’ve had to replant a row of carrots as well as oregano because the seeds didn’t sprout. Time will tell.

To the left you can barely see my cilantro, then my cucumbers and last is the green lettuce.

One of my things to do is mount the tripods for the cucumber plants for a trellis. It involves Tom’s help where he pounds the stakes in and I tie them together with strong string. That way the cukes will hang up on them instead of being on the ground for moles to nibble on.

As I wrap up this post I wish you pleasant growing weather as you garden in your back yard or in deck pots. I hope this finds you all well, wherever you are physically and emotionally. I look forward to spending the summer with you, updating you of what’s going on in my rural world and hearing your stories as well.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Spring Flowers 🌷

Spring has definitely arrived here! Although we’ve had loads of rain, there have been sunny and pleasant warm days too. I’ve worried about my emerging flowers as many nights have been 40 degrees F and chilly! So far they’ve withstood the temperature changes from day to night. Hopefully our nights will warm up soon!

A year or two ago my niece Michele gifted me these delicate little flowers. She warned me they may not come up as they were a transplant. I planted them out front with anticipation of seeing what the flowers would resemble and what color they would be. I’m not sure but my guess is they are an Iris variety. Last growing season came and went. The leaves were a rich beautiful green and healthy looking , yet the flowers didn’t bloom.

I didn’t think anymore of it until this spring when the plants came up once again. This time I was surprised one afternoon to discover these delicate purple beauties! It immediately brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart. Sometimes flowers take awhile to burst through, to overcome their challenges. ( like people)

My annual flowers, Geraniums, Petunias, Bicopa and the Spike enhance my house and front yard. Someday I may ask Tom to make a window box for the kitchen, one that can house herbs. Wouldn’t it be cool to simply open the screen and cut fresh herbs for cooking? I think so! In the meantime I really enjoy walking out to the garden to snip herbs.

This Columbine’s flower hasn’t opened yet but I believe it will soon! There are a few wild Columbines growing by the side of the road nearby. I guess that maybe a house was there at one time or that the seeds spread through bird droppings. Columbines come in different colors such as pink, red or white.

Here’s our Lilac bush that almost succumbed to a snowplow a few years ago. Tom nursed it back to where it’s thriving and even the rich lavender colored blossoms are fuller than before! There’s nothing sweeter in a spring yard than aromatic Lilacs!

In the North corner of our front yard stands a few Cherry trees and a couple of tall Cedars. It’s a lovely space of shade and hosts dozens of birds who love to hang out in the branches above. The last few years I’ve put my small table there with a chair for a peaceful spot for summer lunches.

In the future I wish to clean out the overgrown weeds within the trees. Tiger Lilies that we’re planted years ago grow there but don’t do well. The challenge for me is the Poison Ivy that grows there, preventing me from cleaning up and transforming a chaotic mess into something beautiful. Tom has tried to kill it but it keeps coming back. Once he really gets it, this corner project will start. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m grateful for my flowers around the yard and excited to continue planting perennials that will contribute to our little cottage’s yard. It’s these colors and Lilac scents that ground me. Dreams of this haven get me through the long winter with eager anticipation of green grass, rich pinks, purples and reds.

Happy Spring to you all!I hope you have lovely and colorful flowers that enhance your yard and your life!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌻

Our Greenhouse & Outside Work

Here we are in May in northern New Hampshire. The air still feels cool yet sometimes the temperature reaches 60 degrees! This afternoon the sun tickled our skin as Tom and I worked on placing the cover on the greenhouse. It took all our patience as we stretched the unforgiving plastic over the frame. As we pulled and tugged, ticks crept up our pants. I must have pulled off close to fifty throughout the day. I got to the point that my skin was crawling and I was itchy, thinking more were invading my space.

Yikes, ticks are a real problem here in spring to mid summer. They hitch a ride on humans, deer, fox, moose and most wildlife. We have them in our tall grass and they burrow under leaves in the flower gardens. I plan to buy some tick deterrent to spray on our clothes so they leaves us alone!

Already the inside of the greenhouse is warm and toasty. We placed our annual flowers in there until next weekend when I’ll make my window boxes. My started plants are in there as well. Some aren’t doing well as I started them too early and they didn’t get enough sun. I have tomatoes, cukes and squashes that will be okay to plant.

Today I’ll work out in my vegetable garden, finishing raking and cleaning up. I should’ve done it last fall but didn’t get to it. Next weekend Tom will add bags of sand and manure and till the plot. Soon after we will plant our garden for the year! I’m beyond excited for this as I wait all winter to tackle this loved hobby of mine!

As I close this post I wonder how you all are doing. Are you immersing yourself in gardening? Does your season start now or have you been at it for awhile? I wish you much happiness with gardening and hope your harvest is amazing!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌻

Plants in Progress!

The cucumbers and squashes!

About two weeks ago I shared with you all my latest venture with growing plants indoors. I figured that I needed to start super early here in northern New Hampshire, zone 4b. ( according to the USDA map) Usually I buy my plants already started and we plant them in early June. This year I thought that I could start them indoors and transfer to our greenhouse sometime in May.

In just two short weeks the Boston Pickling Cucumbers and Straight Eights are thriving and look like they may need repotting within a week or two. Now I’m on the hunt for bigger containers to repot them before we leave for Las Vegas in late April. ( I will dedicate a post to that trip soon after)

Now I know that this process doesn’t take long indoors! I’ll plant the seeds in early May next year for a month of growth before putting in the ground. So this year we will have to try to baby them until it’s safe to plant outdoors! Thankfully we have our new greenhouse to help next month.

Happy planting friends! Have a blessed week!

All My Best,

Mary ❤️


Seed Starting Indoors


My Sunday project, planting seeds indoors! Check out our snow in the yard!

Here I am on a sunny Sunday launching my summer garden by planting indoors! I got the idea last week after reading a bit about it. First I discovered Bear Creek Heirloom Seeds on Facebook from a friend’s post. She had just received her seed stash and was excited for the growing season! I did some research and decided to go ahead and buy my seeds instead of what I usually do. Every year I frequent Wal- mart and buy organic seeds from Burpee or Better Homes and Garden. But how do I know if they are GMO? Also all that time I was supporting a huge company instead of favoring a family run business. Additionally I would buy my tomato, cucumber, eggplant, all squashes, and basil plants already grown at a local greenhouse. (Here in New Hampshire you need a jump start for successful growing as it’s a short season. ) Now I’ve resolved to support this seed company owned by a little family in Missouri. All their seeds are organic and GMO and are heirloom seeds.

First I jotted down my growing list and decided what seeds I’d start now, giving them just over two months indoors. I’m growing Black Beauty eggplant, crookneck Summer Squash, Zucchini, orange Butternut Squash, Martino’s Roma Tomatoes, Tappy’s Heirloom Tomatoes, Straight Eight cucumbers, Boston Pickling cucumbers, corn and cabbage ( free seeds the company sent me).

Next I figured out what seeds could wait until June. I always plant carrots, green beans, lettuce,spinach, thyme, cilantro, oregano, and beets then. Those will do well in the warm ground and won’t need a boost.

We have a pretty warm room facing South. It’s bright and sunny, an ideal spot for germinating plants. Tom brought in our six foot folding table and placed in front of the window. I bought a growing tray and dome for a greenhouse effect for some of the seeds, a growing light with two LED lightbulbs, Happy Frog Potting Mix and wooden popsicle sticks for marking the types. Luckily we saved the plastic plant trays from last year. They are perfect to start the seeds with little wells in a tray of four.

I opened the soil mix and stirred it around, preparing it for planting. It warmed up easily in the window. Tom made a marker for 1/4 and 1/2 inch holes to plant the seeds so I could easily place it in, tuck a seed or two in and then gently cover with the mix. Each plant has a different planting depth.After prepping each tray I put the veggie marker in so I wouldn’t forget! It would be easy to do…the whole time I was visiting with my daughter in law and sometimes I can’t do two things at a time! Haha!

I tried really watering them well the first day. I bought a little water spritzer for watering the seeds, yet I don’t know how much to soak them from here on out. I sprayed it several times as the mix dried out quickly in the heated area. Today I’ll soak it well and hope that I get in a routine of watering everyday.

I intend on using the growing light on gloomy and dark days and a few hours after the sun goes down. I don’t feel comfortable leaving it on when we go to work as it gets quite hot. It will help keep the babies toasty.

So that was my Sunday project, immersing in the potting mix, plopping seeds in and hopefully giving birth to our garden gems. This hobby probably came from my dad, who has gardened much of his adult life as well as his father, my grandfather who has passed away years ago.

Are you planning or planting your seeds now? Do you have any advice for me, as this is really new to me?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌞

I Can’t Live Without…

I can’t live without…

family surrounding me,

loving me,

embracing me

I can’t live without…

my dear husband who I pledged

to spend the rest of my life with

Oh what the adventures we’ve had and we’re still going

strong

I can’t live without…

the rising strong mountains looming in

my background

I can’t live without…

the inhalation of the salty air,

the fortress of the sea crashing into the ever stretching

sands


I can’t live without…

writing,

forming words into flowing sentences,

describing moments,

feelings and thoughts

As if my breath and beating heart depends

on every written word

I can’t live without…

the delicate pretty growing flowers

planting roots in our soil

Blossoming and beautifying our little corner

of the world

I can’t live without…

looming green plants

reaching to the sun

fresh grown vegetables bursting

from our soil


I can’t live without…

my home,

a meeting place of loved ones

a warm spot to plant our roots

to love behind closed doors

To put our feet up and rest

And thank God for all that is good here.

I CAN LIVE WITHOUT

Hate and fear

Narcissism

Injustices towards humans and animals

Raging jealousy

Insecurity

What can’t you live without right now?

How I Transformed a Dislike into a Love ❤️

Can you tell that I enjoy cooking now?

For many years cooking for my family unfortunately was one of my disliked chores. It’s not that I didn’t love serving my family but every day and night I had to rack my brain of meal ideas and then magically throw them together for their consumption. It was the constant pressure of having it done by 5:30 or 6 and no matter what was happening with the kids, it just had to be on the table for all. I can imagine many of you busy moms feel the same way, right?

Fresh sliced tomatoes. Yum!

With that said, the last six months I’ve noticed a change from dread to excitement with a burst of creativity. It may be because there’s just the two of us now or the fact that I wanted to transform these feelings from dread to desire. It happened slowly at first. My flourishing garden produced fresh herbs, greens, carrots and tomatoes ( to name a few), kindling my interest in cooking. As you may know, mastering delicious and healthy meals depends on fresh ingredients!

My garden from last summer!

I would pick the ingredients in the afternoon for supper that night. It was straight from our rich soil to the dinner plate. This excited me beyond belief that I was homesteading in some ways! The food started tasting more delicious, for with freshly grown ingredients and locally raised meat how could you go wrong? I experimented with pungent Basil, sassy Cilantro and lemon Thyme.

My youngest son was greatly influenced by this, learning the herb names and cutting his own for his cooking creations. His interest intensified mine and my love for cooking grew even more! There were a few summer meals we co- cooked, which was so much fun!

My veggie harvest for my dinner!

With a positive and creative outlook, my disliked chore is a loved one now! I think I got tired of the dread hanging over me and I wanted to feel good about creating dinner! Now I plan ahead with the ingredients, read cookbooks, browse Pinterest and borrow recipes from my blogging friends, all to craft delicious meals for my family. I’m truly grateful for making this change and turning meal time into love! Wow, the food tastes more delicious because of my new passion!

Is there a household chore you dread and dislike? Could you put some imagination and creativity into it to make it fun and rewarding? Can you make a game of it? Is there a way you can have fun doing it by listening to a podcast or your favorite music? Whatever it is, I do hope you can beautify this chore to something incredible!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕